Tuesday, 3 May 2011

'Your New Blog Reader' Comments

There were a couple of interesting comments posted by 'Your New Blog Reader' on a post from a few days ago. He was discussing about whether it may be better to play different strategies at different times of the year and it's actually something I mentioned in the TFA forum during February's bad spell as this was when I first realised there is potentially an issue after Christmas with my ratings. Here's both comments.

That was definitely a good read. I think it answered all of my questions about using variable stakes for your system. One important thing that I noticed (which you also mentioned in this post) is the fact that most losing months (with the exception of October 2008) came in the beginning of the year (or around second half of the season). I wonder what factors could be affecting this (probably some teams opting for a comfortable draw when they are safely in the top or may even player fatigue). But i think the important thing is that the first part of the season has historically been more profitable and this may very well be something to look out for next season. Anyway, thanks for answering my earlier queries. I look forward to reading more of your blog!

By the way, I've been looking at the performance of your system when using DNB and DC for the month of Jan - May. Please note that all results were taken from your April 11 post "Backing the Draw?".

From Jan - May 2007:
The H/A would have won around: 595.6 units
The DNB would have won around: 369 units
The DC would have gotten: 88.8 units

From Jan - May 2008:
The H/A: 208 units
The DNB: 165 units
The DC: -1.7 units

For the first 2 years of back testing your system. Backing the H/A would have produced around 50% more than simply backing the DNB (803.6 units vs. 534 units). The results for DC would not even be close. But the results for the DNB do get interesting once we look at the last 3 years.

For Jan - May 2009:
The H/A: 104.3 units
The DNB: 133.6 units

For Jan - May 2010:
The H/A: 266 units
The DNB: 229.9 units

For Jan - April 2011:
The H/A: -39.3 units
The DNB: 73.2 units

For the last 3 years, the DNB has outperformed the H/A by around 31% percent. Although I think this might be more of a reflection of what has been happening for the last 4 months (i.e. a ridiculous increase in draws), since 2009 and 2010 seem to cancel each other out. In addition, you said on "future analysis" that you may have overstated the profit of the DNB, so this might not be as promising as it looks.

Well I just wanted to point out that it might be an interesting thought to use variable stakes (i.e. using bigger values for months leading up to December) and then consider backing DNB instead (if this trend continues for the next season) to get a smoother ride since their recent ROI might not be as far apart anymore.

The picture below shows the returns for all the different types of betting (traditional H/A, DNB, DC, Draws) for each month going back to September 2006. Draws means backing the draw in each game selected by the system. I've also summarised the data by calendar month at the bottom of the monthly table. (Please be aware that for the purposes of continuity when reading the blog, my historical results for DNB/DC were wrong until recently as I was overstating DNB and understating DC. It's corrected now but it does mean that looking back when I've discussed these results before, they may not entirely tie up with the more recent results.)

If you look at the bottom of the table, you can see that there is a summary that splits the monthly data into months from Aug-Dec and Jan-May. The results clearly point to the fact that the first half of the season is more profitable than the second half of the season historically and we've certainly seen that this season also.

The same is true for DNB and DC (less so than DNB admittedly) and it is definitely the case for backing the draw. A substantial loss is shown in the first part of the season but a smaller loss in the second part of the season.

Now, looking at this data, all you can say is that you're more likely to make money in the first half of the season than the second half of the season but there is nothing too alarming that would want to make you think seriously about adopting a different approach from traditional H/A betting throughout the season.

However, and this is quite important and was overlooked by me earlier this year when I looked at this in the TFA forum, these results do include the seasons 2006/07 and 2007/08 which include some backfitted results. Although the results are not fully backfitted in these years, there is an element of backfitting in these years and therefore, they may be skewing the performance of the systems slightly as the backfitted results from 2002-2007 were much better than the backtested results in 2008 and 2009.

Stripping out the years with any backfitted results, how do the results look now?

Clearly, we can now see that there is a potential issue with the systems after Christmas. The ROI for the systems before Christmas is a healthy looking 24.7% but after Christmas, this falls to a lowly 7%. This includes this season's results which was a very high 30%+ before Christmas and a -ve ROI after Christmas.

Looking at DNB, it is 14.3% before Christmas and 8.5% after Christmas. Not quite the same drop off as traditional H/A betting but still a drop in return after Christmas.

