Thursday, 28 February 2013

What A Joke

No doubt many potential visitors yesterday were put off, quite reasonably, by the malware warning resulting from my link to Daily25's site.



I have removed the link, and actually remember seeing this warning some time ago for this site. Thanks to Scott for bringing this to my attention. Hopefully we are good to go now.

A few positive comments or emails to report, names concealed on the emails to protect the shy contributors:
Keep up the good work on the blog Cass, don't be disheartened by those trying to bring negativity into what has been a great read for me the last couple of years.

You have been very open, honest and transparent in all as far as I can see, particularly your draw selections and the friendly tipster table. I don't claim to have an edge at all in my selections - just a bit of fun to see how it ends up compared to the XXDraws at end of season.

Some people may see you having a big ego and putting people down - but these posts have been some of the most valuable - especially from a newbie perspective. As you are someone who is a pro it can come across as having a big ego - but i think it is more that you are more knowledgeable and it is to be commended that you have been so helpful to point out fallacies and untruths.

Those criticising are contributing nothing to the community - you are putting yourself out there. Some are probably jealous and want to see you fail like they probably do with their bets.

Your blog has helped guide me personally on the right path to seeking value bets and made my betting more enjoyable.

Cheers pal & all the best.
It occurred to me after my last post that the F for 'Friendly' should make it clear that the table isn't meant for anything too serious, but I guess not.

And there was this one:
Hi Cassini.

Hope you well. Love the blog.

A bit sad that you feel to keep on explaining that a lot of your comments are tongue in cheek. But hey its not your fault some people have had a sense of humour bypass so keep 'em coming.

Love the blog (not only for the humour) but for views on betting that are very similar to mine 'value value value'.

I was hopeless at it and never really understood how to gamble successfully. One day I picked up Joe Buchdahl's book Fixed Odds Sports Betting (have you read it?) and it changed everything.

Anyway, I've been doing some over/under 2.5 stuff lately and not really finding an edge so my ideas not really bearing fruit (I suspect as it has now become so popular the bookies are too well prepared in this market but I might be wrong) I came across an old post of yours http://green-all-over.blogspot.com/2011/12/simples.htmland was wandering where you went with this? Was it something you persevered with or did it lead down cul-de-sacs? (yes I am being a lazy bastard and taking the time to find out for myself).

Interested to hear how you found the ideas if you did persevere?

Keep up the good work on the blog you fine man and ignore the gobshites.
All very much appreciated, although I am not actually a pro. My trading and XX Draws are all done in my own time, although I can see why they could be mistaken for the work of a professional...

I can understand why some people might miss my subtle sense of humour and take me too seriously - their excuse being that they are not English, but it seems that some English people miss the joke too. Probably northerners [Joking] I'll try to make my jokes more obvious so that everyone can laugh together.

And no, I have not read Joe Buchdahl's book. Yet. But I've just ordered it, a little light reading over the Easter break perhaps.

I'd forgotten the Simples post, but a quick peek revealed that most of it was a tongue-in-cheek look at a Vincent's strategy. Unfortunately, by treating all games, or all opponents as the same, it was fundamentally flawed. Scoring one goal to home to Queens Park Rangers, Aston Villa and Reading is not the same as scoring one goal at home to Manchester United, Manchester City and Crystal Palace [Joking - the Palace bit. See, Palace are 'my' team, I mean I'm not the owner or anything, I just like them a lot, as a fan, but the joke, and it's a good one, so work with me here, the joke is that they are not yet in the same league (literally) as the two Manchester teams, so it's funny because Palace isn't the third team name you might be expecting to see listed there]. To get a meaningful goal expectation you have to drill a little deeper.

Of course not all emails are positive, and no guesses for who had this threat to make:
Cassini please refrain from your borderline libelous remarks about me.
"Borderline libellous!" Oh dear, someone is apparently unaware that under UK law "you can't defame nicknames when people don't know who they are".

How can the reputation of an anonymous person possibly be damaged by anything I might have written?

I shall defend myself vigorously and suggest that any damage to the reputation in question was self-inflicted with the claim that 50% edges are everywhere. The only damage was likely to have been to people's sides, splitting as they read this ridiculous claim. [Joking - it's an English expression]

UK libel law also looks "to consider whether the words complained of were, even if strictly defamatory, more than a trivial attack which would not be taken seriously."

Seriously, someone needs to put on their big-boy pants and grow up. Jail time is looking unlikely.

I mention this, not to lower the tone, although it has, but to give an example of the kind of time-wasting nonsense I have to put up with, although it is all rather amusing.

Not quite so amusing was last night's Golden State Warriors performance at the Madison Square Garden - Stephen Curry played all 48 minutes, hit 11 three-pointers (out of 13 attempts) and scored 54 points (out of a team total of 105). But not quite enough to beat the New York Knicks who scored 109.

Curry is hot right now. He picked up three personal phals last night, and scored 38 on Tuesday in India-na. I'm here all week.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Fast-Break Opportunities

A friend of mine mentioned over dinner on Saturday night that the tone of this blog had recently turned rather negative. He reads the blog every couple of weeks in chunks, so any change in character is probably more obvious than to someone reading, or writing, on a daily (or close to) basis.

While I try to rise above negativity, it is all too easy to get sucked down at times, and in an effort to avoid this in future, my policy will be to ignore ALL negative, insulting, or repetitive comments. The nature of gambling means that there are a lot of bitter people trolling around wondering why it is always them or thinking that the rules of cricket should change because they have bet on a game, but while they are free to visit the blog (I can block IP addresses, but haven't needed to in several years) there's no need for me to sink to their level.

So, in this new spirit, here are some positive, and quite generous if I do say so myself, thoughts on my favourite trading sport, basketball and the NBA.

I was writing an article earlier this week on the subject of statistics, specifically how some are worse than useless while others are invaluable, and was looking at fast-break points in basketball. I've written before how I like to trade on teams that can score a lot of points, or can give up a lot of points in a hurry, and the best team for scoring fast-break points so far this season is the Denver Nuggets. They were also top last season, and in fact since 2004, either the Denver Nuggets or the Golden State Warriors have topped this statistic, which is quite remarkable. Denver have had the same coach since the 2004-05 season (George Karl) and coaches tend not to change their playing style. Between 2004 and 2006 Denver led, then for five season 2006-11 Golden State Warriors were on top, (Don Nelson took over at the start of the 2005-06 season) and now the 'honours' have returned back to Detroit. As I wrote on the eve of last season:

One thing to be aware of is that the Warriors have a new coach this season, Mark Jackson, and the style of play may change slightly. Certainly in the days of Don Nelson, they were one of the best teams to trade, with their propensity for both giving up and scoring points in bunches.
For once, I was right. (The modesty is unlikely to last as long as the positivity). Golden State worked on tightening up their defence, traded Monta Ellis, and dropped to tenth place in this category. What made the Warriors the perfect team for trading was that from 2005 to 2011, not only were they top for fast-break scoring, but they were also near top (or worst) at giving up most fast-break points. In 2006 they were 28th (of 30 teams), in 2007 26th, in 2008 27th, and for three seasons from 2009 to 2011 were dead last.

