Betting on comeback victories | How to predict turnaround wins

The world of professional sports is filled with stories of great comeback victories. Novak Djokovic's epic turnaround against Roger Federer in the 2011 US Open, the Cleveland Cavaliers finals comeback in 2016 against the Warriors and of course the unforgettable Manchester United Champions League Final victory versus Bayern Munich  in 1999. As sports lovers, we can’t get enough of witnessing such comebacks. As sports bettors who are always trying to find valued odds however, it’s imperative to find any motivational changes or seemingly insignificant patterns that can turn a single match or an entire tournament on its head.

Tennis turnarounds

We have witnessed a lot of impressive tennis comebacks in the past and luckily enough are still seeing some jaw-dropping results at Grand Slam tournaments. A significant number of punters are making a living by placing bets exclusively on comebacks, particularly when experienced players are trailing on sets or games in an individual set. Wonder why this happens more on tennis than other sports? Let’s take a look at the more prevalent reasons:

  • Inexperienced players usually tend to get a head start in the first games of the match. Usually they manage to win a game or two, but they do so by throwing about a lot of energy. As time goes by, they will tire and lose composure, thus allowing more experienced players to come back and win the decisive last points.
  • Some players will become complacent upon breaking their opponent’s service, or even worse, when they win on a tie-break. They’re usually way too satisfied with their win at the start of the next game or set, contrary to their now motivated opponents.

  • There are players that have competed in hundreds of high level matches, such as Tomas Berdych, that are notoriously affected by bad psychology and tend to "choke" during crucial moments. This can oftentimes be seen in their body language after losing a hard fought point or when making too many unforced errors.

Get the highest odds

So, how does this knowledge translate into winning in tennis betting?

  1. You can bet against the underdog if he/she gets a head start in the first games, as the odds are valued.

  2. If an experienced favorite wins at a tie-break, his odds for winning the next set will drop significantly. There’s a lot of value if you back the underdog to win the next set or the entire match at this point. Even if you are not entirely sure the underdog will win the match, you can cash out your bet at any point and claim a profit.

  3. By studying the various tournaments results, you could easily identify players which are vulnerable to comebacks when crossing swords with same quality opponents. When they tend to take the lead, it’s valuable to bet against them.

Apart from reasons related to mentality, you should take a close look on women’s WTA matches. Statistically, service breaks occur way more often on women’s matches due to lower service velocity. Game breaks in female tennis matches are common, so a favorite suffering a break may not affect a set's outcome compared to men’s ties. This allows us to do the following:

  • Predict a match winner.
  • Wait for the opposite player to break a game.
  • Back your chosen player to win the set.

Basketball turnarounds

Frequent score changes and epic turarounds are an integral part of basketball. This is predominantly true in the final quarter as head coaches will throw their best players in the fray, as they are expected to carry their team through scoring crucial points. Obviously, bookmakers are well aware of this fact. This why they rarely change their initial view about the favorite and underdog of a match, even if an upset might building up during the first minutes.

Once again however, we must take a look at stats. According to a research that drew info from all NBA matches during 1993 to 2009 (around 20.000 matches), teams who enjoyed a four point lead or higher at half time, ended up winning over 70% of the time. On the contrary, whenever a team was trailing by three or less points at half time, they won the match in 54% of the occassions.

This percentage offers the following conclusions:

  1. Most of the times a half time winner will win the match.

  2. If an outsider is leading by four or more at halftime they have strong chances of winning.

  3. A team that is trailing by three or less  points during hald time, has a slightly higher chance of winning.

However, we strongly advise to excercise caution when trying to make a pick based purely on numbers and stats and not on thorough analysis. It’s impossible to accurately predict a result relying solely on past results.

Football turnarounds

Generally speaking, team sports with low score outcomes (such as association football, ice hockey or water polo) tend to have lower comeback percentages compared to high scoring ones. There’s a pretty obvious reason for this: It’s easier for the team ahead to hold the win by retreating into their own half and employ time wasting tactics coupled with gruelling defence strategies. This fact however is what makes football comebacks truly exceptional, not only emotionally wise, but in betting as well.

The usual odds for a home team comeback (2 HT-1FT) stand around 20.00 in matches between same-level teams, while the opposite set (1 HT-2 FT) can be even higher. Let’s take another look at numbers: Recently Pinnacle analyzed 132 English Premier League matches, where the score stood at 2-1 during halftime. Despite the common belief, that the team who's trailing can easily grab a draw or even win the tie, the results showed that in 75% of the matches, whichever team was leading at HT ended up keeping their advantage.

Leaning on a blind strategy to predict comebacks at football matches can and most probably, will prove to be disastrous for your bankroll. The odds are tempting, though, so if you like to bet on comebacks, it’s better to watch a live game and pick only those matches where the underdog has earned an unmerited lead.

Where to bet comeback victories

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