Wednesday 6 January 2016

Monthly Review for December 2015

It’s always hard to write a monthly review for December without looking back at the year as a whole. Given my ratings and systems have just had their worst ever month (seems like a consistent theme in the monthly reviews at the moment!), it’s hard to not think that this might be the last December update that this blog sees. An absolute disaster of a month which follows a terrible start to the season for the ratings and systems and overall, the service is on its knees after December’s performance. 2015 as a whole has been a nightmare for the service.

Personally, 2015 was my first losing year betting since I started taking this semi seriously in 2008 and I guess I could say I was due it. My footie losses ran into 5 figures for the year which sort of sums up 2015 for me when it comes to football betting. There were no hard luck stories, I deserved a decent loss. My losses were reduced somewhat over the year as a result of other non-football related activities (horseracing in the Summer and a Twitter tipping game in the second half of the year) and I suspect if I hadn’t gone down these other routes, I would probably already be looking for another hobby for 2016 and beyond. As things stand at the moment, I still think I can make a profit long-term at this game but it won’t be from simply following the football ratings and systems like I was doing a few years ago.

When you add in that the 2014/15 season was my first losing season at the football and now the 2015/16 season is loss making also, I have to seriously question whether or not I’ll continue with betting on footie beyond this season. Being honest, I was very close to calling it quits at the end of December after a disaster of a month but I’ve decided to see it through until season end. My personal betting won’t impact the service and I’ll keep churning out the ratings and bets for those still following until the end of the season but as I said last month, if you are making money at this game using my bets, you are definitely not following the systems or ratings blindly!

So, what happened in December? Well, the first half of December wasn’t too bad I thought. The UK Draw systems started well, the Euro systems were doing OK, the UK bets were plodding along OK and then boom, we hit mid-December and trying to find a winner on nearly any system was like finding a needle in a haystack. A total nightmare and the Festive period in particular hurt like mad as I worked really hard to get the bets out to everyone, get my bets placed and then watched in anguish as game after game went the opposite way to what I wanted!

The UK Draw systems went from being in a decent profit in mid December to losing all this profit in a couple of weeks. There was a very high number of Draw bets and unfortunately, they barely bit a winner over a couple of weeks. January has also started poorly for the Draw systems and given I stake these fairly high these days, it just adds to the mess my P&L is in this season.

Overall, nightmare is the only word I can use to describe December and therefore, it rounds off a very poor 2015 for my ratings and systems. I thought 2014 wasn’t great but jeez, compared to 2015, 2014 seemed like it was amazing! It’s clear that whatever edge I had before is no longer slowly evaporating, it has pretty much evaporated completely and I think my base systems and ratings are probably unlikely to return to profitability. New max drawdowns are being set on so many systems at the moment it’s unreal and therefore, I have to think the days of being able to simply follow my ratings and systems and be able to make a profit are gone.

I think my saving grace this season and probably the only reason I am still betting on footie is due to system 41! Yes, the system that is heavily loss making and absolutely hopeless. I was going to drop this system in the Summer as it had clearly lost whatever edge it had in its first season and was looking like the worst system I’d ever seen but I think it was Matthew Trenhaile on Twitter who told me to keep this system as having a losing system can actually be beneficial long-term. I then cottoned onto the fact that you can use this system as a filter and the Not 41 system was born.

I already have the Max 4 system which Tage had noticed and as I showed last month on the blog, these methods may not be conventional but so far this season, they have really saved my bacon. Admittedly, it’s a helluva lot of work to update 4 rating algorithms, filter out bets and then only place bets that don’t appear too many times or bets that don’t appear on system 41 but so far this season, they have been my saving grace.

At the moment, all 22 UK systems are loss making. All 11 Established Systems and all 11 New Systems. However, the issue is the fact that the teams which appear on multiple systems have been doing terribly. Being honest, they have done terribly for a couple of seasons but this season has really seen them get worse!

In addition, system 41 is having a nightmare season (even worse than anyone could have expected) and all this means that if you were using system 41 as a filter or using Max 4 to filter out the multiple bets, you could actually take a set of systems which have clearly lost their edge and create your own edge.