They improved hugely last season to 23rd, and this season are even better at 20th and well positioned for a play-off spot. For now, the fun on trading Warriors games has calmed a little, but this strategy still offers opportunities. Back to this season, and I mentioned Denver were the top fast-break scoring team. Right now, the Los Angeles Lakers are the team conceding most fast-break points, and the two met on Monday night. The line was set fairly high at 217.5, but at 2.12 the Overs was worth a bet in my opinion. The logic is that the line is set by people who are usually not too far off, but the general public simply see a line that looks too high without necessarily looking at relevant statistics and push the Unders price too low. Anyway, take it or leave it, but over the last few years, this is a useful statistic.

With the Bologna v Fiorentina completed last night after a two day delay due to snow, the weekend's results are all in. Significant movers were Talkbet (+5 places), while Premier Betting and Football Elite both went up 4 spots. For the XX Draws, the Classic selections had just one winner from eight selections (although the much discussed Norwich City v Everton game was very unlucky, and a couple of other games were drawn as late as the 80th minute). The Extended selections fared better, with four winning draws from eight selections and the Bundesliga had one draw from two selections.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Quincy ME?

I left a comment over at Daily25s blog [link removed due to malware warning] on the subject of the XX Draws, commission and the importance of getting top prices. It went on a little longer than I was planning, and became worthy, in my opinion, of a blog post (with one or two additions here):

Hi Steve - Danny seems to be under the impression [commission on XX selections not included in FTL table] that this is all something of a revelation, which is surprising as he claims to have read the prospectus - which is really just a fancy name for an FAQ. I state quite clearly in there that:

The prices quoted will be those that should be available on the Betting Exchanges. If the draw price is 3.45 to Back and 3.5 to Lay at the time I send out the selections, I will suggest 3.5. This means that I suggest placing a bet asking for 3.5 rather than taking the 3.45 that is available. The draw price seldom shortens significantly, and if your money is in place early enough, more often than not, you will be matched at your asking price. If other subscribers have acted on their e-mail ahead of you and driven the price down by a tick (.05), the draw is still value. At a strike rate of 32.4%, a price above 3.0 is still great value, but I would recommend asking for a price more often than you take one, because those .05s add up over a season and make a big difference.  For record keeping, I will use the price at which I am able to get matched, usually on Betfair. [Note: I need to update that part because I don't actually suggest a price, but leave it to the individual to get the best price for himself].

No secrets there. Commission, as are other costs, is an individual issue, I am on 50%, others are on 60%, some may be at zero or close to it, and (again from the prospectus) "At least one subscriber uses the XX Draws to mitigate the Betfair Premium Charge" as well as myself. And those 0.5s really do make a big difference. I used to add a disclaimer to the FTL table about commission and may well include it again some new readers don't take the time to read all the posts it seems.

The FTL table also doesn't account for the cost of the professional services, and I'm surprised no one has mentioned that. The answer is the same though - the cost is not the same for all subscribers.

The draw prices I record are all those at which I am matched - I actually took a screenshot of the 3.6 Norwich City v Everton game mentioned above on Saturday (desperately unlucky by the way) but people tend to ignore evidence when it doesn't suit them. Think of anyone who is religious!

If I am getting 3.6 and recording that price, then clearly there will be a big difference over a season if someone else is taking 3.4.

What is indisputable is that so far this season, I have sent out a total of  358 selections, of which 111 were winners (31%) - implied odds 3.23 by my calculations. That is all I sell my selections on - their record over four seasons.

The latest numbers, up to last weekend (this weekend's numbers are not yet updated, but six winners from 17 will only improve the overall numbers slightly) are:


This season, across the top five leagues, 25.8% of matches have ended as draws (322 from 1246), an implied price of 3.87.

As I mentioned earlier, I am not a tipster. The reason I sell my selections is that it is a lot of work to generate the selections each week, and sharing with others doesn't hurt me. My selections are not price sensitive in the same way that a 20-1 horse tip might be. I believe they have an edge, proven over four seasons, but concede that the edge is worth more to Premium Charge payers than non-PC payers. If anyone feels the edge is too tight and doesn't think they are value, then that's absolutely fine - don't subscribe.

The FTL table is supposed to be a bit of fun, to allow anyone who wants to put selections up and I accept the prices they often give me without question. Who knows if they are actually attainable? Several don't even give me a bookmaker name, and Ian Erskine's lay the draw selections are literally priceless. All it is intended to do is give a broad comparison between different selections and individuals. I have never suggested that it should be used for any serious betting.

All in all, while it's not unexpected, it's quite disappointing to see how much negativity there is in the betting world. It's something that Ian Erskine has written about before, and while it is always good to maintain a healthy dose of skepticism, I think when someone has been around for as long as Ian and myself have been, it's not unreasonable to assume that the longevity is because we have been relatively successful.

One final comment on the XX Draws Service - and again to quote from the prospectus - "I’m not doing this for the money, and losses will hurt me more than any subscribers. Quite honestly, I enjoy the challenge of finding value in the betting markets. Football is not an easy sport to make money from. It’s hugely popular, and the statistics are studied by millions. Finding value is not easy, but I believe that I have found an edge with these selections, at least for the time being. Backing the draw is unfashionable, but that is exactly why there is value. No one watches a game cheering for the draw, so it is under bet. I love goalless matches – I call them the ‘perfect’ draw. The supposed success of “Lay The Draw” as a system also works in our favour. Plus, in a match where the two teams are equally fancied, money comes in on both teams, yet while logic should mean that the draw price shortens, it rarely drops below 3.15 (one end of season match in 2011 was priced at 3.05 in France). If the price is under 3.0 as is sometimes the case in Serie A towards the end of the season, I ignore these. By offering these selections, I am not hurting myself. As mentioned, the draw price is very robust, and because the ratings are mine, my bets will be first in the queue anyway!"

Average Guy very kindly drew my attention to a thread in my honour, initiated by old friend WhyAlwaysMe. A couple of his comments went unpublished because they were either insulting, "so wiseguy"... negative or asked a previously answered question, (when people don't actually read your reply, it gets a little tiresome). The negativity I mentioned earlier is there in the thread of course, as well as some misinformation. (Spelling mistakes and apostrophe catastrophes left untouched). Here are a few selected highlights and my response:
...is offering a tipping service whereby members pay a £149 fee in return for Cassini's selection's, which are mainly draws and various Unders markets on socer matches.
Fact (from prospectus):  As the name implies, the XX Draw Selections are matches where my ratings suggest that the draw price is overpriced, and thus value. The draw. Backing unders should also be profitable, but this is a draw service and how you play the selections is up to subscribers and their tolerance for risk. As I say in the prospectus, quite clearly: "Risk-tolerant investors can thus choose to back the draw, while more risk-averse investors can back the Under 2.5 goals only, or blend the two investments."

