Thursday, 7 June 2012

Introduction to the European Ratings

I’m not sure about any readers but I’m really pleased to be able to close the book on the performance of the systems from last season (for the moment) and a new chapter begins on the blog with the introduction of the new European ratings.

I’ve thought long and hard about whether I need to go down the route of looking at more leagues.  I asked subscribers for feedback last season and if I’m honest, the response was split 50/50 with some subscribers saying I had to try to look at more leagues if I wanted to really crack this game and take it to the next level. However, others suggested that I didn’t have anything else to prove to anyone and why not just concentrate on improving the returns on the UK leagues and over time, by increasing stakes on these leagues, we’d make as much as we would from introducing more leagues.

It’s an interesting one really as I see both sides.  Being honest, I don’t personally feel like I have anything to prove to anyone now.  I think there was a time when I wanted to prove that by using my analytical skills, I could find us an edge on the footie markets but that’s been and gone now. If anyone doubts my systems have an edge on the UK leagues, then they don’t understand betting.  Whether that edge remains for the future and whether the systems can repeat the performance of the first two seasons is out of my hands to a large extent but at the moment, there is no football system I know of that is as good as some of my systems.

I won’t be tweaking any of the UK systems this Summer, so next season, we’ll effectively pick up where we left off this season with the same systems producing the same sort of bets as they’ve been doing for a while now.  My hope is that they continue producing the same level of profits they’ve been doing for two seasons and of course, I’ll keep tracking the results closely and if I see anything I don’t like, I’ll be in a position to act on it and hopefully ensure I keep these systems on track.

So, if I don’t have anything to prove, why bother with more leagues?  Well, it’s two fold. 

Firstly, I struggle to get my bets on at the prices I’m quoting to subscribers now. I’m a smart cookie though and I’m sure I’ll be able to keep ahead of the bookies and I suspect I’ll become more selective with my bets going forward and I’ll probably cherry pick certain teams and place these bets early on in the week and snap up some of the early lines with some Asians etc. Doing little things like this will ensure I keep my edge as big as I can even though the net will no doubt continue to close in on me as the systems continue to produce profits.  

I’m sure the time will come when bookmakers realise I’m the one cherry picking them off when they quote standout prices for teams that are then followed by others later in the week, so I expect it won’t get easier for me to make money betting on my own selections.  I’ll continue reinvesting my profits from each season and sooner or later, I’ll be playing all my betting with the big Asian bookmakers who won’t restrict me from winning but it will erode part of the edge my systems have. That’s a fact but it’s one I can live with though.

Having more leagues to play in means I can continue to spread the stakes around and of course, it is a great way for me to diversify the risk. If I can create another selection of systems that produce similar levels of returns to the UK systems, then over a season, it may be the case that the UK systems could struggle but the European systems could bail me out. The reverse may also be true!

Secondly, a large part of this game for me is to allow others to follow my work and make money along with me.  I know some people struggle at the moment getting on in the UK leagues and as time goes on, if the UK systems continue winning, this will only get harder. People will be reinvesting their profits, average stakes will be going up, I’ll have more people following and all of a sudden, when system 7-22 has a bet, it is getting smashed in from the bookies as they don’t want the liabilities on these teams.  This erodes the edge on the system, people start chasing prices, and before we know it, the edge is basically gone on the system or more likely, reduced to such an extent that people decide it’s not worth following.

The new European systems will concentrate on the top leagues in France, Germany, Spain and Italy next season.  There will be NO liquidity issues in these leagues next season or at any point in the future and therefore, if I can get the new Euro systems to produce the same sort of returns as the UK systems, then it opens so many doors for my subscribers but also for me too as more people can follow the bets. 

Of course, followers of mines also benefit from the first point above around diversification. Hence, I don’t see a negative to subscribers if I introduce more systems.

The possible negative I’ve had highlighted to me is the connotation for the service that comes with having a set of systems which perform poorly. I’ve been lucky so far with the football systems in the sense everything I’ve touched has turned to gold nearly. Of course, there have been failures to a degree and I had my first losing system last season on system 33 but then again, it’s hardly a disaster when the other 19 systems were profitable.  The Under/Over 2.5 goal systems didn’t set the SBC forum alight last season either although they weren’t a disaster.

I think people worry that if I go down the route of looking at more leagues and I don’t succeed, there is a chance it will undermine the service and ultimately, may lead to the demise of the service.  I can understand their point but the important thing for me is that these European systems aren’t seen as a replacement to the UK systems. They will supplement the systems.

If it is the case that the new systems all bomb next season and lose badly, then so be it. I can say I’ve tried and failed to find something that works for the European Leagues. The important thing for me is that people understand the risk that comes with following a new system. Following a new system is like following a brand new tipster, regardless of what the backtested results are like. 

One quote I’ve used before is that one live season’s results is worth 100 seasons of backtested results. I strongly believe this to be the case and therefore, if given a choice of following a new European system or a UK system next season, people HAVE to choose the UK system. Of course, I’ll dabble with the European systems next season as I’m sure a fair number of subscribers will.  There is no better way to learn about a system or set of systems than to follow it yourself.  However, I do so in the knowledge that the UK systems will determine my profitability next season. That’s the way it has to be.  Others will be aware of this too.

