Wednesday 27 December 2017

Useful Lessons And Important Principles

A much appreciated Pinned Tweet and thread from James led to a small explosion in mentions on my Boxing Day Twitter feed, and a smaller explosion in hits on this blog, so I feel somewhat shamed into posting again after a few weeks of distractions with pre-holiday work travel and holiday time with family. 

While away, I was offered a year's pay to leave my job, which at my age means retirement, so that decision has also been a focus of attention. I have a couple of weeks to decide. On the one hand, it's something I've been pondering anyway, but on the other hand, my job is pretty easy and working from home most days means it doesn't feel like work. 

The advice so far leans towards hanging in there for a few more years, although the offer implies that cuts are coming one way or another, so that may not be an option for too long anyway. 

My wife is several years younger than me, and my suggestion that I go travelling for a few years and send her photographs from around the world while she closes out her career, went down about as well as her Xmas present this year - a personally engraved toilet brush and holder set. In hindsight, the look the sales assistant gave me when I asked for it to be gift-wrapped should have been a clue. 

Lesson learned for next year anyway, if she has returned home by then. 

As for betting, that's taken something of a back seat too with everything else that's been going on. The League Two and National League Aways have both had a poor run since the last update, but on the plus side, my Draw-4 Premier League System has been a steady winner this season.

The Church of Betting blog had a post describing the reasoning at the heart of this system recently, but basically the premise is that the market underestimates the draw in matches between fairly evenly matched teams.

In the Premier League this season, backing the Draw in matches where neither team is odds-on has an ROI of 19.6% (+16.11 points from 82 selections). 

Since the 2012-13 EPL season when Pinnacle Closing Prices became available, the profit from five and a half seasons is currently 45.79 points (from 938 selections), a more reasonable long-term ROI of 4.9%.

I did have one comment during my break, which was from Wayward Lad who wrote:
I am honoured to have my Pension Builder blog added to your blogroll. I hope you jumped onto Bitcoin when I did (when it was at about US$2400) but didn't do what I did and chuck it in when I made a small 40% profit on my £10,000 investment. Had I held on, my £10,000 would now be £70,000.
As I wrote back in September, the hurdles one needs to leap over in order to purchase Bitcoin proved too high for me. Never mind the challenge of remembering 12 word pass-phrases to access them once purchased. I'm relieved to know that it's not just me, as apparently "nearly a quarter of all Bitcoin are trapped in a sort of crypto purgatory":
Originally touted as a currency impervious to government control, Bitcoin’s strength is also a colossal barrier to entry for many would-be investors. Layers upon layers of security combined with a multiple step process to even acquire a piece of the surging currency leaves many shaking their heads and giving up before finishing the process.
And for those who manage to wrangle the tech hurdles, the challenges don’t stop there.

