Saturday, 7 December 2013

Emp Strikes Back

In my last post, I wrote that:

Whenever there are a couple of ‘surprise’ results such as these, it is natural to think that the key to football betting is to bet the outsider, but while these relatively rare wins unsurprisingly gain attention at the time, as a long-term strategy, it is doomed to failure.
The surprise results in question being the likes of Evian Thonon Gaillard's defeat of Paris St Germain, Sunderland's defeat of Manchester City or Hull City beating Liverpool.

Emp appears to have taken this comment as a dig at him personally, but this was certainly not my intent. My comment was meant to highlight that profitable betting is never as simple as always backing or laying favourites, second favourites, long-shots. In fact, the idea of backing a selection solely because of its price or its price range / band is fundamentally flawed. Essentially you are making your decision based on what other people are doing. A selection should be made because your estimate of its chances of winning exceed those of the market. Trying to reverse-engineer selections based on the prices on offer is counter intuitive.

Hypocrite! I hear you say. What about your Bundeslayga system? Indeed, this is an exception to my 'rule', and one where selections are determined by price range, even if the price range is pretty big! It's proven profitable for several seasons, and used more as a Premium Charge mitigation system than one that will make me rich. Last season, for example, there were 90 selections, and a return of 13.11 points although if you had the time to apply the principles to other favourites in the Big Five European Leagues, you could have made 87 points from 1,340 selections.

Anyway, I digress, and here is what Emp had to say:
While I agree that blindly betting on outsiders is, of course, doomed to fail, I am not sure these sorts of bets are inherently bad. In fact I doubt any sort of price range is an inherently bad one to bet on, though I am not sure if that's what you meant.
In either case, it's hardly the only long-shot I've picked. I did get Reims on a long-shot earlier as well as several winners at 5 or 6 (including Everton in the mid-week). In a league where being at home is such an advantage, the price did seem a bit off on Evian, and as for United, they are actually weaker than Everton according to my system, though that might prompt some laughs.

Before this weekend, I do still have Manchester United higher than Everton in my ratings, although that might be in jeopardy should Everton win at Arsenal tomorrow. 
My comment on backing the outsider may have been written a little hastily. Looking at last season's EPL, and using Pinnacle's prices, backing the outsider in the Match Odds market would have generated 19.01 points of profit. Unfortunately for anyone thinking this is the key to success, Queens Park Rangers win at Chelsea generated 16.1 points in one fell swoop, so the difference between that profit and and the smallest of profits comes down to one goal, and the prior season is similar. With no Pinnacle prices, I used the average prices, and 2011-12 saw a profit of 28.72 points, with the biggest return coming on New Year's Eve when Blackburn Rovers won 3-2 at Manchester United at 22.98 and Aston Villa won 3-1 at Chelsea at 11.78. If you were away and missed that day, your season's returns would be a lot different!  

1 comment:

Emp said...

I wasn't actually sure whether you meant it as a dig or not, hence my comment "though I am not sure if that's what you meant".

I'm mildly amused that back the huge underdog blindly is actually a "winning strategy". Probably has to do with punter psychology. I read somewhere that backing anything which goes to 1000 in play (excluding in play horse-race markets with front-running) generated pretty decent returns.

At any rate, the shape of returns is an interesting topic. I used to be a multi-table tournament player, so I am familiar with how even more pear-shaped distributions feel- losing 300 Buyins over months and then one day winning 1000 buy-ins or more is a standard occurrence there. It's not easy to apply a system which has return distributions like that though, because "switchitis" really hits hard when you do that sort of thing.