Monday, 31 December 2012

Fink On

The Fink Tank stats site, also known as the Dectech Predictor was originally created by a team at the Times Newspaper. Using their own algorithm, they create percentage chances for teams based on shots (on and off target).
The Fink Tank website can be viewed HERE.
This is a commonly-used method to derive different odds and attempt to eek out a little value from the normal odds on offer from the exchanges and bookmakers. Generally speaking, they do seem to hold some worth and should be looked at and checked-out by anyone serious about their betting. It’s probably not a good idea just to take them in isolation, but rather use them to enrich your data sets.
Having said that, looking at the Fink Tank ratings for the New Year fixtures, there are a few standout matches for me.
Swansea v Aston Villa:
According to Fink Tank, Aston Villa – who, let’s be frank, have been absolutely woeful recently – are amazing value. You may have to grit your teeth if you decide to back Villa, or perhaps you may want to hedge a little by settling on an AH0 or AH0.25
Liverpool v Sunderland:
Liverpool, as usual are ridiculously priced compared to their actual performances, and have been for the last few years. They are currently a paltry 1.43 on Betfair (better elsewhere) but according to Fink Tank, it’s not just the mis-pricing of the home side that makes Sunderland a decent bet.
Southampton v Arsenal:
Another interesting one. Arsenal have had an excellent Christmas campaign and, I suppose, everyone expects them to travel to the south coast and complete another win. Southampton, however, show value according to Fink Tank.
Others to consider are Fulham (another side who have taken a dip in form) away to West Brom; Stoke at home to Man City; and QPR away to Chelsea (although you’ll be a brave man to take that bet on).
Do remember. I’m not saying any of these will win. They are not bets based on form, but on value. If you look for value, then the three I have highlighted should be of interest to all of you. I'm going to have a small tickle on all three.
I Might post on New Year’s day if I manage to trade anything. If not Happy New Year to you all… oh and happy birthday to me.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Not so smarket

Don't know if you've been following the thread on the Betangel forum about Smarkets recently. If any of you have ever used Smarkets, then it may be worth your while doing so. it's here: Smarkets begins closing successful accounts.

Smarkets are a betting exchange that's been around since 2008, they have a flat 2% commission fee and have passed 100 million in trading volume. Small fry compared to Betfair, of course, but it's progress isn't it? Or so it would seem.

For it now appears that Smarkets have taken the dubious decision to start closing profitable accounts - or should I say profitable accounts that don't quite fit the profile they require from their customers. So if you have a particular style of trading that doesn't help Smarket's small number of market makers, then it looks like you'll be asked to leave the premises.

And surely this is the death knell for Smarkets? A betting exchange is a betting exchange. Smarkets, Betfair and Betdaq can change the window-dressing, apply different commission structure and do their best to attract a certain type of bettor/trader. But to actively close accounts they don't like is the antithesis of a betting exchange and will surely send current and potential customers away in droves. A shockingly bad move.


So what a cracking set of Christmas football fixtures we've had so far. Amazing stuff, with goals flying in all over the place. Peter Webb, from Betangel has reminded us, however, that we shouldn't be fooled into thinking that this will continue. The average number of goals may be creeping-up, but it's certainly not shooting-up. See Peter's blog post here: Goal Fest.


Well, after a horrible day traipsing round the shops yesterday, I managed to miss every trading opportunity going. I did catch all the matches on Match Of The Day in the evening, but can't help feeling it would have been good fun to trade it all.

Today, the Everton v Chelsea match went well, with no real issues. Missed the first two goals in the QPR v Liverpool match, but did jump on after that. How bad were QPR? Terrible. I layed Liverpool at 0-3 hoping for some small fightback from QPR, but they had nothing. Powder-puff stuff and surely they will be relegated now.

Football: £156.66 | Tote: |  Total P&L:  £156.66 

Football Showing 1 - 8 of 8 markets

Market Start time Settled date Profit/loss (£)
Football / QPR v Liverpool : Correct Score 30-Dec-12 16:00  30-Dec-12 17:50  29.91
Football / QPR v Liverpool : Over/Under 3.5 Goals 30-Dec-12 16:00  30-Dec-12 17:50  13.18
Football / QPR v Liverpool : Match Odds 30-Dec-12 16:00  30-Dec-12 17:50  -4.00
Football / QPR v Liverpool : Over/Under 4.5 Goals 30-Dec-12 16:00  30-Dec-12 17:49  14.28
Football / QPR v Liverpool : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 30-Dec-12 16:00  30-Dec-12 16:27  5.44
Football / Everton v Chelsea : Correct Score 30-Dec-12 13:30  30-Dec-12 15:27  77.54
Football / Everton v Chelsea : Over/Under 3.5 Goals 30-Dec-12 13:30  30-Dec-12 15:27  4.72
Football / Everton v Chelsea : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 30-Dec-12 13:30  30-Dec-12 15:04  15.59

Saturday, 29 December 2012


Soccerdude shuffles slowly and guiltily in through the door, looking down at the ground, kicking dirt up from the ground as he makes his way towards the front and towards the microphone. Pausing hesitantly in front of it, he clears his throat, looks down at the ground once more, and then starts to speak.

"I, er.."

His quiet voice hardly breaks the silence, a touch of feedback making more impact than his address.

"... I am... well, I suppose that I'm..."

"ARE YOU SORRY, SOCCERDUDE?", shouts someone from the listening throng.

Soccerdude looks up, his face wreathed in gratitude for the assistance. "Yes! That's right. I'm sorry. I've been, erm..."

And with that, his address falters yet again.


Okay, hardly Harold Pinter is it, but you get the idea. I've been - well how shall we say? - absent without leave might be the best term. Anyway, bollocks to it. I appear to be in good company as there are a couple of other bloggers who's posts have also dried-up somewhat. I shall not bore you with any excuses. I've been trading (although not excessively) this December, but just haven't got round to blogging about it for some reason. Tough shitty titty.

Still, with the onset of the new year. Resolutions and all that, I'm sure things will take an upturn. And accompanied by some outstanding trading from all of us, I'm sure it's going to be a runaway train of success for each and every one of us in all aspects of our home, business and betting life.

...Or not as the case may be.


Right, well I have the annual torture of the January sales tomorrow.  So it's Lakeside shopping hell for me and a good chunk of trading will be missed - including the lunchtime match between Sunderland and Spurs on telly. I do have a small forlorn hope that I may get back for the Arsenal match at tea time, but doubtless that will be missed as well and that will be the whole day written-off. Not only will I have a huge assault on my poor little old wallet, but there will be no chance to replenish it with some decent trading.

Sunday should be hopefully be clear for some trading. Monday there's nothing on but that also happens to be my birthday. New Year's day I tend not to trade as I have to scrape my tongue off the carpet and get my head out of the toilet bowl - but if I'm not too bad, then there's lots of action to be had that day. In an ideal world I will trade on New Year's day as it would be good to start the year on a decent winning day. Assuming of course that it will be a winning day.

So do I have any New Year's resolutions with regards to betting and trading, I hear you ask? I suppose only a fool would answer yes to that question... and my answer is "yes".

It's only natural to cast one's eye back over the last year and to see how we might improve and refine things if possible. As a large amount of my trading is carried-out in-play, I've been looking at the amount of time I've spent trading and working-out whether it's been worthwhile. For me I would say it has been worth it because I really enjoy my trading. It's a hobby. Nothing more and nothing less and it feels good when a trade goes well and I beat the market. That's undoubtedly satisfying and so, based on that alone, I have to say the time is well spent.

