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16/03/2007 No.8
Kevin Pullein
Friday March 16, 2007
  Red cards, Yellow Cards

You can sometimes make money in discipline-related markets if you are aware that the dirtiest teams do not receive many more cards than their opponents. The worst-behaved teams provoke retaliation. Well-behaved teams can inspire uncharacteristically fair play in their opponents. Some bookmakers do not realise this when they are considering things like which team in a match will receive the first card or the most cards.

The average number of yellow cards received by each team in Premiership matches played during the last nine completed seasons was 1.6. Among the teams who received two or more yellow cards per game, the average number of yellows received by their opponents was 1.9 - more than those opponents would expect to receive.

A current example: in most bookings markets 10 points are awarded for each yellow card and 25 for each red. The Premiership team who have accumulated most bookings points in each of the last three seasons are Blackburn. Since Mark Hughes became manager - effectively the same period - Blackburn have received an average of 24 bookings points per game. But the teams they were playing against have received a similar average: 23 bookings points per game.

One of the cleanest teams in the Premiership this season have been Reading, who have averaged 13 bookings points per game. One of the dirtiest teams have been Newcastle, who have averaged 21 bookings points per game. Yet Reading have received the greater number of bookings points in a match just as often as Newcastle.

A bet that can seem crazy to the uninitiated is sometimes very sensible - that a team who are known to be dirty will receive fewer cards in a match, or that a team who are known to be clean will receive more cards in a match.


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