Thursday, 31 May 2012

System 7-21 Review

There is a common theme appearing at the moment to do with AH betting. I suspect that to maximise the return on capital (ROC) on some of these systems, we really need to try to reduce the variance a little by using AH. Reducing this variance is the key if we really want to squeeze as much profit from these systems as we can. 

System 7-21

Last Season

System 7 – 293 bets, 4.9% ROI
System 21 – 489 bets, 4.7% ROI
System 7-21 – 188 bets, 19.4% ROI

This Season

System 7 – 200 bets, 11.4% ROI
System 21 – 562 bets, 10.5% ROI
System 7-21 – 171 bets, 14.2% ROI

As you can see clearly above, this combined system really comes into its own in terms of increasing the ROI’s achieved on the single systems.  Last season was unreal if I’m honest where the bets that didn’t appear on 7-21 but appeared on 7 or 21 did poorly. Not as obvious a change this season but still, you can see that 7-21 increases the return achieved compared to backing either of the individual systems.

I think it’s quite interesting that system 7-21 has actually had a poorer season than last season even though both individual systems have had a much better season!  Difficult to fathom if I’m honest and totally against what you would expect would happen.  Quite interesting I guess that system 7 and 21 are much better this season and 7-21 appears to be worse.

Even so, a 14.2% ROI is nothing to be ashamed of and I think that’s an important point here. People following 7-21 last season may have been disappointed with only achieving a 14.2% ROI but as I keep saying on the blog, you really need to keep things in perspective with my footie systems. Tipsters would cut their arm off for this level of ROI, so I’m not going to knock the system. Hasn’t lived up to the first season’s performance but over two season’s to date, an ROI of 16.9% across 359 bets is a great platform to build on in future seasons.

The results by league are interesting on this system with Away losses on the Championship, League One and League Two games.  League Two has been losing for three seasons straight and again, it’s a similar theme I’ve covered already this Summer. Draw coverage on that league may be the way to go in future to help minimise the exposure in this league.

Aways in general struggled on this system this season and a lowly ROI of 8% was achieved. This 21% last season although the last backtested season had an ROI of 7.6% on Aways, so this season mirrored the 2009/10 season possibly.

Homes did great this season again on this system with an ROI of 24.8% to follow up the 14.9% last season.

The system started the season very badly with 3 winners in the first 19 bets this season in September and it had another 3 losing months this season. 5 winning months from 9 isn’t great but the low number of bets is solely to blame for this I think.

Overall, since the system went live, it has had 12 winning months from 18.

I think the P&L graphs are interesting and again, you can see that using some form of AH will help smooth the journey on this system.  AH drawdowns are very low and therefore, using some form of AH bet on Aways possibly will reduce the max drawdown and reduce the size of the betting bank needed, thus increasing the ROC achieved.

Last Summer, I suggested a betting bank of 40pts based on the drawdown of 15pts.  The max drawdown is now 19pts after the start this season. Given the low number of bets, I think a bank of 40pts is adequate still and it’s one of the few systems where I got the betting bank right after the first season I think!

So, a profit of 24.3pts this season means a ROC of 60%. A pretty decent return over the season.  I suspect this can easily be improved by playing some form of AH this system although I’d need to look at it in depth to know for sure.

Going forward, I’d say 160 bets is maybe the norm (was slightly more this season), a target ROI of 12% and a profit target of 19.2pts. That would equate to a target ROC of 48%. That’s a decent target and I think it’s conservative considering the ROI has been greater the last two seasons.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

System 6-22 Review

System 6-22

Similar to the other combined systems, I think the first thing to check is whether combining system 6 and 22 actually improves the results of each system.

Last Season

System 6 – 573 bets, 4.3% ROI
System 22 – 245 bets, 8.2% ROI
System 6-22 – 185 bets, 13.7% ROI

This Season

System 6 – 712 bets, 5.9% ROI
System 22 – 133 bets, 15.6% ROI
System 6-22 – 127, 12.7% ROI

OK, this is definitely not as clear cut as system 6-21 was.  Last season, it definitely helped to cross refer the systems and it increased the returns a great deal from doing this. Interestingly, it’s not as impressive this season but it is only based on 6 bets! Quite a stunning statistic but last season, 60 bets appeared on 22 that didn’t appear on system 6 and this season, only 6 bets fulfilled this criteria!

This must be linked to the changes last Summer as basically, I spent some time trying to understand why some bets on system 21 & 22 didn’t appear on system 6 and ultimately, I tweaked 6 to bring in more bets from the second algorithm. The second algorithm is a better algorithm (probably since it was built after the first one and I knew what I was doing then!) and therefore, I’m not as surprised as some may be at the changes above.

What is slightly annoying is that the 6 bets that system 6 didn’t like actually contained 3 winners at decent odds, so 6-22 ended up with a lower profit than system 22!

Going forward, I expect this to continue and the vast majority of bets on system 22 are likely to be on system 6, so there should be a very high correlation between system 22 and system 6-22.

It’s hard to compare system 6 to 22 as 6 is a high turnover, lower ROI system whereas 22 is a higher ROI, lower turnover system. It’s easy to see that cross referring 6-22 is better than system 6 but then again, it’s obvious it would be as it has so fewer bets.

League Two aways were the main culprit on this system again and it’s the 3rd system in a row they have lost on the system. Basically, I could write more about this but it’s the same as I said on system 22!

The system ended the season poorly with two losing months and it had 6 profitable months from 9. Since it went live, it is 12 profitable from 18, so losing months happen fairly regularly due to the low bet number.

Homes finished the season with a below average (for this system!) ROI of 14% and Aways had an ROI of 12.3%.

