Friday 18 April 2008

All Quiet on the Investment Front

It's all been a bit quiet on the investing front lately. I've had my two kids staying with me for a few days and would rather enjoy their company than win some money, although I have managed to do the latter. Woke up early this morning to find that the San Diego Padres v Colorado Rockies game was still going on. For some reason the Padres were available to lay at 1.2 with the score tied, and I took advantage of this, laying it off when the Padres duly failed to score. 

They did have a couple on base, but with two outs I considered laying at this price great value. This happened twice, the second time a few innings later, and I ended up with a nice profit. I think there was a baseball newbie in the market because when the Rockies took a 1-0 lead at the top of one of the extra innings (the game went to 22!) someone backed them at 1.01, although sadly I didn't have the foresight to lay at that price.

As I mentioned previously, my soccer lay system is on hold until the new season, although I may use it for some of the summer leagues in Scandinavia or MLS. I've been dabbling with the under/over markets with some success, but it seems to me that the soccer markets are so efficient that I have no edge, and these in-running bets are just gambles.

The NBA regular season has ended, and the play-offs start this weekend. Like the football season, it's been tricky betting on NBA with the season winding down and teams resting key players, and some big handicap spreads that I tend to avoid at the best of times. But with the play-offs starting tomorrow, there should be some close games and hopefully some value bets available.

Saturday 12 April 2008

Football Lays Saturday 12 April

17 lay selections today, and they are: Ayr United, Brechin, Bristol Rovers, Bury, Hereford United, Huddersfield Town, Lincoln City, Mansfield Town, Nottingham Forest, Ross County, Salisbury, Sheffield United, Stockport, Stoke City, Stranraer, Torquay United, and Walsall. I haven't yet had time to eliminate any teams that are playing against teams with nothing to play for, but this list may well be trimmed for that reason.

Update: Upon further review, I am removing Bury and Mansfield Town from the above list of selections. So 15 selections 'only'.

Results: Not a good day today, with no less than 8 of the 15 lay selections winning. With the bank still in profit, I think this is time for the system to take a break until next season. It seems that at this time of year, there are too many fixtures that are meaningless to either one or both teams, or more meaningful to one team than the other and strange results are being seen. Lay selections winning 6-1 away for example. The summer will give me a chance to delve a little deeper into the system and try to improve the selection criteria ready for 2008-2009. How time flies when you get older.

Thursday 10 April 2008

Football Lay Thursday 10 April

One lay again today; Ebbsfleet United (3.0) at Halifax Town despite the latter team letting me down two nights ago. Halifax have an incentive since a win will take them out of the relegation places whilst Ebssfleet can take it easy. The bank currently stands at £1,073.53 and I am laying to £10.85.

Result: Halifax duly obliged and beat Ebbsfleet 1-0 tonight, and the bank increases another £5.15 to stand at £1,079.11.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Football Lay Wed 9 April

One lay today; Ross County (3.0) at Airdrie United. Both teams are looking for promotion and thus have something to play for. The bank currently stands at £1,068.38 and I am laying to £10.85.

Result: Ross County lost 0-2, so the bank increases by £5.15.

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Tuesday Football Lays 8 April

The Lay System has generated five selections for tomorrow. They are: Portsmouth, Swansea City, Forest Green Rovers, Kidderminster Harriers and Forfar Athletic.

I shall be laying each of the five to a loss of £10.85, but following a comment from A. Nonymous last Saturday it may be wise to exclude two of these selections, namely Portsmouth and Forfar as they are both playing teams that have nothing to play for. He/she has a valid point, so I shall be watching these two results with special interest. Forfar are the shortest price at 2.74, Portsmouth are longest at 3.3, and the others are in-between at 3.25 (Swansea), 3.0 (Forest Green) and 3.15 (Kidderminster).

Result: I guess stranger things have happened in the history of football, but Kidderminster was not one of my system’s best ever selections winning by no less than 6-1 at Halifax, who previously had lost just three times at home all season. Such is life. I guess Halifax are resigned to playing in the Conference North next season.

Portsmouth also let me down by trying too hard in one of the two games where my selection was playing a team with nothing to play for. At least Forfar didn’t win, but I would have been better off excluding both these selections.

All in all, not a very good night with two losses from just five selections. I shall update the numbers later. As the commenter on Saturday said, we are entering a tricky time of the year with so many games involving either one or sometimes both teams who have nothing to play for. I am thinking that I shall heed his advice and drop those matches from my list. Watch this space.

Sunday 6 April 2008

Total Match Points Markets in Basketball

These markets must be the most annoying anywhere on Betfair. I've just been watching the Memphis Tigers / UCLA game and the unders looks a shoo-in with less than three minutes left, and Memphis up by double figures. But no. UCLA keeps fouling, time after time, and for what? The game is lost. Memphis might miss the occasional free-throw, but they're not going to miss anywhere near enough to make the game even close. I can only guess that they do it just to annoy me and cost me money. Actually, the worst thing about losing this kind of a bet is not the money. It's knowing that somewhere out there, someone out-witted me. That is not something that sits well with me! But onward and upward. Another game coming up, and so long as the lesson is learned (stay away from these markets), no real harm I suppose.