Interestingly, looking at double chance, it looks much smoother. A return of 11.2% before Christmas and a return of 11.9% after Christmas.

You can see why this phenomenon occurs when you look at the returns from backing the draw. Before Christmas, this makes a near 600pt loss and after Christmas, this makes a profit of 377pts!

Obviously, this year is included in the results but even looking at this without this year included, backing the draw after Christmas was break-even before this season which is why double chance looks so good.

Although I don't want to draw too many conclusions at the moment and definitely now before I've spent an enormous amount of time on the ratings this summer and trying to understand how I can improve their profitability, I think there is plenty of evidence to suggest that I should be looking to get the draw on our side in some way or another. Whether this is done using DNB, DC or even a combination of DNB,DC and H/A betting throughout the season, I think there is enough evidence to involve me exploring this option for next season.

Thanks to 'A New Blog Reader' for the comments. I hope the above lets you see that you are actually onto something here although how we use the above info will always run the risk of backfitting something to fit the results which is not a route I want to go down!

In terms of variable staking, I probably agree that variable staking may actually work well with something like double chance betting, especially since the strike rate is very high and the average odds are low. Hence, it could be a steady way to increase your bank and your staking. Once I've decided on how I'm playing the bets next season, I'll then look at how to maximise the returns using different staking plans. This is definitely the last step in the process though for me and considering the work I need to do this summer, I won't be looking at this for a while!


  1. Your New Blog Reader4 May 2011 at 08:32

    Another interesting post! I really enjoy reading your blog. I always learn something new from reading your posts.

    Before the season ends, I would like to congratulate you on the first season of your live testing. Even though the ROI is not what you expected, I believe that it has still been a relatively successful first year. Just the potential for improvement and success makes your system one of the best (if not the best already). In addition, the way your system has gone beyond it's design is quite mind boggling. It has shown profit and potential in DNB, DC and Draws, while still keeping true to its purpose of finding value H/A wins.

    I know that you are disappointed and I can understand that. But I hope the potential for success next season, using what you've found out this year, would also bring comfort and excitement to you. 7,965 bets cannot be a fluke. 3,916 bets over the span of 3 years showing profits of 7%, 8.5%, 11.9%, and 9.6% across different types of bets? That is definitely impressive!

    For now, I look forward to how your system will close out the season. But what I really anticipate is how you will come back next season with a better, stronger, more refined and more profitable system that will beat the bookies. You've definitely made a regular reader out of me! May the best things come your way!

  2. Hi again.

    Thanks for your words of encouragement. I'm sure at times it reads like I'm being a little harsh on myself on here considering I hadn't built anything at the start of January 2010 and 16 months on, I've got as far as this but it's all about expectations I guess.

    When I started out on this project, apart from trying to maximise my own betting returns from this, I was keen to develop something that could help others win money too who stuck around a forum I use after the end of the racing site I was running. This season was meant to be a trial season and then next season we could all follow with confidence but after this season's efforts, that can't happen next season. I've not really got confidence in the ratings at the moment and although I will work hard over the summer to improve things, I can't be sure that next season will be any better than this season.

    It's actually more about me versus the layers now as I want to prove I can build something that works and is sustainable long-term. At Christmas time, I thought I was one step on my way to to finding the Holy Grail but I've taken a big step back which is disappointing.

    After a bit of thinking over the last few weeks, I'm going to give this one more go next season. If I don't have something to follow with confidence after that, I'll walk away from football betting and resign myself to the fact that I can't find a big enough edge.

    I'm still not sure how I'll get the bets out to people but I had a free email list this season, so I figure I'll just use that next season and add some people from the blog who want to follow the bets. I'll obviously use the blog also but I like to issue bets first to others so they can get the best prices first.

    I've also got an idea for building a new rating algorithm that looks to maximise DNB/DC returns. I think it's interesting that I can achieve a 10% return on DC when I'm trying to back teams to win outright. If I go back to my data and try to maximise DNB/DC returns in my backfitting, I should find something that hopefully produces a return greater than traditional H/A betting during backtesting and of course, I'll now have 3 years clean data to backtest on after this season. Hence, if I am serious about using DNB/DC next season, I need to have a new set of systems that are predominantly aimed at this type of betting.