One thing that does stand out from looking at the graphs of the profit lines is how stable the AH lines are. Using AH0.5 on all Aways over the last two seasons produces a near 12% ROI. When you consider the smooth P&L journey this would bring (you can see the full AH0.5 graph), then I would suspect you’re playing with a very small bank if you did AH0.5 on Aways. The biggest drawdown for using AH0.5 on all bets is only 8pts, so maybe a bank of 20pts would be sufficient for this system and AH0.5. When you consider it has made 30pts profit in two seasons, that’s n ROC of 150%.

I hope people reading these reviews are starting to appreciate that the aim of this game isn’t to achieve a high ROI or a great number of pts profit in a season, it is all about ROC. It may involve a change of mindset and whereas people are maybe winning lots more pts than you, if you are playing 5 times the stake they are due to the lower betting bank needed, you’ll be making more money!

OK, last Summer, I suggested a betting bank of 50pts which was based on the 19pts drawdown. A profit of 16.1pts this season gives an ROC of 32%.  Similar comments to 22 I guess and the ROC looks poor but if you cover the draw in some way, you’ll be able to reduce the betting bank needed dramatically and increase the ROC greatly on this system.

Going forward, the betting bank has to be in line with system 22 given the high correlation between the systems. However, the highest drawdown here is 19 (compared to 25 on system 22), so I think 40pts would be OK here.  Of course, this shows the madness in using past drawdowns for future banks. The historical drawdowns are meaningless in a way as the system isn’t the same system it was in the first season! Hence, system 6-22 and 22 are basically the same system and yet, I suggest a 20% lower bank on 6-22.

Anyway, let’s go with 40pts as a bank. There will be around 125 bets and a target ROI of 10% seems right. That gives a target profit of 12.5pts and a ROC of 31%.

Let’s imagine you played 1pt on AH0.5 for both Home and Away bets even though we know doing this on Homes broke even last season (dutching the draw on home bets means you are laying the Away team at big odds usually!). The highest drawdown has been 8pts to date. Let’s say a bank of 20pts is needed.

125 bets and the ROI should be around 8% although based on the first two seasons, it’s sitting at 11.4% but I know this is because of too many draws in the first season.

So, 8% would generate a profit of 10pts. With a bank of 20pts, that’s an ROC of 50%.  Much better than the 31% from backing outright.  Just a very quick example but it opens your eyes to what is possible with these systems I hope!

If you were to play Homes outright, I’d suggest the drawdown wouldn’t increase by much and you can increase the ROC by further too.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Last chance to join the service at a reduced rate......

Just a quick post to say that there is less than a week left to for any blog readers to join the subscription service at a reduced rate. I’m conscious I’ve had various emails and comments over the past month or two from potential subscribers but so far, the vast majority haven’t taken up the option to join. 

If people are interested in joining the service, now is the time to do it as the price increases in a week’s time. In addition, you will qualify to take part in a Euro 2012 correct score prediction game and you can win back your full subscription fee for the season.

The discount code you need which runs out next Sunday is tfablogdiscount30.  If you enter this code in the discount box, the price should only be £150.  Anyone joining after 3rd June will pay full price.

Although I’ve not made a big deal about it on the blog, the service was escalated to the Secret Betting Club’s Hall of Fame last week in their end of season magazine. A great achievement for the service given it’s only two years old but well deserved too (if I say so myself!) as the returns so far have been very good.

My proofed results with the SBC over the two seasons are 1,992pts staked, a profit of 305.8pts and an ROI of 15.35%.  Based on the betting bank they suggested of 215pts initially, it’s a ROC of 142.25%. They have reassessed the betting bank though and are happy to suggest a betting bank of 200pts going forward. So the underlying ROC is more like 152.9% to date.

As I know only too well, setting a betting bank for the 6 combined systems isn’t easy but the highest drawdown over the last 6 seasons has been 91pts (which was the second half of the first season and the start of this season), so I would hope 200pts is more than enough to follow these 6 systems.  Last season, the maximum drawdown was 45pts very early on in the season, so it was a great season for these systems after a poor start.

I’m going to take a short break from the system reviews to recharge my batteries for the next set of reviews later this week.  I’ll be back later this week with the next set of reviews.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

System 6-21 Review

The next series of reviews are ultimately the most important reviews this Summer. I suspect at least 90% of current TFA followers follow at least one of the combined systems and after the season they’ve had, I can’t imagine people will be deserting these systems any time soon!

System 6-21

OK, the first way to analyse the combined systems has to be to compare the results of each individual system and check that cross referring the systems works and doesn’t actually make the performance of the systems worse.

Last Season

System 6 – 573 bets, 4.3% ROI
System 21 – 489 bets, 4.7% ROI
System 6-21 – 298 bets, 9.1% ROI

This Season

System 6 – 712 bets, 5.9% ROI
System 21 – 562 bets, 10.5% ROI
System 6-21 – 480, 11.1% ROI

Two things to highlight from these results then. Firstly, cross referring the systems works well. You can increase the ROI by reducing the number of bets. It worked much better last season as the single systems struggled a little but by cross referring the systems, you could have nearly doubled the ROI. Less of an impact this season as System 21 had a great season, regardless of what system 6 did but even so, a small increase in ROI on 6-21 this season compared to 6 or 21.

The second thing is the key though. I’ve managed to increase the number of bets on 6-21 this season from a result of all the tweaks last Summer to 6 and 21 but thankfully, it hasn’t resulted in a drop in performance. As discussed before, there is a trade off at this game between the number of bets and ROI and simply, as you increase the number of bets, you expect the ROI to fall. Most of the additional bets that made its way onto system 21 also made its way on system 6-21 this season and it has actually results in a better performance.  

