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Euro 2020 - Setting the odds

Euro 2020 is finally here with Turkey vs Italy kicking things off in the first game tonight. 

Fans across the world are pumped for this tournament having missed out last year and will be turning to our brands to add to the excitement come match day. 

With millions of bets set to be placed by new and existing customers, our Trading Team will be right at the heart of the action. We caught up with Tom Pullin, Football Operations Manager, to find out how his team have prepared for the Euros and get the inside track on how they go about setting the odds…

Firstly, how great is it to have the Euros back and with fans in the stadiums?

It’s going to be a fantastic tournament. European countries have dominated world football during the last decade so we’re going to see some of the best teams and players going head-to-head right from the very start. It’s so good to have fans back in stadiums too – it just wouldn’t have been the same without them. They add so much to the games and might help some of the underdogs going into games against the bigger teams. 

Talking of fans, we want them to get stuck into the Euro action with us. What can our customers expect from the betting markets we’re providing to add that extra excitement to their match day experience? 

Our Euros offering will be very similar to other huge events, such as the Champions League Final. The big difference for the Euros will be the tournament betting which is vaster and more popular with 100+ markets available for customers to choose from before the matches even start. There will also be more than 200 markets available for the individual matches so plenty to keep our customers entertained. 

The amount fans will be placing on the matches and event will be a greater than normal and the small number of fixtures each day means there will be a lot of highs and lows throughout the tournament. The Copa América running concurrently will provide more choices for our customers and with that a spread of risk. To maximise the high-level teams and players performing, we will offer a wide range of specials to accompany the story of the tournament.

There’s usually a lot of discussion about who should be tournament favourites and the odds we set will no doubt fuel the debate among the fans. How do you determine the prices and which team goes in as favourite?

The odds for the Euros are based on the ratings of the teams taking part, which are calculated by our Traders, who have an incredible knowledge of the marketplace.

They will use form and performances in previous tournaments as a guide and will also assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of the current squads. This is particularly important as players being injured or suspended will have a greater impact on a team's performance over a short number of games compared to a full league season. 

All this information goes into a statistical simulator which will run the tournament 10,000+ times to provide the percentage chance of each outcome in the tournament. This will then be converted to prices for our customers. As we get closer to the tournament the marketplace matures and we then position our prices against this.

That sounds like a lot of data to process! Does changing customer activity in the run-up to the tournament impact the odds?

As this is such a strong market globally, customer activity will not have a major effect on our pricing. We want to offer a competitive price to all customers which represents the actual chance of something happening. Entain has a broad mix of customers in many locations which allows us to be competitive and consistent to our pricing approach. 

How big a role does technology play to support the Traders?

It’s fundamental. We have a comprehensive range of technology to support us, from our algorithms which assist trading matches in a Pre-Live and In-Play state to bespoke tools to offer Penalty Shootout betting and Extra Time markets.

As a football fan yourself, I’m sure you’ll be cheering on your own country throughout the Euros and hoping for lots of entertaining games. But what results will make it a good tournament for Entain?

With 3 to 4 matches per day in the group stages, customers will enjoy placing daily multiples usually weighted towards the favourites winning and both teams to score. A good day for us will be determined by how many of these favourites don't win, and we will be especially happy with any 0-0 draws! From the second round onwards, we would like as many matches going to Extra Time as possible. It's great for results but also gives additional betting opportunities for our customers.

And finally, who’re you backing to go the distance?

Euro 2020 is particularly open this year and the first to be hosted across different European cities. It is difficult to separate the top teams in the betting by much, but France are the current World Champions and we think have the best players. England, Italy and Germany will all be assisted by home advantage so they cannot be ruled out. Of the outsiders Austria, Switzerland and Russia could go well.