Monday 25 May 2015

FTL Penultimate Update May 25th

The big winner of the weekend was Gecko, who found eleven winners from his fifteen selections to make 15.90 points, enough to reclaim first place overall and take the lead in the April/May monthly competition. dropped to second with a couple of losing selections and with the finishing line in sight, it looks like the virtual League trophy will be headed to Adelaide.

Mountain Mouse hit three winners out of three for a 9.01 point gain, and up six places into profit, while Bounty Boy TFA Draws continued his good finish to the season with another winning week making 2.58 points and moving up four places - which at £25 a place means £100 saved on bounty payments.

Overall the round was profitable by 4.03 points, with the big losers being Jamie A who dropped 7.47 points and out of the green, closely followed by TFA Euro Draws who lost 7.41 points. The bottom (red) half of the table looks like this:
We're almost there, but one more round of Serie A  to come next Sunday before everything is wrapped up.

The final monthly prize race looks like this:
None of the three leaders have yet won a monthly prize, which means that it is likely the eight months will have seen seven different winners.

While most of the exact Bounty totals are not yet known, it is almost certain that Football Investor (Stewboss) will owe £500. The current state is:
Finally, some nice words from David, aka TFA_Raz, who wrote:
Just wanted to say a big thank you for all the effort you put into running the FTL. Entering it has added another dimension to the season for me and it's been a lot of fun! Shame it all went a bit pear shaped towards the end but oh well.
Thanks David.

Monday 18 May 2015

FTL Update 17.May

It would usually be quite exciting to announce that the big winner of the weekend was my XX Draws, but when the largest profit of the round is just 1.01 points, that's not really much to be excited about. Fellow Draw man Draw Picks made 0.60 points, and Over Goalify (+0.39 points) were the only other entries in profit on a round with a net loss of 32.95 points.

The losing side of the coin was led by Talkies Tips (-6.00 points), followed by Drawmaster (-5.00), Gecko (-4.06) and TFZ_Raz (-4.00) with nine other entries dropping lower amounts.

No one moved up more than one place, and the big losers on places were Football Elite and Talkies Tips who both dropped three positions. Gecko slipped off his perch to leave on top, and we have just two weeks to go.

The 'in-profit' entries are:

The entries in the red are:
TFA Draws leads the way for the April / May monthly prize:

Sunday 17 May 2015

Oh Burnley

For those who like this kind of thing, i.e. me, interesting that every top English league bar the Premier League was won by a team beginning with the letter B (ignoring the AFC).

Bournemouth won the Championship, Bristol City League One, Burton Albion League Two, Barnet the Conference Premier (with Bristol Rovers winning the play-offs), Bromley the Conference South (with Boreham Wood winning the play-offs) and Barrow the Conference North.

Bristol City also won the Johnstones Paint Trophy for good measure.

Burnley, what happened?

On a similar trivia note, Jonathan Liew had a piece in the Daily Telegraph on the decline of Northern clubs in the Premier League in recent seasons. Why are there fewer and fewer Premier League teams from the North of England?

There'll be at least one fewer next season.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

FTL Update 11.May

Another losing round for the FTL as the traditionally tricky month of May continues. The collective points lost was 23.46 with three major contributors to this total. With just 10 draws in the top leagues, Jamie A picked the wrong week to go for "Lots of draws!" and ended up as the biggest loser of the week dropping 10.09 points, closely followed by fellow draw seekers XX Draws (-9.66) and Draw Picks (-9.00).

Drawmaster lost a rather more modest 2.27 points, but bucking the trend in some style was TFA's Draws, with the Bounty domestic selections going 100% on the weekend making 2.42 points (OK, so he only had the one selection), but the Euro Draws made 5.42 points, which was impressive given the rarity of them this weekend.

The April / May Monthly numbers look rather impressive for Graeme:

In the season long competition, not much change at the top although Gecko extended his lead over - by 0.01 points!

The 15 entries in profit are:
In the red we have:
For the so far unmentioned Bounty Boys, Skeeve and Football Investor had no entries, while Football Elite lost 1.00 point.
Just a couple more weeks to go, but still plenty to play for.

Saturday 9 May 2015


Continuing with the theme of code-breaking from yesterday, and this silly little gem coincidentally appeared on my Twitter timeline this afternoon.

Using the values above, K N O W L E D G E gives you 98 as does H A R D  W O R K. Both are important, but fall just short of 100. However, A T T I T U D E gives you 100. 

Coincidence? I think not!

I think Ian Erskine might like this one.

Enigmatic Selections

Not surprisingly, there's been a big drop in the number of FTL entries this week. No doubt everyone is in a state of depression following the unfortunate outcome of the General Election, or it is possible that the end of the league season in the lower English leagues is the reason.

It's interesting how the formats of the entries differ - some send spreadsheets from which I extract the entries, while others send in single team names. Mountain Mouse's are in code, for example this week's entry read simply:
Ned Utrecht Excelsior Home EPL Everton Sunderland Home Fra Evian Thonon Gaillard Reims Away
I put my Mother's Vera Lynn 78 record on the old gramophone player, watch a few minutes of The Imitation Game, take myself back in time to Bletchley Park in the 1940s and within just a few minutes (usually) I have the puzzle solved. The selections for this week are Utrecht, Everton and Stade de Reims. I have yet to find a weather forecast hidden in there though.

A couple of the Bounty Boys are in action this weekend - Football Elite has a couple of selections, and TFA has just the one. 

Back to the Election, and not only was the result extremely disappointing, but it was also quite an upset based on the Betfair odds leading up to Election day. Scott send me a link to an article a few days ago from the Daily Torygraph
A “well groomed” pensioner has placed a £30,000 bet on the Conservatives winning a majority in the general election after walking into a betting shop with the money in his jacket pocket.

