Friday 19 August 2011

Updated EPL / Bundesliga / Ligue 1

But first, as promised, updates to the EPL, Bundeliga and Ligue 1 value bets. Good luck - I shall be back in early September.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Apples And Oranges

It looks like I spoke too soon about August being the best ever. A £500+ Premium Charge deduction combined with consecutive losing days early in the week means that 2007's total is now odds-on to remain the best. Interestingly, only one August day (the 31st. at that) has seen a four figure change, and that was a careless loss in 2006 due to alcohol, (a lesson learned), so it tends to be a slow and steady month rather than one with exciting twists and turns.

Just for the heck of it, I looked at the years in which I had my best calendar months, and two still belong to as far back as 2006. Two in 2007, three in both 2008 and 2009, one in 2010 and one in 2011. So much for improving as time goes by. The Premium Charge is one reason why some older totals remain of course, but also markets are constantly changing.

The French value selections have been updated - prices are still a little soft, so the Back prices should all be beatable.

I'll try and find time to freshen up the Bundesliga and EPL spreadsheets too before I leave you to your own devices.

Wednesday 17 August 2011


Peter Webb posted on a subject that resonates with me at this time of a season.

Early season football is the most interesting time of the year for me.

Some teams play well but lose, some play poorly but win and in the early season that gives a lift or shock to the team. Teams can easily build or lose momentum early in the season so its key to see how things are playing out. Short term momentum is critical and can lead to early season over performance but to keep it going over the whole season requires plenty of skill and a deep squad. In the premier league there really is a massive gulf between the top teams and the rest. Elsewhere there is a thinner line in skill levels between teams and this makes momentum and the psychological benefits it brings, critically important.

Keep your eye open for teams heading in either direction and that will give you some clues to short term value seeking in football matches.
Although I don't track the lower leagues any more, I do still keep an eye on them, and I don't know about anyone else, but you can't help but feel that certain teams seem to have it going for them. For me, in the Championship, right now it's Southampton and Brighton, both keeping their momentum going from last season, with West Ham looking good too - having reversed their momentum from last season! And a come from behind win with two 90' goals is sure to propel another southern team to further success, preferably long-term and short-term.

In League One it's Charlton Athletic, and in League Two, Crawley Town are looking strong. A little early for the Premier League opinions yet, but a mouth watering clash between the top two coming up this Sunday. As for Grimsby Town - there is a team headed in the wrong direction. Keep an eye on Dover in the Conference South too. How to incorporate this subjectivity into my spreadsheet is another thing altogether.

I was slightly premature with my prices for the Arsenal v Liverpool game this Saturday, given that they had yet to play Udinese, but Arsenal won by the (close to) expected margin, so the prices haven't changed by more than .01 - I didn't look at the Arsenal v Udinese market at all, but I had Arsenal at 2.13 if anyone cares to enlighten me as to what their approximate SP was.

Talkbet finds it highly amusing that after my gentle ribbing of the phoney Adam Heathcote and his post about staying hydrated, I should trip up over Evian. 

I can't say that too much about that error was amusing, but when my sense of humour returns in a few weeks, I shall have a wry smile at how 'Evian the irony it was.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Daddy's Back

Call me Brett Favre. I have reconsidered my retirement. I got bored, and besides, how can I let down the sports blogging community when this blog is, according to at least one expert, "the daddy of all sports related blogs and the one that's likely to be going long after most of us have gone to the wall?" The expert has a new blog, which is named "Green Pullover" (no relation) and looks a lot more promising than the average blog if you like your football bets. The name is more than just a nod to this one too.

After reading P's comment, I now feel even worse about my Evian TG error:

Your loyal readers shared your pain with Evian TG, as you said they were a lay in your blog posting. I'm sure you'll find a way to make this up to us all when you return from holiday though, perhaps by offering the NFL in-play service that Scott recommended...

How many people have expressed interest and what would your fee be just out of curiosity?
In future, I'll try to remember to put up the screenshot alongside any commentary, so that if / when I do make a mistake, at least there's a back-up. As for the NFL in-play service, there have been some developments on this idea, so watch this space or check out other well respected blogs for news.

And now, well ahead of schedule, here is an early look at this weekend's Bundesliga games. The Hannover '96 v Hertha Berlin game is subject to change as Hannover play Sevilla in the Europa League on Thursday, and the result may well affect my prices. It's actually rather surprising how firm the prices are for Sunday's game. I have Hannover at 2.65 to beat Sevilla incidentally.
Ignore the colours - they don't mean anything at this stage. It should be possible to better many of the Match Odds prices quoted.

As for Ligue 1, the prices are still not firm at all, but here are my prices Home - Draw - Away. Value bets will be put up later.
And last, but by no means least, here are the early value bets I have for this weekend's EPL games.
Again, a lot of these prices should be beatable, at least on the Back side, and the lay of Manchester United may well become a No Bet as Lay prices may move against us. I'll look at the Under / Overs later. There should be more than enough there to keep you all busy. Finally, here are the XX Draw picks for this weekend:

Minding The GAAP

It is pointed out to me by George that the Totals Matched are recorded differently by Betfair and BETDAQ, so the amounts are not directly comparable.
Betfair records matched volume as 2 x stake while Betdaq records it as stake + liability (more meaningful, I think). The ratio will clearly depend on the matched odds, but for golf it's around 10, so the £12.7 million on Betfair is equivalent to around £130 million in Betdaq terms.
Whether or not it is true that liquidity is flowing from the former to the latter thus remains to be confirmed, and in future, I shall only write about things I understand.

So, after three and a half years, we reach the end of the road. Good luck, and goodbye.

