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What impact is VAR having in football?

thanhthuy02

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What impact is VAR having in football?
Dave Pilgrim uses his statistical knowledge lớn find out if VAR really is having as big an impact on the major decisions in soccer predict today.



There can be little doubt that the biggest talking point of the 2019/20 Premier League Season has been the almost unanimously unpopular introduction of VAR. Despite waiting patiently lớn ensure we would garner the lessons learnt from pretty much every major league in the world, the supposed seamless integration into the oldest league in the world has been an unmitigated disaster thus far.

Rather than simply allowing technology lớn ensure we get every decision right, VAR has instead opened up a whole new debate as lớn what “right” actually means, and when it should be applied. Furthermore, the whole notion of “clear and obvious” has been universally interpreted as “if the referee thought that X [insert handball, foul, penalty] happened (which it didn’t), then it can’t have been clear and obvious, so we better not get involved”. You can prefer the jackpot soccer tip page!

The big questions we have lớn ask as punters are none of the above however. As football fans we certainly care about enjoying the game as much as possible (however VAR evolves), but as punters we need lớn ask a subtly different question;

What has been the impact upon on-field events, and should I believe or question the general rhetoric?



The most commonly held belief on the eve of the new Premier League season was that we would see a noteworthy rise in the rate of Penalties and Red Cards being awarded. We had all watched the 2018 World Cup, where “Penalty in Match” was as short as 6/4 with bookmakers by the time the final came around. 29 Penalties were awarded over the 64 matches, with over 13% of all goals scored coming from the spot in that tournament, so you can see why so many predicted a fest. How has the reality panned out domestically though? And what other evidence can we add in from other divisions with a bigger sample?

Now in terms of looking at the data I must note an important assumption I have made. Gathering data about Penalties Scored allows a much greater sample, over more leagues, than that easily available for Penalties Taken. For this reason, rather than approach this from an angle of Penalties Taken, I will assume that there has been no discernible chance in the rate of a penalty being scored per penalty taken and use the “Penalties Scored” as a relative proxy for those taken.

After Round 29 of the Premier League campaign, we have seen 287 Premier League games in the 2019/20 season, with 780 goals scored at a rate of 2.718 per match. Of those goals, 49 have been spot kicks – 6.3% of all goals scored, or 0.171 per game. Although rare, it is possible for more than one penalty to be scored in a match of course, so the true average odds of a penalty being scored in a Premier League match so far this season are somewhere in the order of 5/1 – certainly no shorter.
 
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