The other way to look at is the performance of the bets on 6 and 21 that didn’t appear on 6-21 this season.  System 6 had 232 bets that didn’t appear on 6-21 and they made a loss of 11.4pts.  System 21 had 82 bets that didn’t appear on 6-21 this season and they made a profit of 5.5pts.

I think the above highlights the power of the combined systems. You can effectively use 6-21 to get rid of the worst bets on system 6 and 21 as when the other system doesn’t like the bet, it tends to let you know it isn’t a good bet.

A loss on League 2 Aways is the only blip this season on this system and again, it’s a 3 year losing streak on this system for these bets. A 37pt loss over the last 3 seasons is reduced to a break-even result is using AH0.5 and I suspect this is the way to play League 2 Aways going forward if you want to try to act on this trend.

Homes and Aways both performed very well with a 10% return on Aways this season (6.7% last season) and a 14.4% return on Homes this season (17% last season).  Homes are slightly stronger than Aways on 6-21 but Aways have 3 times as many bets, so you’d expect Aways to have a slightly lower ROI.

The P&L graphs are brilliant for this system and although there was a spell where a small loss was made over 300 bets (second half of last season), it isn’t far off a perfect 45 degree line since the system went live two seasons ago.

This is also reflected in the drawdown graph where the max drawdown has only been 20pts. I should also point out the AH graphs look equally great on this system which isn’t always the case.

Last Summer, I suggested a bank of 45pts based on the max drawdown of 17pts. Again, this is a very conservative bank! The max drawdown crept up a little to 20pts after the poor start this season.

The profit this season was 53.3pts, so a ROC of 118.4%.

Even though I thought 45pts was very conservative last Summer, I actually think it wouldn’t too conservative to have a bank of 45pts going forward. The average odds are higher now than before and there are more bets than before. Looking at the drawdown graph, there are a number of drawdowns around the 15pt-20pt mark and therefore, I’d be wary of 45pts actually being a safe bank.

I’d maybe say 50pts for next season. There should be around 450 bets and I think an ROI of 8% is probably a good target. This could be conservative given the system has made 9.1% and 11.1% in the first two seasons.  That would give a profit of 36pts and a ROC of 72%.  A season similar to the first two would see this ROC increase I suspect.  

72% as a conservative view of target ROC next season….Doesn’t sound too bad does it?

System 22 Review

System 22

I see system 22 as the ‘enforcer system’ in the sense it controls the bets that appear on 6-22,7-22 and 8-22. Considering 7-22 and 8-22 are the two best systems in terms of ROI, a lot of this is down to the influence of system 22 as it doesn’t give bets out for the sake of it!

Last season’s performance ended up with a profit of 8.2% from 245 bets but a few of my tweaks last Summer were always going to impact this system. The idea was to increase the quality of the bets on system 22, reduce the number slightly and therefore, end up with a tighter set of systems for 6-22, 7-22 and 8-22.  Did it work?

Well, the bet number dropped from 245 bets last season to 133 bets. The pts profit was 20.2pts last season and 20.7pts this season. Hence, the ROI has increased from 8.2% to 15.6%. Therefore, at a high level, yes, the tweaks worked.

The other thing I really like about system 22 is the returns from the AH bets. Even covering the draw fully using AH0.5 resulted in a profit of 11.3% last season and 7.5% this season.  That’s very good going for any system and this is right in line with the backtested results too.  When you consider the max drawdown is less than 10pts for all AH types of bet, then using a small betting bank, you can actually achieve a very high ROC on this system for the AH bets. Definitely worth considering a strategy on this system of high stakes and using AH betting to achieve a decent ROC over a season.

Like most systems, Aways on League Two really struggled this season but interestingly, there is definitely a long-term trend apparent here. A loss of 23.7% 09/10, a loss of 20.0% in 10/11 and a loss of 27.4% last season.  That’s a clear trend and definitely should be looked at in depth.  It’s the first system so far that has suffered losses for 3 seasons straight and you have to think there is an underlying issue with this system and League Two aways.

Over the same period, a profit of 9.7pts across 122 bets was achieved if using AH0.5. Therefore, I wouldn’t put anyone off using AH0.5 or some sort of draw coverage for these Away bets in this league. They tend to be quite high average odds which means there is a thin line between winning and losing if selections are drawing too many games but after 3 poor seasons, definitely worth considering taking the draw coverage on these Aways in this league.

The low number of bets on this system since it went live can be seen in the volatility of the monthly results with 6 out of 9 winning months this season and 5 out of 9 last season. Hence, 7 losing months in 18 looks quite poor but with so few bets each month, it would be fortunate to hit a profit on most months. (Also shows how good system 8 has done with fewer bets but 15 out of 18 winning months!).

The one disappointment during this season was the performance of Home bets. Historically, Home bets on system 22 have been unbelievable and in their first live season, they achieved an ROI of 43.9% across 27 bets. This season, across 26 bets, it is an ROI of 14%.  It feels a bit mad to say that’s disappointing as I’d take a 14% return every year on any system but I guess the system set high expectations during the first season. Maybe missing 3 or 4 winners to achieve the level of performance I’d have hoped for but even so, it’s not a disaster!

The biggest tweak to this system was the reduction in the number of Aways as discussed above and it worked well. A profit of 3.8% last season became 16% this season across roughly 50% of the bet number. Nice when things work out like I plan. ;)

The P&L graph is interesting and again, you can see the impact from the second half of the first season and the start of this season where the system made no profit and actually made a loss across 180 bets.  However, it then went on an amazing run and made a profit of 22pts across 9 bets with 8 winners and one loser (which was a draw!). This included winners at 6.2, 4.0, 4.0, 4.50 and 4.81. Not bad for a winning streak!

