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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Toffees cards bet could be profitable

Laws say Willy Boly goal wasn't handball

Jonathan Hogg Huddersfield Town is shown a red card against Cardiff City
1 of 1

Premier League, 3pm Saturday

It might pay to challenge bet365’s estimate of how cards are likely to be shared between the teams in the Premier League game featuring Everton and Huddersfield. Back Everton +1 Asian handicap cards at decimal odds of 1.85 – equivalent in fractional odds to 17-20.

The reason for saying this is not that Everton are badly behaved (they are not), or even that Huddersfield are unusually well behaved (they are not). It is simply that in this sort of game odds for the favourites to beat an Asian handicap cards line of +1 should usually be shorter.

Each yellow will count as one and each red as two. If Everton’s total is higher than or equal to Huddersfield’s the bet will win. If Everton’s total is one lower than Huddersfield’s stakes will be refunded. And if anything else happens the bet will lose.

I have said this before. Almost all cards are shown to a player who made a genuine attempt to get the ball but got it wrong. So there is a relationship between how much defending a team do and how many cards they receive.

Huddersfield are playing away, which puts them at a disadvantage, and they would probably be less strong than Everton even at a neutral venue. For all the magnificent efforts of manager David Wagner and his players, they should be. I suspect Huddersfield have the lowest wage bill in the Premier League.

Huddersfield are likely to have to do more defending than Everton, and therefore they are more likely to receive most cards. But in many of the possible scenarios in which Huddersfield receive more cards than Everton they will receive one more, and if that happens bets are cancelled and stakes returned.

What matters here is something slightly different: how the chance of Huddersfield receiving at least two cards more than Everton compares with the chance of Everton receiving as many or more cards than Huddersfield.

The score-related markets imply a 64 per cent chance of an Everton win, a 23 per cent chance of a draw and a 13 per cent chance of a Huddersfield win. I think those implications are about right.

Across the last 20 Premier League seasons in games with similar goals expectations fair odds for the home team +1 Asian handicap cards would typically have been about 1.65. There is nothing that stands out from the bookings records of Everton or Huddersfield to suggest the odds at Goodison Park should be much different.

The referee will be Stuart Attwell, a good and now experienced Premier League official. He will show the cards that should be shown – no more and no fewer – and the chance that those will require a payout for backers of Everton +1 Asian handicap cards may be better than suggested by decimal odds of 1.85.

Everton +1 Asian handicap cards
1pt 1.85 bet365

Thought for the Day

I heard lots of people say that Wolves’s goal against Manchester City last Saturday would have been disallowed for handball if the Premier League had VAR. They are probably right. With VAR the decision probably would have been reversed. But it should not have been.

There is nothing in the laws of the game that says a goal should be disallowed just because the ball goes in after hitting a hand. Perhaps there should be but there is not.

Law ten says: “A goal is scored when the whole of the ball passes over the goal line, between the goalposts and under the crossbar, provided no offence has been committed by the team scoring the goal.”

And law 12 says handball is not an offence unless it is deliberate. This point is driven home. Handball should be punished only if it “involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the hand or arm.”

Referees are supposed to consider “movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)” and “the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)”. And they are told “the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an offence”.

Nobody, as far as I am aware, suggested that Willy Boly handled the ball deliberately. He tried to head the ball but missed it. Then, a split-second later, the ball hit his hand and went in the goal. Probably nobody was more surprised than he was.

If there had been VAR at Molineux the referee would have been asked to look at replays. He would have realised that allowing the goal to stand would provoke howls of protest. He would in all likelihood have agreed that allowing the goal to stand seemed wrong. But it is what the laws of the game say he should have done.

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In many of the possible scenarios in which Huddersfield receive more cards than Everton they will receive one more
E.W. Terms
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