The anonymous gambler, who is believed to be a former accountant, asked what the odds were in a Ladbrokes branch in Hope Street, Glasgow, and after being told they were 7/1 he produced the money in crisp £50 notes.

According to one cashier, he "looked like he knew what he was doing", was confident and calm and “just thought it was a great bet”. A customer who witnessed the bet said the man looked “well-groomed, wealthy and well-informed”.

Following the punt, which is the biggest bet to date on a party emerging with a majority next Thursday, the bookies cut the odds of the Tories to 6/1, while the odds of no party forming a majority were reduced from 10/1 to 8/1.

Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes said a bookies in Glasgow was “the last place you'd expect to find a punter prepared to have a record-breaking bet on the Tories".

He added: "It's fair to say Cameron & co have been handed a vote of confidence from one of the unlikeliest locations and should they defy the odds, our customer will land a significant windfall."

The bookmaker also has odds of 25/1 on Labour winning more than half the seats, compared with 1/8 for the election resulting in no party having an overall majority at Westminster.
Scott included a screenshot of the Betfair markets at the time, and unless the "well groomed" pensioner is paying the Super Premium Charge, 7-1 was not the best of deals.
Credit where it's due though, and the 'former accountant' picked a decent priced winner. These accountant people seem to be pretty smart, although walking around Glasgow with £30k in cash might arguably be described as less than smart.

Yours truly learned his lesson in the April 1992 election, when he put too much faith in the polls and lumped almost a season's worth of football betting profits on Labour in an attempt to buy money, and lost - incidentally the last time the Conservatives won an election with a majority, and an election with much in common with this week's. It was not one of my smartest betting moves.

My thoughts then on why the polls were so wrong is that people were simply too embarrassed to admit they might vote Conservative, and just lied if asked. One can't blame them of course, although I feel the poll tax played a part that year.

Actually, it's probably inaccurate to say that the polls were 'wrong' this year. Polls are snapshots of opinion and the exit polls, taken when the 'opinion' is in the ballot box, were at the same time both shocking and quite accurate. Certainly the betting markets were wrong though. The Telegraph relates an example of a July 1985 by-election:
We can trace the question to July 4 1985, the day that the political betting markets finally came of age in this country. A by-election was taking place in a semi-rural corner of Wales, with Labour and Liberals the key contenders. Ladbrokes made the Liberals odds-on favourite. But on the very morning of the election a poll by Mori gave Labour a commanding 18 percentage point lead. Ladbrokes kept the Liberal candidate as the solid odds-on favourite. And who won? The Liberal — and anyone who ignored the pollster and followed the money.
The Telegraph doesn't mention that the Liberal won by just 559 votes, and as a "solid odds-on favourite" might not have been value, but then that paper has a habit of not telling you everything.

For those wondering, the Monster Raving Loony party candidate came fifth, and Mountain Mouse - I am just kidding with you. Your entries are jut fine.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Erskine Cup Final (Replay) Result

The inaugural Erskine Cup has finally found a home, and it will be Randolph's mantelpiece upon which it will sit despite his loss of 0.83. Losing finalist Gecko had his poorest outing for a while, and the worst of the round, dropping 6.02 points, but does have the consolation of holding onto his lead in the league - just. A mere 1.06 points now separates him from who picked up a round best 16.56 points and just like that, the seemingly secure lead has all but evaporated. BettingTools would have added another 3.88 points had they submitted the League One picks and Monday night's EPL game on time.

After more than 10,000 selections, we still have sixteen entries in profit:

Overall it was a good round, with entries making a combined 74.07 points. Talkies Tips had the second best profit of the weekend with 11.36 points, while TFA Euro Draws made 9.57 points. Jamie A was close behind in fourth gaining 9.53 and @ValueBankFooty made a decent 7.83 points.

With Sjosta sitting this round out, there were no big losers. Other than Gecko, no one lost more than two points. In terms of places, Faifranco was the big loser dropping three places despite winning 0.97 points, while the biggest gainers were Jamie A, XX Draws and sibling XX Unders which all moved up three spots.
The Bounty Boys had a profitable weekend. Football Elite made 1.29 points, and moved up one place trimming his liability to £275. Skeeve's mainstay Conference National is over bar the play-offs, and he was idle this weekend with his liability actually increasing to £400 as he dropped two places. TFA Draws made 0.99 points but remains in 18th place with a liability of £425 while Football Investor was also profitable, making 2.66 points but actually dropping one place with his liability remaining at the capped £500.
The race for the monthly prize for April / May looks like this:
The FTL ends at the end of this month, with the final over the May 29-Jun 1 weekend.

Saturday 2 May 2015

FTL Update 30.April

Although the weekend round has already started, there were a few entries in midweek with lots of games in Spain and Italy and a few in England and France. Overall it was another losing round with 6.62 points lost taking the total loss for April to 103.26. A new record. The two profitable entries were who made 2.15 points, a mirror image of XX Draws who lost the same amount. Jamie A was also profitable, but his haul of 0.09 points won't have rung any alarm bells with the leaders. Other losers were XX Unders (-0.40), Rubicon (-0.31) and Football Investor who dropped 6.00 points.

Those entries with either a point or positional change are:

Had the monthly prize been for April alone rather than combined with May, the winner would have been Gecko:
Gecko and Randolph are both in action this weekend in the Erskine Cup Final (Replay) with each's picks sent to the other so that they can check results in real-time. 

One final comment is that, per the Official Rules, the minimum number of selections to be qualified for prizes is 76, and we don't have too many weeks left, so if you're not up there yet, start selecting! The FTL will run to Sunday 31st May 2015, which is the final round of Serie A, the last of the top leagues to wrap up.