My issue (and I suspect the issue of many reading this who follow the service) is that none of this was crystallised before this season started. I only started following Not 41 when it started badly this season and likewise, I didn’t invest too heavily in Max 4 after a poor season last season. Hence, although I have made money from both these other methods, it doesn’t cover the losses I have from following the other systems I follow. :(

However, 2016 is a New Year and I made the decision to adjust stakes a little (might be called chasing your losses!) and I’m lucky that January has started OK. Of course, increasing stakes when you haven’t made a profit for over 2 year seems like a quick way to the poor house but I have as much confidence in Max 4 and Not 41 at the moment as I’ve had in any system apart from system 31. Unfortunately, my confidence in system 31 has resulted in about a 20pt loss so far this season, so this confidence is fading fast! :(

Here’s the updated results for Max 4 and Not 41 this season:

It makes me smile that Max4/Not 41 has made 50pts profit this season from 326 bets. System 41 has lost 56.8pts from 414 bets this season. That’s a helluva swing! Considering every UK system is loss making, seeing Max 4 and Not 41 in profit highlights just how crazy the losses are on multiple bets.

I’m sure I hinted at this last month but given how bad the losses are on multiple bets, this could be the greatest service ever if I simply reversed the bets where teams appear on multiple systems and continued to back the teams who don’t appear too often! Not 41 is a step there but it would be reversing 41 in addition to Not 41! If 41 is going to run at -10% ROI, then there must be a profit to be made somewhere from the other side. ;)

Anyway, I apologise to anyone reading this that has done their bollocks in 2015 on the footie systems and ratings like I have. I’m sure my 5 figure loss won’t be the worst loss but you can’t change the past at this game, you can only change the future. I’m trying to find a way through this for myself and if anyone is still following, hopefully some of musings may help.

Right, onto December’s losses. This isn’t going to be pretty.

Est Systems

Both algorithms had a nightmare month. System 21 in particular had an amazingly bad month but system 6 wasn’t much better. System 22 continued the trend this season of making a worse return than system 21 and the combined systems did absolutely nothing to improve upon the returns of the single systems.

Overall, a loss of 106pts from 471 bets. The second worst month system 21 and system 22 have ever had. The worst month system 6-21 has ever had by a long way though (around 12pts worse!) and the second worst month system 6-22 has had. Records falling all over the place but for the wrong reasons!

New Systems

A very similar story to the first two algorithms. A nightmare month and both system 31 and system 41 have had an amazingly bad month. System 31-41 did nothing to help and basically, nothing is working like it is supposed to work and being honest, it has been this way for a while now!

Overall, a loss of 86pts from 327 bets. The second worst month system 31 has ever had, the second worst month system 41 has ever had and surprisingly, the worst month system 31-41 has ever had. Terrible results.

Misc Systems

Hard to know where to start here with these results! Before this season, system 6-21-31 had never come close to losing over a season. Now it’s lost about 2/3 of its full betting bank this season and these systems have wiped out a massive chunk of historical profits this season already. Hard to believe how bad they have been!

All 5 systems here lost with a combined loss of 143.6pts from 384 bets.

Draw Systems

Another poor month for these systems. The month started very well and half way through the month when I updated the results, the systems had an overall ROI of 10% so far this season but 2 weeks later, they are basically break-even for the season. An amazing drawdown in a very short period of time which sort of sums up the last couple of weeks of the year for the systems.

Overall, a loss of 23.8pts from 214 bets.

Euro Systems

A small loss this month for these systems. The systems haven’t got off the starting line so far this season and unless we see a change in fortune in the second half of the season, it looks like a losing season is on the cards.

A loss of 5.4pts from 185 bets.

Euro Draw Systems

A bit of irony here that the worst systems I have are the only systems to have made a profit this month. A profit of 11.4pts from 100 bets.

Overall then, a small loss (just kidding!) of 353pts from 1,681 bets.

If anyone has any doubts whether or not the edge is now gone on simply following my ratings and systems, then this graph tells the story I think. Here’s a graph of the full P&L for all TFA systems proofed since inception of the service:

As you can see, since the last peak (Jan-15), the systems have now lost 50% of all the profits they had previously achieved. This doesn’t happen to systems which still have a significant edge!

Let’s see what 2016 holds……

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Monthly Review for November 2015

Another month, another loss for the systems. Becoming quite boring now. I could just about handle the fact the UK systems are rubbish as there are ways around this by missing off multiple system bets but the profits on the UK Draw systems this season have evaporated after a really poor month and the Euro system bets just haven’t got started so far this season. Overall, it’s a complete mess of a season so far and off the back of a horrible season last season, it’s looking more and more like I’m wasting my time betting on footie.

