Tuesday, 28 April 2015


With a full round of La Liga matches in midweek, and a few more in the EPL, Serie A and Ligue 1, my focus has been on updating the spreadsheet and getting the selections sent out rather than a full write up on the FTL.

I'll do that tomorrow, but one amazing coincidence happened which I shall now bore you with. Having mistakenly thought that Randolph was a no-show for the final, (Randolph and Mortimer have the same owner), Randolph in fact had 8 entries, with Gecko sending in 23. It looked pretty close as the results came in, but when the official numbers were added up, Randolph and Gecko had both made a profit of exactly 2.13 points. Quite incredible. They replay next weekend.

Here are the entries in profit, with a write-up tomorrow:
I also made an error in judgement by publishing a comment (now removed) without reading it carefully. Lazy Trader wrote:
Please take down Jeremie's advert, enough people get scammed without you giving them a leg up
The comment in question was from a Jeremie Outmezguine who said...
Courtsiding is a big advantage for scalping. I do it from time to time at tennis. You can offer lay bets and cancel them when the point or the service is not going in your way. You don't need real value to be successful.
I manage wallets for customers. If somebody is interested, he/she can contact me at xxxxxxxx@gmail.com. I also have a facebook side.
P.S. Nice blog!
I'm not even sure what a "wallet manager" does, but a quick search reveals that this French tennis trader has been posting similar comments a lot in recent days. e.g.
I am a betfair trader from Paris. Mainly I work on tennis and horse markets. I manage some wallets for customers. If you are interested you can contact me at xxxxxxxxx@gmail.com.
Regards, Jerry
Be warned - not that any readers would be stupid enough to investigate I'm sure. The dead give-away is the suggestion that:
You don't need real value to be successful...
If anyone has any more information on this character, let me know.  

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Ordinary Man

On the topic of BBC's coverage of court-siding, The Fear wrote of the Betfair Forum:

I didn't think the programme acted as much of a selling point for Betfair. It all seemed a bit like the ordinary man on the street has no chance against people live at the event with automated systems. Steer clear. Disappointing they choose not to have a spokesman give an alternative view, because there must be people on here who have won a lot of money without resorting to fast pix and what an advert for Betfair that would be.
I fear The Fear is deluding himself if he believes the ordinary man in his flat does have a realistic chance of long-term success competing against others with automated systems and live data.

As I pointed out on the thread:
How could he? Any time he gets matched, it is at a price others with more information know is poor value. It's possible that the court-sider is stupid and doesn't know how to use his advantage, and this may have been true in the past, but today these groups are all a lot more efficient.
DStyle (a former commenter here) suggested that:
being first is just one part of in play betting.
but I fear he too is not thinking this through. What they are suggesting just doesn't make sense if we assume the court-siding operation knows what they are doing (and it seems reasonable to assume they do, or they will soon be out of business) and are able to accurately price an in-play event.

To make money from trading long-term, you need to be able to get matched at a price greater than the true price - i.e you need value on your side. When several people are ahead of you on game state information, why would there be any value for you to pick up? In an inefficient market, this may be possible, but the presence of organised, professional court-sider groups, means that such markets are now very efficient.

This is not to say that a skilled (knowledgeable) trader can't get close to value during breaks in games, but to do so does mean that they need to be as good at identifying value as the court-sider people, and since they are doing this full-time and will see more live than the man in his flat can see on TV, the probability of that seems somewhat unlikely.

If anyone thinks that a few seconds disadvantage can be easily overcome, the point may be easier understood by thinking of the delay as minutes rather than seconds. Value doesn't wait around for long - it gets snapped up by the first person with funds available to recognise it.

Being first may be "just one part of in-play betting", but it's a very big part. Overcoming such a disadvantage seems as likely as dropping a £20 note at the bus stop on your way to work, and it still being there for you to pick up on your way home from work later that day.

Short-term, of course it is possible to win without value, but over the long-term it is not.

Erskine Cup Final 'Half'-Time Update

The Erskine Cup Final this weekend is pretty close going into the last day (today) with the two entrants taking different approaches. It's not often that a cup finalist fails to show up, but Randolph took that approach, presumably hoping that in-form Gecko's winning run will come to an abrupt end, while the latter has 23 entries this weekend. After Saturday and 18 bets, Gecko looks to be provisionally close to break even, which means the (virtual) Cup (and a very real £150) will be decided by his remaining five selections (with current prices):
Arsenal v Chelsea DRAW (3.26)
Atalanta v Empoli HOME (2.54)
Parma v Palermo DRAW (3.41)
Groningen v Feyenoord HOME (4.66)
Zwolle v Ajax DRAW (4.76)
Gecko is, of course, going for the Double, which would be quite an impressive feat, and he is actually winning the final monthly competition of the season as well, just to rub it in.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

FTL Update 22.April

Not much interest in the handful of midweek matches - all those in action are below, along with the leaders.

BettingTools.co.uk struggled again, and slip to third in the table after losing 6.00 points, while Mortimer and TFA_Raz both had small losses. All the Bounty Boys were idle.

On an old, but still ongoing, topic, I see the BBC has an article on court-siding, and Sporting Data's Daniel Dobson specifically.

Former Betfair Senior Product Manager Steve High is also featured:
This has led many other syndicates to employ courtsiders. Steve High says he has been told reliably that 75 people were at last year's Wimbledon final, "sending information back or betting on their own".
Remember that, next time you think you have an edge trading tennis in-play, and be aware that court-siders are now present at more events than tennis.  

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Pitch, Click, Strike

One of my better baseball photographs, with a 90+mph fastball captured between batter and catcher.

Something I hadn't noticed before, because you can only see it from a certain angle, is the close relationship between the catcher and the plate umpire, who actually uses the former's shoulder to balance himself as he calls the balls and strikes.