However (and you knew there was going to be a "however", didn't you?), I do also have to look at other factors. Most importantly my wife and children. They have largely got used to me staring at my stats spreadsheets or a betting API throughout the weekends, but increasingly I've been noticing my guilt at this has been gnawing away at me while doing so. It's that shitty American phrase "quality time" that has been making me feel uncomfortable. I don't need the money that I make from my betting, it's largely incidental for me. I bet because it's fun to bet. But the sighs from my youngest daughter when she sees a football match on the TV are getting a bit hard to take.

I would therefore like to make a small, if not dramatic shift in my betting activities to allow me to reduce the time I spend betting and give some of it back to my family. I will therefore be spending a bit more time on my bots than I have done this last year, and I will also be increasing slightly the amount of time I give over to my straight betting. Hopefully these activities will still allow me the satisfaction of beating the market, also give me something to blog about and yet free-up a bit of my weekend time.

Anway, this is all just hot air at the moment (something which I am superbly skilled at producing). I need to sit down and plan this all out properly, and until I have actually done that then nothing will change. I'm not bright enough to just change the slant of my betting on a whim. I need a properly focused and thought-out plan of action. When I've done it, I'll try and let you know.


I do also have (if not a resolution) a mental resolve to complete some missing posts in the New Year. I have repeatedly been asked for the missing posts on weighting Poisson and also for the post on MLE. With my hand on my heart, I do solemnly swear to get off my fat and lazy arse and knock these posts up. Presently I don't have a great deal of enthusiasm to do them as they are rather dry subjects, but they are not that hard to produce so I'll make a start in early January and keep pecking away at them until they are complete.

Hope you all have a good New Year. I'll try and post on Sunday if I get some trades in.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Expediency Or Fix?

On Wednesday, Chelsea host Champions League minnows Nordsjaelland. The Danish side are already eliminated from further progression in the competition and, disgarding Chelsea's rotten form for the moment, they should comfortably stroll to victory at Stamford Bridge with few dramas encountered.

Having said that, with the Chelsea players seemingly not playing for their new manager, it would be quite fun to see the huge waves of vitriol descending on Stamford Bridge if they don't manage to win.

Regardless of all that, Chelsea's match is not where the main interest lies within Group E. No, the intriguing match is the one that takes place in Ukraine between Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus. It's interesting because it's all down to each team's individual motivations, tactics and perhaps even questionable negotiations.

A draw between Shakhtar and Juventus of course will automatically dump Chelsea out of the competition irrespective of what they manage to achieve in their own match. A Juventus win will also knock Chelsea out, with Shakhtar already having qualified.

So maybe we might find the draw is a little lower than usual? Erm, yes. Currently available to back at a miserly 1.95 on Betfair. The 0-0 scoreline is a paltry 6.0, with the hot favourite scoreline of 1-1 sits comfortably at decimal odds of 4.5. Even 2-2 is only 9.6. Under 2.5 goals is a skinnny 1.68.

So, a foregone conclusion then? Well, on the face of it, things certainly look that way. But before anyone cries foul or bleats the word "fix", we should perhaps bear a few things in mind.

A draw may well be played-out tomorrow evening, but this could be more to do with simple expediencey rather than anything sinister. Without a single word spoken between the teams, both already know that a lack of activity on Wednesday will prove beneficial to both of them. Shakhtar will save their energy for another day (and indeed will probably rest a player or two), while Juventus will make it through by simply not conceding. There's no need for any conspiracies and no need for match-fixing (which Juventus are certainly no strangers to). Everything can work-out just fine for them if each team just puts in 90% effort on the day and "coasts" through the match.

However, there are some arguments against the "lazy" approach. Juventus cannot risk a sloppy goal being conceded and so will have to be reasonably motivated. A win will make doubly-sure of their qualification and will also see them top the group. Shakhtar have already qualified but presumably would still like to finish top to avoid teams like Barcelona and Man Utd.

Okay, so let's look at all the scenarios:

  1. The "fix" is on: If this really is the case, then of course Chelsea stand no chance and the final result will be 0-0 or 1-1.

  2. No fix but both teams decide to "coast": Again, Chelsea stand no chance. This will not be an official fix, but it will have the same effect. An unspoken fix, if you like.

  3. Juventus try their best to win: This will depend somewhat on Shakhtar. As just mentioned, the Ukranians would like to be top for a favourable draw. For a smaller team like Shakhtar, this will obviously be important, so my guess is that, under these circumstances, Juventus would meet stern resistance. The match, under these conditions, could go either way. If, however, Juventus, go all out and Shakhtar rest players or show no real resolve, then that's also goodnight Chelsea.

  4. Shakhtar try their best to win: By this I mean that Juventus may start out with the "coasting" idea, but then realise that Shakhtar are really going for it. Juventus would of course have to respond and try to win the game themselves. Again, could then go either way.

  5. The final option is obviously that both teams play their normal games and try to win.
So, we have a few ways that the game could play-out, with two of them definitely leading to the demise of Chelsea. And even then, the other three options could still lead to a Juventus win or draw which will also knock Chelsea out of the competition. Juventus have lost a couple of matches recently to the two Milan teams, but beyond those, they have an amazing record of being unbeaten.

All this analysis I suppose is somewhat pointless. Chelsea themselves will assume they are out and will probably do just enough to secure a win tomorrow. At that point, all they can do is hope.

If you are able to find some value somewhere amongst these unusual odds, then good luck to you. Personally, I will be leaving the match alone (while hoping Chelsea get knocked-out).

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Bone Idle

I've been rather, ahem, laid-back when it comes to posting lately. Perhaps it's a pre-Christmas malaise, I'm not sure, but regardless I'll try my level best to buck up my ideas and to start posting a bit more regularly again.

My lack of posting is not due to a lack of betting. I've been plodding on as usual and, although it's not the most stunningly exciting information I've ever departed, we'll make this post all about my recent performances.

A couple of posts ago, I was bemoaning the fact that I was on a little losing streak. I wasn't really worried by this as every bettor/trader will have them along the way. As long as we, as individuals, are confident that we have an edge and are doing the right thing, then these (hopefully short) periods can simply be re-described as variance - which of course makes it sound much better, doesn't it. And convenient too!

Do be careful here though, won't you? This is not a suggestion that you kid yourselves. If you don't have an edge, then a losing run may not be variance. The winning runs might be!

Also, whilst in the midst of a losing run, it can often be difficult to see the overall picture. It's a loss, then another loss and then another loss and it's, "Oh shit, what the hell is going on?" But the reality may well be that the P/L is still green. That's what happened to me last month. I had a wobbly period, felt a bit peeved by it - but then looked at my P/L for the entire month and was pleased to see that I was still in profit. P/L for the whole of last month below:

Cricket: £27.13 | Football: £569.96 | Politics: -£33.00 | Tote: |  Total P&L:  £564.09 