I was updating my own betting results last night to the end of Nov-15 and my last profit peak was 25th January 2015. Given the losses since, I had the same level of cumulative profit at Jan-14 as I have now. If I don’t make a profit in Dec-15, it will be 24 months since I have moved forward in my P&L. I touched on this when it was nearly 18 months towards the end of last season but there comes a point when if you can’t move forward, you have to draw a line and stop wasting your time.

I have made no profit over my last 8,000 bets. If I let that sink in, that’s a helluva lot of work and effort for no return over the last 2 years.

As of today, the only UK system (exc Draws) that is in profit this season is system 31 and even then, it is only just. The Euro systems are all in a loss making situation and the Euro Draws are loss making.

Amazingly, I am just better than break-even this season and I’ve had a nightmare November. Considering the results of all the systems, I’m grateful that I am break-even for the season! I touched on this last month but didn’t have the numbers for historical seasons and so didn’t mention it too much on the blog but the one method which is doing well this season is Max 4. Regular readers will be aware of this method that was first highlighted by Tage but if I look at the results this season, they are very good. 

The other system I mentioned over the Summer was using system 41 as a filter as it has clearly lost the plot and if you were to back all bets that appear on any system apart from system 41, you would be doing well this season. You can obviously cross refer both the Max 4 and Not 41 system and it creates a Max 4, Not 41 system which not surprisingly, also does well this season!

Here’s the breakdown of P&L for each of the 3 methods:

As you can see, the results this season for both methods are very good. Unfortunately, the profits I’ve made on these methods have been swallowed up completely by losses on other UK systems, Draw systems and Euro bets but I guess that’s why I follow different systems and methods!

In terms of why Max 4 does so well, it’s hard to explain. Each rating algorithm has the ability to pick up these bets that are to find and therefore, not every algorithm finds them. Ultimately, it is these bets that are the jewels in the crown when it comes to TFA but unfortunately, apart from Max 4 or some method missing off multiple system bets, it’s not as straightforward as you think to find these bets. The systems are populated by all these other bets appearing multiple times and therefore, when you look at the overall results, the losses from the multiple system bets kill the returns from the other bets which are profitable.

I’m sure there are other ways to identify these bets (using a similar method to Not 41) but it’s something that probably needs more time. In addition, I’ve no idea how the TFA Value ratings behave for these other bets too but I know from looking at the results by Value band that you can’t simply identify the better bets by using the TFA value ratings.

Anyway, that’s an oversight of the mess of the systems at the moment. There are still lots of positives to take from my UK ratings but unfortunately, the positives are being massively outweighed by the negatives at the moment. Until this changes, the P&L for the systems in total will look horrible!

On the plus side, if you ignore the profits generated from the multiple system bets in the first 3 seasons, then laying these bets looks the way to go these days. Hence, as well as using system 41 as a filter for example, you could actually just reverse the bets and generate yourself another method or system. Being honest, you could do this with lots of the systems and your only risk is that the systems return to the profitabililtiy they had 3+ seasons ago. As every day passes, the chances of this decrease I think!

Here’s the monthly results update. Going to keep comments to a minimum.

Est Systems

 A small profit on algorithm 1 and a small loss on algorithm 2. System 22 had a nightmare (same every month this season!) and both combined systems lost again. Hard to take too much comfort from these results, the poor start to the season continues.

New Systems

A small profit across the board is like putting a plaster on a massive cut that needs stitches…it might stop the bleeding for a bit but long-term, not sure it matters!  I always laugh when system 41 makes a profit, I sort of hope it loses now given I’m using it as a filter to find the worst bets!

Misc Systems

Losses all round here again and another poor month. System 6-21-31 hasn’t had a losing season yet. It will be doing well to continue the tradition this season!

Draw Systems

The 2nd algorithm was the issue this month, finding 12 more bets than algorithm one but unfortunately, finding no more winners! Not a disaster of a month

Euro Systems

A bit of a nothing month for these systems and they just can’t get any momentum going at all this season. Long way to go but they need a bumper month sooner, rather than later.

Euro Draw Systems

The best lay-the-draw systems on the market continue to perform in line with last season’s massive loss. These really are a pile of shi*!

Overall, a loss of just under 100pts this month.

I think making money at betting based on ratings and systems is still possible as long as the past remains a good guide to the future. The issue I have is 3 years ago, my systems were massively profitable and these days, they aren’t. However, get to the end of this season and it will be 3 seasons in a row for some systems where losses have been made. This is probably a decent trend and therefore, there has to be a way of turning losing systems into profitable systems by reversing the bets. If my ratings don’t work, rather than trying to fix them, keep them as they are and find a way to use systems which are no longer profitable to find ways to make money.  Clutching at straws springs to mind! 

