Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Defining Moment

As promised, here is a more detailed look at the FTL table as we have a quiet spell ahead of us due to the international matches. Scott (Rubicon) noticed that the FTL table was missing his (losing) results from the weekend, and this oversight has been fixed. In my defence, I should say that the results were entered and the error would have been caught, but thanks to Scott for showing his integrity and dropping himself down four places.

FTL Table Updated 8.Oct.13
From the top down, the XX Draws Under 2.5 selections hold on to first place, adding 0.52 points to their total after 7 winners from 13 selections. First place is currently worth £212.50 including the £25 bounty from The Football Analyst.

The Cassini Value selections stay in second place with a small profit on the weekend’s three selections, and up to third after propping up the table as recently as 17th September are the XX Draws.

Five winners this weekend following on from six winners from 12 last weekend, and the seasons ratings and form appear to have settled down nicely. In the red by 17.85 points on 14th September, that they are now in profit at the often tight official odds from Pinnacle is very pleasing. Even with commission, the exchange prices are often significantly higher, but using Pinnacle across the board does make the relative merits of each service or entry more transparent.

Emp was inactive this weekend and drops down one place. He has mentioned some health issues in the past so I am hoping that this is not the reason for the lack of selections.

Skeeve had six qualifying selections, finding three winners but dropping 0.58 points and one place. Still good enough for fourth place though.

His strategy of linking bets in doubles lends some volatility to his results, and as a result his official selections are currently down in 12th place, down 5.35 points.

Peter Nordsted’s Drawmaster continues to be profitable, with another winner from three selections this past weekend making 0.69 points and dropping one place.

The Bundeslayga System had its best weekend of the season with two winning lays from three and a profit of 3.34 points. The lay of Wolfsburg at an official 1.32 (Pinnacle's 1.28 + 0.04) was the big winner, but Stuttgart also failed to win. Bundeslayga moves up five places.

After three weeks in the doldrums, Scatter Gun shot back with five winners from his weekly ten, and a 4.8 point gain moves him up eight places to 8th.

Football Elite moves up one place to 9th after finding two winners from four and making 0.82 points. Perhaps Matt should stick to Ligue 1, which is where four of his five winners this season have come from. He would be up 3.53 rather than down 3.82!

In tenth place is Fedslam whose two winners from eight were not enough to prevent dropping down three places and 2.78 points.

Webbo sits in 11th place, after dropping 5.15 points and five places, Forza Fizzer dropped 2.56 points to 13th and Rubicon (Honest Scott) is now in 14th after dropping 4.64 points.

Peter Nordsted had another poor weekend, and his official service account bets (using his prices) are now down 17.79 points on the season and in 17th place. As discussed previously in this blog, Peter’s placing several eggs in one basket is proving to be costly.

I certainly don’t understand the strategy myself. As I have pointed out, if Under 2.5 is value, then it means that the market has the goal expectancies too high, and every Under bet will be value. It should then simply be a case of betting at the price at which your tolerance for risk is best matched. Many people seem to find the right balance around the evens mark, but if you have an aversion to the length of losing runs probable at this level, then it is fine to adjust your market of choice to a more suitable one. Perhaps you like the higher returns of the Under 1.5 market and can accept the longer losing runs at this level, or maybe you are far more conservative and prefer the steady flow of smaller wins with shorter losing runs found in the Under 3.5 market. Any approach is fine, but I just don’t understand spreading essentially the same bet across multiple markets. Why not simply increase your stake on the market you prefer?

One comment said:
I don't mean to be Rude but I think Pete is doing the betting technique of going for a cluster of bets in one game to get out of trouble which generally leads to further long term loss .
For the FTL table, selections of any under or over bets are rolled together and use the recorded 2.5 goals market price. This strategy would have seen the losses on Peter’s Premier Betting Account Bets trimmed to just 8.6 points, good enough for 15th place. It may well be that the poor performance of the Account Bets is a blip, but as has been suggested, the strategy of clustering bets is a risky one.

The Football Analyst had his long overdue ‘weekendus mirabilis’ finding seven winners from twelve selections and recouping roughly a little over half of his previous losses. Although the upward move in places is just two, in terms of points another weekend of 10.74 points and Matt will be in the prize money and the bounty liability significantly reduced. His current bonus liability stands at £300.

Everyone, in fact, bar Punters’ Friend who had a poor weekend hunting draws. Only the last of his 13 selections (West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal) finished even, so at least Neil is now on a winning streak!

Scott mentioned in his email that:
I am surprised that your myriad variations on the XX theme as well as other ‘professionals’ are eligible for prize money!  :) 
I am certainly not professional – more on that subject later – but I do take a professional approach to my hobby. I believe Skeeve, Peter Nordsted (Drawmaster / Premier Betting) and Matt (Football Elite) are full-time (I could be wrong) but if anyone wants to contribute £25 to the pot, then they are in, professional or not. Skeeve and Peter chipped in, although Matt has stayed out and thus Football Elite isn’t eligible for prize or bounty money.

Although it is still early in the season, we’re getting to the stage where we can’t keep saying that it is early in the season, but so far the professionals are certainly not distinguishing themselves.

