Wednesday 30 September 2009

Draw Your Own Conclusions

The dearth of draws in the Premier League this season has been a recent topic of much discussion on the Betfair forum. A number of reasons have been posited, some with merit, others without. While this in an interesting phenomena in itself, the really interesting question is that of whether we can make money from this.

A number of people are of the opinion that a lack of draws to date means that there will be more in the future to maintain the long-term average, but this is like saying that after five heads in a row, that tails is more likely on the next spin. There is a name for this - Gambler's fallacy, also known as the Monte Carlo fallacy or the fallacy of the maturity of chances, which is “the belief that if deviations from expected behaviour are observed in repeated independent trials of some random process then these deviations are likely to be evened out by opposite deviations in the future”.

So unless there is a valid underlying reason for why draws are less numerous this season, a reason which is expected to continue to hold true, then we clearly are wasting our time adopting a strategy of blindly backing the draw in the future.

There has been an increase in goals this season, which clearly affects the probability of a game resulting in a draw. Is there a reason for this, or is this just a statistical anomaly?

I believe that there is an explanation for this.

At the start of the season I divided the Premier League into four groups.

A. Big 4 (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United)
B. Europa (Aston Villa, Everton, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur)
C. Middlers (Blackburn, Bolton Wanderers, Fulham, Sunderland, West Ham, Wigan)
D. Strugglers (Birmingham City, Burnley, Hull City, Portsmouth, Stoke City, Wolves)

This was somewhat subjective of course, and as the season progresses there may well be reason to revise the groups.

To date, there have been only 10 games between teams in the same group. Three of these matches resulted in draws, and in fact all were close, with only one of these being won by more than one goal (Stoke City’s 2-0 thrashing of Burnley!) I also look to these intra-group games to be low scoring, and indeed, 8 of the 10 have been under 2.5 goals.

Removing these games leaves 56 games between ill-matched teams, just one of which as resulted in a draw. Bolton v Stoke, and these are both teams whose grouping is highly subjective and on a different day may well have been grouped together.

After just 10 matches from 66, this weekend sees no less than five more intra-group games. On Saturday we have Burnley v Birmingham City and Wolves v Portsmouth followed on Sunday by Chelsea v Liverpool and West Ham v Fulham. Finally, on Monday, Aston Villa host Manchester City.

Of the four draws so far, from the 66 games played, not one has involved any team from the top half of the table. Perhaps this is because we have only had one intra-group game in Group A and none yet in Group B? More goals than average – just the result of the way the fixtures have been scheduled.

It might be too much to hope for, but if anyone is laying the draw at a longer price than usual, the four fixtures listed above might be worth a shot. However, as might be expected, the prices on the draw for these games are currently: Burnley v Birmingham City (3.4), Wolves v Portsmouth (3.5), Chelsea v Liverpool (3.55), West Ham v Fulham (3.4), Aston Villa v Manchester City (3.4). Prices for intra-group matches are usually in the 3.4 to 3.6 range, so no sign that the draw price has changed, which is only to be expected.

Unders on these matches are currently 1.73, 1.74, 1.82, 1.75 and 1.96 respectively, but the markets are not yet firmed up, so expect better prices closer to kick-off.

Monday 28 September 2009

Shaping Form

One of the problems I have with the Elo rating system is that winning is everything. Your points are at stake, and if you lose, you lose them. It doesn't matter who you lose to. If you're say Accrington Stanley and you lose to Manchester United your rating diminishes just the same as if you'd lost to Rochdale. If you win, then who you beat matters. It doesn't seem right that if you lose, the strength of your opponent doesn't matter.

The other thing I have been pondering for a couple of days, is weighting a teams 'performance' rating. This idea was triggered by Peter Nordsted's comment that he looks at how "teams have fared in recent matches against opposition of a similar quality". While this would add another level of complexity to an already complex enough equation, it did get me thinking that it would be relatively easy to adjust a team's performance rating to take into consideration the opponent's strength. Clearly, it is far better for a team to have 10 corners and 20 shots on-target away to Arsenal than at home to Darlington.