Last Summer, I suggested a betting bank 65pts when the biggest drawdown was 25pts. A similar theme again here but that betting bank is very conservative!

Anyway, a profit of 20.7pts this season would mean a ROC of 32%. Doesn’t sound great but that’s what happens when you overcapitalise your betting bank.

The biggest drawdown remains 25pts and therefore, I would have to think a safe bank of 50pts or thereabouts would be better.

A target ROI would be 10% for this system and I’d expect around 125 bets next season, so a target profit of 12.5pts. This would give a ROC of 25% on a pretty safe betting bank.

The ways to increase this ROC on the system has to be to play higher stakes on Homes and definitely use some form of AH betting on the Aways. Suspect it could double the ROC easily and make this a much more feasible system to follow. Either that or play with a much aggressive betting bank than I’m suggesting which is always a good way to increase ROC! :)

Saturday, 26 May 2012

System 21 Review

The theme for this system review is probably the fact that there are subscribers following my systems who are better at analysing the systems than me! A subscriber told me last Summer he thought system 21 would have a good season this season and I doubted him. I was wrong, he was right and he’s achieved a much higher ROC this season than I have if I’m honest. ;)

System 21

I think many of the comments that applied to system 7 apply to system 21.  When I first developed this system, I thought it looked like a very good system but after starting well in its first season, it finished the season very badly (along with all my systems really!)  and I sort of wrote this system off as a system to follow after last season.

The results last season was an ROI of 4.7% from 489 bets and I sort of resigned myself to the fact this system was never going to be a system that can achieve an ROI of 10%+.  Interestingly, I exchanged emails with a subscriber last Summer who had a little bit more faith in 21 for this season and he chose that as one of his systems in his portfolio to follow.  I think he’d really bought into the fact the results on this system were badly affected by the Aways drawing last season and therefore, 4.7% wasn’t the underlying performance for this system.

Anyway, I didn’t really buy into everything he said and after a shocking start this season, I felt my thoughts were justified. As usually happens though, the systems have the ability to make a fool of you no matter how much you think you know the systems!

The results this season were a profit of 58.8pts from 562 bets. An ROI of 10.5%. 

Pretty stunning results if I’m honest and when you think it made 6% ROI for AH0 last season and 6.1% for AH0 this season, it shows it has had a fair few draws this season too, so to hit a 10.5% ROI outright is exceptional.

A loss in League Two for the second season in a row is something to keep an eye on for next season but that’s the only blip in the performance by league. The Away bets were to blame again which is easily becoming a common theme. An ROI of 44% in the Premiership from 52 bets is amazing but it did very well in the SPL and Bsq Prem too this season.

The system had 7 winning months from 9 this season and I think the monthly results are interesting on this system. Prior to going live, the systems had only suffered 3 losing months in 37 months. Since going live, it is 5 losses in 18 months but the actual monthly results resemble a boom or bust approach.  12 of the 13 winning months have had an ROI of 10%+. 4 of the 5 losing months have had ROI’s of -10% or less. 

I think this is interesting as it’s not a phenomenon I’d picked up before if I’m honest. It does lead me to think that when the ratings for algorithm two are working well, they really work well but when they are off, they are rubbish. I’ve said this before but the results in any period are correlated as the ratings for every team impact each other. Hence, when the ratings are inaccurate, they can do damage to your P&L in a short space of time! Vice versa is also true though. :)

Homes and Aways performed quite similarly this season even though historically, Homes have been much stronger bets. A 15.3% ROI on Homes last year was only 11.7% this season.  Clearly, the small tweaks last Summer has diluted the profitability of the Home bets a little but at least there are more bets now than before. It’s a trade off at this game between the number of bets and the ROI and I personally think system 21 had too few Homes bet before, so although I’ve reduced the ROI on the bets, the extra turnover should ensure there is no real impact on ROC.

I think it’s worth looking at the overall graph for this system as it’s another example of variance playing a part.

There is a clear spell of 400 bets during the first season and the start of this season where no profit was made at all. A lot of bets to standstill and make no profits but again, if you look at how the system picked up, it is a stunning recovery and shows why you can’t judge any system over a short period.

Last Summer then, after the terrible drawdown last season of 25pts, I suggested a betting bank of 65pts (again, that’s very conservative based on the drawdown graph!).  Anyway, this season, with a profit of 58.8pts, that would be a ROC of 90%! When you consider the betting bank of 65pts is a bit high based on the drawdown of 25pts, it is a stunning performance this season.  I take my hat off to the subscriber who decided to go with system 21 this season as part of his portfolio (you can actually see his ROC this season for his portfolio across at the subscriber feedback page on the website!)

So, what would I say for the betting bank now? Well, the poor start this season meant the max drawdown actually grew to 28pts.  Based on the previous 3,000 bets, I’d have to say a betting bank of 60pts is probably adequate going forward.

Looking at the number of bets this season, I would expect system 21 to have in the region of 500 bets next season. It has had between 442 and 562 for the last 6 seasons, so 500 seems about right.

A target ROI is difficult as I think it outperformed this season with a 10% ROI. I’d maybe say the target is 6% on this system. Hence, a 6% ROI across 500 bets would be 30pts profit. With a bank of 60pts, that would mean an expected ROC of 50%.  Sounds about right for this system going forward. 

4 system reviews down and I have to say system 21 has been the best performing system this season I've reviewed so far. 16 reviews left though, so not drawing any conclusions but I hope readers see the potential in some of the systems, other than just the 6 combined systems or system 7/22 and 8/22. 

