Sporting Lisbon v Chelsea by Iker Leon

Next Tuesday, September 30th will see the Champions League match between Sporting Lisbon and Chelsea in Portugal take place.  A first look at straight odds could indicate an opportunity on Chelsea win at 1.78 (Pinnacle), which made me think about running a little high level test on market psychology.

With odds at 1.78, the established probability of Chelsea winning is 56%, which initially seems reasonable. I then asked 10 friends (not professional bettors) three simple questions to be answered quickly;

a) Do you think Chelsea have won more or less than 50% of games played away in the Champions League?

b) Do you think Mourinho with Chelsea has won more or less than 50% of games played away in the Champions League?

c)  Do you think Chelsea have won more or less than 50% of competitive games away from home in the last 12 months?

Results were quite similar among the questions:

a) 7 said more and 3 said less.

b) 9 said more and 1 said less.

c)  8 said more and 2 said less.

But what do the cold numbers say?

Chelsea has only won 37% of matches away in the Champions league. With Mourinho they did even worse, with only 32% games won away from home. And in last 12 months they won 50% of matches away.

Surprised? Well, my friends certainly were. Although it is obviously not a very strong case from statistical methodology perspective, still I think it is easy to see that the feeling of people out there (market) was matching the current odds probability, however quite far away from reality (especially interesting to see how almost everyone thought that Chelsea with Mourinho had a better performance).

And that is my view here. Sporting Lisbon and Chelsea have never played in European competition, what gives no reference but definitely not the most known team for Mourinho. Sporting is a strong team at home, with good defense and not letting the teams playing easily from midfield forward. Chelsea is not the strongest away (don’t blame me, just numbers) and when playing with teams well organized as them cannot take advantage of their good counter attack, what can provide a more uncertain scenario than odds suggest.

Will Chelsea win this game? Certainly I think they have a higher probability of winning than Sporting but, is it the value there?

In my eyes the value would be in Sporting +0.5 handicap at 2.19 (Sbobet) but my friends are still going for Chelsea straight win, so it will be a funny match to watch.