Monday 15 August 2011

Drying Up

I noticed last night while trading the PGA Tournament on Betfair and BETDAQ that the total matched towards the end of the final round was £12.7 million and £25.8 million respectively. The final totals after the play-off would have been higher, but the point is that BETDAQ's share of some markets has grown hugely over the past few weeks. On this subject msv writes:
Maybe this is not the right spot but I was wondering why Betfair should be bothered when some of their most successful traders leave the markets due to the new premium charge. Maybe I miss something but why should it be bad news for Betfair when the guys leave who get the most money out of the system?
Basically, an exchange succeeds where there is liquidity. Many so-called 'big-hitters' have been, or will be, driven away from Betfair by having to pay up to 60% of their profits in charges. That drop in liquidity is already being seen, with liquidity on many fringe markets dropping dramatically, and many comments on the forum about it. This one is typical:
I remember when Betfair first created markets and no one played on them. It was like going back in time today after looking at the Rugby and MotoGP markets.

Absolutely no one playing in them.

Well done Betfair - you have created a ghost town.
MotoGP is not my thing, but you get the idea. There's still good liquidity on the Match Odds football markets, but it is clear that there is less than before, and that other exchanges such as BETDAQ are benefiting. Betfair are playing a dangerous game. If the liquidity drops to the tipping point, then the site really will become a ghost down, and very quickly.

msv again:
Good luck with the £3.85! This has to be a awesome month, if you get your best August ever with just two weeks gone.
Unfortunately, August is my second worse month behind only April, and the fact that it may become my best August ever really isn't saying too much! August is never awesome. For anyone who didn't read the update to my last post, it doesn't help when you identify value and then do the exact opposite. My spreadsheet clearly had Evian TG as value (my price was 1.87, and 2.2 was available) yet I somehow read Back as Lay and throw away 1.2 points. Very annoying. Other than that little error, it was another pretty good day yesterday. Stoke v Chelsea didn't go Over, nor did Manchester United fail to win but other picks were good including the XX Draw which went 2 for 2 on the day and 4 of 6 on the season. And one of those only lost to a 90' goal!

Despite the Evian TG debacle, I did manage to make the required £3.85, and am now looking good for a strong finish before my summer break.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Early Bird Prices

I have been well and truly reprimanded on the lateness and incompleteness of my football picks. What I have been doing is typically enter the data from the weekend's matches into the spreadsheet on the Tuesday and Wednesday, and then start looking at available prices on Friday, as earlier in the week they tend to be a little gappy, especially the Over / Under markets. This week I'll put the prices I calculate out there sooner, and leave it to the discretion of readers to determine whether or not prices are value as they settle down. I haven't been too serious about this yet because a) it's early in the season and b) I'm off for a couple of weekends shortly, but if there is interest, I will endeavour to have the selections earlier in the week than has been the case previously when the betting season starts after the International break.

P commented:

Also Cassini, would you kindly explain why you would recommend laying Marseille as well as backing the draw in that same match for the XX selections?

Do you feel it is better to dutch the two outcomes that show value or to choose which of the two shows the most value?
A fair question, and the answer is that the XX Draws are based purely on my ratings whereas the Match Odds and Over / Under value picks use the ratings along with a number of other factors to produce my own prices which are then compared to those available. This does result in occasions where a draw is predicted in one system, but the other system finds value elsewhere. As in today's example, the two aren't exclusive, and I have both backed the Draw, and layed Marseille (unfortunately!**) The XX Draw picks have served me well over the past two season, even though they are less sophisticated than the value picks, which are still in their formative stage. Sometimes you can over-think these things it seems.

** Update: Forget the 'unfortunately' - at the time of writing, Marseille had a 2-0 lead, but Auxerre did the business and tied it up at 2-2 giving both systems a winner.

Highs And Lows

I was going to open the post with something along the lines of "another mixed bag of results yesterday", but that sounds very negative. I think I expect too much. When you are dealing with probabilities and value, any day when you finish in the plus column is a good day. Some days will be better than others, but to expect close to 100% every time, while a nice goal, is somewhat unrealistic. Saturday's results were good. 23 selections, 13 winners, +8.37 points. Of course, there were some howlers in there. QPR's thrashing by Bolton for one, but that just serves me right for trying to impose a promoted team's previous form onto the spreadsheet. Football Elite had this one too, which makes me feel a lot better. If I'm going to be wrong, I like to be wrong in company. Overs in the Fulham v Aston Villa and Newcastle United v Arsenal games came up rather short with both finishing 0-0, but then there's the highlights. Mainz '05 picked at 3.1 (shortened significantly later as you will read later) and a lay of Olympique Lyon at 1.3 being the cream of the crop.

Peter Nordsted is back with his Drawmaster picks, and I'm pleased to see he is not necessarily selecting three every week. As I've written before, some weeks there are no selections, other weeks there are several. It makes no sense to me to handicap yourself by forcing picks or leaving picks on the table. Interestingly, Peter's two selections this weekend are also in my XX Draw list, and he started the season with a winner in the Newcastle United v Arsenal game.

Today, I have value in the Overs (2.12) at Stoke City (v Chelsea), lays of Evian Thonon Gaillard at 2.2** (what a name!) and Olympique Marseille (2.17) in Ligue 1, where the Over (2.37) Auxerre v Marseille, and Under (1.92) Lille v Montpellier are also value while in the Bundesliga, lay Kaiserslautern at 1.93. Stoke City v Chelsea and Auxerre v Marseille also feature on the XX Draw list.

Unless anyone vociferously complains, I'm discontinuing following the Free Under Over Soccer Picks - I don't see anything like value here after 115 selections, (probably why they are Free) but mainly the web site very annoyingly disappears to another site after a few seconds and whatever they are selling, I'm not interested in it. Deal or No Deal? I'll pass, thank you.