A last thing to mention. It makes me laugh when I read on forums about tipsters proofing 100 bets, making a 50% ROC to realistic prices and then assuming people will queue up to subscribe to the newly launched service. System 21 doesn't even get a mention as a decent system from me or my subscribers and yet, it achieved a 90% ROC this season with a very safe betting bank! If there is one thing people should get from these reviews, it's that there are a lot of people out there trying to make a quick buck from marketing systems which are not even in the same league as some of my systems. That's not just my opinion, that's a fact! 

Friday, 25 May 2012

System 8 Review

The theme for this review is probably around how difficult it can be to set a betting bank for a system if it has a one-off maximum drawdown historically and is reducing in bet number over time. Would be good to get any reader's thoughts on the question I pose at the end. :)

System 8

Without a doubt, system 8 will always be one of my favourite systems. It’s funny, I liked 6 as it was the first I built, I didn’t care for system 7 much and system 8 is definitely one of my favourite systems! I think the thing with system 8 is that when I developed it, it was so much better than 6 and 7, it was the first system where I thought to myself that returns of 20%+ were possible on football systems.

Obviously, hindsight has shown that system 8 can’t get anywhere near the backtested results and therefore, for system 8, it will never achieve a 20% ROI in a live environment but I think part of my likeness for 8 comes from the start it had when it first went live.  The first 90 bets produced a profit of 25%+ and I seriously thought I’d cracked this footie malarkey with this system, never mind the combined systems! 4 seasons of backtested results with 25% ROI, a first half season live with the same ROI. Does it get any better?

Well, the answer was no really and it went massively off the rails in the second half of the first season and the 25% ROI was only 9% at the end of the season. Given I’d doubled stakes on this system at Christmas, it was a bloody costly lesson in what variable staking can do on a profitable system and I was still licking my wounds last Summer when I was doing all the system reviews then!

This season has been a funny one for system 8. It hit 1 winner in the first 16 bets this season and basically, I wrote this system off I’m honest. Combined with the run at the end of the first season, the system had dropped 25pts profit in one fell swoop (48 bets) and it actually crossed my mind that I had been fooled into believing that this system had an edge.

Of course, it then went on a remarkable run this season and finished the season with 24pts profit from the last 76 bets. The live graph is really interesting and again, I really think it shows how variance can impact a system with a significant edge.

24pts profit after 125 bets, no profit after 175 bets, 24pts profit after 254 bets!

I guess at the end of the day, the system made an ROI last season of 9% and this season, it has made an ROI of 10.2%. Hence, it has improved upon last season but it doesn’t exactly have the smooth P&L it had during backtesting!

I guess if I look at the fact system 8 is a filter on the system 7 bets, then it hasn’t worked this season. An 11.4% ROI on system 7 has become 10.2% on system 8, so in that sense, the system hasn’t had a great season.

It does feel a bit tough to knock a system with a 9.5% ROI over the first two seasons of its existence but it’s a cruel game at times this tipping game! If you look at the last 22 months, it has only suffered 3 losing months, so again, I’m probably being a little harsh on this system.  15 out of 18 winning months since it went live and it’s a great record for a single system.

Barely any profit on Aways this season and a 20% ROI on Homes tells the story well and quite simply, it has had a poor season on Away bets. This is backed up by the fact covering the draw was even worse on the Aways, so it’s not like the selections were drawing. They were losing!

League One Aways and Championship Aways only saw 3 wins from 22 bets and ultimately, when you think about this, it’s remarkable the system had a winning season, never mind a 10.2% ROI this season!

Of course, similar to system 7, the legacy with this system is going to be the fact it hit 3 losing months out of 5, resulting in a fairly large drawdown and if you believe maximum drawdown to be an indicator of the future betting bank, this system is stuffed long-term!

I suggested a betting bank last Summer of 40pts based on a max drawdown of only 15pts (seemed a very safe bank!) and when you consider the system only made a profit of 9.6pts this season, it’s a very low ROC at 24%.

Now, this is a subtle point but the system had much fewer bets this season 94 compared to 160 last season and this has to be reflected in the betting bank somehow.  Considering the betting bank is set for the season, then you need to factor in the bet number expected or you’d never get an ROC that looks decent going forward.  The tweaks I made last Summer means we’ll probably get 100 bets a season on system 8 and therefore, past drawdowns are maybe not the best guide although bear in mind drawdown isn’t linked to bet number but average odds, so it’s not easy to come up with a bank for this system going forward.

The new max drawdown is 24pts and therefore, if we say 50pts for a bank when it only has 100 bets a season, we’re talking rubbish. It would need to achieve a 50% ROI to achieve a 50% ROC which sounds a bit too difficult for a footie system!

I suspect that if contemplating following system 8, you need to sort of ignore the drawdown that occurred and buy into the fact it has only had 3 losing months in 22 months. Obviously, if the 3 losing months come again (you’d probably need 5 now with the lower bet number) in a row, you’ll blow a bank but I reckon it was pretty unlucky that 3 big losing months came in 5 months. It has had 9 losing months in 54 months, so to hit 5 losing months close together now would be very unfortunate and hey, if it happens, maybe losing the betting bank is what is meant to happen!

Sticking my neck on the line, I’d say a betting bank of 30pts should be OK for this system next season. A target of 10% ROI across 100 bets would give an ROC of 33% which is about where you want to be with this system.

