Wednesday tutorial: Three-way betting in soccer

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

June 13, 2018 12:01 AM

Yankees and Brewers hurl clutch shutouts in marquee matchups. Plus, more prep work for golf’s US Open and soccer’s World Cup. Our Wednesday tutorial discusses three-way betting in soccer. We’re always ready to work in VSiN City!

Tuesday MLB: Quick and easy wins for Yanks and Brewers over Nats and Cubs

Can’t say that fans in attendance got their money’s worth. But backers of home teams and Unders were happy with the lack of drama in the two most important games of the evening. We’ll start in the Bronx for the big Interleague battle between the Nationals and Yankees.

NY Yankees (-150) 3, Washington 0 

Total Bases Plus Walks: Washington 8, New York 16

Starting Pitchers: Roark 6 IP, 3 ER, Sabathia 5.2 IP, 0 ER

Bullpen: Washington 2 IP, 0 ER, New York 3.1 IP, 0 ER

Those eight Washington bases came on five singles and three walks scattered throughout the evening. If you don’t do damage to a Yankees’ starting pitcher, derailing the bullpen locomotive is going to be tough. C.C. Sabathia lowered his ERA to 3.27 for New York, which has won seven of his last 10 starts. Aroldis Chapman picked up save #18. Note that Didi Gregorius hit two home runs for the Yanks. Those two blows matched the offensive base total for the Nats all by themselves.  

Tanner Roark saw his ERA rise to 3.63. He entered the night with similar ERA and WHIP stats to Sabathia. But that’s not good enough when you pitch in the league without a DH, especially when your offense can’t be counted on to score consistently. Washington is just 5-8 in Roark’s starts this season. 

New York stays atop the AL East (virtual tie with Boston) at 43-19. Washington falls to 36-28, a game behind Atlanta in the NL East. 

Game 2 of this short set will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. Las Vegas time) on ESPN. Washington looks to have decided on Erick Fedde as its starter. He’ll face Sonny Gray. 

Milwaukee (even) 4, Chicago Cubs 0

Total Bases Plus Walks: Chicago 4, Milwaukee 11

Starting Pitchers: Chatwood 5 IP, 3 ER, Anderson 7 IP, 0 ER

Bullpen: Chicago 3 IP, 0 ER, Milwaukee 2 IP, 0 ER

Just two singles and two walks for the Cubs. That’s odd against Chase Anderson, who was unblemished for the first time since his opener at San Diego back in late March. You’re supposed to hit Anderson! He entered the game with only one quality start in his prior six outings. Tyler Chatwood’s ERA is up to 3.98 for the Cubs, who fall back into second place in the NL Central at 38-26. Milwaukee on top at 40-27. 

Rubber match of this three-game set is Wednesday at 2:10 p.m. Mike Montgomery vs. Jhoulys Chacin in a market coin flip on the early line. Not much of a get-away spot despite the early start. Cubs are off Thursday before playing in St. Louis this weekend. Brewers also off Thursday, but stay home to host Philadelphia.

College World Series: Florida the betting favorite in tight eight-team field 

The busy sports schedule won’t allow much time to cover the 2018 College World Series in any sort of depth. But, we did want to post futures prices for you college baseball fans. From the Westgate…

Florida 3/1 (25% win equivalent)

Oregon State 7/2 (22%)

Arkansas 9/2 (18%)

North Carolina 6/1 (14%)

Texas 6/1 (14%)

Mississippi State 8/1 (11%)

Texas Tech 10/1 (9%)

Washington 12/1 (8%)

Those add up to a 118% win equivalent. Sports books create a universe large than 100% to represent a house edge. Good luck to you if your alma mater or favorite team is in action. Or, if you’re otherwise taking a flyer on one of those entries. 

WNBA: Las Vegas Aces get first road victory at winless Indiana 

The Las Vegas Aces’ inaugural season in the WNBA has been dramatically overshadowed by what happened with the Vegas Golden Knights in their NHL debut. We did want to mention quickly that the Aces won their first road game of the season Tuesday night, taking out still winless Indiana in overtime. 

