Las apuestas ganadoras pierden debido a estadísticas incorrectas de Opta

In fact, punters are almost helpless when referees make bad decisions on the pitch. Is that fair?

These days, there is nothing surprising about making money on shots, throw-ins, corner kicks and other statistical markets in a football match. Betfair and all of the most popular bookmakers also offers a lot of these markets, with player specific bets being a regular feature in top league matches.

For such matches, the betting shops and the leagues themselves use data from a separate company. The official Opta figures are used to produce the statistics and the bookmakers evaluate the individual markets. But what happens if one of the officials makes a mistake and the punter loses?

What can you bet on in a top league match at the bookmakers?

  • Number of passes played
  • Number of attempts on goal scored by the player
  • Number of player attempts on goal
  • Number of player tackles
  • Number of goalkeeper saves
  • Number of goals scored outside the 16
  • Headed goals scored
  • Shots taken by teams
  • Number of team throw-ins
  • Number of free kicks
  • Number of tackles

Surprising mistakes in Opta statistics

According to the BBC, more than one such incident has occurred, costing some punters heavy winnings. The UK paper cites the example of Sean Murphy, a local bettor who bet on Mo Salah to hit the goal at least twice in a Premier League match. The Egyptian scored in that match, but in one of his shots the referee wrongly awarded a goal kick instead of a corner, even though replays showed that the ball had gone over the baseline because of the goalkeeper’s save.

Sean’s argument was that Salah’s shot met the definition published by Opta, and this was clearly evident on the replay, but the referee made a mistake, so he was, as he put it, «unfairly robbed«.

In another example, Connor’s bet builder’s slip showed a minimum of 14 Sunderland tackles in a cup game against Newcastle. The slip in the picture below became the subject of controversy, where Jobe Bellingham’s tackle was recorded as a blocked pass – and the ticket was floated as a result.

Bellingham's tackle - photo by BBC

Opta statistical errors were and will be

The BBC has also looked into the miscalculations resulting from such errors, and academic researcher Dr Alireza Monajati admits that the complaints from customers are justified. «They do not and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy. Even a 95% rate means a 5% inaccuracy gap,» said Monajati.

According to a report by IBAS, hundreds of people try to appeal the statistics on their bets every year, which also puts a heavy workload on the organisation.

According to director Richard Hayler, it is considered fair for a punter to settle bets on the basis of a third party statement. However, «the concern is that there is currently no mechanism to get the data provider to look again».

In addition, some bookmakers do not use Opta’s figures as a basis, and for matches organised by UEFA or FIFA, the organisation’s own statistics may be the benchmark. The article cites the 2022 World Cup final as an example, where Opta recorded 30 attempts on goal and FIFA 31.

There’s not much you can do if the Opta statistics are wrong

The company’s parent company, Stats Perform, admits that end users, such as punters, can complain to bookmakers, but they are constantly working to improve the quality and accuracy of their work based on data collectors and processes.

The BBC article, incidentally, does not address the aspect of what would be the correct procedure to follow in the case of a bet being changed from a loser to a winner. Perhaps it is still better to lose a bet that was actually a winner than to subsequently take the money credited to a bettor that has already been won, because of someone else’s complaint.

This is probably the blame factor, where half of the time we will be on the right side of the bet and the other half on the wrong side. Of course, bookmakers can also be very generous with special offers, like Betfair in this case.

Why choose Betfair?

  • As one of the world’s most famous brands, your money will always be safe here.
  • With ongoing promotions, you can often even get a no deposit bonus.
  • The betting offer is very wide, you can also place money on special markets like cards or corners.
  • You can follow live streams of the matches you bet on and cheer your winnings.
  • The Exchange section is the largest and most sophisticated in the world.
  • One of the world’s largest sports betting communities helps you navigate the betting world.