Also, small correction - most subscribers paid a bargain £99 - returning subscribers from 2011-12 got this rate, as did early-birds subscribing before July if I remember rightly.
He is claiming to have a big edge of 5-6% on the draw after the comm and he provides about 300 selection's per season.
Fact: 359 selections so far this season, and nowhere in the prospectus do I claim to have a 5-6% edge on the draw after commission (or before commission for that matter).

[Funny that the 'big edge of 5-6%' was written by the man claiming that it "is possible and safer to identify winners at 3.0 that have a ‘true’ price of 2.0, (a 50% edge), than it is to identify draws at a smaller edge." 50% is a big edge, but even he has backed down from that now.]

I put in the historical record of these selections and say: I am confident that these selections will remain profitable in the long-term, but can give no guarantee that any given weekend, or even given month, will be profitable. The draw prices on these selections typically have plenty of value built in, so if kick-off approaches and you are not yet matched, then taking the available price is still value. The number of selections will vary. Some weeks there may be none. The number of selections will be determined solely by the numbers. I do not feel obliged to offer a selection if there are none, nor will I cap the number of selections on any weekend. Such artificial restrictions make no sense. 

Using The Selections


How you use these selections is up to you. I usually back these selections as single bets, but I can see the appeal of accumulators. Some people may choose to trade out after a certain time, while others may stay in for the full 90+ minutes. Some may want to take me on, and oppose the selections. That’s fine too. These are simply selections that the numbers suggest offer big value on the draw. Unlike most services, I do not analyse the games in great detail and form a subjective opinion. I simply enter in the teams, and the spreadsheet spits out the numbers. If there has been some major news leading up to the game that makes you uncomfortable backing the draw, I won’t be offended. This may be the case towards the end of the season, where one team might have nothing to play for, the other team everything to play for, or at the start of a season where you may feel, not unreasonably, that form from May might not necessarily carry through to August (especially if there’s a new manager in place or team line-ups are dramatically different). 


All pretty open, honest and realistic, if I do say so myself. WhyAlwaysMe thinks he's onto something new, writing in a comment that "Anichebe failed a fitness test in the morning, Everton drifted and the draw came in." See what I wrote above. These things will happen.
An Obviously Faked Screenshot
Those of you who have known me for a while, will know that I don't take myself too seriously, and like to play the 'arrogant bastard' card. It's too bad that despite my confessing this from time to time, people continue to take me way too seriously. Just recently there was the:

which drew this response:
The highlighted part in the second post shows what I did not like about his blog, and it obviously has not changed since I was last time there...
and this:
I don't like his musings either! I also noticed the comment Wednesday pointed out and am of the same opinion as him. Cassini comes across as one of those arrogant, whining Americans that litter yank tv programs and is the reason I don't watch anything American, apart from Quincy! I don't know if Cassini is American, but that's how he comes across to me!
Great stuff, although I'm really surprised that anyone really takes my jesting seriously. Lighten up boys.


I saw that comment and thought the same. What a knob he is!
Perhaps Montenegrins don't quite get the English (or is that American?) sense of humour (or is that humor?) Oh dear.  

Then there was this:
My usual thought when it comes to paid tipping services is: if he indeed made as much money from betting/trading as he claims, he wouldn't need to sell his service.
With paid service, he has to maintain it, to keep database of users, to prepare mails with selections, to cope with users' questions and complaints, and all that for 149 GBP, while he claimed to be making thousands off the trading. Why not simply continue with trading, if it's so successfull, without all that hassle that tipping service requires?
As I said earlier, the time consuming part is something I do for myself anyway. As for 'needing' to sell anything, no I don't need to at all. I must have the best subscribers in the world because questions and complaints are next to non-existent. The occasional request for a second email is about it. There's no hassle. Sending out an email usually once a week in no way conflicts with my trading, which in no way conflicts with my day job, and in between I find time to write the occasional blog post.

Finally, someone (Articinvest) who speaks some sense, and can see it all for what it really is:
Too much skepticism here imo. I’m a keen reader of Cassinis posts. I think he is brilliant and he has for sure given me ideas that have proven themselves as +EV after I have worked on them.
Personally I have both bought and sold picks and information. I don’t really understand the standard phrase “why don’t the people selling picks keep the value for themselves?”
The markets are bigger and the customers a brighter. Nowadays I doubt you will have an easy task selling picks for the 1x2 marked. I actually ended up selling only AH picks in the same day marked. I’m nowhere near having the ability to keep all the value for myself because on these picks you can get on almost as much as you want.
So why not selling? I can increase my bank/pay my mortgage/travel without it costing me an extra effort. It takes me 3-4 minutes 2-3 days a week. Its 6-12 minutes weekly and in a good season like 2011 it gave my about 1/3 of the income from my day job (which is almost 40 hours a week). The hard work is already done when I bet the selections myself.
I guess I have bought 4-5 tips services over the last 10 years and 2-3 information services. All but one of the tips services have been really good investments. The information services have made me cut learning times by months if not years.

I’m glad such services exist.
Brilliant. Did you see that? Actually brilliant and modest, but... - oh hold on, people might take me seriously.

While we are being serious, which I am on occasion, as Articinvest says, if you read my blog you will pick up ideas that will prove themselves, and it is for this purpose that I started the blog - not to keep addressing the same silly questions from people who either can't read or can't understand the points people are making. There's no hidden agenda on this blog. After almost five years that should obvious. I don't need to blog, I don't need to sell any selections, and I don't need to bet on sports - it's all a hobby.

Whether or not you believe screenshots are faked or that I would spend five years making up stories is up to you, I really don't care. Odwyer, ever the idiot, writes:
At the end of the day, we'll never see any screen-shots from you will we?! Nothing really to back up what you say. And even if you did, it would probably be a one-off to suit you. It's just all talk on your part.
Really John? Have you read this blog? One can't win, as someone else writes (badly):
Oh, yes, and let me not forget his constant aftereventing about great wins, and ocassionally loses here and there, and, of course, regular reports about amount of PC he paid; everything followed by screenshots...
Hard to please everyone it seems. Anyway, enough time has been spent on this. If someone wishes to link this post to the thread, I would appreciate it. I don't use the Geek's Toy or the forum there, but it is clearly frequented by people far more successful than I could ever hope to be. They all know so much apparently and yet isn't it strange how they all flock to the world's number one sports betting blog? I am expecting 1,000 hits today. Let's go. 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Apocalypse Soon

There was a suggestion left here that:

The Sultan's last couple of blog posts look like a sales pitch to try and get someone to invest in him,and I cant see anybody foolish enough as he has never even proved he is a long time winner.
The simple fact is if he was a winner he had all last season to compound some of his tennis winnings ready for this etc. etc.