Las Vegas (plus 4) 101, Indiana 92 (in overtime)

Regulation Score: Las Vegas 84, Indiana 84

2-point Pct: Las Vegas 54%, Indiana 53%

3-pointers: Las Vegas 3/9, Indiana 6/24

Free Throws: Las Vegas 18/26, Indiana 14/16

Rebounds: Las Vegas 39, Indiana 36

Turnovers: Las Vegas 13, Indiana 13

Las Vegas was outscored from long range, but made up for that with a 92-74 edge in scoring on “1’s and 2’s.” Aces are now 2-7 on the season (which is the worst starting hand you can have in Texas Hold-em). And, they have to play at New York Wednesday in a brutal “night after overtime” schedule spot. Indiana falls to 0-9 (which is the worst nine-game start you can have in sports).

We mentioned early in the season that a lack of (or disinterest in) three-point shooting could prove to be a problem for LVA this season. Here’s a look at average three-pointers made in 2018 as of publication deadlines. 

WNBA Made 3-Pointers Per Game

Seattle 8.3

Washington 7.9

New York 7.9

Connecticut 7.6

Phoenix 7.1

Dallas 6.3

Indiana 6.1

Minnesota 5.4

Chicago 5.4

Atlanta 5.3

Los Angeles 4.4

Las Vegas 3.0

It’s not essential to have outside threats. Los Angeles has a very strong team and lives inside. But Las Vegas basically starts every game down at least six points on the scoreboard (or down closer to 15 points vs. the best long-range teams) and has to play catch up. Talent just isn’t there to count on that happening. 

Worse, Las Vegas makes the fewest three-pointers in the league while playing at the fastest pace. It’s not like slow basketball is artificially lowering the Aces’ production. It’s an absent skill set out of synch with the sport’s recent evolution. 

Wednesday’s final lines were synched up with our estimate of “market” Power Ratings posted Tuesday. Good to see that. We’re trying to represent “the market” with these numbers. Use the differentials between teams to project a neutral court line, then factor in three points for home court advantage. 

87: Connecticut

85: Los Angeles

84: Minnesota

82: New York, Phoenix

81: Seattle, Washington

80: Dallas, Atlanta

74: Indiana

74: Chicago

73: Las Vegas

A note that we’re trying to capture the full market, not just oddsmaker openers. Oddsmakers are only part of the market. Openers are shaped by sharp influences, particularly in the WNBA (which is ignored by too much of the general public). Remember that lines can vary day-to-day because of injury developments (or schedule challenges).

U.S. Open Golf: Stars favored, but not “certain” on U.S. Open tracks

We wanted to add some context to the futures prices you’re seeing this week for the U.S. Open that begins Thursday at Shinnecock Hills. Many prices seem appealing at first glance because you may be getting as high as 14/1 or 18/1 on an elite star. Would player X win this event one out of 15 times, or one out of 19 times?

Your gut may answer “yes,” and might be right! But, that’s just to push. Would he win more often than that? You want to be able to answer “Yes” to whether or not your bet offers real value. 

Here’s a look at US Open winners going back the past 15 years. 

2003: Jim Furyk

2004: Retief Goosen

2005: Michael Campbell

2006: Geoff Ogilvy

2007: Angel Cabrera

2008: Tiger Woods

2009: Lucas Glover

2010: Graeme McDowell

2011: Rory McIlroy

2012: Webb Simpson

2013: Justin Rose

2014: Martin Kaymer

2015: Jordan Spieth

2016: Dustin Johnson

2017: Brooks Koepka

No repeat winners within that sampling, though a few names above were repeating off prior victories. (Note that…if you say his name really fast…the victory for Geoff Ogilvy in 2006 was the closest Jeff Fogle could get to winning this event). It’s a very difficult tournament to win obviously. Sometimes it’s a relatively unheralded name that survives the week for one reason or another. It’s easy to imagine Dustin Johnson or Rory McIlroy having a big weekend. Could we have another Lucas Glover or Michael Campbell lift the trophy instead? 

Futures prices reflect the reality that off-the-radar possibilities exist. 

Wednesday Tutorial: The basics of “three-way” betting in soccer in advance of World Cup thrills (plus bonus notes on “handicap” options)

Many of you reading this haven’t bet much soccer. But you’re now thinking about it because of all the recent World Cup coverage. Action begins Thursday, which means YOU better figure out what you’re doing, quick

The most common betting option for games in Group Play is referred to as “three-way” betting. You can bet on either team to win, or you can bet that there will be a draw. If you’re used to betting point spreads in football and basketball, it takes a bit of a mental leap to adjust. If you’ve bet a lot of money lines in baseball, it’s just a slight tweak (now there’s also a money line for a tie!)