Back to the Elo ratings for a moment, and the best predictor right now is not the rating itself, but the relative difference in ratings for the two teams over the past six games. For example on Saturday Birmingham City played Bolton Wanderers. Over the previous six games, Birmingham had gone down by 123 points, whereas Bolton had improved by 3 points. Although both home and away selections are in profit, the system is especially accurate if the form team is at home with 22 winners from 30, but 4 of those losers were on opening day when the form dated back to last season, and should probably be ignored.

Odds-on favourites in the Premier League are also having a good run right now. Since August 24th, only 1 (Chelsea at Wigan) has failed to win. 22 winners from 23 selections. And still the draws are nowhere to be seen.

Manchester City

Manchester City v West Ham United. Home win. City (1.45) have a higher Elo rating, better form, and a higher power rating, and are value for the win.


Back Manchester City (1.45) v West Ham United W 45

09-10 Totals - Stake: 800 Return: 1127.07 P/L: +327.07 (40.9%)

Sunday 27 September 2009

And The Opponent Is....

Enough about Premier League football. How about Rugby League's innovative move to allow the top-seed (Leeds Rhinos) to choose their opponents (Catalans Dragons) in the Super League Semi-Finals? It's certainly a first in sports, as far as I know anyway, and I wonder if other sports with play-offs might think about introducing the idea. It could certainly liven up Wimbledon.

For football, it usually works out that one team storms into the play-offs with a strong run, yet finishes behind a team that started strong and managed to hang on. Letting the third placed team choose their opponent would be an interesting adjustment. Not only would you be choosing your opponent, but you would also be choosing the other contender's match-ups. I like it!

Paul Fletcher's blog on the BBC finishes with "But the play-offs are here to stay and I think it would make for great entertainment if the team in third was able to choose who they face.

I mean, just imagine how the bellicose Neil Warnock would react if his Crystal Palace team became the chosen opponents."

Given Palace's tremendous record in play-offs, I doubt that anyone would choose to face them!

Speaking of Palace, two weeks after losing at home to Scunthorpe 0-4, they travel to table-topping West Bromwich Albion and win. Betting on Palace may affect your wealth!

Sunderland Wolves

Sunderland to beat Wolves today at 1.75. Wolves are higher on the Elo ratings, but Sunderland are higher on form which is proving a more accurate predictor of results.

Update: Got into a small pickle on the unders in this game, locking in a miniscule profit after 40 mins. Considering the second half's avalanche of goals, that was quite a win!

Back Sunderland (1.75) v Wolverhampton Wanderers W 75

09-10 Totals - Stake: 700 Return: 982.07 P/L: +282.07 (40.3%)

Each-Way Don't Pay

After Chelsea's loss as a 1.33 favourite, I’ve been taking a look at the fate of all the favourites in the Premier League so far this season.

After 64 games, the favourite has won 43 times, for a profit of 14.96 points,(23.38%) to a level 1 point stake. When the favourite is odds-on, the profit from 34 games and 28 wins is 9.48 (27.88%) and when the favourite is at evens or greater, the profit is 5.48 – 18.27% (15 winners from 30 selections).

When it comes to football betting, I think of the Lay option as the equivalent of the each-way bet. You fancy your selection, but just in case they don’t have enough, you get the draw on your side too. You get more frequent winners, but lower returns.

Clearly, while laying the draw would have been a most lucrative strategy so far this season, when it comes to opposing a team, one would have been better off to simply back the opponent.

Aren’t statistics fun?

Saturday 26 September 2009

Saturday Prem Selections

With the new boys in the Premier League all having six games behind them, it's time to include them in my betting.

Today's fixtures aren't too exciting to be honest, but there are a few value plays. The Big Four are all odds-on, and Liverpool at 1.16 are too short for me. The other three look good value though, especially Arsenal at 1.56.

Bolton Wanderers have better recent form than Birmingham and have played better than their results would suggest, so that makes for a lay of Birmingham.