The guy needs a reality check and he's already on the downward spiral by blaming the Odwyer syndrome.
A little harsh to compare the Sultan with Odwyer perhaps, and I'm sure the Sultan is smart enough to understand that outside funding is not the answer.

He is well aware of the additional stress that trading for others brings, writing:
I had been trading relatively stress-free for 9 months, yet that was changed instantly as soon as the pressure was turned up a notch. It wasn't that I was worried about losing the money because the deal was that I was not liable for any losses. In theory, that should've made trading easier and more relaxed (and that was indeed the case once I'd got a few wins on the board) but it was the strain of knowing that if I failed to make enough profit to impress the syndicate, I would be dropped and lose out on a fantastic opportunity, that was the real pressure.
And on the subject of performance anxiety back in February 2012, the Sultan wrote:
This 'performance anxiety' reached a peak at the time, exacerbated by the fact that I 'needed' the money but my bank size was tiny and money management poor. Today, I enjoy trading much more because I have a style of trading that suits me better and this twinned with much better bank management, no complete reliance on the income source and a risk-averse strategy, mean that I am able to trade without anxiety.
I guess somewhere between then and now came the 'complete reliance' on the income and thus the withdrawing of all the profits. To me, it seems that it is at that point that the problems began. Either expenses increased or wins decreased. As several, including myself, have said, the answer is simple - stop withdrawing all the profits, and let the bank build. 

Harry Haller wrote:
As other guy said, I really think you should try to leave a small amount of your earnings in the bank each week/month. Even a seemingly small amount like 100 will do I think, as compounding really is a powerful beast!
As someone who has made just the one deposit of £100 and didn't make his first withdrawal until over two years later when the bank was larger than would ever be needed in five figures, I can attest to the merits of leaving your bank alone.

No one in their right mind would hand over money to an unknown third-party to trade with. As others have said, the sports trading markets are not scalable for a start, and even if that extra capital could be used, some real evidence of likely profitability would be required. The plaintiff Odwyer cry of "I know I can do it" doesn't cut it when it comes to seeking investment, and while the Sultan doesn't do the P&L thing, one reason why his blog stands out, he did reveal that January's profit was "approximately £500".  Honesty, but hardly a sales pitch.

Speedwave, a name from the past, posted a rather bizarre comment over at the Sultan's blog:
You don't have the "devil" inside like Cassini and Mark Iverson have. You cannot make money by been honest and trying to find something logic in the market, every day you think you know what you have to do next time, but that day will never come. The only way to make money is to feed yourself with hate and attack, you have to be a snake in this, you have to wait for hours and do nothing, every day. It's a dark world, I admit it. There is no place for correct fair pattern here. Don't listen to anyone but yourself. Forget this world, forget all the ''friends'' you have here, forgot all the interviews you have made. They are humans. Did you get any real help from them but advices to keep trying ? What to try ? Your soul is pure, all those thoughts that keep coming over and over again are the ones you should follow. That day is close. May not be today but it's coming, the day when you shut down this blog and live a happy normal life you deserve it.
I'm not sure what most of that is about, to be honest, but apparently myself and Mark are possessed, filled with hate and poised to attack like snakes, while the Sultan's soul is pure. The end of the world is nigh. All very strange.

He's true that patience is key though, and if part of this refers to the unlikelihood that you can find an edge in such a well traded sport as tennis, well I tend to agree. But I'm not sure he actually said that.  

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Planning And Patience


The above screenshots are an example of what I was talking about earlier in the week when looking at draw prices. One selection this weekend was the Norwich City v Everton game, and you can see from the first screenshot that I wanted the 3.6. Very rarely do I take what is on offer. The extra ticks you can achieve by being organised and patient add up over time, so with the Back at 3.55 and the Lay at 3.6, with a couple of days before the event, there's no need to settle for .05 worse.

The fourth screenshot was taken shortly before kick-off, and in just a few hours between being matched at 3.6, the price was 3.4/3.45. The screenshot in the middle is from Peter Nordsted's Weekly Insider sent out at around 11am suggesting a price of 3.48 so the challenge of fairly recording prices is clear. In my records I record the 3.6 I was matched at, but is it fair to record Peter's Drawmaster selection at 3.48?

We both had the same selection, but time makes a difference. As mentioned previously, the robustness of the draw price means that it 'saw-blades' (final screenshot) rather than trends so that you don't see the wild swings from say 3.8 to 3.1 that WhyAlwaysMe was talking about last week.

Something else he mentioned was "why is commission not included in the FTL table?", a subject that was well covered a little over a year ago. It would make sense if everyone used Betfair and paid the same commission, but that is not the case. For anyone new to trading or betting, it would be well worth spending a few hours reading through this blog from the start. Not all 1,500 posts are brilliant, but enough are to make it a worthwhile exercise.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Sultan's Off Wins

My friend the Sultan sounds a little down right now. My Trading Solo post from the weekend covered the topic of whether you are better of trading for yourself or trading for others, and for me, it's a no-brainer. If you have an edge, use it for yourself, build up your bank, and your balance will at some point grow to more than you need for day-to-day trading. 

The Sultan writes that he is "treading water when I could be freestyling into the distance" but turning £20 into £40 is going as fast as turning £2,000 into £4,000. The famous Odwyer (" It's frustrating because I know I can make this pay big if I had some kind of stability, but I've not had that for a good year now") claimed that bank size was his edge, which showed the same lack of comprehension of value as WhyAlwaysMe has shown in more recent times. 

So why is The Sultan treading water? Trading is very much a mental game, and if the doubts are there, which seems to be the case, then that negativity will come to the surface.