Anyway, I’ll worry about that at the end of the season. If I don’t make a profit betting this season, it’s hard to think I’ll be following any ratings or systems next season, never mind trying to find a way to use unprofitable bets! 

Tuesday 3 November 2015

October 2015 Monthly Review

Going to be one of the shortest reviews of a month ever on the blog. In short, I can’t really be arsed writing about another poor month for the systems.

The same themes have been apparent for a while now and therefore, I’m not going to keep repeating them over and over again. At the moment, the only reason I’m still betting on football is the UK Draw systems look like they have a decent edge and the Max 4 system is doing well. I also started following a new method earlier this season to small stakes (basically, ignore every bet that system 41 has and back the rest) and it has been doing well. The stakes are tiny though and can’t undo the losses on some of the other UK systems I’m following. I really should have gone one step further and basically backed the opposite of every bet system 41 has but I didn’t want to tempt fate. So far, if I’d been following this system, it would have been the best system ever I suspect!

Although I’m no longer proofing the filtered UK systems (7,8,32,33,42) and the combined systems which these systems are part of, I still track the results and show the bets in a single tab each week in the bet sheet. I needed to do this to enable myself and others to continue following the Max 4 system using the same criteria as previous seasons. I have pulled together the results of these other systems into a single sheet just for my own curiosity and will share the results when I share the monthly spreadsheet but as expected, they are shockingly bad. It is even worse than last season which takes some doing!

As well as using system 41 as a filter, you can probably use systems like 7, 8 or 32 as these have been loss making now for a long time – hence, the reason I stopped proofing these systems this season. I was thinking about dropping system 41 this season and then I figured it was actually beneficial to have a system that was probably going to lose money as it could maybe be used in some way to identify my weaker bets….I just didn’t expect 75% of my bets to fall into this category!

Anyway, that’s a little moan about how bad the season has been so far. Keeping my head above water at the moment but it’s simply papering over the cracks and in reality, any edge I had at this game has probably evaporated completely now. A few systems and a few methods are profitable but given how much work goes into finding the other 95% of the bets, not sure it is economically viable to continue maintaining multiple rating algorithms which aren’t very good any longer.

Here’s the results for October. 

Est Systems

Algorithm 2 somehow nearly broke even but the first algorithm had a nightmare as did the combined systems. Even though algorithm 2 did well, system 22 took these bets and had an absolute nightmare. You couldn’t try to do as bad as this system did. Took a 1/3 of the bets and found a 1/6 of the winners!

Overall, a mess of a month with a loss of 68.6pts.

New Systems

Not the worst month in the world for system 31 but another shocker for system 41 & system 31-41.

Misc Systems

Poor month for all 5 systems.

Draw Systems

These systems are my only saving grace at the moment. Let’s hope they can continue bailing me out for the rest of the season!

Euro Systems

Shocker of a start for these systems this season. Hopefully they’ll pick up next month.

Euro Draw Systems

A solid start for these systems this season. Not sure it will continue but would just about sums up the month that these systems managed to make a profit and they are useless!

Overall, a poor month and it’s becoming a common theme. The good old TFA days from a few seasons back when profits were made every month is becoming a distant memory…..

Let’s see what next month brings.

Sunday 11 October 2015

2015/16 Season Results to end of September

It feels like it has been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. My last post was at the start of July, so it has been a 3 month break for the blog. Being honest, the break wasn’t planned to be quite as long as this but I’ve been very busy over the Summer (more so than usual) and therefore, writing blog posts wasn’t too high up my priority list. We’ll at least get monthly results posts for the next 8 months or so but if time allows, I’ll try to do other update posts but given my lack of time these days, it’s probably highly unlikely.

This post covers the results for the first two months of the season. In reality, it was one weekend in August and the whole of September, so it’s hardly two months of results but this post covers all results up to the end of September for this season.

One bit of consistent feedback I had over the Summer was that many subscribers didn’t really enjoy my regular results updates and comments on Twitter, on the blog or in emails and therefore, I have definitely cut down my comments on social media about how things are going. I suspect last season was a painful one for others as well as me and me moaning about it on Twitter and continually updating on my personal losses probably didn’t help those following keep their confidence that things would turn around. I suspect if things were going well, people wouldn’t mind reading about it but for whatever reason, when things aren’t going well, they don’t want to hear about it!