Back Everton (2.0) @ Portsmouth
Lay Birmingham City (2.35) v Bolton Wanderers
Back Manchester United (1.42) @ Stoke City
Back Tottenham Hotspur (1.35) v Burnley
Back Chelsea (1.33) @ Wigan Athletic
Back Arsenal (1.56) @ Fulham

Update: Not too shabby, but a clean sheet ruined by a 13.5 shot!

Back Everton (2.0) @ Portsmouth W 100
Lay Birmingham City (2.35) v Bolton Wanderers W 74.07
Back Manchester United (1.42) @ Stoke City W 42
Back Tottenham Hotspur (1.35) v Burnley W 35
Back Chelsea (1.33) @ Wigan Athletic L -100

Back Arsenal (1.56) @ Fulham W 56

Stake: 600 Return: 807.07 P/L: +207.07 (34.5%)

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Footy Thoughts

I guess it isn't all bad when you have your second worst day of the year, and still pay the Premium Charge three days later, albeit a much reduced figure. There's that silver lining.

I don't bet on Cup matches, so no football action for me this week until Saturday. I do update the Elo ratings with these results though. It's one way that points move between the divisions. I've mentioned that for the Premier League, I have been recording more than just the results, and also rating teams by the strength of their overall performance. It makes interesting reading (if you like this sort of thing). Top and bottom 6 only (it's only SO interesting). My Elo ranking in parentheses.

1. Chelsea (2)
2. Manchester United (1)
3. Liverpool (3)
4. Arsenal (4)
5. Tottenham (5)
6. Everton (6)

15. Birmingham (12)
16. Sunderland (17)
17. Stoke (14)
18. Hull (19)
19. Burnley (8)
20. Fulham (10)

While the top 6 reflect very closely the teams overall rankings, the bottom six aren't close. On results, Portsmouth are ranked 20th, Bolton Wanderers 18th, Wigan Athletic 16th and Blackburn Rovers 15th, but their match performances suggest their rankings are too low. Basically teams like Burnley, Fulham and Stoke City appear to be getting results that perhaps they don't deserve. These things tend to catch up with you, and I'll be keeping a close eye on my bottom six over the next few weeks.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

NFL - Not Fun Lately

A depressing start to the NFL season (NFL standing for No Effing Luck right now).

This past weekend, I found myself three times needing something to happen with less than three minutes left. First, there was the Oakland Raiders who I didn't want to come from behind to beat the Kansas City Chiefs, but sure enough they did. That one hurt.

Then there was the San Diego Chargers attempting to come from behind against the Baltimore Ravens, but they fell short in the dying seconds. That meant a small profit instead of a medium profit, so not too bad.

Finally, the Miami Dolphins came up short against the Indianapolis Colts for another loss and my worst NFL weekend ever.

Just one of those things I think. I'm pretty sure I had value in the first two games, but possibly it was borderline in the third. It's great when value goes your way, but not so enjoyable when nothing seems to go right.

But - no Premium Charge tomorrow! Every cloud...

Sunday 20 September 2009

Every Problem Has A Gift For You In Its Hands

Where have all the draws gone? Only 4 from 55 games so far this season in the Premier League, and laying them all would have resulted in a profit of £42.10 to a £1 level stake. Positively Premium Charge territory if you use Betfair for these bets, which I hope you don't. The prices available on BETDAQ are usually the same, and no Premium Charge on your winners.

The Elo ratings produced 6 winners and 1 loser (Fulham) from the 7 matches this weekend not involving promoted sides for a £3.49 (50%) profit.

I have had the promoted sides on probation for six games at the start of the season, but with Burnley ranked 8th, Wolves 11th and Birmingham 12th, (all three within a place of their starting rankings) I still feel these teams are rated too high. I'm not fully confident that these ratings have fully settled down, so for the next 4 games I'll restrict my investments to 50% and review again.

On a different topic, there were some technical difficulties on Betfair yesterday in some of the minor markets. It is incredibly annoying for a trader to take a position, and then be unable to exit it. Even a call to Betfair asking them to make me red-all-over was of no use. Fortunately I was only in for £60, and, as it turned out, it probably made me money. The power of prayer! (It was a WNBA game, and Indiana came from 9 points down in the fourth quarter to tie the game in the last two seconds, before going on to win in overtime).