As long-time readers will know, I think it's a terrible idea to do sports trading full-time. There are so many positives for trading as a part-time hobby while you work full-time and so many negatives against trading full-time. The Sultan himself is well aware of this, writing in 2011:
The one thing you cannot experience as a part-timer is the pressure of trading being your sole source of income. You may think you have felt pressure when losing or coming close to losing your whole bank but trust me, it pales into insignificance compared to the pressure a full-timer feels. You might be gutted at losing a bank you've been trading with but in the back of your mind, you know it's not the end of the world. You know you can always replace it when the next pay-cheque arrives or start saving up again and return in a few months for another shot. It doesn't usually affect your life that badly. If you lose your bank as a full-timer, you could be struggling to pay the bills, keep a roof over your head or even put food on the table. And as you have seen on this very blog, that pressure, that anxiety, that stress, can cause you to do things that perhaps you thought you had cut out of your trading long ago. You may have been raking it in as a part-timer but when things start to get tricky and it's your only source of income, will you still remain steadfast in your approach?
To trade optimally, the money needs to be irrelevant. Fund the bank with money you will never need and leave it alone. Now the Sultan writes:
I want to make some serious cash or I'm really not that bothered. I always thought that was going to happen one day and I'm almost certain that it would if I could only compound my profits. But that isn't going to happen this year and I don't know if I can continue treading water for another year, when I could be doing something else. Without investment, I'm stuck and although I've been doing well, everything I earn goes straight back out.
"Everything I earn goes straight back out!". That is not my definition of  "I've been doing well". That's my definition of 'keeping the wolves from the door'. And unfortunately those withdrawals do not offset the Premium Charge which is only a matter of time for most full-time traders. When you have a full-time job, you make enough to pay the bills, and probably have a little left over. When your full-time job is trading, there is no guarantee that you will even cover your bills. Again in 2011, the Sultan questioned his own decision to go pro:
I've made a lot of mistakes in my trading life but none of them were more damaging than my decision to go full-time too early. I wish I'd waited at least another year. I should have given it 2 full tennis seasons, if only to see how the whole tour works and how it affects you as a trader. I was fortunate in that I had some fairly large savings that I could dig into if it didn't work out as expected. I would urge anyone thinking of going full-time to have a big chunk saved up for emergencies. And that's just the start of what you'll need in preparation.
And as for the pressure of trading for your main income:
I always liken the move from part-time to full-time as similar to a penalty shoot-out. The best players will be slotting home penalties in training as if it's the easiest thing in the world. But when it comes to the real thing, in front of thousands of fans, maybe millions on TV and with the added pressure that you are one mistake away from being knocked out of a major tournament, the pressure plays games with your mind. All of a sudden, those 12 yards to goal seem like a mile, the posts have shrunk and the keeper has grown a metre. There is no way of preparing for that pressure with football and I don't think you can with trading either. Not unless you used your entire month's wages to trade with - now THAT would give you some idea!
For me, it seems there are so many opportunities to trade at nights and weekends that there is no need to give up a full-time job. You may miss a few events, but anything important and you can take the day off, or "work" from home that day. Most jobs have other benefits too, and you shouldn't underestimate the loss of future benefits and earnings, or the challenges of re-entering the full-time world after taking a break.

It's never pleasant losing a big wedge, but as the Sultan says, "in the back of your mind, you know it's not the end of the world." It's just a few points lost in a never-ending video game, and when you have a proven edge, the points will come back. 

I wish the Sultan the best of luck, (his blog is one of the best out there), but don't accept that outside funding is the answer. He has answered his own question really - he needs to keep more in the bank so that he can slowly build up his balance and stakes, and not take out everything he earns. Use some of those 'fairly large savings' perhaps to cover daily living expenses while the bank grows? If you get down to the point where the emergency fund of 3 months living expenses is reached, then if the bank hasn't grown by enough, it's time to take a fresh look and re-evaluate options. I can't imagine the pressure of trading in that situation - it must almost as bad as when the end of the month is coming. Final week of February starts today! 

Dunning-Kruger

WhyAlwaysMe doesn’t exactly sound like a name that someone full of confidence with all their ducks in a row would use, but I am pleased to see that he, admittedly self-reportedly, knows much more about betting than Derek McGovern. Why he continues to provide evidence in direct contrast to this claim is thus a little surprising.

For example, the idea that 50% edges are everywhere or that backing a team at 3.8 and fortuitously seeing it steam in to 3.1 means he had an edge!

The Dunning–Kruger effect in play perhaps? I have Al’s support on this, as he suggests:
Does that not mean backing a selection early and then hoping it steams [in] is just lucky and not getting value?
Indeed it is. As I pointed out, the steamer could just as easily be a drifter. You COULD be getting value with your back at 3.8, if for example you had the price at 3.1 at the time it was available at 3.8, but WAM had no idea of a ‘true’ price and it was his idea that he had an edge in such a scenario that was so amusing.

Al went on:
I’m confused now.
I thought if you identify value, whether it steams or not doesn’t really matter – as long as you have gained enough value to make it worthwhile, i.e. >10% etc.
This 10% figure that is being bandied about is probably my fault. Let me clarify that any edge is good, so long as it is positive, but that estimating ‘true’ prices can be tricky. By using 10% as a starting point, I have a little margin for error and it allows for commission or other charges.

Backing a ‘true’ 3.22 at 3.5 gives an 8.7% edge, but with a 5% commission for example, the edge reduces to 4.8%. If you can get 3.55, then your edges are 10.2% and 6.3% respectively. Banging my ‘why I love draws’ drum again for a minute, once established, the draw price rarely moves. You will see money matched mostly at say 3.5 and 3.55, and lesser amounts just outside these numbers, whereas to use WAM’s example of Huddersfield Town last weekend, they traded at between 3.8 and 3.1. In my experience, if you put a back in at that 3.55, so long as there’s not just five minutes to go before kick-off, you will get matched.

As for Al’s ‘enough value to make it worthwhile’ comment, if you generate enough bets, surely any positive return after expenses is worthwhile? I would not agree with the idea that you need >10% value to make it worthwhile. I simply like the >10% cushion on bets where the ‘true’ price is a little harder to calculate.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Wry? Always. Me

Why Always Me (henceforth WAM) came back with a couple of comments on my last post. They are rather lengthy, so I have broken them down (and corrected poor spelling for clarity) and added comments at each point.

Thanks for the reply Cassini, I did have a wry chuckle at your clever headline too!

I am an amusing man. People are always laughing at me.

OK first things first, you were correct to say my 33% to 50% example is totally unrealistic. Think I must have been using one of those 'inflation tools' that certain system sellers market. But to give an example from real life, it was possible to back Huddersfield on Sunday at 3.80 and they kicked off around 3.10 on Betfair which works out at 22.55%. Now I know this sort of movement is not very common but a 10% edge can be found a few times a week. I do however accept it won't be much more than this, to get more turnover you have to look at other sports too I think.

I am usually correct - you could have saved your keyboard. The example of Huddersfield Town on Sunday needs a little clarification. Was the 3.8 available at the same time as the Betfair price was 3.1 or did the price shorten on Betfair during the day from 3.8 to 3.1? The distinction is critical. If it was the former, then this was an outstanding arbitrage opportunity, and you need to make the most of it because you will soon find yourself limited or shut down completely by such a generous book. If it was the latter, then unless you had the ‘true’ price at 3.1 at the time you backed at 3.8, then you didn’t have an edge. The ‘true’ price at that time was 3.8, and you got lucky. The price could just have easily have moved against you, and it’s important you understand that a fortuitous price move is not an edge.

Not quite sure what the comment on increasing turnover is about to be honest, other than stating the obvious.

That post you did on working out your edge was really important and very helpful - it really gets to the heart of the matter.

Always happy to help. There's a reason why this is the world's number one sports trading blog. The blog that gives.

Turning to your draw systems, I believe you previously said your average advantage was about 3.25/3.11 which I make to be just under 5%. Is this a direct comparison with the Betfair kick-off price or a theoretical estimate i.e. Betfair is wrong on the particular match and your 3.11 is the 'true' odds?

What I am getting at is how do you measure your system's performance? I see the two draw systems are up about 10 units on 300 selections against a theoretical 15. However draws could have been more prevalent this season (the Premiership is 30% for example) or you could have had more winners than might be expected.