I can see quite quickly that setting banks based on max drawdown isn’t an ideal way to do it. If that max drawdown is a one in 20 season event (like I believe this one is), then doubling the drawdown to get a betting bank means you are probably covering yourself for a one in 200 season event! Not sure what a 200/1 shot looks like on a system like this but with average odds of 2, it would maybe mean hitting 25 winners, 75 losers over 100 bets. Considering it has made a profit every year, it’s a big swing to go from 10% ROI to an ROI of -50%! Hence, I just think setting a bank needs to cover you for a bad season, not for Armageddon happening but again, people have their own view on betting banks. 

Anyone have a view to share on what sort of bank system 8 would need going forward based on the ROI, bet number and results to date?

Worth A Read

Before I get on with reviewing system 8, I think it’s worth touching on a journal I had the pleasure of reading today at my lunch. 

As commented before on here, I’ve been reading Cassini’s Green All Over blog since its inception and it’s a great source of knowledge, wisdom and amusement and that’s just Big Al’s comments.  Joking aside, it’s a must read blog for anyone trading or betting and there are snippets of information I’ve picked up over the years that have served me very well while I was trading the horseracing markets and more recently, betting on football.

I came across a comment today on the blog where Peter posted up the following link to a journal.

Coming from an higher educational background myself, when I started out with the footie project, I obviously spent a while reading up on all the old journals to do with football ratings and as I’ve said before, many of the ideas I’ve used came from these journals. I actually listed them before in a piece for the SBC and I can’t find it now but I know I discussed the Dixon and Coles papers before on the blog.

Anyway, it’s a long winded way of saying that the paper above is well worth a read.  I’ve touched on some of these points myself at various times on the blog and I’ve discussed some of the underlying themes with people away from the blog but it’s the first journal I’ve read that captures all the points in a salient way and in a clear and understandable manner.

I can’t summarise the paper and do it justice if I’m honest but here goes with what I think of it.

Firstly, I believe it is the case that bookmakers set prices that aren't fully based on demand and supply. I honestly believe that there are a large bunch of mug punters (for want of a better phrase!) who are only interested in backing short priced Homes and Away teams and the odds compilers know this and therefore, if they started offering more realistic odds on these teams, they’d be knocked over in the rush and end up with huge liabilities on these teams. Take into account the amount of mug punters who include these teams in permutation bets (10 team accumulators and so on) and before you know it, bookies would be closing down and we’d have many more winning punters than we have nowadays even though they aren't backing value bets!

Secondly, on the whole, bookmakers are more skilled at setting prices than punters. I think this is definitely true and isn’t even worth arguing about. Obviously, there are people and systems which can outsmart the odds compilers in the long-term but ultimately, if this was a single person, they would reach the stage where they struggled to place any bets due to restrictions and being closed down for winning.

Thirdly, the bookmakers use a combination of the two points above to maximise profits. They may know that team A is bad value but they know they’ll be knocked over in the rush if they quote the ‘real’ price of that team, so they set a price which enables them to take money on the team from mugs and ensure that they adjust the prices enough so that regardless of the outcome, they make a profit. Value bettors undoubtedly back more losers than winners at football betting.

Obviously, it isn’t quite as easy it that sounds as if they stray too far from the correct value odds, those who have an edge will spot the pricing errors and hammer the bookies accordingly in the long-term, even though their strike rate will be fairly low.

What does any of this have to do with my football systems?

Well, I’ve said this before on the blog lots of times but if anyone studies the selections my systems throw up, in the main, they are capitalising on the fact the odds compilers are setting prices early on in the week based on point 1 above in the sense they set prices based on what they think people will back and not what is actually the true prices. Of course, the market corrects itself as more liquidity enters the market and that’s why the majority of my selections start at a lower price than I back them at or tell others to back them at.  My systems ultimately go against the mug punter bets and that's why so many big priced aways are thrown up who appear to have no chance at the odds quoted.

I strongly believe that the odds at kick-off are generally representative of the true odds for each team and therefore, being able to beat these odds is one reason my systems have the edge they do. Calculate the edge my systems have at kick-off prices in a live environment and I guarantee the edge isn't as big as it is at the moment. It still exists though as those following on the blog for the last two seasons weren't getting the prices my members got!

The only thing I disagree with in the paper is the fact that it suggests that it couldn’t find anyone who was better than the bookmakers at the game they play in the long-term. There are a number of tipsters and systems that have stood the test of time in horseracing and football betting that have shown they have an edge IMO.

One last thing before I go. One comment that irritates me more than any other in life is when I discuss the football betting and the systems with people and they say ‘why don’t you just place higher stakes on the teams yourself and make more money that way’. As outlined in the paper, in the long-term, this is unsustainable as you can never get the liquidity you’d need and before you know it, you’d be struggling to get a bet on at the prices needed to maintain the edge. I wouldn’t class myself as a big gambler although my winnings last season were in 5 figures for the first time. I suffer quite badly from restrictions now and more and more of my business is going to be pushed down the AH bookmakers route as restrictions grow which ultimately erodes a little of my edge since the odds aren’t as competitive in many cases.

If I wasn’t able to sell the information to others and help them make a profit, I’m not sure I could invest the time and effort into the systems long-term and I would give up I’m sure. Each bookmaker has a team of odds compilers doing similar things to me with rating algorithms to protect their profits from people like me. Hence, the only way this becomes sustainable for me long-term is to share the information with others and help them make a profit. In return, I receive a fee.  This has to be the way this market works long-term. If it isn’t, I’d be as well selling the systems to a bookmaker and tell them which teams to under-price each week! 

System 8's review will follow next!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

System 7 Review

Below is the review of system 7. Two highlights to look out for is the impact of variance on a system with a proven edge and why using maximum drawdown for a betting bank may be misleading. A third thing to consider is the use of AH betting and how it can be used to maximise ROC.