I now need £3.85 before Friday for this to be my best August ever. I am cautiously optimistic. Come Friday, and I shall be away for 17 days, so just five more trading days to do it.

msv left a nice comment, which was
Hi Cassini,

I am following your blog very closely and have to thank you for all the advice which has helped me a lot to improve my trading, so at least I do not have to deposit funds any more :-) Especially the discussion on the topic "to green or not to green" was very helpful.

I am from Germany and a big fan of the Bundesliga (but unfortunately have no edge there), so I checked the prices you had in this post and recognized you were right in a older post where you wrote: "On a final note, I am seeing my value picks in midweek frequently shorten before kick-off. Something I need to look at more closely in the coming weeks"

So the prices are now (approx 80 min. before kick-off):

Back Mainz 2.72 (instead of 3.1)
Lay Hamburg 2.06 (1.98)
Lay Dortmund 1.84 (1.8)
Back Nuremberg 2.16 (2.36)
just Lay Schalke improved 1.64 (1.67)

Maybe next time you could post the Bundesliga prices little bit earlier :-)

You get those prices out of a self made excel-sheet, right?

Thanks for all the great posts, I have learned and laughed a lot.
with an update later saying:
Just before kick-off the prices have even dropped to

Back Mainz 2.6
Back Nuremberg 1.97
Yes, the spreadsheet is self-made and generates the prices I use. I shall make every effort to improve the service and have my Bundesliga prices up earlier in the week. Regarding the "I have laughed a lot" comment, I trust that isn't at my selections or my picture? I'm very sensitive.

** Update: I'm an idiot. I said to lay Evian at 2.2, but the bet here was a back. I layed it myself! Must do better.

Saturday 13 August 2011

Lay The Saints

The Ligue One games today have all the home teams slightly too short, excepting Valenciennes who are almost value at 2.04 to beat Brest, but I'm looking for 10% value and 2.08. The best value lays are St Etienne v Nancy and Rennes v Paris St Germain. St Etienne are priced at 2.1 but I have them at 2.96. Rennes are 2.94 while I have them at 3.42. Only two of the seven Under / Over markets are out of line with my prices, and they are Under at 1.76 Lorient v Bordeaux and Over at 2.4 St Etienne v Nancy.

In the Bundesliga, Freiburg v Mainz is the one XX Draw, and the value bets are as shown in the screenshot. I'd forgotten how much time this takes every week! Most of the German games are showing value on the under tomorrow, as they did last week. 

One week was just an oddity, but two weeks in a row seemed a little strange, so I dug deeper and discovered an error in the spreadsheet, which has now been corrected. This bug resulted in the probability of a goal being slightly too low, so it'll be a few games before I am back to using these. 

The programmer has been relieved of his duties. (He did nothing but complain about how much time it took him anyway). Hamburg and Schalke '04 are the two Bundeslayga picks for today, with Kaiserslautern and Bayer Leverkusen tomorrow and Monday respectively.

Two more XX Draws in the EPL, the games of Newcastle United v Arsenal and Stoke City v Chelsea, and now that the prices are settled on the games at QPR and Wigan, both of these are value Over bets at 2.28 and 2.0 respectively. Just for fun remember.

American Football has started, and it's usually profitable to lay the favourite in the pre-season exhibition games. The teams on display seldom bear any resemblance to the teams that will be playing in the regular season, of if there is any resemblance, it is very brief with starting players being pulled out early. To me, this makes all the games something of a lottery, although the results haven't been hugely impressive from the first few games. Of ten matches, favourites have won 6 of 9, but the winning lays have been at 1.76, 1.62 and 1.82 so the damage isn't too bad. Incidentally, the response to Scott's idea of covering an American Football game in-running received an underwhelming response, and I hadn't even had a chance to mention the enrolment fee!

Thursday 11 August 2011

Opening Weekend EPL

As The Football Analyst cautions, just for fun remember, but here are some opening weekend thoughts based on the invalid premise that last season's form was carrying over.

Lay the big six.

All are priced too short according to my ratings. Liverpool are actually pretty close at 1.55 (I have them at 1.59), but Tottenham are 2.0 (2.16), Arsenal are 2.06 (2.66), Chelsea 1.7 (2.0), Manchester United are 1.56 (1.76) and Manchester City are 1.28 (1.5). So that's 60% of the fixtures covered. 

The home side is too short in the Blackburn Rovers v Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fulham v Aston Villa matches, QPR appear to be good value at 2.4 v Bolton Wanderers (form admittedly extra dubious here with QPR a promoted team and Bolton's form incredibly bad towards the end of last season), and Wigan I have priced at 2.2 which is exactly where the market has them. Slight value on Norwich City here.

There may be more value in the Under / Over markets; Fulham v Aston Villa (Over at 2.25), Tottenham Hotspur v Everton (Over at 2.12) and Newcastle United v Arsenal (Over at 1.89). The prices are not settled down yet on the QPR and Wigan games, nor on the Sunday / Monday games. Watch this space.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Berlin Bomb

On the face of it, there's not much to cheer about right now. My home town is ablaze, parts of it at least, and the FTSE is in free-fall. In football, my football team throw away a lead, and after one game of the new season, I would not be surprised if they are playing league games next season against Crawley Town, a new rivalry - unimaginable just a few years ago - in the making perhaps, while old rivals Brighton have, I hate to say it, a brand new stadium, a decent team and a decent manager.

Actually, good luck to them. I'm a bit old for 'hating' teams or fans, and these days I respect anyone who supports their local team rather than say Manchester United (unless that's their local team of course) or whoever the team of the day is. In the early 70s, my Croydon school was full of Leeds fans, many of whom later became Liverpool fans, and who no doubt flirted with Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal and Chelsea before becoming the United fans of today.