I trust the issues are all resolved now, especially with the lucrative NFL starting in a few minutes, because it certainly doesn't build confidence when these things happen, and as I told the Betfair person, when you put a bet in, it's on the understanding that you can get out later. All bets up to the time of the freeze stand - there is no voiding of all bets. It's one thing having a £60 dabble on WNBA, it would be quite another to get caught with a three, or sometimes four, figure position on the NFL.

Back to women's sports for a second, and Rob the Builder commented yesterday about the "mental fragility" of women in sports. This is something I believe I have written on before. Rob has noticed how this can be a factor in the WTA, and I have noticed the same thing in WNBA. Not meaning to sound Taliban like in any way, but it does seem that once things start going wrong for girls, they seem less able than men to gather themselves.

Friday 18 September 2009

Blades On Thin Ice

A continuation of my last post really, but over the past couple of days, some more examples of how laying at low odds can be extremely rewarding.

I'm watching the Sheffield derby as I write, but have no financial interest in the game having missed the first half. Sheffield United were 3-0 up and a massive, well, to me it's massive, £268,630 was backed at either 1.01 or 1.02. Given that the game is a local derby, and that Sheffield Wednesday would most likely return for the second-half after an ear-bashing, was this value for the backers? Even if United do win, as it looks like they will, one goal for Wednesday was enough to elevate the price to 1.1 or so. The second made it 1.36 or so.

I noticed a baseball game earlier in the week where the home team was down by two with a man on base but down to their last out. Money was trying to back the leaders at 1.01 with an excellent home-run hitter coming to bat... one swing of the bat later and the game is tied and going into extra innings, and yes, I DID have a (small) interest in that one. Later the same day I layed another team up by 4 in the 8th inning again at 1.01. The bottom of the 8th, and the first two got on base, and the price shot up to 1.11. They ended up losing 4-3, but the point is that the downside of laying at 1.01 or 1.02 is very small.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Lay The Shorties

There were two games last night/this morning in the NFL, both with one team heavily favoured pre-game. In the first game the New England Patriots hosted the Buffalo Bills and were around 1.15 pre-game. In the second, the San Diego Chargers were at Oakland Raiders and were around 1.21 pre-game. The upside of laying these shorties, as I have mentioned before, is huge. Buffalo traded as low as 1.08 before losing by a point, and Oakland led San Diego late, trading at a low of (I believe) around 1.4 before finally losing by 4.

It's not always this easy of course, and there are games where the clear favourite scores first and layers are never ahead, but not enough to make this strategy unprofitable. I hope the pre-game backers weere asleep and missed the drama, because I can't think of a more uncomfortable way to spend 7 hours plus than backing pre-game at those prices. £100 on each to make 18% sounds ok, but neither bet was my idea of value.

Saturday 12 September 2009

Saturday Summary

A good day for the value selections. 2 of 3 lost, and all 3 were at one time losing.

I know this will sound very much like after-timing, but I have noticed in the past that the market overreacts to a sending-off. Watching the Spurs - Manchester United game, when Paul Scholes was sent off with a little over 30 minutes to go, the price on United jumped (on BETDAQ anyway) from 1.35 to 1.57. Did United's chances of winning really diminish from 74% to 64% in that instant? I didn't think so. I have watched enough football games to know that a man advantage is often not much of an advantage at all. As it turned out, United added a third goal to seal the deal, and my regret was that I had played it safe and laid off at 1.34 rather than let it run, but I am not into gambling.

In my post earlier this morning, I very nearly tipped my own Crystal Palace to beat a poor Scunthorpe side at 1.76. Palace had never lost to Scunthorpe, which means nothing I admit, but Scunthorpe had also not picked up an away point this season, and not scored in about a month, and Palace looked value. What do I know? Palace slumped to an awful 0-4 home defeat, and I'm wondering what Steve Coppell is up to these days.