As we go through these reviews, I’m sure the same themes will crop up but I’ll try my best to not go over old ground too much with each review.

An odd comment would be appreciated as always to keep me interested readers. I’m not writing these reviews for my benefit. ;)

System 7

Due to the filtering approach which is inherent within the way the TFA systems are built, the first thing that should be analysed is whether filtering the bets from system 6 to system 7 worked as I would have hoped this season.

It worked last season to a small extent where system 7’s ROI of 4.9% was higher than the 4.3% achieved on system 6. I was disappointed with that last season if I’m honest with system 7 as an ROI of 4.9% was well below expectations although (and I’m starting to sound like a broken record!), an ROI was achieved of 8.1% if dutching the selection and the draw which shows how bad this system suffered with draws last season.

Anyway, this season, there is no disappointment here. The 5.9% achieved by system 6 has grown to an almighty 11.4% on system 7.  An increase in ROI of 93% is very good and easily outperforms anything that happened during backtesting for this system. Looking at it from another angle, system 7 has tightened up the filtering this season as last season, system 7 had 51% of the bets that appeared on system 6 whereas this season, system 7 only had 28% of the bets that appeared on system 6.

Of course, part of this change is the impact of bringing in more higher average odds bets on system 6 and these ultimately end up getting filtered out by system 7 in the main, so it was always going to be the case that system 7 had a lower % of bets appearing from system 6 this season.

Similar to system 6 (as you would expect), the draw coverage hasn’t worked very well on system 7 this season.  The ROI drops to only 5.9% if using AH0 on all bets and if dutching the draw (AH 0.5), it is down at an ROI of 3% this season.

I think this is an important point that shouldn’t be missed. Last season, the system achieved a 4.9% ROI outright and 8.1% if using AH0.5 but this season, it is an 11.4% ROI outright and 3% if using AH0.5.  It shows clearly that the system hasn’t suffered from the same number of draws as last season but even if you want the draw on your side with some of the bets (be it AH0, AH0.25 or AH0.5), you can still make a decent profit overall with a fairly low betting bank in these cases.

On a month by month view, the system struggles due to volatility due to the small number of bets and this season, it achieved a profit in 5 of the 9 months, with losses in the other 4.  The system was one of the systems that really struggled in September with a 10pt loss that month.

League One was a disaster on this system this season with a loss of 13pts from 53 bets. It was the first year League One had made a loss though, so no real concern with this.

The biggest difference between system 6 and 7 was the split by Homes and Aways. Homes struggled on system 6 but they did very well on system 7. An ROI of 16.8% and this is a big improvement on the small loss last season on the Homes. Aways were slightly lower than last season with an ROI of 7.7% against 9.0% last season.

Not surprisingly, Aways in League One were the issue on system 7 with a loss of 44% this season. Ouch! League Two and Championship Aways also struggled this season on this system, so shows it was a tough season in these leagues as I’ve mentioned recently on the blog.

Similar to system 6, Premiership Aways were the big improvement this season and after losing in 3 of the last 5 seasons on this system, they produced a profit of 20pts from 17 bets! Bsq Prem aways did very well too.

I find the live graph quite interesting for this system and after 360 live bets on this system, it was basically break-even. I think this shows the impact of variance and is a great example of a system with an edge not having enough bets to show the edge. It ended last season badly, started this season badly and had lost all profits accumulated up to this stage.

As you’d expect though, it bounced back and it made about 35pts profit in the next 130 bets!

If you look back at the historical backtested results though on the P&L graph since inception, you’ll see a spell between 500 bets and 800 bets where the system broke even too.  Hence, it wasn’t anything to worry about when it happened again on this system and I think it’s a great advert for the impact that variance can have on a profitable system.

Unfortunately, the impact of the variance can be seen in the drawdown graph and the system has suffered a 29pt drawdown spread over two seasons.  Although I use max drawdown * a factor for an approximation of a betting bank, it needs to be looked at in context. Aside from the issues the system had at the backend of last season and the poor start this season, the system has been very stable over a long period of time. Hence, I’m not sure setting a betting bank based on a one-off drawdown is the way to go if I’m honest but others may disagree.

Last season, I suggested a betting bank of 55pts for this system. Although the largest drawdown then was 21pts and it has subsequently grown to be 29pts before rebounding, I’m not sure I’d go increasing the betting bank beyond 55pts at all. 

Apart from the one blip, the next largest drawdown is less than 15pts, so I’d like to think we’ve already seen about as bad a run as you can have on this system and 55pts should be OK.

The return on capital this season was therefore 41%.

Going forward, I would think a target ROI of around 8% across 200 bets is the way to go.  That would give an annual ROC of 29% which isn’t bad. 

Of course, if you go with a slightly more aggressive bank than 55pts (which IMO, is over the top!), then the ROC would be increased in future.

With two system reviews done, I think it’s interesting that system 7 is undoubtedly a stronger system that system 6 in terms of ROI but is well behind it in terms of ROC.  Hence, does that mean system 6 is actually a much better system to follow? I’ll leave you to ponder that but there is a trade-off at this game between risk, return and how much work you want to put into this game. ROI for show, Turnover and ROC for dough springs to mind!

Incidentally, the way around system 7 is to use AH0 I suspect on some or all of the bets. The largest drawdown is only 10pts (if using it on all bets), so a bank of 25pts would probably be more than enough. Would have only made 11.7pts this season but was still a ROC of 46%.  More than one way to skin a cat at this game!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

System 6 Review

As mentioned on the last post, there will be a series of system reviews appearing on the blog in the next few weeks.  They’ll all be collated at the end and published in a single page.