FTL Update 20.April

Rounding the final turn of this season long marathon now, and sprinting clear of the field is Australia's Gecko who added another 8.02 points to his total at the weekend and now leads second placed BettingTools.co.uk by more than 24 points after the latter's 13.42 point loss at the weekend. Quite a turnaround for Gecko in the last two months, picking up 48.63 points since mid-February.

Overall the total loss was a modest 5.53 points. TFA Graeme was the big winner of the round, with his Bounty Draw entry making 7.02 points and importantly for him three places, while his European division fared almost as well making 5.71 points and while not moving him up any places, the gap between 32nd and 33rd (last) increases to close to 30 points with Sjosta dropping another 3.25 points.

First and last places look set, but there's still plenty to play for. Here are the fifteen entries currently in profit:

Jamie A was another big winner, picking up 6.21 points, and in a poor round for the leaders, XX Draws was the only other entry in profit by a meagre 1.54 points. Mortimer dropped 2.05 points, Bounty Boy Football Elite 2.00 points (one place), and there were smaller losses for XX Unders (-1.57), OverGoalify (-1.00), Bundeslyaga (-0.74) and Fairfranco (-0.57).

The group down by less than ten points, and who also happen to be currently in line for at least one bounty payment, are:
Skeeve is a Bounty Boy himself, and dropped 1.12 points and out of the green, while Fulltimebettingblog lost 3.24 points, Draw Picks made 0.22 points which brings us to those down by more than ten points and currently looking at leaving empty handed, although three have picked up Erskine Cup money (Talkies Tips / @ValueBankFooty) or a monthly prize (Rubicon) along the way. As it stands, 23 of the 33 entrants will receive some money from this venture.
Drawmaster recovered 2.41 points and Cassini Value 0.42 points. Further (very small) losses were incurred by TFA_Raz (-0.20) and Talkies Tips (-0.60), but Bounty Boy Football Investor dropped 7.32 points and five places. I refunded the previous week's losses because, as Stewboss pointed out, the selections had not been entered by him that week and it is not fair to include them. The Bounty Boys portfolio and current liabilities are shown below:
Leaders in the monthly (April / May) competition are:
Not too much FTL eligible action in midweek, but there are a few so there will be a midweek update. 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

NBA Play-Offs 2015

The NBA play-offs begin today, with "my" long-time favourite NBA team finishing the season with the best record (67:15) but with 'only' a 29.4% implied probability of winning the title.

Since 1984, when the NBA expanded to a 16-team play-off system, 14 best regular season teams have gone on to win, i.e. 45%. The Golden State Warriors are also a better than average best team, and of the nine teams finishing with a record of between 65 and 69 wins, seven have gone on to win it all.

I suspect the relatively easy route to the final for LeBron James and his Cavaliers in the weaker Eastern Conference is a factor, as is the late season form of the current champion San Antonio Spurs - 11 consecutive wins before dropping the final (meaningless) game of the season. The Spurs may also have a psychological edge having won in Oakland and taking the season series 2-1. San Antonio also has the edge on experience,  although arguably their most valuable player is the young Kawhi Leonard. I think there is value on San Antionio right now - I have them at 1.47 to beat the Los Angeles Clippers in the First Round and 1.6+ is available, or you can back them to win the Championship with a view to trading out later of course.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

FTL Update 15.April

A fairly quiet midweek, but the losses took the overall season total below the -200 point level. This total does include the weekend results from Football Investor and TFA Draws which were included belatedly after Graeme had forwarded them on. Why they both were lost is a mystery for now, but as services with clients I have no doubt as to the veracity of the selections.

So to midweek, and most of the action was in the bottom half of the table. The big losers contributing to a loss on the round of 2.94 points were Sjosta who lost 11.00 points, @ValueBankFooty who lost 8.50 points and TFA_Raz who lost 7.00 points.

Those three are having a bad month:
Other losers were Drawmaster (-2.63) and Talkies Tips (-2.92) who included his favourite team along with some words of advice:
 Portsmouth (No really, stop laughing)
They lost unfortunately, and while it is funny watching someone fall over, it's not quite so funny when they fall into the path of a train, lose both legs, and are on life-support in a financially induced coma with barely a pulse. There's always next season, although Talky will probably be watching Premier League football at local rivals AFC Bournemouth by then. I have fond memories of trips to Dean Court, although since the last one involved the police and subsequent (mistaken identity I might add) ejections and arrests, I shall say no more.
Why Portsmouth are absent that list, I've no idea.

At the top end of the table, there were no changes in position as BettingTools.co.uk dropped 0.63 points and Mortimer 0.91 points. BettingTools was on the wrong end of Burton Albion's 99th minute equaliser v Carlisle United.

Midweek rounds are statistically proven ;) to be tougher than weekend, and conclusive proof was provided by the fact that only two entries were profitable - Mountain Mouse added 2.22 points and keeping with the 2s moved up 2 places, while TFA Draws made 1.43 points but remains in 21st place.

The table in full is:
At -78.85, this month is already the worst of the season, and we're only half-way through.

August thru December +48.98; January on -259.85

Statistical proof ;) that it is easier to beat the market in the first half of the season than the second, although Skeeve would probably disagree!

The April/May monthly leaders (i.e. the handful in profit) includes thee of the Bounty Boys:

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Hollymeoak Road

Some of my Cassini ancestors hail from North London. My grandfather lived in Romilly Road in Finsbury Park, not too far from Highbury, and was a lifelong Arsenal fan, always referring to them as "The" Arsenal as they were known for a time.  Perhaps Cass is an anglicised version of Cassini? I came across the above "Letter to the Editor" while doing some research, and another coincidence is that my grandfather later lived in a road called Hollymeoak Road! Very similar - life is full of strange coincidences.

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