Update: A poster on the forum just commented that there were 26 points in the last three minutes - in a game that wasn't even close!

Saturday 5 April 2008

Saturday Baseball

Two selections for tonight.

On the mound for the Padres tonight is Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy, who picked up a win on opening day, so my selection is the San Diego Padres (1.7) to beat the admittedly impressive Los Angeles Dodgers. When the Padres take the lead, I shall be looking to lay off at around 1.35.

Result: Padres won 4-1 with a full game from Jake Peavy.

I am persisting with the Detroit Tigers at 1.7 to beat the Chicago White Sox with Dontrelle Willis pitching his debut in the American League. Their awful start can't continue for ever. (Famous last words).

Result: First, the good news - the Tigers went 3-0 up. Last, the bad news. They are still totally inept and lost 3-5. Maybe this awful start CAN last for ever.

Saturday Football Lays April 5

The bank stands at £1,070.28 so today I am laying to 1% on 20 selections, which are: Sheffield Wednesday (playing at noon) followed by Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland, Bristol City, Burnley, Charlton Athletic, Hartlepool, Oldham Athletic, Tranmere Rovers, Barnet, Brentford, Darlington, Macclesfield, Morecambe, Oxford United, York City, Dunfermline, Livingston and Airdrie at 3:00pm and at 5:15pm, Exeter City. All prices are between 2.84 and 3.6.

The system to date has a strike rate of 82.1% so I'm prepared for four losers, but anything less than six would be great. Six, ho-hum. Anything more than six, not so great.

Update: For some reason, a big drop in the price of the home team has eliminated three of my selections from contention, and they are Barnet, Macclesfield and Dunfermline. Early this morning I left lays in the market, and my strategy is to leave them alone until 2:30 and see how many have not been taken. One of the four unmatched selections was Tottenham Hotspur, who had drifted slightly and I adjusted my bet accordingly. The other three (mentioned earlier) had all drifted significantly so I am dropping them. I did not have this issue last week, so it will be interesting to see how those teams fare today. The Barnet bet had actually been partly matched at 3.2, but then drifted out to 3.75 so I was able to green-up on this one (for peanuts, but I am not allergic to peanuts, especially risk-free ones). If anyone knows why the price drifted out so much on any of these games, please enlighten me. Presumably some significant team news.

Result: Sheffield Wednesday did not win, so a winning start to the day.

Result: 12 of the other 16 games played so far resulted in the predicted four losses (next week I'll try predicting no losses) so the bank now stands at £1,085.24.

In the final game of the day, I have layed Exeter City for £4.52 at 3.4 to lose £10.85.

Result: ...and shouldn't have done! Exeter won, so I lost.

The bank is now at £1,074.38 - up just £4.10 on the day. As I said in the original post - ho-hum. But a profit is a profit.


Does anyone sitting at home actually manage to make money consistently by betting on tennis in-running?

I long ago realised that I was always going to be behind court-siders or people who had access to court-side information, but I have had some success with 'playing the numbers' (backing when the weight-of-money indicates I should, and then laying off) but it is stressful to say the least.

Tonight I am looking at the numbers jumping around as Andy Roddick is playing Nikolay Davydenko and with Davydenko a set up, I decided to jump in with a bet on him at 1.73. As per usual, (or so it seems), the price then immediately moves against me, and my heart rate goes over 100, (or at least it feels like it). About two hours later, ok, more like five minutes later, the price is back down to where I backed at, and then drops still further, to 1.66, at which point I lay-off, leaving zero on Roddick, and all the green on Davydenko.

Why did I lay off at that time? I think it's because the market initially moved against me, so psychologically I say to myself "If I can get out of this even, I'll be happy" and thus when the opportunity to get out with a nice profit presented itself, I took it. Tennis being what it is, had I waited just a few more minutes I could have layed off closer to 1.3, (at which point I went Green-all-Over) and it wasn't that long before the game was over in straight sets and I could have greened up at 1.0x.

Maybe I should play with smaller amounts (I put £900 on and wouldn't have been happy to lose that!), or lay-off part of the bet. Maybe I should have let the bet run, and traded out at a loss only if the market moved against me. In the end, I came away with £47.23, about 5% of my initial investment, but I can't help feeling I should have made more. But a win is a win.

One of the problems with Betfair, when compared with the stock market, is that there is no ability to put a stop-loss bet into the market, for example a bet to lay at 2.0 to close my 1.73 position for a controlled loss, since that would be immediately matched if I didn't want it to be taken (the bet is still in good shape) or would remain unmatched if I DID want it to be (the bet is awful and no one is interested!)

