Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Drawing Fire

As I mentioned on Saturday, quite independently, both Peter Nordsted and myself have arrived at a similar system based on backing the draw. Whereas Peter picks three matches every weekend from the Premier League, I am somewhat less restricted, looking for value draws across the top five leagues and with no target number of selections. Pete's system gave him a healthy profit last season, with an impressive ROI of 26.3%, and despite being ahead on this season so far, he has apparently come in for a fair amount of criticism.

Obviously I realise that anybody putting themselves up is going to get shot down but I wasn’t prepared for the comments I received shortly after landing a treble. I was being called a con artist. Lucky only because I had the treble and even claiming the method I was using to make my selections was wrong.

It seems to me that there are just people out there who for whatever reason just take great delight in critiscising every movement. I could understand all of this if I was losing money hand over fist but to be showing a nice profit and still to be criticized is bizarre.

However I will carry on giving my selections once a week and am open to any criticism just please come up with a viable alternative or argument as to why what I am suggesting is wrong.
Now admittedly, Pete is trying to drum up business for his subscription service, and indeed anyone who airs their thoughts and ideas in public is fair game for criticism, but there does seem to be a number of people who are far happier to criticise and find fault, than to offer up their own ideas and suggestions.

Take this comment as an example from the draw post:
As far as I can tell, both yours and PN's method of choosing draws simply involves finding two vaguely similarly matched teams and betting the draw at any price? You say your system is good at finding value on the draws - but what are you defining as value? You simply appear to bet them whatever the price when they meet your loose criteria.
I haven't compared my draw selections with Peter's other than for last weekend, but it would hardly be a surprise if the majority of draws came from matches "involving two vaguely similarly matched teams". That statement in itself is too simplistic, certainly vague, and not even accurate. A team's recent form has to be a factor, as does it's home or away record. For example, are Birmingham City and Liverpool "vaguely similarly matched teams"? Most people would probably say not, (although since all matches used are league matches, arguably ALL matches involve two 'vaguely similarly matched teams') but Liverpool's poor form, and Birmingham with home advantage made the draw, to my mind at least, a value bet at 3.35 a couple of Sundays ago.

Was this a value price? We can never know for sure. The match will not be played over and over and enable us to determine more precise probabilities, but what we can do is look at the bottom line after a period of time, and if we are ahead, we can be confident that the selections are value, and if we are in the red, we are not finding value.

As for 'loose criteria', the rules for me are actually extremely tight. A draw is predicted when the Elo ratings for both teams stay closer to their pre-match values if the match is a draw, than they would after any other result.

Some draw predictions are 'stronger' than others, but all are profitable, at least for now.

There does seem to be an abundance of draws in the EPL this coming weekend, the strongest being the early game between Wigan Athletic and Wolverhampton Wanderers and the London derby between West Ham United and Fulham.


Anonymous said...

"it would hardly be a surprise if the majority of draws came from matches "involving two vaguely similarly matched teams"."

Of course it wouldn't. But that's irrelevant. You are trying to spot value, not predict results - or you should be anyway.

Your method of selecting draws is never going to select a draw in a "mismatch" or anything approaching a mismatch. Do you not think it's actually more likely there may be value on the draw in one of these mismatches than all these, on paper, closer games?

At present, you are saying that if you end up ahead after "a period of time" you have been finding value. Fair comment, if the period is a long old time of course.

But you need to put your own price to these draws. If there has been value on these selections over this long period of time then you can be (fairly) sure the market will be, and has been, reacting.

So, when you reassess even further down the line you may see you're not making money. But at what stage should you have stopped? You won't know because you're not pricing it up yourself, you're merely betting at any price and assuming the market is wrong.

You should know your own price for every bet you place. And I don't believe you do.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cassini, I wondered if you would be interested in exchanging blog links? I've already added you.


Very good blog by the way!

Ben - Sports Trading Life said...

Hey Cassini,

Perhaps you should look at the number of draws per season to find out what the actual real value odds should be on the draw and then make a conclusion from that?

Also, would you like to exchange links, i have added you to my blog today.

Mine is..
Sports Trading Life