Saturday, 30 April 2016


The Los in Los Angeles Clippers turned to Loss last night, as the Portland Trail Blazers won four in a row to take the series 4-2. It's hard not to feel some sympathy for the Clippers, but basketball is very much an individual sport in that prices and fortunes are hugely influenced by one or two star players and to continue in the play-offs, teams need those players to stay healthy. Although I'm happy with the lay at 1.37, I am somewhat kicking myself for not taking a few hundred more that was looking to back the Clippers at 1.5. Opportunities like this don't come along too often these days.

While the BLUnders Sytem is probably done for the season, I saw a post on the Betfair Forum from 'nugget' saying:

92% of the playoff games have gone under the total
With the total varying slightly from book to book, the numbers may be correct for nugget, but my numbers show that of the 84 games played so far, 56 have gone Under. Exclude the 4 pushes and we have 70%, which is still impressive but not quite 92%.

Is this a one season wonder? Here are the numbers for the last five full season, plus the one in progress:
Not convincing evidence that blindly backing playoff unders is a long term profitable strategy, but as I mentioned in this post, BLUnders selections continue to be profitable in the play-offs.

Over the same period as above, i.e. 2010-11 to this season, their record in play-offs is 10 Unders from 16 games, with one Push.

A modified form of BLUnders for play-off use (16 selections in six seasons isn't going to do anyone much good) would have generated 45 selections, with 27 Unders (and 2 Pushes) +9.70 / ROI +21.6% 

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Fortunes Clipped

It’s not exactly an example of ‘thinking outside the box’, but in a sport such as basketball where one individual makes such a difference to a team sport, the impact of injury can dramatically change the odds.

A couple of recent examples can be found in the ongoing NBA Play-Offs, where the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers have both lost their star players to injury this week.

The Warriors’ Steph Curry came back from an ankle injury, slipped on a wet spot, and sprained his knee ruling him out for maybe two weeks.

The Clippers’ star Chris Paul broke his hand this week, and Blake Griffin is now out of the play-offs with a left quadriceps injury.

Anyone watching game four of the Clippers Series (v Portland Trail Blazers) would have seen Paul’s reaction, and recognized that the injury was serious.

Add to that the sight of Griffin sitting on the bench clearly in discomfort and you have an opportunity.

There was money waiting to back the Clippers to win the series at 1.37 – but at just 2:1 ahead in games, (three home games won) and about (in my opinion) to lose game four and with major injury concerns, the Clippers were to my mind a value lay at this price. 

I may well have been late to the party as the Clippers had traded all the way down to 1.02 to win the series, presumably after big wins of 20+ points in the first two home games.
Even if you don’t trust a player’s reaction (superstars can be a little dramatic at times), the side-line reporters updates and post-game interviews can be useful sources of information.

With the series down to a best of three, the Trail Blazers were 1.45 favourites to win the series. Now that they are 3:2 ahead, with game six at home, they'll be down to around 1.15.

I was asked by text at the start of the play-offs “Will anybody beat the Warriors?” – my reply was, unfortunately for the Warriors, rather perceptive “Warriors are vulnerable if Curry gets injured”.

I didn’t mean to jinx Mr. Curry, (not that jinxes are real), and the Warriors have more depth than the Clippers, but my comment was to make the point that any team's fortunes can change in an instant with a key injury and that even in a ‘team‘ sport, it can be rewarding to look beyond the immediate event.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Blunderful Play-Offs

Given the selection criteria for the BLUnders System, it is hardly surprising that qualifiers during the play-offs are few and far between. The few selections are, however, profitable.

In the 20 completed seasons since 1994, there have been just 25 selections, most during the first round (of sixteen), but a few mismatches were from the Conference Semi-Finals (quarter-finals).

So far this post-season there have been five selections and all have gone unded very comfortably. The closest game was under by 9.5 points, while the others were under by at least 25.5 points. The overall five season record currently reads:

There's also an interesting trend in play-off BLUnders games when it comes to the handicap, a strategy that would be +9.04 from the 30 games of record, an ROI of 30.1%. I'll update this number at the end of the season.

Moving to football and last weekend was kind to the Bundeslayga System with a nice winner in the second division as the widely loathed RasenBallsport Leipzig lost and slipped to second in the table behind Freiburg. I suspect I wasn't the only one cheering that result. 
Finally, thanks to Baz for his comment that:
Having a new granddaughter is far better than winning any bet. Congratulations.
Yes, there are certainly more important things in life than money, something that becomes easier to say as you get older and accumulate more money.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016


With an interval between posts of almost four weeks, readers might well be wondering if the author's enthusiasm for this blog is finally waning after 8 full years. Although there is some truth to that suggestion, I'm not quite ready to hang up the keyboard despite advancing another year in age, the arrival of a second granddaughter, and the imminent retirement at the end of this week of one of my oldest (in years known and in years lived) friends which has made me a little restless.