Football Showing 1 - 20 of 206 markets

Market Start time Settled date Profit/loss (£)
Football / Birmingham v Middlesbrough : Correct Score 30-Nov-12 19:45  30-Nov-12 21:41  68.33
Football / Birmingham v Middlesbrough : Over/Under 3.5 Goals 30-Nov-12 19:45  30-Nov-12 21:13  4.03
Football / Birmingham v Middlesbrough : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 30-Nov-12 19:45  30-Nov-12 21:12  11.14
Football / Helmond Sport v Maastricht : Correct Score 30-Nov-12 19:00  30-Nov-12 20:51  -37.50
Football / Veendam v Den Bosch : Match Odds 30-Nov-12 19:00  30-Nov-12 20:50  19.93
Football / Aalen v 1860 Munich : Correct Score 30-Nov-12 17:00  30-Nov-12 18:49  19.40
Football / Hertha Berlin v FC Koln : Correct Score 29-Nov-12 19:15  29-Nov-12 21:09  27.57
Football / Hertha Berlin v FC Koln : Over/Under 3.5 Goals 29-Nov-12 19:15  29-Nov-12 21:09  7.55
Football / Hertha Berlin v FC Koln : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 29-Nov-12 19:15  29-Nov-12 21:09  5.71
Football / Blackburn v Bolton : Match Odds 28-Nov-12 19:45  28-Nov-12 21:37  4.28
Football / Chelsea v Fulham : Match Odds 28-Nov-12 19:45  28-Nov-12 21:36  -62.50
Football / Aston Villa v Reading : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 27-Nov-12 20:00  27-Nov-12 21:53  5.90
Football / Aston Villa v Reading : Correct Score 27-Nov-12 20:00  27-Nov-12 21:53  57.33
Football / Aston Villa v Reading : Over/Under 1.5 Goals 27-Nov-12 20:00  27-Nov-12 21:53  12.15
Football / Aston Villa v Reading : Match Odds 27-Nov-12 20:00  27-Nov-12 21:50  0.00
Football / Anderlecht v KV Mechelen : Match Odds 27-Nov-12 19:00  27-Nov-12 20:56  -33.05
Football / Eintracht Frankfurt v Mainz : Match Odds 27-Nov-12 19:00  27-Nov-12 20:51  -10.00
Football / Hamburg v Schalke : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 27-Nov-12 19:00  27-Nov-12 20:38  0.43
Football / 1860 Munich v Paderborn : Correct Score 27-Nov-12 16:30  27-Nov-12 18:21  20.25
Football / 1860 Munich v Paderborn : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 27-Nov-12 16:30  27-Nov-12 18:21  0.75

 Pages: 1  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11   of 11 Pages

Right, so we're into December, which is something of a contradictory month in many ways. There is generally a ton of football on to watch and to trade, which is always good - but then it's a short month for trading as we have the Christmas and New Year celebrations and, hopefully (if you're not truly awful people), you'll also be dedicating a proportion of your final month towards being with your family and friends. Oh, and just be clear, those faceless individuals in the forums and chatrooms are not your friends so they don't count.

Two days into December, and I feel a bit frustrated. I should already have a reasonably healthy P/L but am virtually in a scratch position. Like a few people, I got my fingers burnt by the extraordinary 45 minutes of action in the Reading v Man Utd match. Really, being objective about it, I should just shrug my shoulders, question how often that sequence of events is going to come along and move on, and in reality I don't have any option but to do that.

My real frustration, however, comes from I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I've never bet on this before, but started watching it properly, looked who I thought were the main contenders and jumped right in by bookmaking a few of the field. I duly layed Helen Flanagan, Nadine Dorries, Colin Baker, Linda Robson, Rosemary Shrager (who was favourite for quite a period), Limahl and Ashley Roberts.

This left a winning position for me on David Haye, Hugo Taylor, Charlie Brooks, Brian Conley and Eric Bristow.

My mistake was laying Ashley Roberts. I'd personally never heard of her and I think that swayed me into laying her at high odds. I suppose in hindsight I should have realised that a young and vivacious girl would attract votes, but there you go.

Towards the end, I was in a good position. I had four of the final five, but by the time the final had come round, I just had Charlie Brooks up against the, by then, favourite, Ashley Roberts. This is where the trader in me came out. I could have let it run and won £85 or lost £112 - or I could have got out for a £52 loss. Thinking that Ashley Roberts was going to storm home, I chose the latter option. Annoying.

For those of you that know nothing about this show, my lay would have won if I'd let it run.

Football: £47.40 | Special Bets: -£52.19 | Tote: |  Total P&L:  -£4.79 


Football Showing 1 - 15 of 15 markets

Market Start time Settled date Profit/loss (£)
Football / Hoffenheim v W Bremen : Match Odds 02-Dec-12 14:30  02-Dec-12 16:19  -6.00
Football / MK Dons v AFC Wimbledon : Correct Score 02-Dec-12 12:30  02-Dec-12 14:26  22.24
Football / FC Koln v Ingolstadt : Correct Score 02-Dec-12 12:30  02-Dec-12 14:25  48.60
Football / Paderborn v Duisburg : Correct Score 02-Dec-12 12:30  02-Dec-12 14:21  47.10
Football / MK Dons v AFC Wimbledon : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 02-Dec-12 12:30  02-Dec-12 14:21  3.21
Football / Reading v Man Utd : Over/Under 7.5 Goals 01-Dec-12 17:30  01-Dec-12 19:25  52.81
Football / Reading v Man Utd : Over/Under 8.5 Goals 01-Dec-12 17:30  01-Dec-12 19:24  16.90
Football / Reading v Man Utd : Over/Under 6.5 Goals 01-Dec-12 17:30  01-Dec-12 18:06  6.07
Football / Reading v Man Utd : Over/Under 3.5 Goals 01-Dec-12 17:30  01-Dec-12 17:50  -200.00
Football / Reading v Man Utd : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 01-Dec-12 17:30  01-Dec-12 17:47  3.37
Football / Bristol City v Wolves : Match Odds 01-Dec-12 15:00  01-Dec-12 16:59  -3.00
Football / Rochdale v York City : Match Odds Unmanaged 01-Dec-12 15:00  01-Dec-12 16:59  6.05
Football / Man City v Everton : Correct Score 01-Dec-12 15:00  01-Dec-12 16:53  20.92
Football / West Ham v Chelsea : Correct Score 01-Dec-12 12:45  01-Dec-12 14:37  12.67
Football / West Ham v Chelsea : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 01-Dec-12 12:45  01-Dec-12 14:28  16.46

Did some small trading on the MK Dons v Wimbledon match, which wasn't that easy as the liquidity wasn't great - but I felt gutted for Wimbledon losing in the dying moments of the match. I think most neutrals would have wanted Wimbledon to win that match.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

SPOTY the dog


At the beginning of August, I (perhaps prematurely) spoke about The Sports Personality of the Year, and piously suggested that it was already a "done deal".

Of course this was before Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Chris Hoy and a host of others had even had a chance to participate. Well, participate they did, and their amazing performances really shone out and were outstanding.

Back then, Bradley Wiggins odds were something of a joke. He is still incredibly short and the hot favourite to win this year, but in my opinion there are a few things to consider.

Who won this competition last year? Oh yes, it was the cyclist, Mark Cavendish. Do we really want another cyclist winning again this year?

Well, yes, perhaps we do. Wiggins is affable, has performed amazingly this year, maybe better than anyone, and he would be a fitting winner of SPOTYif it is indeed awarded to him. If he does win it, I won't mind at all.

Personally, as you can see from my bets above, however, I've chosen a slightly different course. I have absolutely no edge when it comes to this type of betting (who does?) and, based on my puny stakes, you can see that I'm only getting involved for a bit of fun, but here's my reasoning.

Two miserly pounds on Chris Hoy at odds of 270 seems like a no-brainer to me. Yes, it is another cyclist, and I don't think we can say he's achieved as much as Wiggins has this year, but he is now our most bemeddled Olympian with six golds and that's hugely noteworthy. I do realise that he's already won SPOTY a few years back, but I'm hoping that his odds will come in somewhat as the competition draws nearer.

My big outside bet is Ben Ainslie, who may just have helped his cause a little bit by announcing his retirement today. He has four straight gold medals and is the most decorated Olympic sailor there has ever been. Sailing is almost certainly too much of a minority sport, but surely he's still worth £2 for a punt.