To understand the reviews fully, you will need to have obtained a copy of the spreadsheet that was available to download on the last post.

System 6

In a way, system 6 will always hold a place in my heart as it was the very first real system I developed. Well, that’s not exactly true. Although it is the first algorithm in the UK leagues I developed, when I started out playing with data back in Jan-10, I wasn’t planning on looking at UK leagues. Hence, the very first thing I built was a rating algorithm for the European leagues but after a few weeks of playing with data, I decided against starting with the European leagues as quite simply, I couldn’t work out how the Away bets worked in European leagues. I could basically back Homes blindly and make a profit in the top European leagues with a couple of odds filters applied and although this appealed to me at the time, I wasn’t keen on just becoming a one trick pony, so the Euro leagues got shelved and I started again with the data for the UK leagues.  Systems 1-5 would have been systems on the Euro leagues, so that explains why system 6 is the first system I have!

Anyway, as usually happens, I digress. So, how has system 6 performed this season? Well, if I’m honest, I think it’s done brilliantly.  A profit of 41.9pts across 712 bets is an ROI of 5.9% and that isn’t bad for a base algorithm with very few filters applied. If you can make 6% ROI from backing every game, then it isn’t too difficult to narrow down the bets and make good profits.  I’d go as far to say that it may well be the 2nd best rating algorithm I know of for the 2011/12 season. Only beaten by its younger brother, system 21, the 2nd rating algorithm I built!

Importantly for me, the algorithm has outperformed its first season, over a larger number of bets.  I applied a few additional filters to algorithm one last Summer and you can see the impact from the strike rate dropping to 33.3% this season when it was 41.7% last season. By reducing the number of shorter priced homes and cutting out shorter priced away bets completely, it has clearly improved the performance of the ratings. In addition, the inclusion of more bets at higher average odds hasn’t been a disaster either. Hence, we get more bets now, at higher average odds but importantly, the profitability is better all round.  I can’t complain about that.

You can see the system has struggled if using any form of draw coverage this season.  Last season, there were too many draws on the system and this is evident by the fact that you increased your profitability last season on this system by covering the draw! I won’t apologise for the fact that AH betting hasn’t worked as well overall this season as like I said last Summer, the systems aren’t judged on AH returns, they are judged on outright profitability and therefore, any tweaks I apply are meant to improve profitability of backing outright and in some cases, this may be to the detriment of AH returns.

There were 7 winning months from 9 this season, compared to 6 from 9 last season.  Not bad consistency over the two seasons if I’m honest.

League One and League Two were both loss making this season but a profit was made on both if dutching the draw. At the opposite end of the scale, the Bsq Prem made a good profit outright but a terrible loss if dutching the draw too.

It’s a funny one as people will look at this and say League One and Two were poor and Bsq Prem was good but I’m not so sure myself. At times, there isn’t a big difference between winning and losing when your teams are drawing and therefore, I don’t particularly like to see a system which works when backing outright but loses badly when using some draw coverage! Makes me think that it could have been much worse if a couple of goals had gone the other way whereas a system showing a profit if dutching the draw makes me think it could have been much better if a couple of goals had gone my way!  All psychological though if I’m honest but interesting nonetheless.

Similar to last season, Aways did much better on algorithm one. An ROI last season of 5.7% was followed up with an ROI of 8% this season.  The Homes had an ROI of 2.2% last season and 1.7% this season!

It’s a tricky one to explain if I’m honest but I do think it has been a tougher year for Homes this season compared to last season, so maybe the returns don’t tell the full story. I remember picking up on this last summer and saying I wish I could get the Homes on system 6 to be as good as the Homes on system 21 but at the end of the day, that’s why the system 6-21 works better than 6. I know 21 picks better homes, so no one should really ever back a system 6 Home unless it is a pick on system 21 too.

Not surprisingly, Aways were to blame for the deficits in League One and Two this season.  Interestingly, a quick look at the Bsq Prem shows that a 25% loss was made on the home bets in that league. That explains why AH returns were so low in that league this season. The homes are much lower odds, so if you aren’t making a profit outright, they’d all need to be drawing nearly to make any sort of return covering the draw too!

Aways did lose in League two last season too and therefore, that is definitely something to keep an eye on next season I suspect. 3 seasons losing in a row and I’d be worried that the league needs some attention.

The success story of the season has to be Premiership Aways.  Going into this season, they were losing in 4 of the 5 seasons and I took some action last Summer to try to correct this. Interestingly, it hasn’t reduced the number of Aways appearing as bets but it has improved the profitability! An ROI this season of 43.8%. I’d take that every season! :)

Looking at the P&L graph since the system went live, it is definitely showing a strong upward trend and I’m pretty confident that the first rating algorithm has a significant edge over the bookies and other rating algorithms in the market. A new maximum drawdown was reached this season of 29pts but given that the average odds are much higher now than ever before, we do need to be careful about putting too much weight on the historical drawdowns as they are going to be higher now than they were.

There will be no changes to this algorithm for next season.  I tweaked it plenty last Summer and it appears to have done the trick, so no changes this Summer.

As for betting banks, I suggested 55pts last season on the blog and having seen a 29pt drawdown this season and knowing the average odds are higher than before, I’d have to suggest this should be increased.  A 60pt-70pt bank would be the call I suspect going forward and based on this season’s performance being repeated, this would be an ROC next season of around 60%-70%.  Based on the betting bank suggested last Summer, the ROC this season was 76%.

My target for next season would be an ROI of between 4%+ across something in the region of 700 bets.  Would achieve a ROC of 40% in this scenario (4% ROI, 70pt bank).  Would be a decent target for a basic system as I think the system outperformed this season a little if I’m honest.