My new granddaughter missed sharing her granddad's birth date by a mere two hours, but at least she's an Aries and I should be able to remember her birthday anniversaries for a few years, at least until dementia / Alzheimer's sets in.

So I can't say that sports or sports investing has been top of my priority list of late. My interest in the Grand National was limited to winning £25 from my local pub's sweepstake as The Last Samuri placed second, but as I was celebrating Crystal Palace's Premier League survival in a crowded and noisy South Norwood pub at race time, I had no idea what I was watching! However, my in-depth knowledge of rowing meant that I was able to predict, not only the finalists, but also the Boat Race winner this year. The Cassini family also managed to leave the Whyteleafe v Herne Bay game with a profit - £9 each for two admissions, £1 for two Golden Goal tickets, and with 6:55 on the clock, my son's 7th minute ticket won him £20! I think I enjoyed that more than bigger wins on Betfair.  Who knew that I had an edge on pulling horse names and goal times out of a hat?

As for the more serious investments, the Bundeslayga System is clinging on to the slenderest of profits this season, with just a few weeks of the season to go:

Also clinging on to a small profit is the BLUnders System, with two more selections tonight as the regular season comes to a close.
Interestingly the 134 selections so far means the season total will be the highest since 1997's 162, in large part due to the dominance of the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs who make up 62 of the selections between them.

I mentioned in my last post that there's a secondary bet which tends to win when the BLUnders selection loses, and this strategy had a great March and April and has improved the combined numbers as shown below:
Early days on the baseball SG3 system, but selections are coming thick and fast with another four today:
Finally, although I'm behind with my blog reading, I did see that Thoughts of a Football Trader wrote the following:
When we take our first steps into this minefield, each of us, without exception, blows a trading bank or ten. When we do so, we are crushed, and for a brief period chastise ourselves for making whatever error created the loss. But something inherent within us accepts that this loss, the others before and those that may come are the very lessons we need. So, we heed them, we reload the bank and begin again.
It's simply not true that "each of us, without exception, blows a trading bank or ten". My trading bank deposited in 2004 was £98.50 (after fees were deducted) and that remains the only deposit I have ever made. I believe the low was around £21.40 but blowing the bank was never an option for me and had it happened, I don't think I would have accepted the loss and re-loaded. Sometimes you need to accept that you simply don't have an edge and stop throwing good money after bad.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Revenge And Road Warriors

Fizzer emailed some thoughts on baseball, and on Barrie's 'revenge' system mentioned in this Revealing post. He writes:

Always enjoy seeing a new post appear on your blog, especially when it's about baseball.

Just a comment though about Baseball teams seeking revenge as suggested by Barrie. I don't really believe in that for Baseball. I can see that happens in some sports, and particularly in sports with a high level of energy and a heavy schedule such as NBA and NHL when teams have to pick and choose a bit where they put their effort in.

In baseball, however, it's a team game built around individual performance. Each at bat and each pitch are more subject to random variability than they are about motivation and revenge. I'd say every baseball player is trying to maximise their 'value' whether that's perceived as Home Runs, OBP, Steals, Strikeouts, WHIP etc every time they are at the plate or on the mound.

The value we are getting is not in spotting a revenge motive but in identifying when the market is over reacting to recent results - like the SG3 method - giving us value in the price versus the team's underlying ability.
Fizzer knows his baseball, and his comments make a lot of sense as usual.

At the risk of upsetting Fizzer, I turn now to the NBA where the BLUnders four year run of success is very much on the line with less than a month of the regular season remaining. Exactly 100 selections are currently split 49-49 with two pushes. There's a second system that I play alongside the Unders, which although overall is a losing system on its own, tends to win more often when the BLUnder selection loses. Not exactly Parrondo's Paradox, but something of a hedge with some additional churn value. The two bets combined are right now:
There's another selection tonight, but confidence is low since the game involves the Golden State Warriors whose Stephen Curry is hitting three-pointers like no one has ever done before. The previous season record was the one he set last season of 285, but this season he is on 325 with 16 games remaining. Apparently he has hit 77 consecutive three pointers in practice this season! 

Overall this season, Unders on Warriors BLUnders games have gone 11-15, but they are currently on a run of five consecutive Overs following their 17 point loss at the Lakers after starting as 17 point favourites on March 6th. Some of you may have noticed that the Away selections are an improvement on the basic BLUnders system, but it's an even better bet when it's the Warriors who are away this season. 