Let’s start with an easy example involving two relatively evenly matched teams. Morocco plays Iran Friday. Here are three-way odds from the Westgate by way of VegasInsider.com.

*Morocco plus 125

*Iran plus 265

*Draw plus 195

All of those options express payoffs for a $100 bet. You can bet $100 to win $125 on Morocco, $100 to win $265 on Iran, or $100 to win $195 that the game will end in a tie. 

Easy to deduce that Morocco is the superior team. Not only does that side offer the shortest return, but a tie is even more likely than Iran winning. The teams are close enough in perceived talent that Morocco isn’t laying chalk as a favorite over the combination of its opponent and a tie. Many world powers will be in group play.

If you’re wondering about the win equivalent percentages, just like those we usually post with futures prices…

Morocco vs. Iran

*Morocco plus 125 (44%)

*Iran plus 265 (27%)

*Draw plus 195 (34%)

Those add up to 105% because of the house edge. 

You’ve surely memorized by now that Russia kicks off the tournament Thursday against Saudi Arabia. Russia is favored by more than a goal, making them rather chalky on the three-way (this set of lines from the South Point). 

Russia vs. Saudi Arabia

*Russia -235 (70% win probability)

*Saudi Arabia plus 750 (12% win probability)

*Draw plus 325 (24% win probability)

Saudi Arabia is perceived by many important market influences to be near the bottom of the World Cup barrel along with Panama. The Saudis are only 12% to win Thursday (in a 106% universe), and would return a profit of $750 on a $100 bet. Even a draw is a longshot because of the perceived differences between these teams.  

There are additional options to the three-way, at least at some locales. Each sports book decides what it wants to offer based on its clientele and comfort level. On the side, we’ve been using “handicap” lines from overseas to help build our estimated market Power Ratings. Here’s an example for this Cup opener from Pinnacle…

*Russia -1.25 goals (Russia plus 109, Saudi Arabia -118)

That’s why we had Russia 1.2 goals higher on our “goal supremacy” scale. At Russia -1.25, the Saudis are a slight market favorite to cover, the hosts a slight dog. You’re probably thinking “Wait a minute, how the heck does a quarter of a goal work?!” The handicap splits the difference between half-goals in a creative way. 

If you bet Russia -1.25 goals…

*Half of your stake is on Russia -1 goal

*Half of yours take is on Russia -1.5 goals

A tie game or a loss, and you lose all of your stake. Russia wins by two goals or more, and you win all of your stake. If Russia wins by exactly one goal, you push half of your stake and lose the other half. 

Sounds complicated at first. You could just focus on the prices at -1.5 goals. 

*Russia -1.50 goals (Russia plus 140, Saudi Arabia -154)

If you’re thinking of taking a shot on the big dog to make things interesting, would you rather lay -154 and get plus 1.5 goals? Or, would you rather lay -118 and push half your bet if it ends up being a one-goal loss for the Saudis? Smart bettors give themselves options. 

We know many of you prefer to come up with ways to bet the favorite. Your options with sports books that offer variety are…

*Russia -235 to win the game on the three-way

*Russia -1.25 goals at plus 109 (split evenly between -1 and -1.5)

*Russia -1.50 goals at plus 140 (you must win by 2 or more)

Anyway, the classic “three-way” odds will be easy to find on VSiN programming and in Nevada sports books. If you’re interested in researching various “handicap” options, many offshore sports offer them. For more details specifically for this Russia/Saudi Arabia game, click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page

We’ve already talked about Thursday, and one Friday game. Let’s check on the other two Friday games before calling it a day.

Uruguay vs. Egypt

*Uruguay -170 (63%)

*Egypt plus 575 (15%)

*Draw plus 260 (28%)

Spain vs. Portugal

*Spain -115 (53%)

*Portugal plus 360 (22%)

*Draw plus 230 (30%)

Don't forget to watch "Russia 2018: The Tournament Show" every day on VSiN!

Back with you Thursday to recap more baseball, and to continue our major event coverage. Thanks for being a reader (and hopefully a subscriber) to VSiN City! 

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