It is also for this reason that the blog will be getting monthly results updates. I have thought this for a while but updating results frequently actually makes for a bit of a rollercoaster ride and I think looking at things monthly is often enough. I still try to update the results after every set of fixtures but I won’t be updating results on the blog any more frequently than monthly.

If I look at this season so far, the first two weeks were amazing and the systems were showing big profits after a bit of a dream start. Roll on another two weeks and it is pretty much break-even this season and therefore, we have already had a bit of a rollercoaster so far this season but looking at the monthly P&L gives a slightly boring picture but it has been anything but boring this season so far!

Anyway, here’s a quick rundown of the results so far.

Est Systems

Here’s the results for algorithm 1:

A profit of 7.7pts from 157 bets but quite quickly, we can recognise that all the profits have been made in the low value bands which continues the pattern from last season. All bets with a value % of 10%+ has made a loss of 13.2pts from 28 bets. However, low value bets with a value of less than 10% has made a profit of 20.9pts from 129 bets.

Here’s the results for algorithm 2:

A loss of 2.7pts from 133 bets. No clear pattern by value bands aside from the fact that the bets with higher value have again performed poor so far this season. The sample sizes are very small though.

A bit of a mixed bag with both algorithms and it’s not easy to see how this would have translated into a profit or loss on the combined systems. Here’s the results for all systems:

Overall, a profit of 12.1pts from 485 bets. 4 of the 5 systems have made a profit with only system 21 making a small loss.

I didn’t touch on it above but the issues on both these algorithms have come from the Home bets so far this season. Here’s the P&L for the 5 systems combined split by Home/Away bets:

As you can see, Aways have done really well so far this season and have a profit of 51.2pts at an ROI of 19.2%. Unfortunately, Homes have really struggled and it’s a loss of 39.1pts at an ROI of -18%.

Overall, a solid enough start but it’s disappointing that the Home bets have performed so poorly thus far this season. These tend to be less volatile than the Away bets even though they are less profitable but it has been a tough month or so for these bets. Hopefully things improve as the season progresses.

New Systems

Here’s the results for algorithm 3:

Overall, a profit of 0.7pts from 142 bets. Pretty much a break-even month. The same issues were apparent here as on the first two algorithms. All the profits from Away bets were wiped out by losses from Home bets which is disappointing.

The value bands show most bets have fallen into the lower value bands and the profits on the Aways were cancelled out by the losses on the Homes. Hard to draw any conclusions here.

Here’s the results for algorithm 4:

Not too many surprises here but another loss for algorithm 4. I would be disappointed if it didn’t make a loss I suspect! A loss of 6.5pts from 126 bets. I refreshed the underlying systems behind the algorithm during the Summer but it’s like trying to polish a turd I think. No matter what I do, I can’t turn this algorithm around into having an edge.

So, with mixed fortunes on the algorithms, how did system 31-41 do? Here’s the results for the New Systems:

A small loss on system 31-41 of 3.2pts from 99 bets. Did it’s job I guess of filtering out some bets from system 41 although clearly filtered out the profitable bets from system 31 that didn’t appear on system 41. Ideally, I think you need to try to use system 41 to filter out the worst bets from system 31 as if system 41 has no edge, you don’t want to be backing the bets on other systems that system 41 has.

Overall then, a loss of 8.9pts from 367 bets. Not a great start but I’ve had worse starts to the season on these systems before!

Misc Systems

Here’s the results for these systems:

Overall, a loss of 14.8pts from 380 bets. 3 of the 5 systems made a loss with systems TOX and STOY in particular having poor months.

Again, it’s too early to get too carried away with these results but I guess seeing STOZ doing better than the other two systems bucks the trend from last season. Out of these 5 systems, system 6-21-31 is historically the best system and therefore, I’d expect this to perform the best out of these systems again this season.

Not the best start for these systems but it’s early days and plenty of time left this season for these systems to hopefully build some profits.

Draw Systems

Here’s these results:

Overall, a profit of 17.6pts from 183 bets. An ROI of 9.6%. 5 of the 8 systems made a profit with 3 systems showing a 0.2pts loss. At first glance, it looks like a very solid start to the season for these systems but underneath, it has been a rollercoaster month where the profits gained early on in the month were mostly all given back by the end of the month. Can’t help but feel it should have been a much better month but hey ho, it’s hard to moan too much when a profit is made.