Take Philip Neumeier. According to The Wall Street Journal, Neumeier bought 15 bitcoins for approximately $260 in 2013. His stake today is worth nearly $300,000 — a staggering 115,284 percent return on investment. And while Neumeier should be celebrating his victory on a new boat, or in a home that bitcoin provided the down payment for, he’s instead looking to recover a forgotten password to claim what’s owed to him.
According to Chainanalysis, a company that tracks the movement of bitcoin into (and out of) wallets, worldwide estimates are that nearly a quarter (23 percent) of all coins in existence are forever lost in a sort of crypto purgatory. All told, an estimated three million coins (worth around 52 billion) are sitting in the deepest, darkest recesses of the blockchain with little hope for recovery.
Like Neumeier’s stake, these are coins that are effectively gone unless their owners manage to recover the password or private key.
You can’t call the bank for a password reset in this brave new world.
To facilitate Bitcoin’s utopian vision of a world without central banks, it places the onus of protecting ones money with the person, not the establishment. If Coinbase were to go belly up tomorrow and zip off to New Zealand with hundreds of millions in customer cash, there’s little hope in recovering the value of the stolen tokens. It’s a crime, but unlike robbing a bank restitution is generally not on the table. There’s no FDIC for cryptocurrency.
For people who bought into the nascent technology with little idea their stake could one day be worth millions, this is a situation that’s all too common. Even with passwords successfully saved, failure to back up a private key (or bitcoins in cold storage) could put you in a precarious position as the price continues to climb.
James Howells first made headlines in 2013 after news emerged he had accidentally thrown away a computer hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins ($131 million as of this writing). With no private key to access the currency, Howells now finds himself waiting on local regulators to grant him permission to search a landfill near his home in Newport, Wales.
When it comes to bitcoin loss, there’s little that can be done and few options worth discussing for protecting not only the consumer, but the future of the currency. With a limited supply already, bitcoin could be headed for a future where half, or more, of its assets are essentially dead, floating around in cyberspace with little hope for recovery.
And for those like Howells, that’s the sort of thing that’s bound to keep you up at night.
At my age, I need a good night's sleep, something that the more traditional forms of investment have provided for several years now. It's quite remarkable that only one month since February of 2016 has seen my net worth drop by more than four figures. Profitability this month is looking fragile, but for now we're holding on to a small gain, helped a little by yesterday's draws at AFC Bournemouth, Huddersfield Town and West Bromwich Albion. Only Watford let me down.

Off to the in-laws now, to see if my wife has been heard from.  

Sunday 10 December 2017

Army March On

Hopefully some of you were on Army +2.0 selection yesterday, as they not only covered the spread but also won the game. 

It would have been a nice way to end the season, except that it's not quite over. The Liberty Bowl being played in Memphis on December 30th features Memphis hosting Iowa State, who are currently receiving 3 points and if that holds, they will be the final selection of the season.

In the NFL, the record is less impressive, with this weekend already a losing one with two games still to play. 

The Beast continues in profit for the NBA, but if any readers took note of this comment (below) back in September, the optimal total looks likely to be a little higher this season:
For the record, backing Overs when the total was 215.5 or higher had a 55.6% strike rate last season. Expect the average totals to increase again this season, and look for profitability on the Overs a little higher than 215.5.
In other news, one of my former clubs (neither Heybridge Gardens or Strawcross Meadows I hasten to add) tweeted this impartial and completely unbiased statement which I found rather amusing:
Other Heybridge Gardens FC tweets are similarly amusing, with some of the best here:

A parody account, but one of the more amusing ones out there, especially if you are familiar with the world of Sunday League football.

On the road again from Wednesday for a week long trip.      

Monday 4 December 2017

Cricketing Crunchyfrog

One of the rare interesting threads on the Betfair Forum is the long running Cricket Test matches thread showing the results of backing or laying favourites, underdogs, second favourites and the draw. 

Initiated by crunchyfrog, possibly not his real name, there are now 409 matches in the books, and three more currently in progress, documenting almost ten years of results.

The results to date on each outcome are:

I have no idea how results are settled in the event of outcomes being joint, or how the lay results are computed, but a strategy of laying the draw and / or laying the second favourite, appears to be worthy of further attention.

A commendable effort on crunchy's part. Not many of us have the discipline and patience to track these things for so long.

By way of comparison, the profitable strategies in the English Premier League for the five completed seasons 2012-17 (1900 matches) for which we have Pinnacle's Closing Prices, are laying the draw (+3.14 points), backing the underdog (+9.32 points) and laying the second favourite (+40.93 points). 

With the FA Cup this weekend, no updates for the League Two Aways, and with the College Football regular season over, there were no selections here either. With Army currently underdogs by 3 at Navy next week, we may have one final selection before another very profitable season is complete. 

The NFL selections are still in play, but it looks like a 2-3 weekend. 

I will be travelling for business over the next two to three weeks, so December will not the be most prolific of months for posts, but with bonuses and salary increases in the works, it's probably not in my best interests to tell my boss I want to stay home.

When I say 'travelling for business', more accurately I will be visiting staff and coincidentally timing my visits to each site with their Xmas parties...