Saturday 31 August 2013

Seconds Out

My last post announcing The Football Analyst’s entry into the FTL ignited something of a firestorm in the comments section, with the combatants losing sight of what the F stands for. Friendly!

I am not going to reproduce all the comments here or my post would rival one of Graeme’s in length, but they are available should anyone be interested.

A brief summary is in order though, and it all started with Neil (Punter’s Friend) expressing surprise at Graeme’s decision to apply for entry into the FTL. He quoted Graeme as saying:

"probably the worst tipster league I’ve ever seen published anywhere on the net?"
He also said that:
"Putting my systems into Cassini’s friendly tipster league would be like Barcelona playing in the Bsq Prem for a season"
Now Cassini has a thick skin, (most selections are not mine anyway), and he is also prone to tongue-in-cheek comments along the lines of Graeme’s “Barcelona in the Blue Square Premier League” himself so no harm, no foul.

There was mention of a thread on OLBG which runs to 48 pages, so I only glanced at the opening and closing pages, but the gist of it seems to be that someone (perhaps Neil) started recording bets on laying odds-on home favourites, but finally wrapped it up after (inevitably) early profits were almost completely eroded by subsequent losses. [Correction - I did say I only glanced at this thread. I am told by Neil that the idea was laying away teams in all English Leagues, and in two seasons "it did not lose any money"].

While the Bundesliga, as something of an outlier among the top leagues, continues to offer slight value to home / odds-on layers, I haven’t seen the same returns consistently from any other leagues. The trap that many fall into is that a season seems like a long time, and a large sample, but in statistical terms it is a miniscule snapshot, and often the difference between profit and loss is one freak result such as Barcelona losing at home to Hercules.

Whether anyone is claiming an ROI of 18% or not on such a simple system, such a return does seem highly unlikely over any significant length of time. ROIs are really quite meaningless until you have a sample size of, in my opinion, at least a hundred. Over the short term, you could find seasons where a simple strategy is profitable (Lay Liverpool is a current favourite) but it’s unlikely that any such system will be profitable indefinitely. The chances of the system maintaining profitability are reduced even more by advertising your short-term success on a betting forum.

Whatever the deal is between Neil and Graeme, the latter’s entry into the FTL, with his promise of £25 to anyone finishing ahead of him at the end of the season, is a positive. With Graeme making the selections available to all ahead of time, you have the option of profiting from them yourself, or winning the £25 if they are losers. Win-win.

A couple of comments have compared the Neil v Graeme debate with the occasional disagreement between myself and Mark Iverson, the latest being the frankly dangerous and awful Soccer In Play app which seems to me to be nothing more than a bookmaker sponsored gimmick designed with the sole intention of making the less sophisticated bettor think they have an edge, and throw money away.

As I pointed out in this post, the app has a grand total of FOUR sets of results, with no details on how, when, or from what leagues these numbers were obtained. Enter any two classifications of teams for any league in the world, and your pre-game probabilities will be one of the following:
That Chelsea would have the same probability of beating Tottenham Hotspur or Crystal Palace would seem to most of us to be quite ridiculous, and how Mark can claim that the app is in any way a useful betting tool is frankly incredible. Football matches cannot be broken down into four outcomes.

The most worrisome aspect of this misrepresentation is that a few less than sophisticated bettors will possibly be seduced by this toy, and lose money, and to highlight the occasional ‘win’ as support for the idea that the app is anything but garbage is disingenuous to say the least.

The basic idea remains a good one though, but to be useful you need to be able to enter individual teams, and the data needs to be league specific and frequently maintained. Many of us have our own models that we update each week, (time-consuming, but essential), and the odds on a home win will not always be one of these four - 1.55, 2.02, 2.42, 3.52

Looking ahead to this weekend’s matches, FTL leader Fedslam has the following selections:

Cardiff City v Everton - Cardiff win
Newcastle United v Fulham - Draw
Norwich City v Southampton - Norwich win
West Ham United v Stoke City - Over 2.5 goals
Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Draw
Liverpool v Manchester United - Draw
West Bromwich Albion v Swansea City- Draw
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Over 2.5 goals

As he is the only non-service in profit, those are the only selections you get this week.  

A late comment from Anonymous went like this:
Geez Cassini, you sure do seem to have a knack for creating a bit of buzz and controversy!
Think I remember you from the 'Ultimate Betting Forum' could be wrong of course.
Please say something nasty or skeptical about my new blog, so that I get a bit of free traffic, I'm pretty lonely talking to myself
: )
As Gary pointed out -
And Anonymous it seems, missed the name part lol : )
Webbo could be Anonymous, as he requested adding to the blog roll.

And Anon could be wrong about the Ultimate Betting Forum. Never heard of it, never mind contributed to it.


Punters Friend said...

Juts a point of order really but this statement is so wrong it needs clarifying:

"There was mention of a thread on OLBG which runs to 48 pages, so I only glanced at the opening and closing pages, but the gist of it seems to be that someone (perhaps Neil) started recording bets on laying odds-on home favourites, but finally wrapped it up after (inevitably) early profits were almost completely eroded by subsequent losses."

1, It was laying away teams in all English Leagues.

2, It was profitable in both season 1 and season 2, it did not lose any money!

Good luck to all FTL this weekend.

(see I can be friendly)

Brian said...

Thanks for adding the link Cassini. It is missing the last updated info though... Would you mind updating the link to add the wp-feed.php bit in so it shows this please? i.e.

I would also like to enter the FTL if it's not too late? Is there a limit to the number of selections and could you remind me how to pay the £25 please?

My selections for this weekend are:

Man City to beat Hull
Draw on Newcastle v Fulham
Draw on West Ham v Stoke
Draw on Crystal Palace v Sunderland


Betslayer said...

Very confused by your comments on Soccer in Play ....nowhere does it say playing Spurs or Palace would be the same...the 4 categories are for the sides so Palace would be a bottom side and Spurs a top side.

This is not to say I agree with the app it is rather basic to say it is based on matches in all european leagues, when a country specific one would make much more sense...but it is still an interesting concept for free and will help your in the pub punter, whilst not being a pro betting tool

Cassini said...

The probabilities for 'A Top Team' playing at home to anyone but another 'Top Team' are the same. Chelsea are A Top Team, and neither Spurs or Palace (yet!) are 'A Top Team' which rather proves my point that the app is dangerous and simply wrong.

Betslayer said...

Sorry just read further down missed that post, in that case carry is worthless then, must admit I glanced at it and thought it was a wasted opportunity, but didn't delve enough to realise it was that bad!