Monday, 14 March 2016


Barrie sent me an email with details of another baseball system. He wrote:

...Also here is another one which again I can't support with stats, perhaps you can?
Again it concerns losing home teams but this time teams that have been embarrassed by a defeat by three or more runs and are playing the same team still at home in the next game, the theory is they will seek revenge and so should be backed but avoid weak teams by only betting if they are favourites. This is claimed to have shown a profit on both the money line and the run line for the last two seasons, your view would be appreciated and whether you put this on your blog for your other reader is up to you, I'm not sure systems being published makes much difference, maybe punters don't have the resolve to stick with it!.
I did take a look at the numbers on this, and whoever is claiming "to have shown a profit on both the money line and the run line for the last two seasons" is indeed absolutely correct. The 2014 and 2015 seasons would have made a total profit (Straight Up and Run Line) of exactly 110 points from 1,150 bets, an ROI% of 9.57%, which is very impressive.
No one should get too carried away over a couple of seasons though, and if we go back three seasons the profits and ROI% drop to 44.19 points and 2.65% respectively.

Last four seasons, and we're down to 4.56 points and an ROI% of 0.002%. Last five and we're in the red, so the likelihood is that this system has just been lucky of late.

I went back 10 years (actually 9 on the Run Line, as those stats for 2006 aren't available), and here are the numbers in full:
Playing the Run Line was more profitable than the Money Line in 7 of the 9 seasons, and that ROI% of 2.45% is quite respectable from 2,632 bets.

Anyway, thanks Barrie for the input, and the logical constraint to improve the SG3 system has been sent as requested.

A couple of spin-off thoughts from this post, the first being Barrie's suggestion that "I'm not sure systems being published makes much difference, maybe punters don't have the resolve to stick with it!". I tend to agree with this thinking. There are certainly some disciplined individuals around who do their research and eke out slow but steady profits in a rather boring manner, but most people are looking to get rich quick from gambling, and it doesn't usually work that way.

The Secret Betting Club's Peter Ling sent out an email the other day which contained this paragraph:
It’s fair to say the record is OK with only a 5.2% ROI and 156% ROC (AKA betting bank growth) over 2,400 bets. Certainly it isn’t the flashiest of services, yet does appeal to some due to the steady profits made, consistency and professionalism.
OK?  "Does appeal to some"? Good god people, is it just me who thinks that an ROI% of 5.2% over 2,400 bets is a little bit more than OK? If those returns are actually attainable, that is quite astonishing.

That the sport in question is horse racing just makes such numbers even more incredible, but it's that the service is described in such negative terms that I find so revealing.

This idea that betting is about being 'flashy' is surely one big reason why sports betting is still very much the bastard child of financial betting - I mean investing.

Daily25's Steve is in his sixth year of investing and sports, and his numbers (taken from his blog) are currently:
1.58% is fairly close to the current 1.71% I have for my Systematic bets, but I'd be happy with 1.58% after five years with them!

My old friend James had an interesting observation somewhat related to the topic of publishing systems on his blog last week. In his "Do Something Weird To Win A Bet" post, he wrote:
If you share ideas then those ideas will lose their value through being arbitraged away. By that I mean any strategy that has a positive edge will see that edge lost as money, from other traders with the same idea, moves the price to where there is no edge.
After many years of profitability, that may finally have happened to the Bundeslayga selections, which with just eight rounds remaining, this weekend dipped into the red after all four lay selections won.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Home Improvement

Congratulations to Fizzer555 for being the first to take the "Home Improvement" project one step further - the 'Shorties' clue in the post just made it too easy:  

When the team is at Home...
Even though the wins now exceed the losses, the system is still not quite profitable (-6.76 points, ROI -0.8%), but was a winner in both 2014 and 2015. Worth a closer look in my opinion. Thanks Baz.

If you select only Home Favourites that helps further. I guess if a team is being made fav after two losses at home to the same opponent then you are picking up on teams with more ability and filtering out the weaker teams.
Yes, the Home and Favourite qualifiers make a huge difference to Baz's basic idea. Here's the ten year record:
Just two losing seasons in the past ten years, and only one (2013) that would have hurt, this is worthy of inclusion in the Cassini Portfolio. It's another very manageable, quick and simple strategy that will generate around 100 bets on the season, approximately one every couple of days (it's a long season).

Now I just need a catchy name, to thank Baz and Fizzer555, and hope that anyone reading this forgets all about it and doesn't cause the prices to crash! It's again worth noting that the numbers above are all beatable on the exchanges or Pinnacle Sports but an ROI of 4.8% over ten years is very impressive.

There's one more logical constraint that historically would have increased the profits to 64.89 points from 537 bets, an ROI% of 8.3%. Baz / Fizzer: email me if you can't figure it out.

With many baseball series actually comprised of four games, I did look at the same strategy for teams losing the first three games. It's a rarer occurrence of course, and 93 bets over 10 seasons isn't much to get excited about, and neither is the loss of 15.48 points.