Slightly better news from the Palace Reserves, where the young Iraqi kid Rahim Saeed, spotted by a Palace fan while in the British Army in the slums of Baghdad and flown back for a trial this summer, made his debut against Chelsea, coming on as Palace were 0-2 down. After scoring a late hat-trick, and winning the game for Palace 3-2, the manager was not surprisingly thrilled.

"You did well son", he said. "Get showered, and then go up to my office, call home and tell your family how well you did."

He did as he was told, and called home. "Hi Mum, it's Raheed. We played Chelsea today, and we were 2-nil down, and I came on and scored three and we won 3-2".

His Mum sounded less than thrilled. "Well, I'm glad things are so good for you son, but they're not that great here. The house has been set on fire, your Dad's been shot, and your sister's been raped."

Oh Mum, I'm so sorry."

"Yeah, well you should be - it's your fault we moved to Croydon in the first place."
Ligue 1 saw a loss of 1.15 points on the value Match Odds bets and a loss of 0.31 points on the Under / Overs. Not a great start, but including the Nancy v Lille draw, it was an overall profit from across the Channel.

I'm actually going to be taking a holiday for two weeks and three weekends, and while I will update the ratings and form figures, I won't be blogging or placing bets during this period. The International break is the first weekend in September, so it makes sense to me to wait until the following weekend before getting serious about these bets. By then we'll have a little form in most leagues, and the promoted teams rating will have stabilised. Hertha Berlin's already took a dive, as they managed a whopping four shots (none on target) and two corners in their home game v Nuremberg. It will come as no surprise that they lost. In France, newly promoted Dijon were already bottom-rated, and a 1-5 home defeat against Stade Rennes just confirms that opinion.

Benford's Law Redux

The topic of Benford's Law came up again on the Betfair Forum, a subject I wrote about in March 2009 and have mentioned occasionally since, and it seemed like an opportunity to see whether my daily P&L totals from 1905 days of trading were closer to Benford than they were almost 30 months ago. The answer is - not really. Of the nine integers between 1 and 9, four are now closer to Benford, four further away, and one remains the same. They are still a pretty good match, but as I wrote in the original post "A completely pointless exercise I know, but I found it interesting!"

Sunday 7 August 2011

Blue Moon

Over the years, the evidence is overwhelming that I do not have the ability to read an in-play football game as well as others, so my entry points are typically pre-game or at half-time when my slow and ageing brain can make sense of the prices. Many times in the past, I have seen Manchester United behind in a game, and pondered a lay of their opponents, but pondering is about as far as I've gone, and I've then sat there kicking myself as the comeback begins. Once in a blue moon*, I actually put my money where my pondering was, today being one such occasion, laying Manchester City at 1.23 at half-time, reasoning that Sir Alex Ferguson would have dished out some tough words along with the slice of orange in the dressing room, and that 1.23 was a little on the low side. It may 'only' be the FA Community Shield, but I couldn't see United rolling over. Looking back now, it seems so obvious, why didn't I put more on?, but it's a start. Unfortunately, when United win the Shield, they go on to win the League!

In the less emotion driven world of ratings driven value betting, the XX (formerly strong draw) picks have started the new season where they left off the last, with Nancy v Lille finishing 1-1. Montpellier and Auxerre were level to the 75' minute, but two late goals for the home side saw that bet go down.

The opening weekend in the Bundesliga was highly profitable, and would have been even more so had I gone with Mainz were a big winner too. Rated at 2.65, the 4.4 available represented a huge 66% edge, although my cautious spreadsheet recommended the more cautious lay of Bayer Leverkusen. When the price is high, and I realise that 'high' is a relative term, the decision on whether it is better to lay the opponent or back the longer odds is something I need to research further. Right now, I lay the opponent if the odds are greater than 4.0 (I like a steady flow of winners), but that rule cost me money today on both Bundesliga games. Mainz '05 won at 4.4, and Moenchengladbach won at 15.0, whereas my wins were lays at 2.01 and 1.24 respectively. The difference between the two strategies is shown in the two screenshots below.

Too small a sample of course to be meaningless, but I'll review it later in the season when we have more data.

The MLB picks keep on giving, with a recommended back of the Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees paying off yesterday at 3.38 - take a look at Gold All Over to see the form that these picks are in right now.

Finally, a suggestion from Scott:
I continue to read your blog with great interest.

It's always nice when one's intellect and ego are versatile enough to serve up a cocktail of wisdom, humour, and self-deprecation in equal measure.

I was wondering if you had ever considered offering some of your followers the opportunity to trade along side you during NFL and NBA matches for a reasonable monthly fee in the same fashion that Pete Nordsted does with Premier Betting for the EPL?

You seem to have the required interest, aptitude, and experience to trade these two challenging leagues profitably, which is not easy to find given the limited liquidity and unsocial hours that a majority of the games are played.

Just an idea - no harm in gauging demand for such a service if it is something that appeals to you.
It's not something that I would be opposed too, although there will likely not be any NBA for some time. (Incidentally, the WNBA isn't too shabby for liquidity on Betfair for those like me who love their basketball. The same strategies work just as well - most of the time!) If anyone knows an easy way to set this up for an NFL game, let me know. I remember trading one game (Indianapolis Colts v someone) alongside a few traders a couple of years ago that Marky Sparky, no sorry - Mr. Mark Iverson, set up - perhaps he would be prepared to oblige again with the new season not too far away.

I'll update the French results from the weekend later. Not so good as the German ones, so my enthusiasm is a little low!

* A blue moon actually occurs once every two and a half years, so I wasn't speaking literally.