It has been a pretty uneventful start to the season with a profit of 6pts from 1,415 bets. Hardly a great start to the season but then again, given some of the monthly losses last season, I can’t moan too much about making a profit in a month! The Euro bets start from October and it will be interesting to see how these bets do this season.

Here’s the results in the usual format showing the results so far this season and the overall results for all systems since inception:

Friday 3 July 2015

Plans for 2015/16 Season

This is going to be the final post before I send out the renewals for next season and before I contact anyone currently on the waiting list to join the service. Given the overall results last season and the general feeling towards last season (it wasn’t very nice), I expect the subscription base to shrink massively for next season. Given the results for the other ratings services last season and the competition generally, I expect the number of football bettors subscribing to services next season will undoubtedly reduce and therefore, I think the number subscribing to TFA may be at an all-time low.

On the plus side, those on the waiting list (yes, hard to believe you had to queue to join the service!) will be offered a place and hopefully this churn of the subscription base is no bad thing. It’s always interesting getting new subscribers and they don’t have the scars that many of us currently have after last season!

In terms of the service for next season, there is obviously going to be less attention on the UK systems which have been the main systems until now and a lot more attention on the Euro systems and the UK Draw systems. If you look at the last two seasons in isolation, we have the following results for each set of systems:

As you can see, based on this table, the 3 UK sets of systems have made losses for the Est & New systems and the Misc systems have basically broken even. If we compare this to the Euro and UK Draw systems, we can see that there have been big profits and therefore, going into next season, you have to say that I have more confidence in these systems than the UK systems.

Of course, we can’t just ignore the fact that for the first 3 seasons of the service, the UK systems had a significant edge and therefore, you can’t write the UK systems off completely and my hope would be that they can bounce back after last season but with no profits for two seasons, I think you have to have your doubts.

One criticism that the service has had for a few seasons now is that there are too many systems. The survey results indicated this too and therefore, based on the system reviews I’ve carried out, I will be retiring a number of systems. Importantly, I’m not wiping these results from history and most systems have been profitable since inception but I feel going forward, I need to trim down the number of systems.

Rather than discuss each set of systems, below is a table which shows all the systems that will be alive for the 2015/16 season:

In summary, there will now only be 31 live systems. It is most of the lower turnover systems that have been retired as quite simply, although they may have had decent ROIs, the turnover was too low every season and I want to try to reduce the volatility in the results by removing these systems which are basically filtered systems on the other systems.

I have been particularly harsh on the Est Systems and New Systems but they have been around for either 3,4 or 5 seasons now and I think it’s a good time to draw a line under some of these systems.

I have decided to continue with algorithm 4 again next season even though there appears to be no edge there. I will obviously try to revive the system over the Summer but I would have my doubts about this system going forward.

The Draw system D3 appeared to be the issue on the UK Draw systems, so I have removed this with the corresponding combined systems D3-D6 and D3-D7. Same story with the Euro bets where I have removed E3, E3-E6 and E3-E7.

As the table shows, I will have another go at Euro Draws next season but just have two algorithms and no filtered systems. Until I get a set of ratings to work, there is no point trying to filter the bets. At the very least, I need the ratings to be break-even in order to even think about filtering the bets. I’ll build these systems over the Summer.

Importantly, I know a number of people use the UK systems in order to create methods for themselves such as Max 4, Max 3, Max 2, Min 5 etc. To satisfy these people, although the systems are not being proofed results wise, I will have a table in the weekly bet sheet which looks like the below:

People can even create their own systems like system 6-21-41 by putting simple formulae in this sheet, so there are endless systems people can play about with. I will obviously keep the same systems there as I know a lot of people used these 22 systems over the first few seasons but people can do what they want with this knowledge. Based on the last two seasons, filtering out the bets that appear on too many systems might not be such a bad idea!

I have decided to keep the email to a Thursday evening although as always, this can move around based on work commitments. The time will be as soon as I can get the bets out but with my daughter being at nursery and having her in the car on the way home, I’m not going to be speeding to make 6pm deadlines every week. As last season showed, following the bets straight after other tipsters is the lowest prices anyway and therefore, Thursday is not an optimal time to be releasing bets.

In terms of the bookmakers used, based on the feedback in the survey, I’ll continue to use Pinnacle but with more UK bookmakers used when the Pinnacle prices are artificially too low. Based on the survey feedback, the vast majority of members get the prices no problem and although I don’t want this to change necessarily, it does open the door to more flexibility. In my opinion, if most subscribers are achieving or beating the quoted odds for a service like TFA, I either don’t have enough members or I’m too generous with the odds quoiting!