    To keep my workload in check, I'll be dropping the multiple bet systems 16-20 as they take far too much time to update and monitor and are far too risky and I'll be dropping systems 9/23 due to lack of bets on these systems each season. That will free up the time to track another set of systems I hope although they'll be unproven next season.

    If you have any ideas about what else I can look at or other things to monitor, then let me know.



  3. Hi Graeme,

    Just thought I'd drop a note in as you mentioned you appreciate not speaking to yourself (!) and I wanted to drop a few words of encouragement into what is - at the moment - a pretty rough ride.

    I started reading your blog (and following the bets) after reading about it in the SBC newsletter; I had never heard of you before this if I'm honest. The results before April - even including the dip in February - have been incredibly impressive; and some of the losses (such as the weekend just gone) with the last minute equalisers which has continually produced a disproportionate number of draws is, as you've said, unprecedented from past seasons.

    The point I want to make, however, is with regards to a comment you have made above..."I thought I was one step on my way to to finding the Holy Grail but I've taken a big step back which is disappointing".

    I would have to respectfully disagree with what you've said here. What you have produced is something that is still - when looking at it over the full season - producing very solid, and positive, results to level stakes. Additionally, as you've mentioned a few times recently, this season was meant to be used as a trial season - and in my book, a trial season is one where you tweak something in real time in order to make it a sustainable system. This is what you are currently doing; you have found something which is very close to being absolutely outstanding and have now noticed something that would have been very difficult to predict just looking at past results. Real time is a different animal to back testing but that is the unpredictability of life. In my (very humble) opinion, next season is the season which should be judged; it is the betting equivalent of "second season syndrome". You have managed to stay up on the last day of the season and now it's time to learn from the experiences and mistakes, kick on, improve, consolidate and prove that what you have is the foundations and makings of something that can be (and in my opinion, will be) an incredibly successful system. If you are able to do this, it will be one step backwards to take a number of steps forward.

    On a different note, your blog has been one of the main features inspiring me to look into the back testing of a few ideas I have of my own with regards to football betting. While wholly unsuccessful in what I've found thus far, you can at least take solace from that!

    Keep up the good work, I understand it's difficult to stay positive about it at the moment with results as they have been but it is very important keep things in perspective. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day, and I have a feeling that you're on the cusp of something incredibly impressive.

    Keep up the good work and I completely agree with Your New Blog Reader...you've definitely made a regular read out of me as well!


  4. Hornet,

    Reading your comment about following actually made me cringe a little as I can't imagine a worse time to start following the footie after what the SBC wrote that last month. I sent them a joke email the day after as the systems lost 50pts on the Saturday after they published the mag on the Friday!

    Firstly, thanks a great deal for such an encouraging comment. I think it's safe to say that I'm probably at all time low with this project at the moment but as has been pointed out to me by a few people, that's probably to do with the fact I thought I was walking on water at Christmas and now I'm finding out I'm only human! Comments like yours and the other few comments recently definitely help my morale.

    The first half of this season was an amazing buzz, something that I've probably only experienced once before at this game (which preceded the biggest fall from the top you've ever seen by a racing tipster!). I was raking in the cash from the footie this season and many others following were too and we all thought I'd built something to boost our retirement fund I think.

    What has happened from Christmas time has been hard to take and apart from the March blip (feels that way!), it has been downhill all the way.

    However, I've had some great support from the guys in the forum where I built this model and even though I don't think anyone has made a penny this season now, I've not had one complaint about the way things have gone. I'm waiting to read Rowan's monthly review across at TPI as he follows system 8-22 this season and has just hit 1 winner in 14 bets this month, so it won't be a pretty sight when I come to read that! He's pretty level headed though, so he'll go easy on me I'm sure. wink wink Rowan. lol

    I've already decided that I'm going to be giving this another go next season and hopefully I'll get something to work for us then. If not, I'll walk away from this at the end of next season as I can't justify the time and effort that goes into this unless it is working very well. And by that, I mean me being able to make money backing them and others being able to make money backing them too.

    Thanks for reading and I like your analogy about the fact I've avoided relegation this season. I was thinking I'd be playing Champions League next season at Christmas time though.

    I'll be making some new signings in the Summer though, training the team hard and cutting back on a few slackers too before next season.

    Aim is to win the league next season though. ;)