Sunday 27 July 2014

Friendly Tipster League And The Erskine Cup 2014-15

As promised, here is an update for the 2014-15 Friendly Tipster League. I posted some thoughts on the 2014-15 version of the FTL back in June, and my ideas were fortunately all favourably received.

The essential details are as follows:


The cost is £52.50 per entry, with £50 going into the pot, and £2.50 covering ‘administrative costs’. No objections to this proposal were received, au contraire, I was told I was selling my time too cheap. Well, just a little, but I do quite enjoy this kind of thing.

Division of Prize Money (Overview)

Approximately 75% of the pot money will go to the League competition, 15% to a Cup competition, and 10% will go to the monthly prizes. If we reach 32 entries, and we currently have 12 paid up, with interest from at least three more, the prizes will be £1,500, £300 and £200 – a total of £2,000.

Hang on a minute, I hear you mathematical whizzes say. 32 * £50 is only £1,600 - where is this huge total of £2,000 coming from. Well the good news I mentioned on Friday is that Ian Erskine, the FTS Income man, has come up with an extremely generous donation to the pot, which after his own entry fee and subscription to the Cassini Service are accounted for comes to a little over £400. I propose that the Cup will be named the Erskine Cup in recognition of this fine and very generous gesture.

If any other service provider would like to donate anything to the pot in return for the good publicity of frequent mentions, please don’t be shy. While Ian has set the bar very high, every little helps. Stewboss, aka Football Investor, has said he will chip in something, and perhaps other services such as Premier Betting or Skeeve would like to get their names out there all season for a few quid.

Graeme Dand (The Football Analyst) is repeating his offer from last year of a £25 per head bounty to anyone finishing ahead of his best entry, capped with a maximum liability of £500 and again, this is a very generous offer. Last year, five qualifying entries beat his ‘Barcelona in the Conference’. Perhaps Pinnacle Sports would be interested in chipping in a few hundred as their prices will be used and referenced each week?

Selection Requirements

The FTL will run from Friday 1st August 2014 to the final match of the Serie A season, which I believe will be Sunday 31st May 2015.

Qualifying Leagues

As I use the Pinnacle Sports quoted prices from the Football web site to record the results, selections are restricted to the leagues they cover, which are in England (top 5 leagues), Scotland (top 4), the top two in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, plus the top league in the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Turkey and Greece.

Unfortunately Cup and European games are not included and are therefore ineligible. Bets on correct scores are also not allowed as the prices are not recorded.

Entry Deadline

Because the prices recorded are taken on Friday afternoons for weekend matches, and Tuesday afternoons for midweek matches, entries will need to be received by midnight on those days. Obviously if you have a Friday evening or a Tuesday evening selection, you will need to submit it before kick-off time, but otherwise so long as the entry is in by midnight Friday (for weekend games) or midnight Tuesday (for midweek games) the prices shouldn’t have moved too much. Most activity is on the English games, so this will give you all Friday night to fine tune your selections.

This will also give me time to publish some of the selections ahead of time which will make the Cup weekends in particular rather more interesting to everyone. Out of respect for the paid services out there, or rather to their subscribers, those selections will have to remain private unless they say otherwise.

Selection Types

Single / Multiple Selections

All selections will be bet risking one point, whether a back or a lay. Unlike last season, accumulators will be accepted. However, a selection can only be included once. If an entry is for example a double of Team A and Team B, and a second entry is Team A and Team C, the second bet will be treated as a single on Team C.

Match Odds

Selections will be recorded against the Pinnacle Sports Match Odds prices. For back bets, this is self-explanatory. For lay selections, the price used will be Pinnacle’s +0.025 (for odds-on or evens selections) and +0.05 for others. Thus for example, a winning lay at 2.00 will be recorded as a profit of 0.98 points.

Under / Overs

The price used to determine Under / Over bets will be that of the 2.5 goal markets. If the selection is under 1.5, 3.5 or whatever, it will be considered a bet on Under 2.5, and same on the Overs. The prices used will be an average of Football Data’s Average (BbAv) and Maximum (BbMx) prices.

Draw No Bet (DNB) [Updated on 3.Aug.14]

Football Data do not record prices on these bets, but the prices will be calculated using the Match Odds that are published. The probability implied for the draw will be re-assigned proportionately to the Home and Away prices.