These numbers continue to change each week as I add more and more matches to the spreadsheet. As of last weekend, there were 1,525 matches (out of 4,770) that qualified as an XX Draw (Classic or Extended) selection, of which 474 finished as draws. The average draw price for these selections is currently (this season) 3.55 (the price is not necessarily that at kick-off, since I record the price I am matched at and have better things to do that monitor prices at kick-off) and the average ‘true’ price is 3.22. The average edge is thus 10.2%. Now this is not to claim that every match selected offers this edge, only that from a reasonably large number of matches with a specific profile, more than expected finish as draws. Results are measured using ROI%, which allows for a direct comparison with other systems and selections.

Obviously there are differences, sometimes significant, between leagues, and some seasons will see a higher than average overall number of draws, while others will be lower - it’s kind of how averages work!


Some examples of league differences - the Classic selections in England are at an Implied Price of 3.08 while in Italy they are 4.13, but Italy's Extended selections are at 3.08 with Spain the worst at 3.21. 

WAM points out that there are more draws than usual in the EPL this season, but a few years ago the draws were under represented. These runs do not impact the average draw prices as I have written before. They would eventually were the runs to continue, but the draw frequency is remarkably steady.

Cassini when I look for a rational argument for backing the draw from you I can't find any. So far all you have said is it's 'easy to back' and 'unfashionable'. To me this sounds like just the sort of guff you call other system sellers and bloggers out for. It's really disappointing.

If you think for a minute about how markets are formed your 'unfashionable' argument collapses. 1X2 markets are formed from Asian Handicaps, which have the draw in them, so the draw is not in fact unfashionable at all. Also if you are saying the draw price is out 5% that means the 0-0, 1-1 and 2-2 are out too, as well as the U1.5.


I am not suggesting that it is rational to back any draw, only that the draw in historically similarly profiled matches have hit at an implied price of 3.22 and that the price typically available on the draw represents value. If anything is disappointing, it is that people can’t seem to grasp this very simple point. You misquote me on the ‘easy to back’ – what I actually wrote was “If you find it easier to find this edge on the Home team or the Away team, then that’s great, but I’m not sure it’s consistently that easy”, although backing the draw does happen to be one of the easier bets. Finding value in football is seldom ‘easy’, but with the draw rarely below 3.2, I find it easy-er to find value here consistently than on other football bets.

For the 'unfashionable' reference, I’ll defer to Derek McGovern who knows far more about betting than I ever will. He wrote, and I quote:
“ in a match in which theoretically all three potential outcomes - home win, away win, and draw - are equally likely, the true odds should be 2-1, 2-1 and 2-1. But such odds give bookmakers no profit margin, so instead they will offer, say, 6-4 the home team, 6-4 the away team, and 11-5 the draw (the draw being the longest price because bookies know that few punters ever back it, something that will be explained later).“
and also
"Punters are creatures of habit. When they have a bet on a football match they are seeking an allegiance. They do not want to see a match finish in a draw. Consequently few punters ever back the draw, a point I will pick up on later in the book". 
Why WAM thinks the 12X markets are derivatives of the Asian Handicap markets is puzzling. Presumably he has some evidence to back up this claim? I would certainly be interested to see this study.

Being a cynic, what's to stop me using the same sales pitch and setting up my own draw system? Hey the draw is easy to back and I'm a counter-trender. All you have to do it seems is pick the biggest draw percentage games, with a few bigger prices thrown in for luck, get out a prayer mat and hope for some positive variance for a couple of seasons! Charge £20pm per client - TYVM.

There is absolutely nothing to stop you from doing this, but good luck with it because you are again failing to understand that you really need a proven edge to attract discerning investors. Someone selling ‘guff’ like this, as you put it, is certainly going to be highlighted on this blog.
The above shows the total number of matches across all leagues. The percentage that end in draws is 26%, an implied price is 3.79. The results of the XX Draws across all leagues show 474 winners from 1525, implied price of 3.22. You need to do more than select draws at random.

Blindly backing the biggest draw percentage games will not be profitable in the long term, and throwing in a few bigger prices for luck will just add to your losses. Praying has never worked since humans first roamed the planet (more than 6,000 years ago in case you didn’t know), and never will work, although it is said that the secret to successful prayer is to pray for something that will happen anyway. Positive variance might go your way for a while, but probably not over four seasons and 4,770 selections, and a proven track record is something most potential subscribers will look for. Feel free to send your selections in to this blog for inclusion in the FTL table.

Cassini the reason I am having a pop like this is if you go to FB Elite or wherever it's basically done on trust. The guy is saying to you 'I have a private method of gaining an edge, trust me here is my record'. You either buy into it or you don't. But what you appear to be saying is 'buy my system because the markets are wrong', yet I've never seen any evidence from you to back this statement up. Which is irritating.

Pop away. I enjoy the discussion, and it makes blogging so much easier, and you can compare me to Football Elite any day. Football Elite was the first and, so far, only football service I subscribed to, and before doing so I looked at Matt’s track record. His results looked good, and I was interested to see his selections and understand some of the reasoning behind them. Unfortunately, results have been disappointing over the last couple of seasons, which may be a temporary blip, or it may be that the edge is eroded.

Matt is a professional punter and relies on selling his service to generate at least some of his income. I am not, and I am not selling a system. I do have selections available to anyone who is interested in them, but the spreadsheet that contains the data that generates these selections is not for sale. Actually it probably is, everything has a price, but unlike the selections, it wouldn’t be cheap.

As for the reason being ‘because the markets are wrong’, all I can say is “oh dear”. No service would ever be profitable if the markets weren’t wrong! This is how we find an edge - we need the markets to be wrong! 

WAM has much to learn.

He states here that he has never seen any evidence, (it was there all the time – irritating indeed - but he appears to have found it by the time he makes his follow-up comment, even if doesn't understand it all:

A couple more things.

I've been over the Prospectus and it shows an estimated profit of some 71 units for a previous period. But what I noticed is that a lot of profit came from U2.5, which if you are backing the draw is a correlated bet. Really you are double counting, if the draw comes in the U2.5 will come in most of the time.


The prospectus makes it quite clear that the Match Odds draw bet and the Under 2.5 goals bet are correlated, and explains why. It also breaks down the results of backing both bets individually, so you can single count or double count as you wish. It’s a matter of personal choice how anyone plays the selections.

Also your table is quite misleading. You occupy the first three places but your system as a whole is in loss! Either you are competing or you're not, how can it be right to split them up in this way? If you want to split them you could do it outside of the table.

