Arbitrage in Euro’16 soccer odds?

May 28, 2016
By

(This article was first published on Florian Teschner, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

With the Euro’16 coming up in 2 weeks, I thought it would be great to look up the odds for each team.
Using a small R-Script, I got the data from this site.
As previously discussed, I cleaned the data (calculate the probability from the odds and then normalize the probability to account for the bookmaker’s revenue).

Here it is: Germany has an 22% chance of winning the cup, followed by France and Spain.

Wow, that looks too good to be true. A couple of days ago, I saw much better odds for France over at predictwise.com.
So let’s see how the odds change, if we look on the website of the same bookmaker in another country.
Here is the data collected from Italy:

It seems there is a bit of a home bias at work. German bettors expect Germany to win with a higher probability than bettors in other countries do.
See the full table:

Teams Odds from Spain Odds from UK Odds from Italy Odds from Germany
France 20.6% 23.5% 22.3% 19.6%
Germany 19.5% 20.1% 19.8% 22.1%
Spain 13.0% 12.8% 13.7% 14.7%
England 9.2% 8.3% 9.4% 7.4%
Belgium 8.8% 6.4% 7.4% 7.4%
Italy 5.9% 4.4% 5.2% 5.2%
Portugal 4.2% 3.5% 4.2% 5.2%
Croatia 3.0% 2.5% 3.1% 3.0%
Austria 2.6% 1.8% 2.2% 2.6%
Poland 1.7% 1.4% 1.7% 1.3%
Switzerland 1.3% 1.1% 1.3% 1.3%
Russia 1.3% 1.1% 1.3% 1.3%
Wales 1.3% 0.9% 1.1% 1.7%
Turkey 1.1% 0.9% 1.1% 1.1%
Sweden 1.1% 0.7% 0.9% 0.9%
Ukraine 1.1% 0.7% 0.9% 0.9%
Iceland 0.9% 0.7% 0.9% 1.1%
Czech Republic 0.9% 0.7% 0.9% 1.1%
Rep of Ireland 0.6% 0.5% 0.6% 0.6%
Slovakia 0.6% 0.5% 0.6% 0.6%
Romania 0.6% 0.4% 0.5% 0.4%
Hungary 0.3% 0.2% 0.3% 0.3%
N Ireland 0.3% 0.2% 0.3% 0.2%
Albania 0.2% 0.1% 0.2% 0.2%

Side-note: all data comes from bet365.com except for Spain (bwin.com) gathered on 29th of May.

There is quite some variation in the odds; England for example is given the probability of 9.4% in Italy and only 7.4% in Germany.
So why not arbitrage the differences away? Well bookies make a decent cut of roughly 30%.
If you buy a full portfolio (all teams), you have to invest ~1.3 Euro to gain one Euro. Hence the differences between countries are not big enough to make a case.

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Florian Teschner.

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