Saturday 6 August 2011

We Apologise

I feel bad about my gentle dig at the use of 'we' and 'our' in my recent Blog Wars post. It never occurred to me that the writer was not actually a native English speaker, which in itself is testament to how good Tore's English is, and he writes:

I’m not an English native speaker and I thought that the plural could be used in pieces of writing (like a disclaimer) that needed to sound ‘neutral’. Everyone following the blog knows that there’s not a team but only one person.
Tore also mentions that
The mailing list on the blog was activated because it was requested by many readers. I never gave emails to anyone else, I never used them to send spam or adverts (also, I don’t have anything to advertise)
Anyway, enough on that, and on to more important matters and the Bundesliga today. The Cassini Under / Over 2.5 value bets went 1-1, with the losing game seeing two goals after the 85'. While two out of two would have been great, the one winner at 2.32 means a winning start to this category of bet.

Football Elite also got off to a winning start with Hannover '96 beating Hoffenheim 2-1 at 2.26, although this price had come in to 2.16 by the time I topped up after receiving Matt's e-mail. I had Hannover priced at 2.04 for this game, and 2.25 was needed to trigger a value bet, and this price was available earlier in the week. With a 15.9% edge, Koln appeared to be value, but then go and lose 0-3. Stuttgart were at 2.5 when I looked at this game, (they shortened to 2.4) and I had them priced at 1.83 which seemed almost too good to be true. They ran out 3-0 winners. Early days, but encouraging, and after a three month break, some fresh data for the spreadsheet.

On a final note, I am seeing my value picks in midweek frequently shorten before kick-off. Something I need to look at more closely in the coming weeks. This week in the Bundesliga, (all prices approximate), the value picks of Dortmund (priced by me at 1.55) came in from 1.67 to 1.63, Stuttgart from 2.5 to 2.4, Koln from 2.9 to 2.62, with Mainz '05 the only drifters, from 4.1 to 4.4.

Bundesliga Under Value

A couple of value bets on the 2.5 goals football in the Bundesliga today - please don't sue us or tell the police if some of them lose. They are based on the invalid assumption that the form from last season somehow carries over. It doesn't, necessarily, but the value on these two is hard to ignore. I may publish the Ligue 1 picks later if these don't let me down too badly.

Blog Wars

There's a lot of nonsense written on blogs sometimes. Not this one of course, but take this example from The Football Analyst, a blog that I have never even heard of before today, but was brought to my attention by someone searching for "Cassini brilliant best blog ever history of world" on Google. (The lengths some people will go to for hits).
Without sounding like I'm sucking up to my mate Rowan, his blog remains a brilliant read and I've particularly enjoyed the last couple of posts on why we do what we're doing. His blog comments are worth reading too as like this blog, he seems to have an above average IQ reader I suspect. I'm sucking up to my readers now ffs! It rivals Cassini's as the most entertaining blog I think. I best stop the sucking up now......
ffs indeed! Let no one be in any doubt that Green All Over remains peerless, by far the most entertaining, brilliant, stimulating, thoughtful, well-written, amusing and modest blog out there. Mention Rowan to a fellow gambler, and he will think you are referring to the Boat Race. Mention Cassini, and he will immediately recognise you as a fellow well-informed, smart, sophisticated and value-seeking sports investor. There's really no comparison. What a suck-up. "His blog remains a brilliant read" my arse! Brilliant is here - there is no debate.
There does seem to be a difference of opinion between 'speedwave' and Betfair Trading Pro, with the former cautioning:
Be aware as this guy have you on his blog list but he is actually a cheater, he posts fake results which are actually losing ones but he post it as been profitable ! As people register to his FREE TIPS.. email will be full of betting advertising !
Betfair Trading Pro responds with a posting titled "Important Message" which reads:
There is a person who reads this blog and has started to send me constant insults and threats. One of his more moderate threats is that he is going to spread the ‘truth’ about this blog around forums and other websites. From the way he writes I’m guessing that either he is very young and immature, or else he simply has no clue of what trading is and therefore should not be doing it. As I underline in my warnings, trading is difficult and no one should expect that this blog will allow him to become rich. I do not promise exceptional profits; managing a trade is not easy and anyone can make mistakes. Besides, the blog has always been free to use and I never made any money from it; I created it just for fun, not for money, and to be honest when you start to receive insults and threats for offering a free service, you are tempted to stop bothering.

However, I just wanted to remind this person that Blogger stores people’s IPs, and therefore I can identify exactly where he is writing from. I can accept criticisms to improve as a trader but I am not going to tolerate insults and threats. I would rather not have to go to the police, but if he continues this is exactly what I will do, so I would strongly suggest that he stop now.
As a general comment, my opinion of this situation is that anyone who signs up for free tips and thus gives up their e-mail address can hardly be surprised if unwanted e-mails start arriving, but should simply filter them into a Spam folder and ignore them. And if the free tips aren't profitable, that shouldn't be surprising either. Ultimately all bets you place are your responsibility. Betfair trading Pro even has a disclaimer, including:
The tips, views and expressions of are our opinions only and do not constitute guarantees or promises of success in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise.
What is it with 'we' and 'our' on some of these blogs? While the intent may be to give the impression that several numptys are hard at work behind the scenes, poring over statistics and generating value selections, the result is actually to look rather pretentious - in my opinion.

Something we wish to avoid here at Green All Over, Inc, where we've had problems in the past ourselves with Anonymous comments, and in the end had to block them ourselves, but while they were often insulting comments, we don't recall any being threatening ourselves. As our Customer Service team were too busy taking calls and dealing with inquiries, the comments were referred to our Legal Department for review, but at the Annual General Meeting, it was decided to take the matter no further ourselves, although the PR Department did release a short statement. Since this blog imparts only winning advice and tips, the issue of being threatened over losses is not likely to arise any time soon.
Finally, there is a rumour that Peter Webb's Betfair account has been suspended, pending an inquiry into PC avoidance, and that the Racing Post is interested in the story. If this is indeed true, and perhaps Peter will confirm on his blog at some point, it will guarantee more negative publicity for Betfair and the PC, but the RP may understandably be reluctant to upset one of their big advertisers.