I think my table is quite clear. I track five bets for each of the three categories (Classic, Extended, Bundesliga Extended). In addition to the Match Odds Draw and the Under 2.5 goals markets, I have this season included the Under 1.5 goals, Under 3.5 goals and Half-Time 0-0 markets. My thinking was that these should also prove to be profitable propositions, but as you can see from the current table, the results from these are all over the place. Backing the Under 1.5 market for the Extended selections shows a loss of 30.16 points while the same market on the Classic selections is up 6.52. For the HT00 bets, the opposite is seen - the Classic selections are down 11.92 while the Extended are up 8.11. 

It would be ‘quite misleading’ were I to combine these five bets together, and unrealistic since I doubt that anyone backs all five markets on each selection. How can drilling down and reporting on individual components be misleading? Individual bets should be reported individually so it is clear where the profits or the losses are happening. Obfuscation would be the result of combining bets, not the opaqueness we are looking for.

I suspect that it’ll be a while before these new market numbers settle down, but the lack of liquidity of some of these markets could well prove to be the death knell for these more fringe bets. I was actually surprised at how low the volume was on these markets.

My draw selections should be judged primarily on just that - the draw results. The other results are broken out so that we can all see how they perform. There is no requirement for subscribers to back five markets on every selection, but thank you for suggesting how I should run my table!

The prospectus makes it very clear that backing draws is not going to make you rich in a hurry. It generates a pretty good number of bets with an overall profitable ROI%, and is ideal for those who want to generate a little extra cash or churn some money to reduce the Betfair Premium Charge or the potential Premium Charge. I know a few people who use the selections for just this purpose.

The prospectus also makes it clear that there is no guarantee that profitability will continue, but with the average price on the draw unlikely to shorten, then unless there is a fundamental change in the way that matches of the profile my spreadsheet identifies play out, then I remain cautiously optimistic.

One problem with a profitable selection method that becomes well known is that the value can soon disappear. It’s a problem that Matt of Football Elite is all too aware of. He recently explained in an email that he would not reveal all the reasons for his selections, but he may have revealed too much information already.

I couldn’t do it for ‘my’ selections if I tried. They are my spreadsheet’s selections, and I have no idea when I enter the teams in each week what numbers will come flying out the other end.

Here is the FTL table for this week, a little later than usual, but I’ve been busy writing this blog post! No significant movers this week, (a very limited EPL schedule didn't help) - the only one moving up or down by more than three places was, talk of the devil, Football Elite, who dropped four spots to 24th.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

True Fiction

The Fibonacci Fibbing post drew a couple of comments. First, this one from WhyAlwaysMe:

Backing draws is quite a limited strategy in my opinion. I believe the common argument put forward is that the draw can be 'value' because it is not a popular bet. However this conveniently ignores efficient market theory - on Betfair the odds are generally accepted to represent a 'true' price in liquid markets. In other words if the draw gets too big the big pro players will come in and take up the slack. So the draw can be unpopular among small bettors but also well supported in the market.
But I have another reason for not being keen on the draw, which is the limited upside. If you look at historical odds the draw is always going to conform to a narrow range, there will always be a ceiling. For the vast majority of games the range will be between 20% and 32% for the draw, so however good you are you are always playing in this narrow band. About the best you can hope for is an advantage of 2 or 3% realistically and that's if you get everything right.

If you are on a winner system it is possible to identify winners prices at 33% that are close to 50%. The margin of safety is much bigger on the win because you are operating in a much bigger band than with the draw.

I hope I am getting the point over - if you are playing the draw you do have to be super accurate because the bands are so narrow.

Don't get me wrong - beating the market by 2 or 3% is very decent if your model is that accurate. But personally I prefer a bigger margin of safety than that which is why I would always look to the winner markets on football betting.
An interesting point of view, and it’s worth addressing some of the points. To start, I don’t agree that backing draws is a limited strategy. When viewed on a match to match basis, it is certainly not a get rich quick strategy, but it’s important to consider the number of opportunities a strategy provides as well as its potential rewards.

Most would agree that a small edge on several bets a week is more useful than a larger edge on an annual event. There are football matches every day, so even a small edge here will soon add up. For this reason, I don’t view the ‘limited upside’ as a problem at all. If I can find draws that should be 3.25 at a price of 3.5 or so, I am a happy camper. The sky's the limit, and for me, the robustness of the draw price, meaning that any downside is limited, is more important. Despite what the Fibonacci article implies, draws are very rarely in the 2.62 range, and rarely as short as 3.2, and for my XX Draws the average is closer to 3.5.

WhyAlwaysMe suggests that it is possible and safer to identify winners at 3.0 that have a ‘true’ price of 2.0, (a 50% edge incidentally), than it is to identify draws at a smaller edge.

Possible? Yes, safer, yes. Probable? No. Seriously, how often is 3.0 going to be available on a ‘true’ 2.0 chance in a football match? If it is with any frequency, then you simply employ Kelly and retire with a small fortune after just a few weeks.

It’s simply not realistic. Betting is not that easy. This so-called big ‘margin of safety’ doesn’t exist. Unless you have inside information on a fixed match, successful football betting isn’t about having rare big wins at 3.0 on a 2.0 chance. It’s about finding repeatable, and typically much smaller, edges and eking out a profit in the long run.

It is also wrong, in my opinion, to talk about the draw as somehow different to the ‘winner markets’. It is precisely this, to my mind illogical, way of thinking that reinforces why it may be easier to identify value on the draw than on a so-called ‘winner’.

Does it make the draw more back-able if the three outcomes are listed as Home, Away or Draw rather than Liverpool, Arsenal or Draw?

As I wrote in a post at the weekend, whether you are obtaining 1.61 on a 1.46 shot or 3.3 on a 3.0 or 8.8 on an 8.0, it all works out the same. You have the same edge (10%) in each example. If you find it easier to find this edge on the Home team or the Away team, then that’s great, but I’m not sure it’s consistently that easy, especially with odds-on selections. Sometimes it pays to be unfashionable.

On the ridiculous Fibonacci staking method, Richard writes:
Martingale by another name isn't it? I've always felt that the reverse Martingale type plans are best, or at least more fun, for sports betting i.e. increase stakes on a winner, reduce stakes on a loser, though clearly it depends on what sport and the winner/loser ratio.
Martingale is simply doubling up after a loss, and can only be used for selections priced at evens or above. Its limitations are well known.Fibonacci increases stakes after a loss somewhat slower, (but rapidly nonetheless, and requires a price of around 2.618 (after a handful of losses) for a winner to recover previous stakes.

Some of you might enjoy reading Norman Leigh’s 1975 book Thirteen Against The Bank - “The True Story of How a Roulette Team Broke the Bank with an Unbeatable System” although the accuracy of that statement is placed in some doubt with the book’s classification as ‘Fiction’!

It supposedly describes using the Reverse Labouchere (cancellation) staking method on roulette in a fictional casino in 1966, and I remember it was an interesting read, although I was easily impressionable back then thinking that a clever staking system should be able to make a negative expectation game profitable.