And then we have little Jessica Ennis. She was the face of the London Olympics, with pictures and posters of her up on every street corner months before the competition even started. She had enormous pressure on her to do well (perhaps more so than any other competitor), but she pulled it off with consumate ease, marking up three PBs along the way. At 17s, I've bunged a tenner on her and consider that a fairly decent little bet.

So what of the others?

Well, there's Nicola Adams the boxer, Katherine Grainger the rower, Rory McIlroy, Laura Robson, Sarah Storey, David Weir and Ellie Simmonds. Not a hope in hell for any of these.

Mo Farah. This guy was very popular during the Olympics, he comes across as affable and likeable and of course he also has the Mobot to help him along. Somehow though, I just can't see him winning this.

Andy Murray. I'd personally put him in the same kind of chance category as Mo Farah. He's had a very good year, helped himself out a bit with a few well-placed tears, but I just can't see him winning it. I may be wrong, but that's my view.

As I say, this is all just a bit of fun, and there'll be no harm done if I lose my bets, but it may be interesting to look at the odds if one of my two big outsiders is in with a chance just before the winner is announced.

Let's wait and see.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Bring on the hangdog Messiah

So here we are again. A London club struggling at the bottom of the Premier League. A team that people generally seem to agree really don't belong in that position in the table, that the quality of their players should really be sufficient to lift them up to a reasonable position.

Right, kick out the useless twat of a manager, the perennial under-achiever, and in his place bring forth the guy next door. Yes, let the wiley old multi-chinned persuader be the new man for the job. He may not have too many tactical weapons in his little footballing toolbox, but when it comes to assuaging the feelings and boosting the egos of all those precious, highly-paid superstars, there is no one to surpass him.

As I write, Redknapp is 1.02 to back in the next manager's market and it appears a cast-iron certainty that he will indeed be the next QPR manager. At those odds, of course, he just has to be layed - and layed him I have at a financial risk that's almost not worth worrying about. Any little doubt tomorrow will provide a green opportunity, whilst if he is appointed tomorrow, it is of little consequence.

QPR have Man Utd away in their next match, which by all common reason should be a walk in the park for Utd. However, if Redknapp is appointed over the next day or two, then their Tuesday match away to Sunderland and/or their next home match against Villa tomorrow week could see the usual "new manager bounce" - which, with Redknapp's excellent man-manager skills, could have quite a pronounced effect.

Just something to think about and consider.


My little losing streak continues at the moment. I'm busy right now working on my bots again, so can't say I'm fully-focused on my normal line of business - but it's not that difficult and really I've no excuse for the bad little run I've been experiencing lately. This is my performance over the last seven days. Not great, is it?

Cricket: £27.13 | Football: -£133.42 | Tote: |  Total P&L:  -£106.29 


Football Showing 1 - 20 of 61 markets

Market Start time Settled date Profit/loss (£)
Football / Fortuna Dusseldorf v Hamburg : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 23-Nov-12 19:30  23-Nov-12 21:28  7.57
Football / Fortuna Dusseldorf v Hamburg : Correct Score 23-Nov-12 19:30  23-Nov-12 21:28  0.88
Football / Fortuna Dusseldorf v Hamburg : Over/Under 1.5 Goals 23-Nov-12 19:30  23-Nov-12 20:57  9.56
Football / Le Mans v Guingamp : Match Odds 23-Nov-12 17:45  23-Nov-12 19:39  -3.00
Football / Academica v Plzen : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 22-Nov-12 20:05  22-Nov-12 21:59  -0.85
Football / Mgladbach v A.E.L. : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 22-Nov-12 20:05  22-Nov-12 21:58  -3.86
Football / Marseille v Fenerbahce : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 22-Nov-12 20:05  22-Nov-12 21:58  1.37
Football / Steaua Bucharest v Stuttgart : Match Odds 22-Nov-12 20:05  22-Nov-12 21:56  -6.00
Football / Benfica B v Covilha : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 22-Nov-12 20:00  22-Nov-12 21:54  2.22
Football / Liverpool v Young Boys : Over/Under 3.5 Goals 22-Nov-12 20:05  22-Nov-12 21:53  1.67
Football / Liverpool v Young Boys : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 22-Nov-12 20:05  22-Nov-12 21:36  16.41
Football / Lazio v Tottenham : Correct Score 22-Nov-12 18:00  22-Nov-12 19:53  16.52
Football / Lazio v Tottenham : Over/Under 1.5 Goals 22-Nov-12 18:00  22-Nov-12 19:53  4.34
Football / Ajax v Dortmund : Match Odds 21-Nov-12 19:45  21-Nov-12 21:42  -4.00
Football / Man City v Real Madrid : Correct Score 21-Nov-12 19:45  21-Nov-12 21:39  33.11
Football / Dinamo Kiev v Paris St-G : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 21-Nov-12 19:45  21-Nov-12 21:38  1.35
Football / Schalke v Olympiakos : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 21-Nov-12 19:45  21-Nov-12 21:38  -4.04
Football / Arsenal v Montpellier : Correct Score 21-Nov-12 19:45  21-Nov-12 21:36  12.82
Football / Arsenal v Montpellier : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 21-Nov-12 19:45  21-Nov-12 21:36  -2.08
Football / Anderlecht v AC Milan : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 21-Nov-12 19:45  21-Nov-12 21:18  -1.60

 Pages: 1  2 3 4   of 4 Pages 


I've had a couple of comments about my ratings posts, asking if I could finish them up and not leave everyone hanging. There are indeed a few more posts due on this subject. The first concerns how to weight Poisson properly, the second is how to come up with the a more detailed method of discerning each team's goal expectation. I did briefly mention Maximum Likelihood Estimation (or MLE), and alluded to the fact that I may - at some point - put up a post explaining all this.

Well, I suppose I'll have to get off my backside and scrawl something down about these things. If you'd be good enough to keep reading then I promise that I will indeed get around to posting on these subjects.

I don't, as yet, have anything in the can, so to speak, but given a bit of concentration and a clear run, I'm sure it won't take me too long to knock something out.

Do bear with me.


Oh, by the way. I've just hit the 70,000 mark, which I'm very pleased with. Thanks to you lot.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Happy Birthday

This is going to be another decidedly self-centred and introspective entry – but I make no apology for that, because this blog is now one year old tomorrow.

That’s right, a year ago, Old Mother Blogger reluctantly opened her pock-marked, cellulite-riddled legs and, after screaming blue murder, out slid "A Football Trader’s Path", all covered in verbal diarrhea, a bloody wash of unrealised ideas and urine-stained trading thoughts. Thus this blog was born.

Yes. It may be that you consider this blog to be the after-birth of all blogs out there in the world today but, as ugly as this one is, I’ve slowly grown to love her. And it's her birthday.

So, let’s get down to the introspection then shall we? Laughably, one of my most popular posts remains Guaranteed Winning Betfair Strategies. When I think of some of the other posts that I’ve put out which - even if I say so myself - have contained some decent analysis of football-related matters and data, it does make me shake my head to see how continually gullible and downright lazy people are. Everyone wants the “secrets” of trading all handed to them on a plate, so they won’t bother reading-up on decent material, they won’t bother putting in the hours, days, weeks, months and years of practice in to learn how to trade. Oh no. Instead, let’s just Google winning strategies and see if some nutter is going to give away all their secrets. I initially put the post up as a joke just to see if the title would attract more visitors for that week – but the joke is on me now as it sits comfortably in fouth place of most read pages.

Easily beating this, however, is my Correct Score Overview, which even now attracts a continually large number of views each and every week. Personally, I don't think I have put up anything groundbreaking or new with this post, but I suppose it’s a decent source to get a group of strategies all in one place. Second place goes to the Poisson for Dummies post, which ties-in nicely with a lot of my other posts on ratings.