From the world's number one sports investment blog, which incidentally will be taking a well-deserved vacation later this month, and the operation will be closed for business.

Friday 5 August 2011

A Talent Of Gamblers

A month to forget on the Stock Exchange. With the FTSE 100 down 10.38% in the past month, and 7.08% down in the past 5 (business) days, no doubt many of us, at least those of us of a certain age, have 'lost' several times the amount that we could tolerate losing on the betting exchanges. The money isn't really 'lost' though, and for those who put aside the same amount each month to invest in shares, the silver lining is that we get more shares for our money - and a higher yield!

Rowan at The Portfolio Investor asked "What's it all about then?" and wrote:
So if us serious gamblers don't really allow ourselves to enjoy what we do too much, and if those of us who work don't rely on the income we hope to generate to live our lives, then just what the heck are we trying to achieve? Are we some form of collective saddos (what would be the collective noun? A sigh of punters? A coven of gamblers?), experimenting in some weird form of masochism?
'Serious gamblers' is a subjective term. Am I a serious gambler or not? I'm not full-time, but the amount of time spent probably justifies being called part-time, except that I have a full-time job which leaves only my leisure-time, so trading is a hobby that happens to be profitable. Banaz commented on Rowan's post that:
For other winning punters not interested in going full time or part time I think a decent goal is to provide a regular secondary income for either “treats” or to supplement their income. A good piece of advice given to me was that if you are not building your bank (or have built it to a level that your stakes are comfortable with) that you should pay yourself a “salary”. I’ve used money in the past to amongst other things – repair the roof of the house, take an extra few days holidays with the family, upgrade my laptops etc. The satisfaction to be able to do this without dipping into salary and savings was immense and is tangible reward for the hard work put in and lets face it there is a serious amount of effort involved here.

I think goal setting is needed in punting just like anything else – this means financial goals and personal goals.
I fit into this category. The extra money is extra income, and allows me to lead a slightly more comfortable life, although as you acquire the money to afford treats, they strangely seem less exciting. New car or pay down the mortgage? Rather boringly, I opt for the latter these days. I am taking a couple of weeks off later this month though, funded by my hobby, and I know what Banaz means when he speaks of that being rather satisfying. I disagree with him on goal setting though. Goals, in the sense of targets, are pointless. The only goal is to maximise your profits, and you do this by betting only when you have an edge, and those opportunities do not come along at regular intervals. Goals lead to betting at poor value.

Paul R of Betting Algorithms fame, had a good comment to sum up that for many, the money is secondary to the thrill of the chase:
I see it as an intellectual exercise. It's an attempt to predict the future in a small way and to have proof that you are able to analyse and predict certain events in a way that others have not yet thought about. We all want to make a pile of cash, but for me that's just a way to keep score.
Rowan gave his own view yesterday, writing
The motivation for my gambling is essentially to generate an additional income at a rate of return that is superior to other, more conventional means of income generation. I have little faith in the capability of my pension, into which I seem to contribute an increasing level of funds each month, to pay for my old age. Nor the second property from which we receive rent but on which we must make a monthly mortgage payment.
While betting income is an income stream, I don't think of it as an alternative to the income I make from work, or shares, or from rent, but an addition. I could take the betting bank and invest it elsewhere, but where else would I get consistent annual returns in excess of 95%? And before anyone asks why I don't do the opposite, i.e. sell my rental house and shares and invest the money in my betting bank, it's simply that this is a hobby and relative to the time I can put in and the somewhat limited opportunities where my edge is available, I keep more than I should ever need in my betting bank as it is.

As for a collective noun for punters, there is already one - well, there is one for gamblers. It is, believe it or not, 'a talent of gamblers'.

The new Bundesliga season starts this weekend, and while the ratings and form from last season do not, necessarily, carry over, they are of some interest. The opening game on Friday night is between Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg, a game that I have priced up at H: 1.55, A: 8.51, D: 4.21 which is close to the current prices of 1.63, 6.5, 4.2 indicating slight value with Dortmund, but this is the Bundesliga where home odds-on favourites are to be opposed. One other home favourite to be opposed this weekend is Werder Bremen (1.92) v Kaiserslautern. Value backs are Koln (2.9) v Wolfsburg, Hannover '96 (2.26) v Hoffenheim, Stuttgart (2.5) v Schalke '04 and Mainz '05 (4.1) v Bayer Leverkusen.

In Ligue 1, also opening this weekend, the best value appears to be in opposing Caen at 2.36, Olympique Marseille at 1.59, Montpellier at 2.24, nouveau riche Paris St Germain at 1.6 and Bordeaux at 1.95. Nice look overpriced at 4.5.

The Strong Draw picks, henceforward known as XX picks,

(a much more snappy name), while unofficial until we get a few more games into the seasons, are Montpellier v Auxerre (3.3) and Nancy v Lille (3.3). I'm leaving the five games involving newly promoted teams alone.

Thursday 4 August 2011

Pete Pays The Bills

A late comment on Tuesday's Out Of The Stretch post deserves to be published in full as a post of its own. Hopefully, many of you should remember Pete's thoughts on baseball and the home favourites phenomenon from back in early June, (this blog really is a font of useful knowledge, even if I do say so myself) and Pete continues with excellent advice with this:
Hi Cassini,
As always an excellent blog that always fuels some good debate. It’s interesting how these baseball ratings seem to have grabbed some people’s interest.

