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