I don’t foresee too many other changes to the service. I’m always happy to discuss any changes with anyone who subscribers and I’ll always listen to constructive feedback either via emails, on the blog or even Twitter although as I’ve learnt over the years, I’ll never please everyone at this game.

In terms of expectations for next season, I think first and foremost, I need all the proofed systems to return an overall profit. Last season was the first season this hasn’t happened and therefore, this is what I need to correct. If all the systems can create a profit (no matter how small), it’s a great base to work from and I want to get back to the first few seasons where no matter what anyone did with TFA, they made a profit. This has to be the aim.

I think with the bets spread across so many sets of systems these days, it’s probably asking a lot for every set of systems to make a profit but even if one set of systems has a poor system, the hope would be the other systems could cover it. My issue last season was all 3 UK sets of systems made losses which combined with the Euro Draw losses meant that the service had no chance of achieving a profit overall. The performance of the Euro systems were effectively overlooked completely and yet, they had an amazing season I think.

I think this covers off the key points I want to discuss with regards to next season. Details on prices etc. will be available on the website and in the renewal email in due course. I hope to have this all done over the weekend.

Monday 29 June 2015

Euro Draw Systems Season Review 2014/15

If I was most looking forward to reviewing the Euro systems on the last post, it’s safe to say reviewing the Euro Draw systems is the thing I’m least looking forward to this Summer.

If I wind the clock back 12 months, I had just had a pretty decent first season with UK Draws and therefore, it seemed a natural progression to take a look at Euro Draws in the Euro leagues. I had plenty of reservations though and given my first set of Euro systems flopped in their first season, I think I had my doubts whether or not the same could happen here. My other issue is well documented but basically, backing Draws in the Euro leagues isn’t exactly an easy place to make money. Historically, the underlying losses for backing Draws was on average of 7.5% going back to 2006/07 season and therefore, I had my doubts about finding an edge. I think the combination of both the doubt about the Euro leagues and the doubt about Draws in the Euro leagues should hopefully have helped people didn’t get carried away with these systems last season. 

It is somewhat ironic that based on the underlying results, season 2014/15 was the second easiest season for Draws in the Euro leagues in the last 9 seasons! There was an overall loss of 2.7% and a strike rate of 25.8% over the season and therefore, it wasn’t impossible to make a profit last season if you had an edge in these leagues. Clearly, as we’ll see, I had no edge and wasn’t even close to finding an edge.

I better just get on with sharing the results for last season:

Considering the Euro systems a few years ago had a nightmare season and lost 127pts, this takes losing to a complete new level. A loss of 297.8pts at an ROI of -11.9%. All 11 systems made a loss and the average loss was 27.1pts on each system.

It’s hard to know where to start here.

The ratings themselves were very poor, with both rating algorithms losing 9.8% and 13.6% respectively. This accounts for a loss of 41pts and 61pts loss on each algorithm. If your base is this bad, it’s impossible to imagine any system could make a profit and even cross referring systems isn’t going to help too much as the losses are so extreme.

The filtering between DE1 to DE2 to DE3 didn’t work at all and as you reduced the bet number, the ROI simple deteriorated which is the opposite of what is supposed to happen! The filtering from DE6 to DE7 did work better though and a loss of 13.6% on DE6 was reduced to a loss of 2.7% on DE7. There were 230 bets that appeared on DE6 but not DE7. These 230 bets lost a total of 55.2pts which is an ROI of -24%. Considering the underlying loss was only 2.7%, this is an unbelievably bad result.

Looking at the combined systems, I’m not sure the picture improves. If anything, it’s just as bad, if not worse. DE1-DE6 lost 12.8% which was closer to the losses on DE6 than DE1 unfortunately.

DE1-DE7 did OK as DE7 did OK but again, there was no real improvement from cross referring the systems. DE2-DE6 did worse than DE2 or DE6 and the same is true for DE2-DE7 when compared to the single systems.

DE3-DE6 and DE3-DE7 both had nightmares and lost over 20% each which takes some going over a season backing draws!

Overall, a total and utter disaster and based on these results, all you can say is that you’d need to rip up the systems and ratings and start again if you wanted another attempt at doing something with Draws in these leagues.