As a bit of background I first started looking at baseball around two years ago and as you point out the beauty of the sport is the home favourites that are already being offered at poor prices by the bookmaker offer no real value anyway.

At that time I initially just looked at laying any favourite between 1.30 and 1.80 and after a little success this then led me to develop various ratings systems and since then I have been experimenting with various timelines to see if I can gain even more of an edge.

Due to certain commitments I dropped this process last season but this year I decided to experiment with the ratings throughout this season and I am now at a stage where I am convinced this will remain profitable long term.

Now this is all very well and good but you would not believe the number of people whose eyes are dominated by the end result rather than giving any thought to the roller-coaster ride and process it takes to get there.

These people who generally only see the headline profit do not bet with a betting bank, they are in most cases betting out of their pockets and when they have a losing run of 10 bets they instantly give up on the system.

Unfortunately people don’t understand that when embarking on this type of betting you are going to go through good and bad patches and when they do go through these bad patches they sure like to let you know about it.

I call this form of betting a bill payer however although the current profit of 42 points looks impressive there have been ups and downs along the way and I would state that this sort of betting does not suit everybody and as can be seen by the results table you can go through a losing spell which can take over a month to recover from. And if you are unprepared and betting out of your pocket a month can seem an awfully long demoralising time.

This season I am going to keep the ratings on this site however next year although Mr Stretch will carry on providing selections my ratings will only be available to readers of my newsletter as these people generally understand that the value of your investment may go down as well as up.

If following a strategy like this you have to allow for a bank of 50 points and this should be money that you can afford to lose. Then and most importantly you have to have the discipline to follow the system through religiously without question.

I also do a similar system where I identify tennis tournaments where there is a history of outsiders winning and again although this is profitable long term there can be and are many weeks where you are either taking a loss or simply treading water.

The moral of the story here is these systems can and do produce very good profits. At the time of writing the baseball and tennis are 70 points in profit this year, which is again a nice bill player but before embarking on such ventures people must ensure that they are correctly capitalised and prepared for an emotional rollercoaster that is bound to come into effect once the inevitable losing run hits.

Keep up the good work
I think it is Peter who should keep up the good work. Every month this season has seen a profit, starting with the half-month (as the season got started) of April's 11.05 points and followed up with May 6.3 points, June 11.16 points and July 12.23. For anyone running a betting portfolio, these picks would make a nice addition, and far more sensible than trying to win at horse-racing. One observation I made back in June was this:
Almost all the research shows that a system backing the underdogs will be more successful than one backing the favourites, but as in football, there is a point where it pays to back the short-priced favourite. I first identified this back in the 2001 season when I had too much time on my hands, and I believe it still holds true - probably for the same reason that I suspect it holds true in football
and if you look at the sub 1.5 picks, 21 of the 28 would have been losing lays. Perhaps the tide has turned though, as 5 of the last 8 at this price would have been winning lays!

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Trading Without A Parachute

Average Guy wrote on a couple of topics:
Hello again, still somewhat confused "Kalmar v Mjallby, an investment that had I checked the progress of after 82 minutes, with a score of 0-0..." As a trader, I would have assumed you could have gotten out at this stage with the lions share of the profit. Is it that you only use these picks as a PC offset and hence straight bets or do you use straight bets all the time? Am I being particularly obtuse here as maybe you thought that the green up price was not value in these circumstances ?
The answer is that these bets are outright punts, straight bets not trades, and I tend not to even bother watching how the games are unfolding, and only check the results later. As a Premium Charge trimmer, they don't seem to quite be working well enough, as my percentage for last week was 19.99!
As I have written before, my problem is that while I am comfortable risking four figures on an in-play trade, a much easier place to find value than pre-game, I am not comfortable risking anything like that amount on a punt. Hence I need a lot of punts for the commission generated to offset the in-play trade profits, but every little helps. Average Guy (he doesn't say whether he is Mean, Median or Mode Guy, but Mean Guy doesn't sound very nice) continues:
I actually agree with the "Ho Hum" mentality as I'm trying to eradicate emotion from my trades and I find if I can achieve a sense of ambivalence I accept losses far easier and don't spiral back down the mug punter route.

I also feel that there is a link between the bank size and the acceptable loss size in that when my bank was small (about 50€, I know but we must start somewhere) I mentally wasn't able to accept even a red of €5 without doing something stupid. I keep it about the €250 level now (I still don't trust myself) and don't blink when I have a pre event loss of my "max red" which is about €15 now. Is there a correlation between bank size and behaviour or am I evolving (Christ, too much Criminal Minds on TV) into a better trader ?
You're evolving. No more Mr. Mug Punter! The sensible way to learn how to trade is to start small and work up. You're not going to last long if you deposit £10,000 into your account and start throwing around £1,000 at a time, but if you start with £100 and play with £2 a time until you find that essential edge, the world's your oyster. It's also worth mentioning that it is far easier in percentage terms to grow a small bank than a large one and that losing 2% of a bank is the same (relatively) regardless of bank size. If that 2% starts to hurt, then scale it down.

Betting Algorithms had a post on Risk Management in In-Play Markets a few days ago, which included this paragraph from Paul:
When you realise you were wrong in your initial assessment, and things have changed, get out with as small a loss as you can, or take a slightly larger loss and use it as the basis for a new opinion on the market direction.
I commented:
One comment on your post above is that it is not always possible to get out of a losing position at a value price, which is the key. You are correct that the 'deer in the headlights' approach when something goes wrong is not to be recommended, but in some sports with thinner liquidity and price gaps, the only price available for cutting losses is poor value, and shouldn't be taken.
To take a ridiculous example, always useful for making a point, if you are betting on Heads v Tails in a best of three and backed Heads at 2.2 pre-spin, you had great value. Tails comes up on the first spin, and shortens to 1.05. Things have changed, as they tend to do, but the suggestion that you should get out at any price is simply wrong. Lay that 1.05 all day, because that is where the value is. 2.2 on an even money bet doesn't mean a winner, but it's the only way to win.