If last year is any guide, there is no guarantee that, even over a full season, the cream of the professionals will rise to the top. Pete Nordsted's Drawmaster finished best of the non-XX Draw entries in 5th place +14.41 points, while his Premier Betting service was up 1.65 points. Football Elite finished 2012-13 down 13.25 points. Excluding myself and TFA from the 'Amateur' category, here are some numbers:
2012-13 End of Season Summary
2013-14 7.Oct.2013 Summary
John Walsh’s NFL bets continue to be profitable overall, although he lost two points with just two winners from six this weekend.

The NHL season is still raw, but two winners from four selections is a decent start, and on the first one, I was actually matched at 5.0 with the official record price a mere 2.3

Fortunately, I am not following NBA Tips with any money. The error in the total number of games in a season didn’t fill me with confidence, and without meaning to appear rude, they appear not to have any idea about the purpose of pre-season games. Theses games are not played anything like a regular season NBA game. Rare is the coach who gives a darn about the result. One notable exception last year was Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson who said he wanted to win, and they won all six I believe. This year, with a proven winning team, he has said that he doesn’t care about winning, and has joined pretty much every other coach in using the games for establish the playing roster, easing players with previous injuries gently back into action, and trying out a few new ideas and tactics. Play tends to be sloppy, especially the first couple of games with timing off and players just not game ready.

I did try to point out via Twitter to NBA Tips that their selection of Over 201.5 for Sunday night’s Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets game might be suspect with no relevant data, and their response was, let’s say, a little naïve and of course, no supporting data.
“With regards to tonight we feel like this will be rather open in style and Nuggets will certainly help this. Nash / Gasol also aid the open D we expect tonight. We feel if our followers can get around 1.8 at 201.5 this is value especially as Bet365 have pitched the line at 205.5.”
"We feel...". Based on what? Steve Nash and Pau Gasol were indeed back, but returning from injury they are most certainly not match fit, and are most certainly not going to play for too long in meaningless games. In the event, Gasol and Nash both played for less than 22 minutes, with Nash failing to score a single point. Both players had minus ratings, -14 and -5 respectively.

NBA Tips mentioned Denver’s scoring average last season of 207 – what they may not have realized is that Denver had a new head coach on the bench – former Lakers star Brian Shaw. The style a team plays is that of its head coach, and last season’s average total in regular season games has absolutely nothing to do with a first pre-season game.

Pre-season games can offer value opportunities, but backing Overs pre-game at a recommended 1.8 (in fact only £6 was traded pre game on Betfair at a high of 1.75 so at least no one appears to have followed this poor advice) is not one of them. The game was apparently poorly played with the two teams combining for 50 turnovers, and the point total of 172 was well short of what was required.

And finally, back to the subject of being a professional, a word which is defined as someone"
 “engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime”.
Someone, Anonymous of course, had this to say about yours truly a few weeks ago via a comment on Mark Iverson’s post responding to my criticism of his Football In Play app (criticism justified incidentally as evidenced by Mark's concession that "I’m aware that ‘SIP’ does have limitations"):
Cassini’s blog has gone down hill over the last 18 months, he just uses it to plump his ego by issuing rhetorical attacks on others. When those others try and have a discussion with him, he just uses that to fuel the fire.
Try challenging him on his track record and he just ignores the posts, they never appear on his blog. He has attacked many other blogs, while seeing himself above criticism.
His blog really serves no useful purpose any longer. He so up his own arse I’m embarrassed for him.
Rather rude if I may say so, but a couple of things, one is that my rule of thumb is to ignore negative comments from Anonymous trolls and I don't recall any posts anywhere challenging me on my track record.

Why would they? The blog pretty much covers my trading life on Betfair and if any reader seriously thinks I would spend five and a half years writing 1,633 posts and creating fake screenshots for imaginary trades and Premium Charges, well, they really need help. I have no time for such nonsense, but this comment about part-time is interesting:
I would ignore blog posts from egocentric attention seeking bloggers who don’t trade full time but position themselves as experts and feel the need to regularly stick the knife into other blogs to generate interest in their own!
Funny how the advice is to ignore my post, yet here he is doing exactly the opposite! And not to mention that my criticism was of the app, not Mark's blog, but anyway, those small issues aside, why should the opinions of a part-timer dismissed so quickly? What is the definition of an expert anyway?
A person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.
One could argue that anyone making a consistent profit from betting and trading is an expert. There's certainly no requirement that you need to be full-time.

When I’m trading an event, is the fact that I have a job relevant? Well, to anyone who understands these things, the answer is clearly 'no', but trolls posting anonymously are unlikely to understand that.

Arguably, trading as a hobby has advantages, but besides that, unless your edge is from trading horse racing (unlikely), cricket or tennis, there is simply no need to give up a full time job to go ‘professional’. Most sports are played at the weekend or in the evenings, and there are plenty of opportunities at those times to allow you to have the best of both worlds. And if there’s an event on during working hours, either “work” from home or take some holiday.

It's true that maintaining ratings and spreadsheets takes time, but if something has to give, it should be social life and not a career.

But all that aside, trading is not an activity that requires you to be professional in the definition of the word as stated above – it only requires you to have a professional approach. Giving up your job and starting full-time as a trader isn’t in itself going to help your trading. Indeed, the added pressure could well be detrimental, and disastrous when the Premium Charge goes up to 80% or the bar lowered to £25,000.
“We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work”
― Thomas A. Edison

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