To try to give a little insight into the issues these ratings and systems faced, here’s the breakdown by league for last season:

As you can see, France was a major issue. My ratings obviously favoured this league for Draws due to the low goal expectancy historically but last season, the strike rate dipped massively in this league. The underlying ROI for backing draws in France was -18.4% which meant you were always going to take a bath backing draws in this league.

If you simply ignore the French league (I know you can’t do this but just pretend!), then the overall results were not anywhere near as bad and although it would have still been an 83pt loss, nothing like the 297.8pts loss the systems suffered.

I’m sure if I drilled into the results deeper, I can find lots of examples of last season’s results being nothing like the historical results for subsets of bets but this is the same in every league. It’s how your ratings cope with this that determines their profitability long-term I think and last season, my Euro Draw ratings couldn’t cope at all.

Summer Action – I need to decide whether or not I want to continue with looking for an edge at Euro Draws next season. At the moment, I would say it’s probably the end for these systems but I’ll spend some time this Summer seeing if I can develop another set of ratings quickly. I’m not investing too much time though! Even if I do have Euro Draw systems next season, they would be trial systems at best and I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole after this season! 

Euro Systems Season Review 2014/15

I think the only systems I’ve been looking forward to reviewing this Summer have been the Euro systems. Before we get onto last season’s results, it’s worth recalling the history of these systems over the 3 seasons so far.

The first season was season 2012/13 for the Euro systems. I decided I wanted to branch out into the European leagues for a couple of reasons. The obvious reason is for additional diversification and I didn’t want to put all my eggs into one basket when it came to the UK leagues. I was also acutely aware a few years ago that my edge would be eroded as I started to lose bookmaker accounts and therefore, with liquidity becoming a little bit of an issue, branching out into European leagues seemed like a good move.

When the systems went live though, it was clear there wasn’t much of an edge. Although the results were not a disaster, given the Home bias that was apparent in the Euro leagues, launching systems with 70%+ of bets being Away bets was never going to work I think. Here’s the results for season 1:

Although not a disaster of a season, a 4.4% loss across all systems and the fact that both rating algorithms lost 4.5% and 9.3% respectively meant that I made the decision that I needed to start again and basically scrap these ratings completely. My main concern was the Away bias within the systems and when I built the systems, the intention was to match the UK methodology which obviously has an Away bias within the ratings. Considering the Home bias in the Euro leagues, I was basically fighting against the underlying results and therefore, I realised I had no edge with these ratings.

I spent the Summer of 2013 building a brand new set of rating algorithms for the Euro leagues and corrected the Home and Away bias. Here’s the results for the first season of these new ratings:

All 11 systems were profitable, both rating algorithms were profitable and the combined systems did pretty well overall. Of course, it would take more than one good season to wipe out the losses and memories of the first season but overall, it was a step in the right direction at least.

So, that brings us onto last season’s results. Going into the season, I think many (including myself) still had reservations about these systems and even though I appreciated the ease of which I can place the bets and achieve better than the advised prices, I didn’t go overboard with my stakes on these bets last season. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I really wish I’d gone to town on these systems now, especially given the UK results! 

Here’s the results for last season:

10 of the 11 systems were profitable, the overall results of all systems was very good but more importantly, both algorithms did very well. 6.8% and 8.2% respectively for profits of the algorithms is very good and therefore, it’s hard to not be impressed by these results.

The filtering between system E2 and E3 was rubbish and this impacted E3-E6 and E3-E7 but overall, it is hard to be too critical.

E1-E6 and E1-E7 had exceptional years and really managed to build on the profits from the first year these ratings were live (second season of Euro bets).

If we look at the last two seasons when these rating algorithms were live, here’s the combined results:

Although it’s still early days and my comments are similar to the UK Draw systems, these results are pretty good. Both algorithms look solid, the combined systems look solid, especially E1-E6 and E1-E7 and I think as we go into the 3rd season with these algorithms, there is going to be an element of expectation now.

I think having written the UK Draws and Euro systems reviews now, it’s safe to say that as TFA goes into its 6th live service, it is no longer predominantly a service specialising in the UK leagues for outright bets. It has systems with great potential for UK Draws and we have the Euro bets with a couple of seasons of proven results behind them. This isn’t a bad place to be in.

For the record, here’s the results for the first 3 seasons which are not really meaningful when looking forward but of course, this is the proofed results for these Euro systems:

Even with the very poor first season included, these Euro system returns are starting to stack up I think. Roll on next season!