Okay, well this is a birthday celebration so I’m going to rejoice in my numbers now. I think I mentioned a few posts back that, when I first started this blog up there were virtually no readers, and it’s taken me a while to build-up a reasonable level of visitors. Now, however, on the blog’s first birthday, I’m closing-in on 70,000 visitors and am currently getting between 9,500 and 10,000 visitors each and month. Considering that betting/trading is something of a niche market, and also taking into account that there are already some other very good and well-established betting blogs out there, then I don’t think I’ve done too badly really.

I’ve crossed swords with a few of the other bloggers too – although I like to think this was kept at gentle ribbing stage and no more. All the blogs that I may have criticised or directed jibes towards are all good contributors to the blogging/betting community, and I hope they continue and go from strength to strength.

As has been mentioned on several occasions by several bloggers (and it’s true), maintaining a blog and coming up with interesting and entertaining material on a regular basis is no easy task, so my hat goes off to those who have managed to keep their blogs going and making them so good to read. My blogroll of honour is up on the right side, and you can pick any one of them and get something of value out of them.

So, thank you for allowing me to be so self-indulgent in this post (actually you had no choice in the matter), and wish me all the best for the good ship Trader’s Path in the future. Oh, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Blog On!

Quite a few comments from my last post. First, we have this shy, self-deprecating and timid comment from Signor Cassini:

Cassini14 November 2012 06:34
Amazing how that Cassini keeps on going, with fascinating posts, invaluable advice whilst at the same time staying modest and darned amusing.

Hmm, yes, quite. A comment obviously made in jest, but strangely it doesn't sound tongue-in-cheek. I wonder why that should be?

Personally, I do enjoy Cassini's blog. He waffles on a little bit too much about American sports (which, as we all know, are not really sports at all), and he should perhaps move his little friendly tipster league reports off somewhere else as I can't see them interesting anyone but the individuals involved. But besides these minor gripes, there is a lot of content there; Cassini is eloquent, writes well and covers a broad spectrum of subjects. For my money, one of the best out there.

What I've just said, however, flies in the face of this comment:

Anonymous14 November 2012 12:51
Cassini is just a master of the cut and paste never too much original content other than patting himself on the back to be fair. Although I have noticed now he's charging he likes to mention super PC every other post and stick in the odd cherry picked screenshots as often as possible like all the other leeches in this 'profession'.

As for 500 to 5000 he was always due to fail , he just didn't seem to have a clue and was continually making excuses. Probably easy to think up stuff to write once you start up or if things are going OK but once those losses come in and you've no positive pnl's to fill the page things go downhill quickly. You only need to look at most peoples blogrolls to see a long list of blogs who haven't posted in months.

In the old days for every blog that quit another couple would appear, sadly these days that doesn't seem to be the case and bloggers are thin on the ground. Just have to hope the likes of 500 to 5000 come back with a new name like the majority of the failures do.

I do think the comments on Cassini are harsh. If those of us who presently are not caught by the Super Charge suddenly found themselves facing it, I'm sure we'd all be as concentrated on it as he is. It's not exactly an easy thing to forget.

Anyway, on the loss of the 500 to 5000 blogger, we have a solution in the shape of Betting Blogs Exposed. Not too sure what he intends to expose, or thinks he's going to expose, but good luck to him

bettingblogsexposed14 November 2012 17:09
In order to keep some sort of status quo in the betting blog world I've decided to have a resurrection and restart my old blog. Hopefully I can fill that niche market left by 500 to 5000.

Finally, a nice comment from Geoff at

geoff14 November 2012 18:50
A great post.

One of the things that I find difficult is that although I track readership of the blog very few people bother to leave comments. Is this becasue they cant be bothered or just hate the blog? I'll never know and its annoying.I've just checked and Ive been blogging for 2 years now and cant really say whether its a good reads or not based on comments...

Keep up the good work- yours is a belter.

Thank you for the compliment. I like Geoff's blog. I was talking about content before, and there's lots to be had on Geoff's. 

He wonders about the lack of comments. I don't know what the answer is, but the only thing I can say from my perspective is that I tend not to comment on blogs where an email is asked for. I never understand what that is all about. The email request may not be a required item, and even if it is can easily be got around - but it is off-putting. My advice is to ditch asking for the email of commenters entirely. My suspicion is that that the number of comments you receive will increase.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

500 to 5000... to 0

There seems to be two main pitfalls lying in wait for us blogging type people. The first one is really the same pitfall that any bettor faces  (whether they happen to be blogging about their progress and betting thoughts or not), whilst the second one is completely blogging-related.

Number one pitfall is that we will fail as bettors or traders. Now there are people failing to master betting or trading everyday, of course, but perhaps if you're also blogging about your activity, the failure is just that bit more ignominious. This is a public failure for all those regular readers (which admittedly is often not that many) to see.

Number two pitfall is writer's block, running out of ideas or just getting plain bored with blogging. There are a lot of bloggers (and I include myself here), who start out with a rush of enthusiasm and post an entry everyday - and sometimes even more than that. They have so many things they want to discuss, so many ideas, that they're virtually bursting at the seams. Some bloggers, however, soon start to falter. The ideas thin-out, the enthusiasm wanes, the posts begin to appear less frequently.

Often, there is a large pause between entries, followed by a couple of entries posted-up with an accompanying apology. Later, there is an admission of defeat and a goodbye post.

From what I've seen so far, 18 months seems to be a key time. Many apparently give-up around this time - whilst those who can break through this barrier seem to go on from strength to strength.

The reason I'm waffling on about this is because another blog has hit the dirt today. 500 to 5000 has decided to hang-up his keyboard after saying he's lost too much money (pitfall number one). I can't say that I read his blog on any regular basis - mainly because each entry was very terse and there didn't seem to be a great deal of content.

But, this was a fellow blogger, and as a member of our little community, his blog added to the diversity. For that reason, I'm sorry to see him go.

I suppose him shuffling off into the distance also shines a light on my own little blog. I'm coming up to one year's worth of entries on here, and so do want to ensure that I continue on through the 18-month barrier and beyond. I feel that I've still quite a number of interesting entries up my sleeve that I haven't laid out for you yet. I also still really enjoy my blogging and like to touch base with you all out there from time to time. I know that I will never be as prolific as someone like Cassini, but then again who is?

So, it's another one down, but this one rolls on. And any new blogs that start up? Well, you're very welcome. The more the merrier.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Two's Company

Gundulf from Betfair Football Trading - the highs and the lows posted the other day about making a mistake. He'd left a keep bet in-play and forgot about it, allowing it to be gobbled-up by some lucky punter.

Silly man, I said to myself. Glad I didn't do anything so foolish.

Right, so we move onto yesterday's trading. I couldn't really make up my mind about what approach I wanted to take as nothing really stood out for me. So, I decided to just settle for scalping last night. Things started off slowly, but I slowly built-up an okay figure for the evening and then decided to call it a day. A profit for the evening of about £74. Not exactly earth-shattering, but a profit is a profit.