Anyone any thoughts, comments or ideas?

Friday 4 April 2008

Friday Baseball

Slight after-timing here - I didn’t realise the game started so early, but I am on the Detroit Tigers (1.7) with Nate Robertson pitching to finally get their first win of the season against the Chicago White Sox. I can’t see the Tigers’ losing run continuing much longer, and as I write this, the game is tied at 2, top of the 3rd.

Update: Should have just kept quiet. The inept Tigers fell short again, and now have a less than impressive 0-4 record to start the 2008 season.

Friday Football Lay

Today, there is one selection for the Football Laying System (I need a catchy name for this, any ideas?) which is Dagenham and Redbridge (3.2) playing at Accrington Stanley in a League Two fixture. I am laying £10.65 hoping to to win £4.64 (pre-commission).

Result: Dagenham and Redbridge (both...) lost, so the bank increases to £1,070.28 and the selections tomorrow, and there will be a few, will all be layed to 1% of that, i.e. £10.70.

Thursday 3 April 2008

Thursday Baseball / Basketball

Tonight's selection is the Detroit Tigers (1.58) to get their first win of the season behind Jeremy Bonderman in their home again against the Kansas City Royals.

Only three NBA games tonight, and nothing of value. At this time of year, with teams looking forward to the play-offs, one needs to be careful. Quite often a team would appear to be better off losing a couple of games and dropping down to play a weaker team, albeit a higher seeded one and players are often rested in these situations or if the play-off spot is locked in and they have nothing more to play for. I shall probably keep an eye on these games as they go in-play though. Prices can be volatile and value can often be found during the game. Good luck.

Update: Cleveland Cavaliers (1.32) are the pick for this morning. As always, I shall be looking to go Green-all-Over when the price drops to 1.11 or so.

MLB Result: Tigers were hopeless (again) last night. They lost to the Kansas City Royals 1-4 to open the season 0-3 at home. Not what I expected from them at all!

NBA Result: The Cavaliers managed to drop a 14 point lead, not that unusual an occurrence in the NBA, and lost 108-111, but because I layed off at 1.11 to go Green-all-Over, I'm writing this update in green. Cleveland actually traded as low as 1.04. More evidence that going green-all-over in the NBA is a good strategy.

March Summary

Overall March was a good month. My football bets showed a healthy profit with the 'going-live' of my football laying system. I initially noticed an edge back in the summer, but because the games were an obscure mixture of Scandinavian games, Austrian, Under-20 World Cup matches, MLS, pre-season friendlies and others, I didn't pay too much heed to it.

Earlier this year I came across the original spreadsheet (I'm a nerd - I record everything) and decided to monitor English and Scottish fixtures for a while. As of 31st March, 274 games had been tracked and the pattern I'd noticed in the summer was again evident. Although this is still a work in progress, the current selection criteria would have resulted in 95 winning lays from 116 selections.

Like many others, I read the story of Maria and her laying system with much interest, and although there are some sceptics around, I have no reason to doubt that her discipline and selections combined to make her a nice sum of money. Inspired by the story, I decided to start with a bank of £1,000 and attempt to replicate her success. The big difference between her system and mine is that with only three outcomes possible, the odds I am laying will seldom exceed 4.0. The longest I have layed so far was 3.8. Therefore, her formula for calculating the bank percentage to risk each time is redundant, and I am laying to a fixed 1%. However, I may tinker with this in the future and adopt the idea of having different percentages for different bands of prices. For now I am keeping it simple.

Also, for ease of calculating winnings, I am assuming a 5% commission deduction, although my discount rate is currently 16%. Therefore my actual profits will be slightly higher than those reported.

At the end of March, the system had 18 wins from 21 selections, and the bank stood at £1,052.01 laying each selection to lose £10.62.

Wednesday 2 April 2008

Wednesday Baseball / Basketball

Tonight's selection is for the San Diego Padres to continue their strong start to the season behind Greg Maddux at 1.74 and beat the Houston Astros.

In the NBA, look for the Cleveland Cavaliers (1.64) to be too strong for the Charlotte Bobcats but as always this time of year, be wary for any team news on resting players. Good luck.

NBA Result: The Cleveland Cavaliers won a close game 118-114.

MLB Result: All-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman blew a 6-5 lead in the top of the 9th, and the Padres fell to a 6-9 loss. However, I am putting this result in green because my lay at 1.1 was taken allowing me to go Green-all-Over, although not as green on the Astros as I was the Padres. The Padres actually traded at 1.01 (gubbed as they say) when they were one out away from a win in the top of the ninth - someone got a little too greedy. Very poor liquidity though.

Tuesday 1 April 2008

Tuesday Baseball

Today's baseball selection is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1.86 with Jon Garland pitching) to beat the Minnesota Twins. The Angels came up a little short yesterday, but I expect them to win tonight.

MLB Result: Angels won 9-1