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Scotland aren’t as good as England, but here’s why they’re a great bet tonight

by Aidan Elder | November 18, 2014

Scotland v England derby, eh? There’s nothing quite like it. The original and best of all the derbies. Well, maybe not the bestest, but certainly the originalest.

The Scottish don’t like the English. Not quite enough to vote for independence, but certainly there’s antipathy to get a bit narky about an otherwise meaningless friendly international. And just because that lot the other side of the border seem to be getting a bit worked up, it’d be rude not to fire back with some japes from the English side.

Oh you English, with your bizarre love for the comedy of Michael McIntyre, habit of benefiting from all that oil you have no real claim towards and general belief that it’s still the 19th Century so everyone should still kiss your imperial arse

Grrr … Scotland! We’re so angry at you for making drinking until you puke four nights a week seem perfectly normal, everything Rod Stewart has done since the Rhythm of My Heart and don’t they record Mrs. Brown’s Boys up there? Yeah they do – you’re getting blamed for that so too.

The traditional derby cliché tells us to throw the form book out the window. Throw it far and throw it around like Katie Hopkins throws around defective opinions in return for people talking about her. If you’ve done that, run after it and have a closer look at it.

Passions may run high, it may be a game of two halves, it’s like water off a duck’s vagina and other such tedious clichés, but is it really all that unpredictable? The Paddy Power Blog has looked back over the last 50 years of football’s oldest rivalry and found ‘hmmm … maybe, maybe not’. We’re not trying to be mysterious, we’re not hugely decisive people. We think.


First of all, we need to point out we’re using ELO World Rankings instead of their FIFA equivalent for two reasons:

(a) because FIFA’s rankings are made by FIFA
(b) FIFA’s rankings only began in 1992 giving us a sample size of just four matches

Using these world rankings, there’s actually quite strong correlation between the team with higher ranking and who wins. In short, over the last 50 years:

  • the higher ranked team has won 58% of the time
  • the 42% fail to win figure includes both draws and the lower ranked team winning
  • Scotland tend to better when the rankings gap is higher

For the most part, those numbers have pointed towards an England victory. According to the good people of the ELO, in only two of the last 31 games between the old enemies have the Scots gone in as the higher ranked team, winning once and losing once.

Strangely, the data suggests that as the teams get closer in the rankings (i.e. matches should theoretically get closer), results go along with the rankings to a greater extent, with 61% of matches going the way of the better team.

On the flipside, when the gap is larger, the underdog actually manages to cause something of an upset by either beating the higher ranked team or at least not losing to them, with the higher ranked team winning 54% of the time.

WinDrawWin Both teams to score acca Mobile Size

According to the ELO rankings, the difference is 16 places, which is towards the upper end of the differences between the teams. Looking at the last 50 years, Scotland have a basis for fancying victory. Five of the last six meetings have gone the way of the higher ranked team. History tells us that’s a way higher rate (83%) than we’ve seen over the course of the last 50 years (58%). A regression to the mean can be expected.

There’s a number of ways to approach this. If you’re feeling cocky and possibly fuelled by some 10am drinking you could go for a Scottish win at 5/2 (MOBILE | DESKTOP). For a bit more caution, you could take the draw out of the equation (if it’s a draw, you get your money back) and back the Jocks at 13/8 in the Draw No Bet betting (MOBILE | DESKTOP). If you’re feeling even more timid, you have the draw on your side too and take Scotland or the Draw at odds of 4/6 (MOBILE | DESKTOP).


Scotland v England >>> BET NOW MOBILE | DESKTOP


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