When all the markets had settled, I went to update my P/L spreadsheet... and found this:

Football: -£126.31 | Tote: |  Total P&L:  -£126.31  

Football Showing 1 - 8 of 8 markets 

Market Start time Settled date Profit/loss (£) 
Football / Middlesbrough v Sheff Wed : Correct Score 09-Nov-12 19:45  09-Nov-12 21:40  34.14 
Football / Mainz v Nurnberg : Match Odds 09-Nov-12 19:30  09-Nov-12 21:31  -10.00 
Football / Middlesbrough v Sheff Wed : Over/Under 3.5 Goals 09-Nov-12 19:45  09-Nov-12 21:23  3.53 
Football / Middlesbrough v Sheff Wed : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 09-Nov-12 19:45  09-Nov-12 21:06  -179.73 
Football / Mainz v Nurnberg : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 09-Nov-12 19:30  09-Nov-12 20:21  6.18 
Football / FC Koln v Duisburg : Correct Score 09-Nov-12 17:00  09-Nov-12 18:55  14.38 
Football / Erzgebirge v Braunschweig : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 09-Nov-12 17:00  09-Nov-12 18:49  2.16 
Football / Erzgebirge v Braunschweig : Over/Under 1.5 Goals 09-Nov-12 17:00  09-Nov-12 18:28  3.03 

Erm, sorry? What is that all about? I made money, not lost money.

I have to say I was a bit flabbergasted. How can my profit be a loss? I tried to retrace my steps, and even now am not totally sure what I did - but after working out what had happened, I suspect that I inadvertently placed an order into the 2.5 market thinking it was the 3.5 market and then duly forgot about it.

Oh dear. School boy error.

The funny thing is I don't really feel too bad about this loss. It's not as if I made a bad trading decision. This was just a silly mistake, pure and simple. It's also a combination of events that I cannot see happening again.

Those, of course, are famous last words.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

And you've chanted back

A few comments from my last post:

puppyguts6 November 2012 09:40
i fully agree with you mate..... i thought it was ridiculous with the whole terry incident and how it went to court! before that happened i had no idea you could sue someone for a single act of verbal racism. the F.A. should have stepped in immediate and slapped terry with a ban, they don't waste time handing out silly punishments when a ref is criticized! that whole terry saga made EPL look a joke.

Baz6 November 2012 09:42
Prosecution will tell this person that his racist behaviour is entirely unacceptable to the majority in society, it is how we set and enforce acceptable behaviour.

AL6 November 2012 10:21
you've gone and done it now - the thought police will be all over you

Average Guy6 November 2012 11:42
Amen to that

General agreement with my view it seems, with the exception of Baz6. The problem, as I see it, is where to draw the line. Should we prosecute everyone who makes a gesture? What about all those people that are not caught on camera? Should they be prosecuted also? What about putting two fingers up at someone? Should that be punished too? With all the serious crimes that are perpetrated every day, do we really want our police force dedicating their time to arresting people for being rude?

It's up to you to decide, but you know my view.


Enjoyable night trading tonight. Plenty of ideas and opportunities flying around, and with so many matches on at once, it's easy to get spread too thin or to think that you must be active on a mass of markets. For me, unless I'm employing a particular strategy across the board, then I'll try and be relatively selective on my trades, depending on what's happening at the time.

So, with several Champions League matches being played, along with a full set of fixtures for the Championship, League One, Two and the Conference, I traded only a small handful of markets.

Football: £52.91 | Tote: |  Total P&L:  £52.91  

Football Showing 1 - 4 of 4 markets 

Market Start time Settled date Profit/loss (£) 
Football / Charlton v Cardiff : Match Odds 06-Nov-12 19:45  06-Nov-12 21:44  25.66 
Football / Gillingham v Cheltenham : Match Odds 06-Nov-12 19:45  06-Nov-12 21:41  -6.48 
Football / Derby v Barnsley : Match Odds 06-Nov-12 19:45  06-Nov-12 21:36  31.50 
Football / Yeovil v Stevenage : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 06-Nov-12 19:45  06-Nov-12 20:52  2.23 

Also had a couple of straight bets tonight (not on Betfair). Both were asians. One win and one scratch.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Monkey Chanting

According to The Sun newspaper, the police have arrested the man who directed monkey chants towards Danny Welbeck in the Chelsea match last week.

The guy who did it is obviously a moron but I don't really want to talk about him at any length. Football will be a better place when that type of person is forced to stop attending football matches. The match is supposed to be entertainment and nothing more. Violence was a thing of the seventies and eighties, of which I saw my own share, and it's not something we want to allow back in to the game - in any form.

But perhaps just the smallest bit of perspective is required here. Chelsea football club announced last week that they were "investigating the situation" to try and find the culprit. I was a bit surprised when I heard that, but fair enough. That's up to them. If they want to spend their money and resources on trying to find this little wanker then that's their business. They're a private company and they can do what they want.

However, when I heard the police were also investigating the incident, I sat up and took notice. What? The police? I'm sorry, but was someone robbed? Did someone die? Did some kind of assault take place?

Erm, no. Some prat made a gesture.

Come on. Please. Are we really going to start wasting public money on this sort of shit now? Aren't there any real crimes left to investigate? I don't personally know Danny Welbeck, but he looks like a grown-up to me. I'm sure he's not going to shrivel-up and die because someone has called him a name or made a childish gesture towards him. Welbeck doesn't know this tosser in the crowd and I'm sure the affect is no worse than a fly landing on his shoulder. Why should he be affected by someone who means absolutely nothing to him?

Well, we can't and shouldn't tolerate racism in any form, some might say. It's a slippery slope.

Yes, okay. I'm not suggest we tolerate it. Just ban the little turd and that be the end of it? What the hell are the police doing wasting their time (and our money) on this sort of nonsense.

I'm sorry. I just don't get it.

Nil-Two? Lay, Lay, Lay!

During a recent trading session, Gundulf from Betfair Football Trading - the highs and the lows spotted an in-play opportunity. It was a short way into the second-half, and Bochum were two goals down at home to Energie Cottbus. He declared that he was laying Cottbus – and I think to most of us in the chat room, this seemed like a decent enough bet. It was low liability and with the natural home side advantage, it “felt” like it should pay-off.

I didn’t follow Dave on this bet, but it worked beautifully for him. Bochum got one back, so Dave removed his liability but kept the trade going. Bochum duly equalised and the match finished 2-2. Great stuff. Well done to him. A classic example of how trading in-play can work.

I thought to myself at the time that laying an away side under these circumstances should be a decent trade almost every time – but you know me: I like to check these things, so I looked back at my old data to find out how the trade would perform over the long-term.

I don’t only keep the data from football-data, but I also hold actual score time data too. Ironypirate from Scatter Gun Trading recently asked me what data sources I use, but I don’t have any amazing sources I’m afraid. I did once write a screenscraper to pull score data down, but I don’t think I did it very well as I soon got blocked by the website in question. Nowadays I manually download the raw score data from and have built myself a cool spready to automatically interpret it in its raw form and convert it for immediate analysis. I’m sure there are many people who do it in a much simpler way, but each league only takes me about 30 seconds a week to keep up-to-date, so it’s not too arduous a task.

So, using this score data, I ran some imaginary trades based on the following criteria:

  • Home team two goals down in the first n minutes. I made n a variable so that I could determine the optimum time that a lay should be placed. For example, it wouldn’t make a great deal of sense to lay an away team that had just gone two goals up with one minute remaining (although some of you may disagree). 
  • If the home team only manage to pull one goal back after 75 minutes, then I’ve deemed that a losing trade. If, of course they have gone on equalise then I have marked that down as a full-win trade. 
  • On pulling a goal back, this is treated as a 50% win of the lay stake (again you may disagree here. It obviously depends on how quickly they score). 

One thing that I have noticed whilst running these imaginary trades is that letting a bet run after the home team have got one goal back is, generally speaking, not the way the trade should be managed. This is in spite of Dave doing precisely that over the weekend and him reaping the rewards. Based on my figures, if a trader always lets the trade run, then they would end the season in the red.