Paul mentions stop-losses, which might be great for trading shares or commodities, but they don't work well for sports markets. Whereas share or commodity prices gap infrequently, in the sports markets they gap all the time. A goal in football is a hugely significant event, as is a late game three point basket in a close basketball game. The markets do not gently descend or ascend to the new price, but arrive in one giant leap, often after initially over-shooting the new price by some distance. It's not unusual in a basketball game for both teams to trade at 1.0x in the last minute. The NFL might be the ultimate in this, where a team can trade at 1.01 after an apparent game-ending penalty, only for the flag to be invalidated because of Note No. 5 under Article 5 under Section 2 under Rule 8 on page 54 of the NFL rule book which, as you all know, reads "Whenever a team presents an apparent punting formation, defensive pass interference is not to be called for action on the end man on the line of scrimmage" - and the other team is the winner.

Agreed that earlier on in a game, the price movements are more gentle, and I know some traders prefer trading the first half of games for that precise reason, but I'm more of a second-half, third-third, fourth quarter, bottom of the ninth, final set/frame/round kind of a person - no parachute required! Besides, the slower the prices move, the less likely you are to find value. Where there is fear and greed, there is value, and fear and greed are stirred when there's drama.

There are some good comments, and a lively debate, on the post mentioned on the topic of value. Worth a read.

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Out Of The Stretch

What a thin line it can be between winning and losing. After an awful Copa America that I should have followed my own advice about and ignored, whether July finished in the red or the green came down to the last day and among key events was a basketball game where my bet won with a shot with less than two seconds remaining. A few inches off, and the month is likley a losing one. Today's Free Under Over Soccer Picks had Kalmar v Mjallby, an investment that had I checked the progress of after 82 minutes, with a score of 0-0, would have looked safely in the bag. Luck this time went against me, with three late goals, but it's all part of the game and here's no point getting upset about it. One of the keys for successful trading is to take the emotion out of it. My own trading favourite of basketball often comes down to a last second (literally - a second in basketball is a long time!) play. Sometimes I need the basket to be scored for my best outcome, other times I need the basket to be missed, but I have no control over the play. All I can do is play the odds, and make the best decision given the situation. Whether it goes for you or against you in these circumstances, a ho-hum attitude seems to work best. In one way, it's perhaps somewhat disturbing how winning or losing a four figure sum seems so irrelevant, but in other ways it is really rather a good thing.

My last post showed the results from following two Free Picks systems, the afore-mentioned Free Under Over Soccer Picks and the MLB Daily Picks - systems that I blindly follow with a view to not losing too much, but generating commission and helping somewhat with the Premium Charge. No thought or rating by myself on these, but I do have other methods for both football and baseball, a sport where backing the underdog has offered much better value over the years than following the favourite, something I wrote about at the start of the 2010 season.
The results show that not surprisingly, betting on baseball underdogs is the way to go. Underdogs over the past seven seasons have gone 6917-9644 for a loss of 153 points. Favorites during that span are 9619-6891 for a loss of 641 points. Thus even though favorites win at a 58% hit rate, betting on them costs you more than four times your money. Of course, no one in their right mind blindly bets on either the favourite or the underdog, but the numbers show that there is better value to be found on the underdog.
While the picks I display here are those of Mr. Stretch, P commented - You're missing the boat with the MLB picks Cassini! Simply laying the home favourite appears to be much more of an edge: Hard to argue with - laying the home team shows a profit to date of 40.74 points, while Mr Stretch's official results show 'only' a profit of 6.46 points.

Monday 1 August 2011

Edison Enlightenment

I stopped writing monthly review posts in part because they are not very interesting to anyone but me, and they are meaningless. It's pointless comparing a January full of NBA and NFL action with a July filled with poor quality football and baseball. Comparing January with other Januarys is more reasonable, but it makes far more sense to write end-of-season reviews, or perhaps even mid-season reviews. Having said that, the end of a month does seem like a good time to look back at ongoing tipping sites such as Free Under Over Soccer Picks else where do you pause and take a look at how they are doing? July finished with a record of 12-15, and a loss to level stakes of 2.21 points, as shown over at Gold All Over. It was actually a month of two halves, with just four losers in the first 15 days (8-4) but just four winners in the final 15 picks.

The MLB Daily Picks had a good July, going 15-11 for a 6.86 point profit to level stakes, and moving into profit (107 bets, +1.7) since I started following these picks. Just what the doctor ordered when it comes to increasing commission without hurting profits.

A timely post from Sports Trading Life as Arsenal yet again let a lead slip away. It may have been a meaningless competition, but it can't have been much of a confidence boost as the new season approaches.

I finally finished reading "Bounce" and there is some good stuff in there. I've mentioned the 10,000 hours of purposeful practice before, but to any prospective trader who thinks that being successful depends on talent rather than effort, here's something paraphrased from the book to consider.
If you buy into the talent myth, you are likely to regard any failure as evidence that you lack the requisite talent and are therefore likely to give up, and that is a perfectly rational thing to do, given the premise. But someone who believes that excellence hinges on hard work will not regard failure as an indictment but as an opportunity to adapt and grow, and with perseverance eventually comes excellence. It is hardly surprising, then, that patterns of success and failure in the real world have little to do with genes, and very much to do with our fundamental beliefs about the nature of talent. As Edison himself said: "If I find ten thousand ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward". It is a message that should be stapled to the wall of every school and trading desk, and to the mind of every parent, teacher, politician and sports trader.