It was in the late 70s when, anxious to try out one such brilliant system, I wrangled an invitation through a colleague to an illegal Chinese run gambling den somewhere close to Piccadilly Circus. I was a little surprised that not only did they let me record the outcomes of spins and take notes, but they provided the pencil and cards for it. This was all too easy I thought.

I didn't win, and had to go in to work next day.

My partner in crime that night stopped coming in to work soon after. He was working the graveyard shift, and thought it would be amusing to call the department manager up at 3am and report a problem with the computer system. In those days such a call necessitated getting dressed and driving in to the office, and he was none too pleased to arrive at the office and find my erstwhile friend somewhat the worse for wear and slurring "April Fool" to him. I never saw him again. Perhaps he found the Roulette Holy Grail?

This quote from Calvin Ayre has already been highlighted on Peter Webb's blog, although Peter's choice of post title - Betfair weilds the axe -looked most unwieldy, but the quote was very funny and worth repeating. 

Writing about the latest Betfair redundnacies, and Betfair's 'rescue plans' announced by CEO Breon Corcoran , Calvin wrote:
Pardon us for saying so, but this is akin to a straight guy planning to ‘reinvigorate’ the number of girls he scores with by working out, getting his hair cut, then spending a lot more time in gay bars. There is no ‘free’ nor ‘easy’ business to be had in highly regulated and competitively mature markets, just as there are comparatively few straight single girls to be found in gay bars. But we suppose this is just the way public companies view the world.
Perhaps Betfair should keep their eyes on developments in the US, which is finally moving towards legalising on-line gambling. 

Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.” - H Jackson Brown Jr.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Fibonacci Fibbing

There were some big differences of opinion about the Under / Over total for last night's NB All-Star game. The totals line ended at 294.5, although Betfair had markets for 291.5 and 297.5 as well. Before the tip-off, the Over had traded as low as 1.8 and as high 2.22. As my Twitter (@calciocassini) followers will have seen, any price north of 2.0 was great value to my mind. While the game has become less and less defence oriented in recent years, 295 points has only been reached once, last year, in regulation, although three other times the total went over after overtime. 

You always need to be careful with these ultimately meaningless games that are more about the show than competition, but the fourth quarter is always played seriously if the game is close. Even with little defence, four quarters of 74 points is a lot to ask, 6+ points per minute. After 6 minutes, the total was 34 points, (with 1.55 traded), and after one quarter just 57 points were on the board. The scoring pace picked up in the second quarter with 77 points putting the total up to 134 at half-time leaving 161 needed for the Over to come in. The most points ever in an All-Star half was the 157 scored in 1988.

After three quarters the total was 212 points and a four point differential, so the rest of the game was always likely to be a little more competitive. With 83 needed for the Over to come in, the only danger was overtime, but in the end it was a comfortable win, and I hope some Twitter followers got the 2.16 or close that was available.

Pinnacle sometimes has some good articles on betting, but this one on draws is not one of them:
Betting on draws isn’t the most glamorous form of soccer betting, but it could be one of the most profitable. We investigated betting in a set numeric pattern on draws with odds of 2.618 or more to see whether the Fibonacci betting system is a magic bullet for soccer betting profits.
The essence of the Fibonacci Strategy – published in 2007 by Fragiskos Archontakis and Evan Osborne- is simple: bet on a draw, and if you lose, bet on another one. Repeat this process until you win. There are only two additional – and vital – rules to follow:
Only bet on draws when the probability is above 2.618
Increase your betting stake in a way that follows the Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 etc.
The idea is based upon a theory from 1989 that the draw is the most difficult for bookmakers to predict, and therefore can be exploited. The idea is that as long as you continually increase your stake, any win will overcome your previous losses.
The Fibonacci Strategy in practice
Looking at data from the 2011/12 Premier League, there were 93 draws in 380 games – therefore 24.5% of all games ended in a tie. Interestingly, the odds for a potential draw in all 380 ties were above the 2.618 threshold suggested as the lower limit by Archontakis and Osborne. This means there should be – on average – a payout every four games. This means the winning stake would be the fourth Fibonacci number: 5, with a total bet each time £10 (the winning stake added to the failing three stakes before it: 1, 1, and 3). Considering the average odds for a draw over the season were 4.203, this means that the average winnings would be £21.02 (£5 stake multiplied by the odds), with a profit of £11.02 when the stakes have been subtracted. Over 380 games, this equates to a theoretical profit of £1786.7 – all from an initial stake of just £1.
Fibonacci Strategy Drawbacks
However, there are numerous practical limitations that prevent the Fibonacci sequence from printing money. For a start, many games are played concurrently, meaning there’s no option to increase your stake to the next Fibonacci number if a draw doesn’t occur, as the games will finish at the same time. Instead, bettors might consider applying a Fibonacci betting sequence to individual teams. However, this means that long streaks without draws could cause huge holes in bettors’ bank balances. Looking at the longest Premier League streak without a draw (Manchester United in 2008/09), the Red Devils went 20 games without drawing, before finally succumbing to a 0-0 tie with Arsenal. Because the Fibonacci sequence increases exponentially, bettors would have to have bet £10,946 on that final game to follow the sequence. Including that bet, anyone following the betting system would had to have staked £28,656 – a huge amount for a system that usually provides winnings of just £21.02. The odds for a draw on that game were 4.1 however, which would have provided winnings of £44,878.60, or a profit of £16.222.60. With Fibonacci, the increased stakes also provide impressive returns.
The Fibonacci Sequence explained
The Fibonacci sequence is one of the most widely known numeric sequences in mathematics, characterised by its simple formula:
N3 = N1 + N2

This indicates that (after the two starting numbers), each additional number in the sequence is the sum of the two preceding numbers. For example, the Fibonacci sequence begins 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and 21. Looking at the start of the sequence:
N1 = 1, N2 = 1, and therefore N3 = 2
N1 = 1, N2 = 2, and therefore N3 = 3
N1 = 2, N2 = 3, and therefore N3 = 5
N1 = 3, N2 = 5, and therefore N3 = 8 
This is all terrible 'advice', and no magic bullet. If your draw selections aren't going to be profitable to level stakes, then the fanciest staking plan in the world isn't going to help you. And even the best of draw selection systems is going to hit long losing runs, it goes with the territory, and what the author is doing suggesting that the odds on a draw are possibly going to be below 2.618 is beyond me. It happens, but only in highly unusual circumstances - think end of season Italian games.

As an example of the length of possible losing runs when backing draws, the XX Extended Draws are in profit this season after 204 bets by 22.3 points (to level stakes) but in there was a sequence of 21 consecutive losses. Aggressively increasing your stakes after a loss is not going to work. Who would have staked £17,711 on that 22nd selection of Getafe v Sevilla at 3.5?

I also take issue with the statement that betting on draws is not glamorous. Is it a coincidence that eight of the  top ten in the FTL are draw related? What does 'glamorous' even mean in a betting context? For me, the glamour is the money in my balance, and if the draw is overlooked by others, well that can only help.

Updates on the FTL once the Monday schedule is complete.