The good news, however, is that all our instincts are correct. Laying the away team when they are two goals up does seem to be a profitable trade. Cottbus scored their 2nd goal in the 52nd minute over the weekend, but based on my analysis that game should then have been ignored as a trade possibility. The best time to lay the away team is if they are two up before half-time. After that, the ROI is negatively affected.

I ran my tests across several Premier League and several Championship seasons and each one proved a winning season using this strategy. Not one losing season. The ROIs went anywhere from 4% up to 30%. As you can imagine, there are not a huge number of bets for each league – maybe 20 to 30 on average – but if you multiply this number across all the top leagues in Europe, then you certainly have 100 to 150 bets a year that you can deal with. Add-in some additional filters such as ignoring a rampant Bayern Munich away to an out-of-form team at the bottom of the league like Augsburg, then the profit levels could be increased even further. Individual judgments could also be made to let bets run on a few selected matches – perhaps where the home team is particularly strong. Anyway, you get the idea.

The point is that, even if you apply no filters and blind lay each away team that goes two goals up in the first-half, then over the course of a season, you will almost certainly be in profit. Just remember to green-up after the first home goal (okay Dave?).


Well I don’t remember the last time I regaled you all with how I’m doing personally. I seem to have got out of the habit of supplying a P/L but it’s not my intention for that to be so. The month of October was pretty crap for me. I had a decent start and a decent end, but the middle was something of a dog’s breakfast. Only just scraped into profit:

Soccer: £237.08 | Tote: | Total P&L: £237.08  

Soccer Showing 1 - 20 of 142 markets 

Market Start time Settled date Profit/loss (£) 

Soccer / Norwich v Tottenham : Match Odds 31-Oct-12 19:45  31-Oct-12 21:39  0.00 
Soccer / Chelsea v Man Utd : Correct Score 31-Oct-12 19:45  31-Oct-12 21:39  43.75 
Soccer / Inter v Sampdoria : Match Odds 31-Oct-12 19:45  31-Oct-12 21:38  33.28 
Soccer / Fortuna Dusseldorf v Mgladbach : Match Odds 31-Oct-12 19:30  31-Oct-12 21:20  -60.00 
Soccer / Chelsea v Man Utd : Over/Under 3.5 Goals 31-Oct-12 19:45  31-Oct-12 20:54  13.12 
Soccer / Huesca v Barcelona B : Match Odds 31-Oct-12 19:00  31-Oct-12 20:49  17.14 
Soccer / Chelsea v Man Utd : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 31-Oct-12 19:45  31-Oct-12 20:28  -10.00 
Soccer / Huesca v Barcelona B : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 31-Oct-12 19:00  31-Oct-12 20:27  5.61 
Soccer / Rio Ave v Freamunde : Match Odds 31-Oct-12 18:00  31-Oct-12 19:52  -26.63 
Soccer / Kickers Offenbach v Union Berlin : Match Odds 31-Oct-12 18:00  31-Oct-12 19:49  30.00 
Soccer / Montpellier v Bordeaux : Match Odds 31-Oct-12 17:45  31-Oct-12 19:41  23.77 
Soccer / Wigan v Bradford : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 30-Oct-12 19:45  30-Oct-12 21:36  -50.00 
Soccer / Wigan v Bradford : Correct Score 30-Oct-12 19:45  30-Oct-12 21:36  -7.00 
Soccer / Cambuur v Telstar : Correct Score 30-Oct-12 19:00  30-Oct-12 20:52  -4.00 
Soccer / Cambuur v Telstar : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 30-Oct-12 19:00  30-Oct-12 20:52  10.46 
Soccer / Sheff Utd v Portsmouth : Over/Under 1.5 Goals 29-Oct-12 19:45  29-Oct-12 21:38  11.44 
Soccer / Sheff Utd v Portsmouth : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 29-Oct-12 19:45  29-Oct-12 21:38  2.46 
Soccer / Sheff Utd v Portsmouth : Correct Score 29-Oct-12 19:45  29-Oct-12 21:38  28.73 
Soccer / Chelsea v Man Utd : Correct Score 28-Oct-12 16:00  28-Oct-12 17:53  0.00 
Soccer / Southampton v Tottenham : Match Odds 28-Oct-12 15:00  28-Oct-12 16:52  -1.01 

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 of 8 Pages  

This month is going okay so far, I suppose, but it’s no great shakes. We’ll see how it all pans-out. Last couple of days trading below:

Soccer: £341.61 | Tote: | Total P&L: £341.61  

Soccer Showing 1 - 18 of 27 markets 

Market Start time Settled date Profit/loss (£) 

Soccer / Liverpool v Newcastle : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 04-Nov-12 16:00  04-Nov-12 17:54  30.50 
Soccer / Liverpool v Newcastle : Correct Score 04-Nov-12 16:00  04-Nov-12 17:54  46.46 
Soccer / Liverpool v Newcastle : Over/Under 1.5 Goals 04-Nov-12 16:00  04-Nov-12 17:26  -10.11 
Soccer / QPR v Reading : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 04-Nov-12 13:30  04-Nov-12 15:23  32.14 
Soccer / QPR v Reading : Correct Score 04-Nov-12 13:30  04-Nov-12 15:23  27.52 
Soccer / AZ Alkmaar v VVV : Match Odds 04-Nov-12 13:30  04-Nov-12 15:22  1.90 
Soccer / West Ham v Man City : Correct Score 03-Nov-12 17:30  03-Nov-12 19:25  36.88 
Soccer / West Ham v Man City : Over/Under 1.5 Goals 03-Nov-12 17:30  03-Nov-12 19:25  15.34 
Soccer / West Ham v Man City : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 03-Nov-12 17:30  03-Nov-12 19:25  12.29 
Soccer / Dortmund v Stuttgart : Match Odds 03-Nov-12 14:30  03-Nov-12 16:27  -50.00 
Soccer / Nurnberg v Wolfsburg : Match Odds 03-Nov-12 14:30  03-Nov-12 16:25  29.32 
Soccer / Hoffenheim v Schalke : Match Odds 03-Nov-12 14:30  03-Nov-12 16:20  14.90 
Soccer / Man Utd v Arsenal : Correct Score 03-Nov-12 12:45  03-Nov-12 14:44  19.35 
Soccer / Man Utd v Arsenal : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 03-Nov-12 12:45  03-Nov-12 14:38  68.51 
Soccer / Brighton v Leeds : Over/Under 4.5 Goals 02-Nov-12 19:45  02-Nov-12 21:42  1.19 
Soccer / Brighton v Leeds : Correct Score 02-Nov-12 19:45  02-Nov-12 21:42  4.59 
Soccer / Eintracht Frankfurt v G Furth : Over/Under 2.5 Goals 02-Nov-12 19:30  02-Nov-12 21:22  -1.05 
Soccer / Eintracht Frankfurt v G Furth : Correct Score 02-Nov-12 19:30  02-Nov-12 21:20  14.04 

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A bit more LTD

Comments from my last post included this from Puppyguts:

if you were going to LTD at HT why not wait until the 60-70 min? if a goal is scored early in the 2nd half the profit you gain is rarely satisfying, so why bother? there is nothing worse than firing off a draw lay at HT them having to witness the odds tank 10 mins later. overall you would probably make a better profit backing the draw and laying it off instead.

personally i lay the draw as one of my sole strategies and i find it easy to turn a profit, low draw odds get gubbed everyday

There are a couple of points here that need addressing. First, Puppyguts confusingly states, “personally i lay the draw as one of my sole strategies”. Not sure if he means it’s one of his strategies or its his sole strategy. If it’s the latter, then that should sound the alarm bells.

