Sunday, 2 June 2013

2012-13 End Of Season Friendly Tipster League Review

The 2013-14 season is over, at least for the big boys, and not much changed in the FTL. One draw in the Extended Selections (Levante v Real Betis) from two selections (the other was Sevilla 4 Valencia 3 so I don't want to talk about that), and in the Classic Selections, yet another one goal game - of which more later. The game was Deportivo La Coruna v Real Sociedad.

So the results are all in, and it should be emphasised that the Friendly Tipster League table is for entertainment purposes only and that the differences in where we all get our prices from, and what commission rates / expenses / taxes / fess etc. we all pay, do not make this a scientific study. At best it gives a rough comparison between differing strategies, so with no more further ado, let’s look at the final table following the final results from La Liga this weekend.

XX Draws (+101.73)

The top three all come from the XX family of draws, and for the first time this season I tracked the results, not just of the draw and the Under 2.5, but added in the Under 1.5, the Under 3.5 and the Half-Time 0-0 (HT00) – my logic was that matches expected to end as draws should be lower scoring than the market expects. Although the total profit of 101.73 points was excellent, the performance of the Classic selections was very poor. Fortunately the addition of the Extended and Bundesliga selections saved the season. A full breakdown by group and bet type is shown below.

With three groups and five categories per group, it can be a little confusing, but the best returns were seen from the Extended HT00 selections, followed by the Extended Draws and the Bundesliga draws. Backing the Under 1.5 was the only category of bet profitable across all three groups, while backing the Under 3.5 was the only category to show a loss in total.

The results were a little surprising. While dividing the draws into Classic, Extended and Bundesliga is somewhat arbitrary, it was based on the fact that through the end of 2011-12, the Classic results were strongest, followed by the Extended, with the Bundesliga bringing up the rear. More research to do in the coming weeks, but I imagine the line between Classic and the rest has become a little less defined.

2012-13 turned these expectations on their head, at least in regard to the draw. While the under performance of the Classic selections was surprising, an even bigger surprise was how different the returns were for each of the three groups. I expected there to be little difference between the five categories of bet in each group – although with the larger sample number of Extended selections, this is truer than in the smaller samples of the Classic and Bundesliga, but even so, there are some big differences.

The simple conclusion is that there was an abnormally large number of 1-0 (or 0-1) results in the Classic group, and that we got a bit lucky in the Bundesliga finding rather more 2-2 (3-3) draws than we should have done.

Across the five leagues I cover, the percentage of games ending 0-1 or 1-0 was 16.6%, while my Classic selections hit at 18.44%, so the first simple conclusion appears true. The Bundesliga assertion, although based on a small sample size, is easier to confirm. There were just 21 draws of 2-2 or 3-3, and my Bundesliga selections found 10 of them. That 50.98% ROI is highly unlikely to be repeated, but perhaps my good fortune here made up for the unlucky breaks with the 1-0 / 0-1 Classic results.

Anyway, more of this in a future post, but here are the results in the FTL table for the XX Draw group:
While a relatively small number of people back the draw if it is value to do so, an even larger number of people, or rather more importantly an even larger amount of money, is staked on the two teams to win. Backing the draw is just not a popular bet for the casual punter, and in my opinion is where value is easier to find.

Drawmaster (+14.41)
The success of Peter Nordsted’s Drawmaster reinforces the idea that selectively backing the draw is a profitable strategy. While it is hard to knock Peter’s results, I do feel that his approach of selecting three draws in each round of ten EPL matches is flawed. As I have written before, some weeks there may be ten value draws, and other weeks none, but he continues to be profitable, so perhaps I should just shut up. Pete’s selections had an absolutely amazing run back in October and November when he found 9 consecutive winners and although a run of just 3 winners from 29 came along in December / January, Drawmaster found enough winners after that to ensure a decent profit. The longest sequence of losses was 13.

Bundeslayga (+5.45)
Although this simple system is an established part of my weekend investment routine, for some reason it didn’t occur to me to add it as an entrant in the FTL until mid-season, when I was looking to round out the total entrants to 30, so the results are from that time only. A profit of 5.45 points from just 49 selections was a good return, but long time readers have known of this little gem since 2010. The longest losing sequence was 5.

