# Favourites are the best pick in win-from-behind betting market; PULLEIN ON FOOTBALL.

Byline: Soccer boffin Kevin Pullein with his weekly dose of betting wisdom

ON Saturday Manchester United came from behind to beat Stoke. A question for you: which team in a match is most likely to come from behind and win - the stronger team or the weaker team? Many firms offer you the chance to bet on either team to win from behind, but which team you should opt to back is not immediately obvious.

If they fall behind, the stronger team are more likely than the weaker team to be able to score the goals they need to win. But the weaker team are more likely than the stronger team to fall behind in the first place.

So which is it? The ability to recover from a setback is more important than the risk of suffering a setback. The stronger team are more likely than the weaker team to come from behind and win.

I have tried to illustrate this in the graph alongside. It was compiled with data from the last 16 seasons of the Premier and Football Leagues - 1997-98 to 2012-13 - and I realise that it might require some explanation.

I allocated games into groups. Into each group I put games between teams separated by the same number of places in the final table. In this way I hoped to collect together similar types of games. For every group of games I calculated the number of home wins and away wins, how often the home team came from behind to win and how often the away team came from behind to win.

And then I put that information into the graph. The figures along the bottom represent the percentage chance of winning, and the figures up the side represent the percentage chance of coming from behind to win.

You will see that the line on the graph reaches steadily upward. If there was a 35 per cent chance of a team wining, there was a six per cent chance of them coming from behind to win. If there was a 60 per cent chance of a team winning, there was as much as a ten per cent chance of them coming from behind to win. If there was only a ten per cent chance of a team winning, there was as little as a two per cent chance of them coming from behind to win.

MOST people probably bet in this market because they have heard some startling statistic - that one team have come from behind to win in an unusually large number of recent games. Personally I would ignore that sort of stat. Almost always it will be derived from a small and unrepresentative sample. Much more often than not it will give a misleading impression of what might happen next.

In season 2010-11 Chelsea came from behind to win in 13 per cent of their games. In 2011-12 they did so in only five per cent of their games. Meanwhile, in 2011-12, Manchester United did not come from behind to win in any of their games. In 2012-13, however, they overturned a deficit to claim victory in 24 per cent of their games.

Most stats like this can be explained entirely by good or bad luck. I would be surprised if any team consistently plays much better or worse in one period of games than they do in another. And if this did happen I would be astonished if the coach was not working hard on the training ground to produce more uniform performances.

The chance of a team coming from behind to win is determined almost exclusively by whether they are better than their opponents and, if so, by how much. Favourites will do it more often than outsiders.

CAPTION(S):

Javier Hernandez heads the winner for Man Utd against Stoke