I was at the gym the other day, flicking through one of the sports tabloids, and then I came across the page on Indonesian football. And without really thinking about it, more by second nature than anything else, I started to study the Indonesia Super League table.
I’ve always had a thing with stats and numbers and a close analysis of stats like this can help identify certain probabilities that may be useful in football gambling strategies. But after a while it struck me that there was something strange. Something very strange indeed…
Okay here’s the background first.
Basically, everyone knows that there are three possible outcomes of a football fixture – home win, draw or away win.
And home wins are much more likely than away wins. There are a number of reasons why this is so – psychological; having the crowd behind you, whatever – but basically it’s simply referred to as “home advantage”.
But how big is “home advantage”?
Well this is when it gets interesting.
Because no matter what leagues you look at – Italian, English, Argentinean whatever - “home advantage” in football is pretty much the same in statistical terms.
And the magic distribution?
Well its 47% 28% 25%
What this simply means is that in the long run 47% of games in a league will end in home wins, 28% in draws and 25% in away wins.
Of course there is some margin of error – but the more games you look at the closer you will get to this distribution of results.
To see for yourself, you can look at the stats from some of the leagues here.
I ran through a few leagues myself.
In the 2006-2007 English Premiership, for example, there were 182 home wins, 98 draws, and 100 away wins. That’s a distribution of 48% home wins, 26% draws, and 26% away wins.
And in the 2006-2007 Italian league there were 173 home wins, 114 draws, and 93 away wins. That’s a distribution of 45% home wins, 30% draws, and 25% away wins.
Okay – so it’s pretty obvious what’s coming next isn’t it?
The stats of the Indonesia Super League so far this year (as of 20 March 2011) with 118 matches played?
84 home wins, 21 draws and just 13 away wins!!!!!!!!
Giving a distribution of 71% home wins, 18% draws, and 11% away wins!!!!!!!!
What the hell is going on!! Only 13 away wins in 118 games? You must be kidding me! Why would any supporter in Indonesia want to travel to an away game knowing there are "mysterious forces" working against their team?
Closer inspection of the league table reveals the following:
- Only one club in the whole league has won more than three away matches!
- 10 of the 15 clubs have NEVER lost at home!
- Excluding the bottom two clubs, none of the other clubs have lost more than once at home!
- Semen Padang in second place have never lost at home, but never won away!
- Persiwa in fourth place have never lost at home, but never won away!
- Deltras in 8th place have never lost at home, but never won away!
- Persijab (third from bottom) have never lost at home, but lost ALL their 10 away matches!
So what can explain why the Indonesian Super League is so incredibly uncompetitive? Is there something very wrong going on and shouldn’t someone be responsible?
NB: It’s not very easy to find stats of the Indonesian Super League with a breakdown of the away and home games. Such a breakdown is rather conspicuously missing from all the websites I’ve ever visited. About the only place you can see them are in the BOLA daily sports newspaper.