Premier Edge (+5.40)
Premier Edge had a good season finishing up 5.4 points. A low ROI but a decent number (220) of bets with most weeks seeing around eight picks. In November, Premier Edge were actually 6.63 points in the red, but six profitable weeks from the next eight saw them move to a +13.36 in late January, the high watermark for the season.

Premier Betting (Pro) (+1.65)
Premier Betting, Pete’s professional service, ended the season in profit, but not by a huge amount. From 101 bets, I have these up by 1.65 points, but I may have missed a bet or two as I believe Pete's numbers are a little higher. There didn't seem to be any long winning or long losing streaks here, with weekends alternating between up a little / down a little for much of 2013. Three winners from the last four ensured the season ended in profit.

The remaining entrants all ended the season in the red.

Ian Erskine’s Lay The Draw (-2.09)
The strategy of backing these selections to end as draws ended up showing a small loss, as indeed it should. The early season results saw just one winner from the opening 24 selections, but 10 winners from the next 16 took this strategy well into profit. Ian ended the season with 8 winners, which was enough to drop the backing strategy into the red by 2.09 points.

Talkbet (-6.47)
Jon kept the selections coming despite going down by 18 points on January 1st, so 2013 was actually profitable if the season overall wasn't. Just three winners from the opening 25 matches meant the season was always a bit of a struggle, but to end up less than seven points down and to keep the picks coming was creditable.

Free Under / Over Soccer Picks

These selections showed a steady loss on the season, which perhaps goes to show that a simplistic approach to statistics from matches across Europe is unlikely to reap rewards. You need to look a little deeper than than basic statistics such as 8 of the last 10 games have been Overs and 2 of the last three head-to-heads. But they are free.

Football Elite (Pro) (-13.25)
As Matt himself readily admits, this was a dreadful season ending down 13.25 points from 149 bets. I followed the Recommended Bets and with his selection method apparently not differing from previous (and profitable) years, the poor returns were either down to lower average odds or a lower strike rate, and it is the latter that appears to be the case with just 31% this season. Unfortunately it might also be the case that to some extent the markets have corrected themselves for matches of the profile that Matt looks for. Simply put, any inefficiency will not continue indefinitely, and it is unrealistic to expect them to. It will be interesting to see if this season is a blip or a market correction.

Neil (-16.06)

What a strange season it was for Neil. As late as the end of January, he was in extremely good shape, up 9.63 points, but then he hit the wall and found only 11 winners from his last 52 selections.

Little Al (-18.76)
Alan is another draw aficionado, only he differs in the profile of matches he looks at, favouring the relatively long-shot draws, 4.1 or higher – your Chelsea v Fulham type matches. The strategy looked good for a while, in profit as late as February, but just 4 winners from 36 selections since left Al at the wrong end of the table.

Football Formbook (-31.37)
By a long way last in the table, but this (along with the Free Under Over Soccer Picks) was another entrant who was the victim of impressment on my part,

Quitters (-41.71)
Several entrants decided to drop out after a run of poor results. Strangely, none quit while ahead. It’s human nature and the single reason that so many betting related blogs fall by the wayside after a short time.

Total (-10.72)

Overall, the combined totals for all entrants wasn't too bad, although again it should be noted that these returns exclude charges, fees, taxes and deductions.
A loss of just 10.72 points after 4,136 bets is certainly useful if you are looking to offset the Betfair Premium Charge for example, but it won't make you rich. Ditching the quitters and the two press-ganged entries would have boosted the bottom line, but looking back from the end of the season, that's easy to say.

Let me know if you are interested in joining the FTL next season. I am thinking of an entry fee to discourage quitters, with the pot being divided among the first three profitable entrants. 

Contacts: If you are interested in signing up for any of the professional services, please contact the below:

Matt (Football Elite):
Pete (Premier Betting / Drawmaster)

And if you are interested in the XX Draws / Bundeslayga selections next season, you can contact me at - the price through June 30th for the 2013-14 season is just £99, which for between 500 and 600 selections, is an absolute steal! PayPal to CalcioCassini @

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