Premier League Value Lays

Premier League football is back, and today’s value lays are Arsenal (2.55), Manchester United (2.34) and Portsmouth (2.68).

It's not often I would bet against the first two, but Spurs are in fine form right now, and Manchester City could take advantage of an Arshavinless Arsenal (easy for you to say).

Portsmouth and Bolton Wanderers are both pretty poor, but I find the value is in a lay of Portsmouth.

I wouldn't be surprised if a couple of the above matches ended in draws.

Friday 11 September 2009

Steeling A Win

Not a good start to the NFL season in the opening game. I made a profit overall, losing on the handicap (Steelers -6), and winning on the Match Odds market, but it wasn't one of those wins that felt deserved.

The tried and tested formula of laying after a touchdown paid dividends as usual, but some of my other trades were not so sharp and going in to overtime I had a big red on the Titans which, had they prevailed, would have been a disastrous start to the new season.

Fortunately for me, the favourites won the toss (always crucial in NFL overtime games) and came through in the end, but it was one of those wins that didn't feel like one.

One of the great things about the NFL is the volatility, and how in an instant the price can flip-flop, but of course if you are on the wrong side of such a move, it can be quite unsettling. The joys of trading.

Thursday 10 September 2009

It's All Downhill

I am reading a book called "The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead" by David Shields, and it makes for grim reading.

Some highlights, if you can call them that.

At 19, your strength and coordination peak.

At 20, your body is at its most flexible, after which joint function steadily declines.

Your IQ is highest between ages 18 and 25 when the brain peaks in size and then starts shrinking, losing weight and filling with fluid.

At 30 you reach peak bone mass.

Creativity peaks in the 30s, then declines rapidly.

"At 50, everyone has the face they deserve." - George Orwell.

Reaction times slow by 20% from age 20 to 60.

There is some good news. When you're 45, your vocabulary (whatever that means) is three times as large as it is at 20. When you're 60, your brain possesses four times the information than it does at 20. Retrieving that information is another matter.

By the time you're in your 80s, you no longer need to wear deodorants, and at age 90, you grow increasingly less likely to develop cancer as the tissues of an old person don't serve the needs of aggressive, energy hungry tumours.

As depressing as all that is, the most worrying is this quote from Evelyn Waugh: "Old people are more interesting than young. One of the particular points of interest is to observe how after 50 they revert to the habits, mannerisms, and opinions of their parents, however wild they were in youth."

God help me.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

World Cup 2010

England seem to have a thing about winning 5-1 in early September World Cup Qualifying matches. For once, a smooth qualifying campaign, finished off in some style tonight. I really hope to be able to get to South Africa for some games with my son, but what with him being in his first year at University, I'm not sure the pieces will all come together.

My week in Germany with him in 2006 was one of those unforgettable experiences, even if it did end in some disappointment. That was a last minute idea, which is easy enough when the destination is Germany, but when it's South Africa, that will take a little more planning.

Roll on December and the draw, and perhaps the planning can begin. I'm getting old, and it would be nice to see England win a second World Cup before I die. I was too young to appreciate the first one - I thought England won it all the time!

My dream of seeing Palace win a major trophy has already come true - and yes, the Zenith Data Systems Cup most definitely IS (was) a major trophy.

Saturday 5 September 2009

Reproductively Focused

More brain stuff, I’m afraid.

In late December 2005, I met a girl. In early 2006, as the relationship blossomed, I went on something of a bad run, dropping a whopping 50.93% of my bank by May 12th. It took me until August 10th to finally get ahead of my 2005 year-end balance.

Looking back, it really was quite a disaster, but I don’t remember getting too down about it, because the new relationship was going very well, (it still is), and somehow investing wasn’t quite such a priority.

I kid her that she was responsible for my hellish run, only partly in jest, but now I find evidence that is was, indeed, all her fault. She owes me.

The results of a study were published in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph.

The research shows men who spend even a few minutes in the company of an attractive woman perform less well in tests designed to measure brain function than those who chat to someone they do not find attractive.