Similarly, a bet on a team to win + goals (e.g. +0.5) will be treated as a lay of the opposing team. A bet of a team to win – goals (e.g. -0.5) will be a back of that team to win.

Entry Format

There is no set format required for entries. I tend to reformat them into a Word document and play with them there, so simple text is preferred, but I will let you know if anyone’s format is problematic.

League Details

League prize money will be divided among all the profitable entries in the ratio of the profits. Thus if four entries are in profit, e.g. by 6 points, 4 points, 3 points and 2 points, the pot will be split 6/15ths to the winner, 4/15ths to second and so on. This will ensure that anyone in profit will win something. As a reminder, this was how the league ended last season:
Seven entries would have shared the prize money, with the prize money being distributed from 30% to the Cassini Value Selections down to about 2% for the XX Draws (Under) entry.

Of course, with the bounty in place, it is quite possible to be in the red but win £25 if you beat The Football Analyst.

Entries must make at least 76 selections to be eligible for prizes, which should be no problem for the likes of Neil who submit that many each week. I exaggerate. Slightly.

Erskine Cup Competition Details

The Erskine Cup format will depend on the number of entries received. If we reach our target of 32 entries, there will be cup match-ups on the following weekends:

September 27th,
November 1st,
November 29th,
January 31st,
February 28th,
March 21st,
April 25th

The dates have been chosen because all the major leagues are in action on those weekends. The last weekend in October would have made it more symmetrical but the Conference National have no matches scheduled due to the Fourth Qualifying Round of some other cup competition, but it's nicely spread out as it is and misses the FA Cup's scheduled rounds.

If we have less than 32 entries, then some of the earlier 2014 dates will be skipped. For the Cup, there will be a public and open draw, and entries will be paired together. The Cup results will simply be the profit or loss for that weekend's matches and would also count in the FTL. You could lose 3 points, but advance if your 'opponent' loses 4 points, or you could be up 10 points and be eliminated if your 'opponent' makes 11 points. Cup winnings will be 50% for the winner, 25% for the runner-up and 12.5% each for the losing semi-finalists.

Monthly Winner

Eight monthly prizes will be awarded to the most profitable entry In each month. August and September will be combined into one month, as will April and May. If we reach 32 entries, this monthly prize will be at least £25.

Places will be awarded on a first come, first served basis as fees are received - PayPal to calciocassini @ and if anyone wants to top up the kitty with a sponsorship, and a mention each week, please feel free.

Finally, please remember this is a friendly competition. The rules are intended to make it as fair as possible to everyone, so if you don't like the entry deadlines, or have any other issues, don't enter.  I try to be as accurate as possible with the updates, but it the entrant's responsibility to check their results and let me know within a week if I have made an error. Contrary to rumour, I am not perfect. The final decision on any grievances will be made by the League Commissioner - which is me. I just voted myself in. Any questions on the above, please let me know.

The bottom line is that for just £52.50, you get season long (10 months) entertainment, and an opportunity to show your skill and win some decent prize money. The pot odds are already good. What's stopping you?

My offer of the spreadsheet containing the 2014-15 fixtures has been eagerly snapped up by a few FTL entrants and Cassini Service subscribers, and I am pleased to say that this will now include the Championship, League One, League Two and Conference National fixtures making a grand total of 4,034 matches. Still awaiting Italy to schedule Serie A but that should be done on Monday, so some time next week it should be ready to go.  

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I may sign up - if I get my model finished & if I can 'find' some value with it.

Just one point - your adjustments for the lay bets seem a bit simplistic.
Consider the 1x2 prices for a particular match & sum up the probabilities - for a premier league game with pinnacle you would get about 1.02 ie. a 2% overround. If you times each 1x2 odds by 1.02, calculate the overround again you now have an overround of 1; do it again and you have an 'overround' of 0.98.
This is your overround for the lay market.
So for a selection a bet with odds of 1.5, your lay price is 1.5 * the overround^2.
If you assume 1.02 as cosntant - 1.5*1.02^2 = 1.5606. So an adjustment of 0.0606
With odds of 3 - an adjustment of 0.1212.
With odds of 6 - an adjustment of 0.2424.

Maybe a slightly pedantic point - but I don't think it is too difficult to calculate a standard overround for league. Then calculate Lay odds from that & the 1x2 prices.