Likewise, the success of the service next season will be based on the UK systems. Yes, I’m sure people will try their best to point out the fact the European systems have lost if this turns out to be the case but you know what, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that those following the service make a profit and next  season, the Euro systems won’t define the profits that people make!

Overall then, I feel like I have nothing to lose by trying to build new ratings for the European Leagues next season. Recent history tells me that I’ve got a good chance of building something that works (11 from 11 systems profitable in the first season, 19 from 20 profitable in the second season) and therefore, I should be confident that I can do this.  If someone can build a new set of systems for the top European Leagues, The Football Analyst can!

Wish me luck……..


  1. If your new systems are half as good as what we've had so far luck won't be needed.

  2. Cheers mate!

    I hope we don't need any luck Roy but at this game, it's never a bad thing to have a little luck on our side. ;)


  3. Graeme.

    Will the European systems be a replica of the UK systems - 6.21, 6.22, 7.22 etc. And will the systems be based on exactly the same data?

    Either way, I think the idea is great. As you point out the liquidity in these markets will easily withstand the TFA army (for now anyway), whereas BSP, League 2 bets etc, will not.

    So can't wait!

  4. Hi Andy.

    Given where I’ve got to with the UK systems and the methodology I’ve applied in building the ratings and more importantly, building the systems and the combined systems, then I’d be stupid to venture away from this I suspect. I’m a lot of things in life mate, but stupid isn’t one of them. lol

    So, to answer your question, the Euro ratings will be built an identical way to the UK ratings and I’ll be building two rating algorithms. I’ll build single systems from each rating algorithm and the last step, which won’t be a surprise to anyone reading this, is that I’ll cross refer the systems from each algorithm and end up with combined systems. :)

    As I’ve said in emails, the SBC forum and maybe on the blog too, if I can get the European systems to work out half as well as the UK systems, that will do me. With the much higher liquidity, more competition amongst bookmakers and lower overrounds in many cases, I suspect if I can get these Euro systems to work, I’ll have cracked this game.

    Of course, just because I’ve done OK to date on the UK leagues doesn’t mean I’ll do as well on the Euro leagues but I suspect there is no one better placed on the planet than me at the moment to try this! As I said in the post, if someone can do this, I suspect I’m the person.

    It worries me a little there is no one else who’s tried this (going from UK ratings to Euro ratings) and as far as I’m aware, there is no other ratings service doing ratings on European leagues like I’m going away to attempt to do. Hence, maybe it’s a sign that I’m trying to do the impossible here but you know what, I actually believe I can do it.

    I’ve learnt lots with the UK leagues (I already know which factors are best, I know how to build the ratings, I know to look at AH’s as well as outright betting, I know that the backtested results won’t be matched in reality, I know the single systems won’t get anywhere near the backtested results but most importantly, I know that having two algorithms is best and I know that cross referring systems from different algorithms gets me closest to the backtested results!).

    I suspect that if I was starting out trying to build systems for the Euro leagues without two year’s experience behind me, I’d not be too confident but if I can’t be confident after the first two seasons, not sure I’ll ever be mate!

    Of course, I need the UK systems to continue to produce the returns they’ve been producing too, so I can’t take my eye off the ball there but I think I can just about juggle this going forward!

    So, keep reading the blog and you’ll soon meet the little brothers of the UK systems. I’m sort of doing a Blue Peter here where I’m building systems a few posts ahead of the blog but all will become clear over the next few weeks. Can’t wait to see the brother of system 7-22 myself! ;)



  5. Hi Graeme

    A good friend of mine rates all the euro leagues and does better on them than the UK leagues. He also rates leagues where he gets data via a tougher route (i.e. its not on football-data) and he does very well on them, better than the other leagues - so I suspect it will be a very good area to branch into.

    If I was speculating I would also say that a lot of the other services use possession stats directly, which aren't available as freely for all the euro leagues as they are for UK, but something equivalent can be derived from the F-D data as I am sure you know!



  6. Hi Adam.

    I’m going to be playing down the new European systems for next season even though I want them to turn out better than the UK systems. ;)

    The backtested results as you’ll see soon look very good and if I can get these systems to work in a live environment like the UK ones have, I suspect we’ll be in a great position going forward. However, I don’t want anyone thinking that these systems are better than the UK ones are until they have at least a season’s proofed results. I’ve seen too many things that look good in backtesting that don’t work in real life!

    Due to the fact there isn’t the same level of competition for me in the Euro leagues from other ratings based services (one UK ratings based service steals all the best prices every week on many of my UK bets as you know), then there is a good chance the Euro systems will actually turn out much better for people to follow and may turn out to be more profitable in the long-term hopefully.

    It’s a long way off to go from nothing to having the results the UK systems have had to date, so the European systems have a lot to prove really before I start worrying too much about which systems may be better. At the moment, the Euro systems are nothing and the UK systems are everything.

    One day though, I’d love to see both sets of systems producing similar level of returns! Assuming that’s a big positive return obviously. ;)