Researchers who carried out the study, published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, think the reason may be that men use up so much of their brain function or 'cognitive resources' trying to impress beautiful women, they have little left for other tasks.

The findings have implications for the performance of men who flirt with women in the workplace, or even exam results in mixed-sex schools.

Women, however, were not affected by chatting to a handsome man.

This may be simply because men are programmed by evolution to think more about mating opportunities.

Psychologists at Radboud University in The Netherlands carried out the study after one of them was so struck on impressing an attractive woman he had never met before, that he could not remember his address when she asked him where he lived.

Researchers said it was as if he was so keen to make an impression he 'temporarily absorbed most of his cognitive resources.'

To see if other men were affected in the same way, they recruited 40 male heterosexual students.

Each one performed a standard memory test where they had to observe a stream of letters and say, as fast as possible, if each one was the same as the one before last.

The volunteers then spent seven minutes chatting to male or female members of the research team before repeating the test.

The results showed men were slower and less accurate after trying to impress the women. The more they fancied them, the worse their score.

But when the task was repeated with a group of female volunteers, they did not get the same results. Memory scores stayed the same, whether they had chatted to a man or a woman.

In a report on their findings the researchers said: 'We conclude men's cognitive functioning may temporarily decline after an interaction with an attractive woman.'
Psychologist Dr George Fieldman, a member of the British Psychological Society, said the findings reflect the fact that men are programmed to think about ways to pass on their genes.

'When a man meets a pretty woman, he is what we call 'reproductively focused'.

'But a woman also looks for signs of other attributes, such as wealth, youth and kindness. Just the look of the man would be unlikely to have the same effect.'
It’s lucky for me that my girl wasn’t carefully examining my wealth, because it was dwindling fast in those early days.

And I thought she wanted me for my looks!

Thursday 3 September 2009

Mind Games

There's an article from the BBC today about how regularly playing Tetris may have significant benefits. According to a study conducted by the Mind Research Network, regularly playing the game, for 30 minutes a day over a three month period, thickens the cerebral cortex - the part of the brain that plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language and consciousness. The results suggest that the idea that the number of neurones [brain cells] in the brain was fixed after a certain age is not true.

Forget 30 minutes a day for three months. I wonder what effect on the brain playing Betfair for several hours a day over a four year period has done for my brain? Studies have shown that if you practise something over time, the brain becomes more efficient. Watch the markets move on Betfair for long enough and you see the same patterns repeating, and of course, when you know how a market will move, you can profit from that knowledge.

I believe I have written before about how Betfair can be likened to an interactive computer game. There's you pitting your wits against other individuals somewhere else in the world, each person trying to accumulate points. Like any game, if you have the pre-requisite skills, with practice, dedication and the right approach, it can be mastered and become profitable.

What is a little concerning is that studies on the brains of London cabbies doing the Knowledge show that while some parts of the brain become engaged and benefit, other parts of the brain decrease so that "while some parts of the brain show an increase in cells, there's a cost."

I'm hoping the decrease in brain cells isn't affecting anything too important, but if I need an excuse for forgetting an anniversary or a loved one's birthday, this could be it.

Wednesday 2 September 2009

Comment Comment

I received the following comment on my “Nerdy Anorak Elo Stuff” post a couple of days ago:

“I'm sorry, these football ratings systems don't work. One-size-fits-all constants for short and long term form/home team advantage don't work. Ratings have no consideration of team line-ups or team tactics, they might pick up the odd rick in League 2, but the clued up football punter will always trump them and pick up any value. Do yourself a favour Cassini and spend your time on something more fruitful. If you do make it pay I'll give you the money myself...”

Let’s break this down. I'm sorry, these football ratings systems don't work. Back in 1991-92, I used a pencil, a pocket calculator, reams of paper, hours of time and Elo ratings on British football to make a nice profit. Ladbrokes ultimately closed my credit account, which I was quite proud of at the time, and with family and career taking up more time, this was a one-off achievement. So unless this season was for some reason a fluke, is it definitely possible to find a way to use ratings to make money on football.

