Monday, 23 August 2010

Past performance of the systems

To give a bit of background about the systems I’m using this season, below shows the results that the systems have obtained in the second half of last season in the TFA forum and for backtesting back to 2006/07 season. I have also used data before this (back to 2002) when building the systems but I don't plan to include these results in any of my data going forward as the data is backfitted too much in these early years.

My rating algorithm needs at least 6 games to be played before any system bets can be generated and therefore, the first week when bets may be possible is the middle of September. Things then slowly build up from there and by mid October, all of the systems will be on the go for all of the leagues.

I concentrate my efforts on all of the 5 top leagues in England as well as the SPL in Scotland. I have looked at doing the top European Leagues and also the lower leagues but the ratings tend to not work as well I have found. Therefore, I'm happy to concentrate my efforts on these 6 leagues. I will exclude all cup games also from my analysis although I do adjust the ratings based on cup games.

The performance of all the systems before this season are shown below in a variety of tables. Each time I add a system to my portfolio, I will show the historical results so people can see how it has performed in the past.

Like most statistical models, the more results the system has, the greater the chance that the system may perform like that in future. Hence, I’m very wary of any system that has a handful of bets as there can be no guarantee that the system even has an edge yet.

I also like to look at the returns of the system by calendar month to help understand the swings that may be possible on a monthly basis. Below is the performance of all systems by month.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Introduction - Part Two

My idea when I started out on this footie quest 8 months ago was develop a ratings footie model of some sort to give me an edge over the bookmakers.

I’m sure many people set out on this mission and very few succeed but I like to think I’m a bit different than your average Joe Punter.

Firstly, I’m a pretty successful punter these days and have been making money consistently now since I started my last blog in March 2008. In the two and a half years since, I’ve made an average of nearly four figures every month which isn’t bad considering I work full-time and earn a decent salary in my role.

Secondly, I have a first class degree in financial economics and I specialised in econometric modelling, so I know how to build statistical models and how they work. I also know a fair bit about probabilities, regression models and algorithms, so I’m probably more suited to something like this than your average punter.

Lastly, I work full-time as a Pricing Analyst which means I work day in-day out with rating algorithms and statistical models and in particular, I spend all my time playing with Excel and SAS, so I’m better equipped than most I would think to attempt to do something like this!

Overall, I was confident I had the skill set require to accomplish something like this but of course, until you start, you’ve no idea how difficult something like this is!

My starting position was to try to come up with a list of factors that I can track and put into a model. After coming with a fairly exhaustive list thanks to the guys at the TFA Forum (my old racing site had a forum and that’s still going strong with around 30 members), I then set out trying to see which data variables would allow me to capture data in a format I could use in Excel.

After a bit of investigative work, I came up with a list of factors and then modelled them over a couple of hundred games across Europe over two weekends. Clearly, not the most sophisticated method of modelling a sample of data but it was enough to give me an idea of which factors were probably the most important and which factors I was wasting my time on.

I settled on 7 main factors and started modelling games based on these 7 factors. At first, each factor was given the same weight in the model and for the first few weeks of games, the results were pretty decent and I thought I was onto something here.

Once I started collecting a decent sample of data, I then started tweaking the weightings in the model that was attached to each of the 7 factors.

After a few more weeks and not making much headway, I decided to double the number of factors in the model to 14 by looking at the factors for the away team as well as the home team and this improved things considerably and looking back at the data I had, it improved things enormously in the past too.

I then started putting up the selections in the TFA forum so others could follow what I was doing and people seemed impressed at what I’d built and consequently, some chose to follow it for the remainder of the season to small stakes.

Anyway, once the season was over, I settled on a few systems that looked fairly decent in the second half of last season.

During the summer, I’ve invested a lot of time looking at ratings and backfitting systems to lots of data and this has allowed me to develop another batch of systems with a lot more results.

As of today, I have around 4 main systems to go to war with this season and that’s my intention and the purpose of this blog is to track how I do. As the season progresses, other systems will be added as they are currently in development and ultimately, I will end up with a portfolio of football systems at the start of 2011 that I will proof on here and hopefully launch next season.

As the season progresses, I’ll share some more thoughts about the past results and so on but for the moment, I really just want to use the blog to track the bets and progress as the season goes on. If people read the blog and have any questions, give me a shout and I’ll try to answer any questions.

I wouldn’t suggest anyone follow what I’m doing as the systems are all unproven and I’d never suggest punters follow systems that have no proofed results. After the time I’ve invested in this project, I’m forced to follow the systems this season!

To be able to generate system bets, I need at least 6 or 8 games to have taken place in the league, so there will be no system bets for a good few weeks yet. I'll be back in a few weeks with the first bets!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Introduction - Part One

Hello and welcome to my blog. There appear to be many more betting blogs than when I first started blogging back in January 2008 but I’m sure this blog will offer something a bit different than the numerous other blogs out there, so I hope you enjoy reading it.

A quick bit of history about me and why I have this blog. I’ve had an interest in gambling from a very young age and I was betting regularly on horseracing from about the age of 4! My grandfather was a very keen punter and like so many who follow horseracing from a young age, he got me interested and things just grew from there.

I’ve been a fairly successful punter on the racing from my teenage years but due to limitations around the bank size and the fact I had very little discipline (most teenagers don’t!), then I tended to give back most of whatever I won or instead of reinvesting it in my betting bank, I spent any profits I had.

Whilst I was at university, I started to take my punting a little more seriously but again, a lack of discipline along with a lack of a betting bank meant I didn’t get anywhere quickly.

After moving house in late 2007 and struggling to cope financially with the pressures that my purchase would bring, I opened my first Betfair account. I then started reading betting blogs and in particular, trading blogs and thought I would give trading a go on the horseracing even though I had no experience of it.

In January 2008, I started a blog to track my 12 month experience on Betfair as I learnt to trade horseracing. After a few months of struggling to trade on Betfair but finally managing to develop my own trading system on the racing, I basically got some comments asking if I would be interested in running a horse tipping subscription service as I was being quite successful with the selections I was posting on the blog.

Things then snowballed quickly and before I knew it, I opened a horseracing subscription service in October 2008. The service then steadily grew and in April 2009, I went on the sort of run that tipsters dream about where I had winning week after winning week and the service grew rapidly by word of mouth. I won over 160pts in 4 months for my subscribers and at the peak of the service in that Summer, I could have had one of the largest subscriber bases for a horse tipping service as I had a waiting list of over 100 people wanting to join the service.

With gambling and tipping in particular, one minute you can be flying high and think you’re invincible and the next, you can be lucky to hit a winner and unfortunately, that happened to me! I let a bunch of subscribers join from my waiting list at the start of a dreadful run and due to my lack of experience (and other mitigating circumstances), I couldn’t cope with the pressure and things snowballed until I decided to close the service with immediate effect and refund everyone who had subscribed in the previous period. As well as being a costly exercise for me (meant I worked for the last 4 months for nothing), it was a costly exercise for the bunch of guys who joined at the peak!

However, to put things in perspective, in the last 8 months of the service, I won over 80ts profit and had an ROI of 17%. Over the full service, I had an ROI of over 12% over 500 proofed bets, so I have nothing to be ashamed of in terms of the service and how it performed. On my retirement from the horse racing tipping game, the service was in the top 3 on the proofing site for 12 months performance and when you consider that came after a shocking run, then I’m not too disappointed with my performance.

After I took a break from the stresses of running the service full-time whilst keeping hold of my full-time job, I decided I wanted to look at using my analytical and Excel skills to possibly have a go at betting seriously on football. Roll on 8 months and this blog has appeared…..What has happened in the last 8 months?