So what’s the problems only having one strategy? Well, if the only tool in your box is a hammer, there’s a danger that everything starts to look like a nail. In other words, if your only strategy is LTD, then every game is going to seem like a candidate, regardless of whether it’s a good fit for that strat or not.

The second thing that Puppyguts mentions is that it’s best to lay the draw at 60-70 minutes as “low draw odds get gubbed everyday”. Well, this is worth checking, isn’t it? I’m sure low draw odds do get gubbed – but the real question is, do they get gubbed enough for us to profit over the long term?

I took a quick look at the Premier League last season. There were 130 matches that were a draw at 60 minutes, and 75 of those were not draws at full-time. That equates to lay odds of 2.36. And for 70 minutes? Well there were 110 matches that were a draw at 70 minutes, but only 54 of those were not draws at full-time. This is fair lay odds of 1.96

Now it obviously depends on individual matches, but I'd say these odds are a pretty accurate reflection of the lay odds on offer for the average match. And if this an an accurate reflection, then there is no value there and no long-term profit to be had.

ironypirate seems to agree with me:

Interesting post, Eddie and I agree with your points. I think you need to excuse those in the chat room who regularly employ this strategy - most just seeing a 0-0 game and thinking it's a perfect candidate. A lot are reformed gamblers who have moved to trading to try and right their wrongs. LTD seems to me to be a necessary step that all those that make the journey across need to go through as it stands on the precipice between being a punt and a trade.

To me, every time I LTD (and I do it less and less) it still feels like a gamble. I feel less in control which is odd I suppose given that a goal or goals generally make or break a trade no matter what market you're dabbling in. Even discounting the historical data and in play stats, like you, I just don't think there is much value to be had in the price movements especially when prices are influenced by more than one factor - dog scoring / favourite scoring / red cards etc etc. Unless of course you LTD in the 85+ minute hoping for a last gasp winner as was the case at Newcastle on Sunday. But then it is just a punt in my eyes, even if the liability is low enough to justify punting in this manner.

I suppose I should point-out that I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with laying the draw. Like any other market or any other strategy, when used correctly (the right tool for the right job), it can work beautifully - and there are undoubtedly times when it is absolutely the right thing to do.

The problem, as I see it, is to rely on laying the draw over the long-term without any definable edge.

... But then again that's a problem on any market, isn't it? Do you have an edge or not?

Monday, 29 October 2012

Lay The Draw

Sigh, not another subject on Laying The (‘effing) Draw? Hasn’t everything been written on this tired old subject already? What are you going to say that hasn’t been said before?
Well, you’ve immediately put me on the defensive with this machine-gun fire interrogation, and maybe I don’t have anything new to say, but I wanted to cover a few points on this subject because, from what I’ve seen recently, it’s still a highly-used strategy amongst the betting community (or at least the small section that I’ve been exposed to over the last month).
Before I start, I should point-out that I'm not here to describe how to use this strategy (just Google it if you've been living in a cupboard for the last ten years), and I'm not going to discuss the usual method of laying the draw prematch. I think the fallacy of lay the draw under these circumstances has been laid bare on numerous occasions, so I won't discuss that here.
As mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’ve joined a betting community as I’ve found it increases my enjoyment of trading. It’s good to share your experiences with others, and also to see how others are faring too. There’s a decent bunch of guys in the chat room and, like me and everyone else, they are striving to make a few pennies in any way that they can. It's a microcosm of the world at large, with some in there succeeding and some failing. 
I did notice, however,  that laying the draw at half-time or part-way through the second-half seems to be a popular strategy within the chat room. I hope no one minds me mentioning this. This is not revealing any of the pre-set strategies that are put forward as part of the service. Even though those pre-set strategies are not really my cup of tea, I wouldn’t publish them in public as that’s part of the service that is provided. It would be unfair to do so.
But laying the draw is, of course, now part of football betting folklore and there’s certainly no mystery behind it. Common practice within the chat room is to look at the in-play stats for attacks, dangerous attacks, shots off target, shots on target, etc, and then to make a determination to participate at half-time based on those. Occasionally, these raw statistics may be supplemented by someone - perhaps quoting high average GPG here and there, but often it's these stats and these alone that determine whether a trade is entered into.
Now I’m assuming those people who do this on a regular basis have some records to show whether this works or not. I’m also assuming that it must work for them over the long term otherwise it would be foolish indeed to continue with the strategy. Then again, I do know there are a great many people who fail to keep strict records and so those people would be unaware if it pays or not.
Regardless of all that, I thought I would take a look at their strategy and see if I could run it through last season’s matches in an attempt to automate it all. Unfortunately, the short answer is that, no, I can't automate it. The problem is that there’s no way I can assess how many shots on target there were halfway through a match. I wouldn’t know where to get those kind of statistics.
So, instead I’ve had to settle for trying to lay the draw half-way through a match based on either the average Under 2.5 goals odds or the combined goals per game for both teams. My thinking here is that a high GPG or high starting odds for unders will perhaps be reflected in the goalmouth activity. A fallacy I know, but what else can I do?
In addtion to this, I also had to guess how much profit could be made after a goal is scored. If a goal is scored straight after second-half kick-off, the green could be relatively small, whilst a goal scored in the 93rd minute would be a full win of the lay amount. You may disagree with me here, but rightly or wrongly I’m going to assume a 70% green of the lay stake minus 5% commission.
Using the average Under 2.5 goals odds strategy, I found the optimum Betbrain odds to place a bet were 1.80. This resulted in 117 bets being placed and a 71.49% win rate. Using £10 stakes, this gave me a total profit of£14.10, or an ROI of 1.21%.
Using the average Goals Per Game for both teams, I settled on 2.60 goals per game. This resulted in 94 bets being placed and a 72.34% win rate. Again using £10 stakes, this gave me a total profit of £23.20, or an ROI of 2.47%.
Hmm, small beer indeed. Hardly bothering with is it? I suppose, if we were being kind, we could say that it’s not a losing strategy – and a non-losing strategy is only a hop, skip and a jump away from a winning strategy. The in-play stats that the guys use could be the key here to making it a winning strategy, but as mentioned there is no way I can verify this either way. My only concern is that often, those in the chat room will just scan all the in-play statistics, and then jump on the first one that “looks promising”. Based on that rudimentary filtering, I would be surprised if a long-term profit was made.
Individual Teams
One idea that I did have was that perhaps individual teams were more likely to make half-time laying of the draw a better strategy than others. Which teams, I asked myself, tend to score or concede goals in the second-half when the first-half has finished as a draw?
Well for the Premier League, all the following were above average for last season:

Okay, so we could do this for each team in each major league and then combine those with the current season stats using the same analysis. Add-in the original filters used (Under 2.5 starting odds and/or average goals per game), and then maybe, just maybe we’ll have lifted our basic lay the draw strategy out of the doldrums and into profit.
I say maybe because the given draw odds for all these teams will inevitably be higher than those teams where a goal tends not to be scored after a half-time draw. But that would be for you to check.

Personally, I feel these ideas would need supplementing even further with things like win-from-in-front, win-from-behind, goal times, who scores first, etc. All these kind of stats could help - although I'm not sure how much they could help.
Either way, looking at all this shows just how difficult it is to eek some profit out of the draw laying strategy. So many people have looked at it and so many people are still using this method that there is virtually no value left to be had. Indeed, backing the draw AFTER the first goal is scored is also a popular method, taking advantage of all those people trying to close their trades and driving the price down immediately after the odds have begun to settle.
Good luck if laying the draw is your most commonly wielded betting weapon. My guess is that you’re almost certainly going to need it.