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

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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.