The European football leagues that had planned to start back this summer and finish their season have now done so, with the German Bundesliga coming back and finishing recently.
All games have been played behind closed doors with strict rules in place, and that has affected the outcome of some games. We have huge, brand new stadiums that are empty, which is certainly a strange sight.
But what has it done to the betting markets ahead of the matches? Using the Bundesliga as a guinea pig, bookmakers have learnt what to do elsewhere and there is no doubt that having no fans in stadiums has affected the odds on offer to punters.
There have been three main areas which the bookmakers have acted upon and changed their odds during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Odds Resemble Neutral Venue Games
The overall look when it comes to the odds on offer has changed. Those who bet regularly and keep an eye on the odds may have noticed this.
With no crowd, the odds on offer from bookmakers are similar to those that are offered for games that are held at a neutral venue. The draw has a similar chance of happening, but the home team is a little bigger in price than you would expect, with the away team being shorter.
This has happened with all bookmakers across the board. New customers who take advantage of sportsbooks with free bets may not have noticed this, but seasoned punters who keep a close eye on the prices will have seen this change.
With the general feeling that home teams are slightly bigger in price due to no fans, if you can find a strong home team you like, you may find value in backing them.
Shorter Price on the Draw Due to Slower Pace
Fans who have been watching the games have generally felt they were ok, but those that have disappointed have done so because of the pace of the game. We have seen a in some more than others, but there is definitely a slower pace at the moment.
This often resembles pre-season friendly pace and while teams are trying much harder to win than they do in those, the actual speed of things is lower than many expected to see.
This has affected the price of the draw. In the last 20 minutes especially, teams are struggling to attack with pace and break others down. Those who are feeling tired are more inclined to hold onto a draw rather than push to win the game.
In Play Betting Changes
This is the hardest part of pricing up games. We have seen two very different things take place which shape the odds that are created.
The first is that teams have no crowd to push them on to try and find a winner, and with fitness an issue for some players, we have seen many games tamely end without any action in the last 10 minutes.
This would make the current result at the time a stronger favourite than normal on the in play betting platform. However, we have also seen late goals because of tiredness, so games can change late.
A prime example is a recent Premier League clash between Watford and Leicester. These two were drawing 0-0, a goal looked unlikely but the players were tired. That led to two goals in stoppage time, ending the draw 1-1.
At 0-0, a market such as over/under 1.5 goals would have offered a huge price on ‘over’ but that is the outcome we had.