Wednesday, 15 October 2014

I Gotta Horse!

I'm a little surprised that my post on conditional bets and the issue of how to fairly record prices hasn't received more attention, but it received a comment from Greekvik which was in favour, and raised a good point about two basic 'demands':

I really like the idea of conditional bets as a fair and useful tool.
As punter we have basically two demands
a) At the time when we decide if we want to sign up or renew a subscription we want a benchmark to compare the performance from different services.
b) When we have decided to follow a service our interest change. Now we want an estimate of the value of a potential pick at the time we place the bet and with the best price that is available among the bookmakers where we are allowed to place a bet. In reality we have no more a direct interest in the recorded price from the service. Our direct interest is to know if a potential bet has value or not with the odds we can obtain. The focus has moved from the recorded price from the tipping service. The focus is now the available odds for a potential pick. To make a wise decision we want an estimate from the tipping service of the lowest odds where a potential pick still has value.

The concept with conditional bets is flexible both for the punters and for the tipping services. As punters we will not follow the same strategy. But if we are serious about our betting activity we will all focus on an estimate of the value of a potential pick.

For the tipping services the concept is too flexible. The service might have different strategies for the lowest odds that should be accepted.
A very valid point that subscribers and non-subscribers have different concerns. A non-subscriber is interested only in that the reported results are fair, i.e. what they themselves can reasonably expect to obtain were they to sign up.

It's probably not reasonable for someone living in North Korea to expect to be able to match reported returns from a UK based service, but someone in Little Piddlington should be able to. It's up to the individual to join or not, and the service's responsibility ends at recording fair prices. For me the only fully transparent way to do this is to either have an independent third-party take care of it, or show evidence that bets were matched at the recorded price after the selections were sent out.

Greekvik's second point is in line with my own thoughts on the subject. Punters these days are far more sophisticated. Prince Monolulu never had to tell his clients what price to back at. He sold them a tip, and that was it. These days, sending out a selection with no mention of price is not going to fly with most people.

Having said that, there is still a lot of vagueness around. Services offer selections with the prices subscribers should be able to obtain, but unless the service states what their true price is, it puts the subscriber in a spot if the price suggested isn't there.

For example - Back Newcastle United (v Leicester City) this weekend - 2.2 Paddy Power, Coral; 2.15 Sky Bet, Boylesports, BetVictor, 888Sports, Ladbrokes, et al.

But say that 2.15 has gone, and the best I can find is 2.1. Is that still value? Well it might be, or it might not be, but I am paying my money, so don't I have a right to know? Am I paying for a selection and a vague idea of price, and to just do as I'm told, or am I paying for the selection with an accompanying valuation, and trusted to make my own (informed) decision? Well, you're paying for what you signed up for, but what SHOULD you be paying for?

If the service included their estimate of Newcastle's 'true' price, the subscriber would be in a position to make an informed decision. Comments along the lines of 'Newcastle are 2.15 and there is some value at that price' don't help. What does 'some' value mean? 0.1%? 10%? My preferred approach is to give my 'true' price, the current Pinnacle Sports price and let the subscriber decide.

For example from the last Newsletter, these were all unofficial mentions involving newly promoted teams, but the unedited paragraph read:
Some honourable mentions of matches involving newly promoted teams. At 9.8%, West Ham United are very close to 10% value versus newly promoted Queens Park Rangers (1.77 / 1.943) and in France, Olympique Marseille are 12.4% value to win at newly promoted Caen (1.85 / 2.08). In Germany, I have Eintracht Frankfurt at 2.12 (Pinnacle 2.45) versus newly promoted Koln, and in Italy two newly promoted teams meet – Empoli v Palermo where the home side offers value at 2.41 over my 1.91. 
I think this works well. Prices fluctuate, but with the Cassini price there, subscribers can make their informed decisions, and as Greekvik says, not all punters will follow the same strategy.

Via email, one subscriber commented:
Want to add that what you are doing with the price recording and your recent blog post is what any professional service should be doing. As far as I know you are the only one. Much respect!
That comment was appreciated, and I don't think I'm the only one, or at least won't be for long. It's the next step in the evolution of betting services in my opinion. Educate and inform. Understand that different people have different thresholds, and don't fret over recording the very best prices. A service making a small profit or even a small loss at prices recorded independently will earn a better reputation than one self-recording bigger profits, but

Having used them as an example, I should probably reveal where I am in regard to Newcastle. I have them at 2.016 this weekend, so 2.116 would be 5% value, while 2.217 would be 10%. 2:1 if you want a Correct Score prediction!

I was about to post this when I saw Steve M has a well-timed piece on dodgy tipsters. On the topic of exposing the latter, Steve writes:
There are not many places to complain and make sure others hear about it. I am working on such a thing as we speak. A place that will keep track of every tipster service and people’s reviews of them (Good and bad).
It's human nature for people not to comment favourably, unless pressed perhaps, but an independent forum where potential subscribers can look for views would be a good idea.

Finally a mention that the official hit count for this blog has now surged through the 700,000 mark (although Blogger has recorded an even more exciting 930k):

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Cassini,

The ideal scenario would be if an independent party could provide a standard Football SP ala the racing SP.

How the SP is calculated and whether it is based on prices just before kick-off or at a specified point of the weekend doesn't particularly matter. Whatever it was it would be the same for every service and would provide an easy comparison between each services results.

Until that happens, in my opinion the only fair way of recording is to record at the general price that is available when the bets are sent out.

No standout prices, no soft/dodgy books, ignore the top few prices, record at the price that is widely available with a good amount of firms and to decent liquidity on the exchanges after commission.

With all due respect Cassini, proofing to Pinnacle prices is one of those things that sounds better than it actually is. Pinnacle are generally among the top prices on most top flight football bets, in particular on the draw and the outsider. On occasions they will be the very best. Hence most of the time you will be recording at higher than the general odds and on occasions at the very top price in the market.

My results in your FTL table are better than my official results as Pinnacle prices will almost always beat general prices. I would guess you could improve (or at the very least not harm) most reputable football services official results if they recorded purely at Pinnacle prices instead of their current recording.

Eg if we take tonights Lens v PSG game on oddsportal. Odds for the draw are:-

5.2 with GoBetGo
5.13 with Pinnacle
5.1 with 5Dimes, Marathon
5.0 with quite a few firms and after commission 5.0 - 5.05 is roughly the price at the exchanges

In reality if you are talking about a fair price then 5.0 is the price you should be recording at. Yet in reality by recording at Pinn prices you would be recording at 5.13, the very top of the market if you ignore GoBetGo as an unestablished firm.

Don't get me wrong, recording to Pinnacle is certainly not a bad way to record. There's far, far worse ways. But to almost insinuate that you are in some way leading a bright new future in how services should record their bets is a little OTT to be honest.

There's plenty of services that record their bets very fairly and leave plenty of room for subscribers to beat stated figures. Suggesting otherwise (and insinuating that only you record fairly) just further perpetuates the idea that all/most tipster services are dodgy firms run by shady characters. You've no need to go down that road. Enthuse the positives of your own service by all means (and it is a good service) but slightly off to do it by insinuating other services are not playing it straight.

Appreciate you probably were not deliberately doing this, and I'm probably being too precious, but kind of annoys me when most folk seem to think tipster services are dodgy so when a fellow service operator perpetuates that myth it winds me up a bit.

No personal offence intended, keep up the good work with the blog and the service.