Football betting, contrary to how it would seem, is certainly not easy. Leaving aside the fringe markets, football has three outcomes. The game results in a Home win, an away win or in a draw - with the draw being a pain in the rear for computing odds! However, with the high liquidity on football, the over-round is minimal, and the potential for finding value should definitely exist.

Ratings have no consideration of team line-ups... The commenter makes the point that a purely objective selection method doesn’t factor in changes in line-up which is very true, and any significant changes in personnel have to be respected. For this reason, games involving Notts County and Manchester City are not being considered for betting purposes until a few games have gone by.

… or team tactics. The second point that an objective system doesn’t consider team tactics is not so valid, at least not for pre-game punts. Unless you are the manager, or somehow have access to such inside information, no one knows what tactics will be used, and tactics are often adjusted depending on how the opposition play, so whether you are a subjective or an objective punter, the possible tactics do not mean that much.

…but the clued up football punter will always trump them and pick up any value. I agree that for in-play betting, the ‘clued-up punter’ may well be able to recognize an advantage, but with thousands of ‘clued-up punters’ out there seeing the same thing, I would disagree that they can necessarily find value. They won’t be able to find an edge because it will be gone - eroded by the deluge of like-minded gamblers.

I would also like to ask how the bookies arrive at their odds. I would imagine that they all crunch the numbers, (what numbers I would like to know) and then sprinkle in a little subjectivity and arrive at the prices they publish. They are protected somewhat by their over-round, but in principle, their methods are not too dissimilar from my own.

Do yourself a favour Cassini and spend your time on something more fruitful. Agreed, there are indeed certainly easier ways to make money on the exchanges, and I focus on those when they are available, but the markets I focus on leave me with plenty of down-time to write boring blog posts and explore other investment possibilities.

Besides, it’s not all about the money. I actually enjoy playing with numbers and ratings and the like and I enjoy the challenge of pitting my wits against others. If I make a few bob, that’s a bonus, and if I lose, it’ll only be loose change.

If you do make it pay I'll give you the money myself… I look forward to receiving your payment. PayPal accepted…

Premier League totals to date (1pt level stake, commission excluded) after 36 matches:

Elo Ratings Only: +7.58 (+21%)

Form Only: +20.22 (+56%)

Power Only: +3.91 (+15%) (from 26 matches)

Tuesday 1 September 2009

August Summery

August was a struggle, but then again, it always is. Every August has been profitable, but never hugely so. Overall, it is my fourth worst month of the year, ahead only of miserable May, awful April, and July by a daily average of just 17p!

Not to worry. Rather symmetrically, my six best months of the year all fall between October and March, and with September in 7th place the slow summer is almost over.

Football betting will resume in earnest mid-month once the ratings have settled down, and England seal their place in South Africa next year. The Form ratings are showing a lot of promise as I mentioned a couple of days ago (+56%) but with only 36 games played, there's no getting too excited just yet. It takes me a good 2/3 hours a week to maintain all the ratings and whilst I only do the Form and Power numbers for the Premier League so far, if I find they are profitable, then I may be spending a few more hours a week and include the lower leagues.

Across the pond, the American version of the game will soon be underway. For a major sport, it’s a very short season, (16 games plus play-offs) but plenty of trading opportunities in those few weeks. Watch for value as the market, almost without fail, over-reacts to touchdowns. You can almost see how the market is thinking.

Touchdown scored: "Great! I can't see the Cowboys losing this. They look good. I am backing at 1.3. Darn it - missed the 1.3. Heck, 1.27 is almost as good. They're winning. Can't see them losing this one."

A break for ads, and the thought creeps in that "Maybe that wasn't such a good price. The Bears came back last week".

Cowboys kick-off and the Bears roll out to the 32 yard line. Price is up to 1.35 by now...

Seriously, it happens all the time. Greed and fear, the two main market drivers at work. There's my free advice to you all. Just keep signing up to my Swop Confidentialities advice service for more. I am still a few subscribers short of my target, and a trip to Monza to pay for.

Good luck in September.