World Cup -Totals Market Review
Most observers would note that this World Cup was not a vintage one -with a lack of goals, great games or the excitement that we have come to expect in the past. This was reflected in the totals markets, with the only one that finished higher than the initial quote was the fastest goal -which ironically was higher because of the lack of an early goal. We will analyse the ten markets we followed -so that it provides us with information for future tournaments: (Note all markets were 90 minutes only, except converted penalties)
Total Goals - 143
This was the lowest total since the format changed to 64 games back in 1990 and was four less than last time round. It finished 16 points under the spread and we put this down to the lack of whipping boy teams -there only really one good hiding, when Portugal battered North Korea 7-0. In the first twenty games of the tournament there was only one game yielding four goals and one containing five goals. Maybe the unusual flight patterns of the Adidas Jubulani ball had something to do with the unusually low total -we certainly can't recall seeing as many shots fly several feet over the bar whilst the world's best players looked on in dis-belief at their inability to find the target from 12 yards.
Goal Minutes -7438
Depending on which spread firm you chose, this market finished 560-612 below the opening quote. This equates to around 12-14 goals from open play and is a direct result of the goal drought as discussed above. Teams such as Spain, germany and Uruguay did their best to help buyers of this market, by scoring some very late goals -otherwise it could have been more than a thousand points down.
Again, we blame the ball for the low corner count -if the ball isn't delivered accurately then the goalkeeper doesn't have to make a save and defenders don't have to head the ball behind. For those who think it was playing styles like Spain, who held the ball in the midfield for long periods -think again. FIFA's stats revealed that they delivered the ball into the penalty area far more than any other team in South Africa.
Shirt Numbers - 1540
Wherever they are goals involved in a market, it has finished between 15-20 per cent below the initial quote -and this one is no different. This market was between 310 and 345 points down, depending on your firm.
Of course, if you were a seller then you will be loving all this talk of low spreads...
Headed Goals - 24
The lack of good-quality crosses of course led to the lack of headed goals. As many headers come from corners, this also was big factor.
Yellow Cards - 246
Not even a directive from FIFA to crack down on wrestling at corners and free kicks could prevent this spread from coming in around 40 points under the initial quote. Whilst the Dutch did their best to push the cautions total up, the Uruguyans and Spanish did their level best to keep it down. Why so few this time round? Well your guess is as good as mine. The average of 3.84 yellows per game is the lowest on living memory and definitely bucks what had been an upward trend over the last four world cups.
Red cards - 15
Almost half as many as 2006 and 4.5 under the initial quote. An average of 02.3 was again the lowest in recent history and a sign that referees didn't want to 'spoil' games by reducing teams to ten men.
Fastest Goal - 158
Having watched all the games, there wasn't even a close call of someone beating the Hakan Sukur 11 secs goal of 2006. It started quite promisingly with several sub-ten minutes goals in the first round of games, but the fastest goal came in the quarter-finals, by Thomas Muller of Germany against Argentina. This was the only spread on our list that was a good result for buyers -it finished around 60 points up.
Converted Penalties - 23
With 14 of the 23 converted penalties coming in the two shootouts, this tournament need at least one more to hit the initial quote of 34. Ironically, it was a missed penalty by Ghana that allowed the spread to reach 23 -as it took a tied game into the penalty shootout thanks to the hand of Suarez. The FIFA directive of more penalties for wrestling in the box ever materialized and even the one that was given against Spain was saved by Casillas. At thirty per cent down, this was the biggest drop amongst spreads that weren't a single event.
Offsides - 313
Yet another market that finished way down -and why was it so low? Answers on a postcard please...
All in all, it was a great tournament if you were a seller, but if you were a buyer (and most of us are because we don't have the balls to be a seller) then you might just be in the poorhouse about now!
Trading Talk - South Africa 2010 Review
After 64 World Cup matches spread bettors all over the country will be reflecting on the finals and working out whether they made a profit or a loss. Spread bettors that bought Spain's outright tournament index at 46 points at the start of the finals will have celebrated long into the night having made a tasty 54 point profit. Spread punters that had bought the Netherland's outright win index at 30 will have been pretty happy with their outright spread make-up of 75, despite losing their third World Cup final.
Brazil began the tournament as second favourites on Sporting Index's outright index spread at 40-43 and sellers will have been delighted to see Dunga's side crash out in the quarter-finals to the Netherlands. Buyers will have been dreaming of at least another semi-final appearance as the side went 1-0 up before succumbing to two Wesley Sneijder goals. Germany yet again proved they have the talent and know-how to be a threat at any finals and buyers of their spread at 25-28 will have been overjoyed to see them finish third in successive finals. The Germans have now made it to the quarter-final stage in the previous five World Cups.
England once again failed to perform at a World Cup finals and sellers of the majority of their spreads will have had a profitable tournament. Fabio Capello's side were tipped for a strong showing and were fancied for at least the quarter-final stage with an outright spread of 39-42 points. Sellers of the team's supremacy and win index for their four matches will have been very happy to see the side win just one of their four matches. Before Group C began, England's Group Index was available to buy at 20 points (25pts for the winner, 10pts for runner-up and 5pts for third) and any buyer of the spread will have been left counting their losses as the side finish second behind USA. England finished with just five points which will have also been of benefit to sellers of their Group C points at seven.
If England's spread supporters felt the results were bad, they will have been left in disbelief with the side's lack of firepower. Having scored just three goals in South Africa, spread bettors that sold England's tournament goals at 11 will have made a healthy eight point return. Sellers of England's total goal minute spread at 535 will be ecstatic that they made-up just 64 minutes on the spread - all their goals were scored in the first half.
Spread sellers of England's 'Stop the Clock' market (time of team's first tournament goal) , quoted at 48 minutes, will have been glad to see Steven Gerrard score in the fourth minute of their opener against USA.
The tournament total goals spread was set at 160 before all the action kicked off and it was sellers that benefited from that market make-up as it only reached 143 from 64 games. Spread sellers will have also made a one point profit from the tournament own goals market which totalled three.
Joachim Low's German side were the tournament's top goal scorers with 16, four more than the Netherlands in second place. Total goal buyers at 7.6 for Germany's matches will have been pleased to see the side score four in a game on three different occasions - against Australia, Argentina and England.
Germany's star performer was Thomas Muller and any spread bettors that bought his Golden Boot index (100 points for winner, 75 points for runner-up and 50 points for third) at 5 will have made a large profit. The Bayern Munich attacker was tied with four other players at the finals with five goals. David Villa, Diego Forlan and Wesley Sneijder were unable to break free of the pack and buyers of Villa's spread were left aggrieved when he was withdrawn in extra-time against the Netherlands.
The referees were kept busy throughout the tournament and by the time the final had finished there was a 39 point profit for sellers of the bookings spread - as 246 cards were brandished over the four weeks. Sellers of the total red card spread, at 19, will have also been pleased that there were only 15 players sent off at the finals, the most infamous of all being Luis Suarez's handball in the quarter-final against Ghana.
Unfortunately the final will not only be remembered for Spain's first ever World Cup trophy but for the aggressive nature of the clash. Spread buyers of the bookings index at 48 points will have been watching with a large grin on their face as Howard Webb brandished a record 14 yellow cards in 120 minutes. The nine yellows within normal time contributing to a spread make-up of 90.
For previews on each individual group, go to our Trading Talk page -where you can see the thoughts of the traders from Sporting Index and all the market movements...