Expect display of sporting spirit at the Stadio Olimpico
Roma v Empoli, Serie A
BT Sport Extra 2, 7.45pm Saturday
It is possible that bet365 have underestimated the chance of a low number of cards in the Serie A game between Roma and Empoli. In their Asian total cards market back under five at decimal odds of 1.9 – equivalent to fractional odds of 9-10.
Each yellow will count as one, each red as two. If the total is lower than five the bet will win, if it is five stakes will be refunded and if it is higher than five the bet will lose.
The referee at the Stadio Olimpico will be Davide Massa. The make-ups in his last six games, starting with the most recent, were ten, ten, nine, three, nine and nine. There certainly are occasions when he shows a lot of cards.
There was no warning of this rash of yellows and reds, however, in his previous six games. The make-ups in his first six games of the season, starting again with the most recent, were four, four, four, five, nought and four.
If what happened in period A gave no indication of what would happen in period B, why should what happened in period B give any indication of what will happen in period C? That is the hope on which the bet rests.
This is Massa’s seventh season refereeing in Serie A. Overall he has, if anything, issued slightly fewer yellows and reds than a typical colleague.
Generally the chance of a low cards make-up increases with the difference in ability between the participants. Roma, second in the table, should be by far the better team at home to Empoli, who are 17th – one place above the relegation line but with a healthy seven points more than the team below them.
The result-related markets imply roughly an 80 per cent chance of Roma scoring each goal that is scored. That seems a reasonable expression of the likely difference in skill between the players.
Usually in Serie A games with similar goals expectations fair odds about under 5 Asian total cards would be around 4-6.
Have Roma collected as many, more or fewer cards than we should have anticipated from them? Fewer – but do not give too much weight to that point either. In previous seasons, including coach Luciano Spalletti’s previous spell with the club, Roma did not accumulate fewer yellows and reds than we should have expected.
Empoli this season and last have received more cards than we would associate with their results – but not many. On Friday afternoon bet365 cut their line to 5 from 5.5, thereby removing most of the incentive for betting low. But some remains.
Under 5 Asian total cards in Roma v Empoli
0.5pt 9-10 bet365
FA must learn from the best
The football associations of England and Germany will share ideas on coaching and player development.
The agreement was announced on the day Germany beat England in a friendly.
Germany have won the World Cup four times and the European Championship three times. They have also been runners-up four times in the World Cup and three times in the European Championship. England have won the World Cup once.
Some say the arrangement will help England more than Germany. I disagree. This is what I think will happen.
The German FA will look at everything done by the English FA, smile nicely (because they are polite people) then say among themselves: “Let’s make sure we don’t commit any of those mistakes.”
The English FA will look at everything done by the German FA. They will find lots of good ideas that would work well in England.
They will write a report with lots of recommendations.
And none of them will be implemented.