Is Harry Kane Good Value?

| December 8, 2015 | Reply

No free tip or discount from me today but potentially an even more useful Advent gift – a lesson in value betting.

Now, ‘value’ is a word regularly thrown around but not so regularly explained.

That isn’t especially surprising as it isn’t the easiest word to explain in a sporting context…

After all, it should be obvious that a price of 6/4 on a coin landing on heads is a value one (the true price would be 1/1, as there is an ‘even money’ chance of a coin landing on heads) but the true price of a horse or football team winning is much harder to ascertain.

It follows then, that if you know how to price something like that up, you’ll have an extremely powerful tool at your disposal – one which can easily separate good value from bad.

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Pricing up Harry Kane

So, what price would you give for Harry Kane to become the Premier League’s all-time record goalscorer, surpassing Alan Shearer’s tally of 260 goals?

A contact of mine asked Paddy Power that very same question and was offered a quote of 25/1…

This contact rightfully baulked at the price, deciding it to be extremely poor value and when you break down the bet it becomes clear why.

A generous estimate

Harry Kane is 22 years old and has so far scored 32 Premier League goals…

If he’s lucky (more on this later) we can assume Harry will have a further 13 year of Premier League football – this means that in order to surpass Shearer’s record, Kane will need to score at an average rate of 17.6 goals per year for the next 13 years.

I would say that odds of 1/2 on Kane to score over 17 league goals in any given year are actually very short. I base this on the following…

Number of Premier League players to score more than 17 goals in a season:

2014/15: 4
2013/14: 3
2012/13: 5
2011/12: 3
2010/11: 3

And yet, even at those very short odds of 1/2, the overall price on Harry Kane surpassing Shearer’s record would be 193.62/1…

That’s worked out simply by putting together a 13-fold with every leg at odds of 1/2.

Questions and counter questions

Now of course you could counter that price by saying something along the lines of: what if Kane has a couple of seasons when he scores 25 or 30 goals?

My counter to that counter would be thus…

• In the last 10 years only two players have scored 25+ league goals on more than one occasion (Rooney and Robin Van Persie) and by more than one occasion I mean twice, as that was all they managed.

• The aforementioned Wayne Rooney is looking highly unlikely to surpass Shearer’s record (he’s 73 goals behind) and that’s despite starting to score regularly in the Premier League at 16-17 years old, compared to Kane’s late emergence at 21.

• Sure, he might have big seasons but he’s almost certain to have slower seasons too – he WILL get injuries and it’s also pretty unlikely that he’ll be scoring 15+ goals a year at 32-35 years of age (again, see Rooney as evidence).

• Let’s suppose for a second that he does go on a streak of 25+ goal seasons, would you not then suppose that Barcelona or Real Madrid will come calling, as they have done for the likes of Gareth Bale and Michael Owen (not to mention a host of prolific foreign strikers) in the past?

So yes, while the price we’ve come up with is by no means perfect, as a rough estimate, I reckon it’s a pretty good one and certainly more realistic than Paddy Power’s 25/1.

The moral of the story

While I’m not saying that it’s easy to price up a sporting event accurately, what this has hopefully shown you is that it can be surprisingly easy to spot bad value – all it takes is a few minutes spent breaking a wager down into its component parts.

Far too often people make the mistake of seeing a big price and assuming that it must offer value but in this case that 25/1 is AT LEAST six or seven times shorter than it should be.

So the moral here is simple…

When you’re offered a price, particularly a big odds price, think about it before you accept it – by using a little logic and breaking it down you can often spot bad value (and sometimes even good value) surprisingly quickly.

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