Friday, 17 August 2012

SBC Interview......

Not going to apologise on the blog this time for the lack of updates as I’m probably putting more work in over the last week than I do at peak season time. I think current and new subscribers just waited until I thought no one else wanted my advice this Summer and then bombarded me with emails, looking for portfolio advice or staking plans!

At the moment, I’m spending 2-3 hours every night working on admin with the service and I’d be amazed if any person running service on the planet gets asks more questions than I do from current subscribers! Admittedly, having probably the most complicated set of systems in the world is my own doing but I’m paying for it now.

Thankfully, everyone I’m helping seems to really appreciate the time I’m putting in and with one week to go (I said I’d stop helping people next weekend), I’m expecting another tough week ahead.

A few things to update on. I was asked by the SBC if I wanted to take part in an interview for their excellent pre-season football guide. Given I’m now a Hall of Fame service, it seemed like a good opportunity to discuss plans for the season ahead. I’ve been given permission to share the interview in full on the blog.  You can see it below.

As for the service itself, things have picked up on the subscriber front and there are around 8 places remaining. I’ve had a couple join since the SBC released their football guide and the figure I quoted in the interview was a little while ago too.

My original intention has always been to close the service at 75 members or 31st August but now, I’m moving the date to the 24th August or 75 members. I’m drained from doing admin over the past few weeks and before the season starts for real for me, I want a week away from answering emails or working with Excel.

So, if anyone is still considering joining, please do so in the next week or it will be too late!  I’m amazed I’ve reached this many members already this Summer, so it’s nice to be able to cover some of my time I’ve spent helping people this Summer. Just need to find a way of covering the time for the next 9 months of work now! Only joking.

Only 2 weeks to go until the first bets start. Already counting down the days I think although with the way the leagues start at different times, it will be pretty slow going through September with a lack of bets I think. Once we get past September, there aren’t many breaks in May-13!

Here’s the SBC interview below.


What subscription options and prices will you be offering members for the coming season?

The service will close the doors for the 2012/13 season on the 31st of August.  The first bets will be the following weekend and I don’t want subscribers joining midway through the season.

There are currently around 20 places remaining and if these are filled before the 31st of August, then I’ll close the doors immediately.  One of the attractions of the service to date has been the ability to get advised prices and I’m hoping this remains the case this season with a membership cap of 75 members.  Within this number, there are a number of high roller punters playing a decent level of stakes and therefore, it’s difficult to judge the impact on prices until the season starts.

What can someone joining you for the first time expect to receive?

I think the biggest surprise for anyone joining this season who hasn’t kept up to date with the service will be the sheer number of systems and bets available to follow.  I expect to release around 12,000 system bets this season, across 10 leagues and 42 systems.  By anyone’s standards, this is a lot of bets and therefore, it’s vitally important that anyone joining the service at this late stage understands the service and is aware of the systems they should be following next season.  I’ve spent a lot of time this Summer helping subscribers form portfolios of systems to follow and I’ve given lots of advice on the blog, so current subscribers are fully prepared for the new season I think.

What are your profit expectations for the coming season? Do you have a target in mind that you expect to hit come season-end?

Given everyone with the service will be playing their own betting strategy and following their preferred systems, it’s difficult to give an overall view of profit expectations next season.  I would say that at a high level, the target for all subscribers should be to achieve a 100% ROC (double their betting bank next season).  As all readers will be aware, this is an ambitious target to achieve in a season but if you read the subscriber feedback from last season at the website, you’ll see that a good number achieved this last season and I’ve personally achieved this over the first two seasons of following the systems.

The work I’ve done with the subscribers this Summer has shown that a ROC target of 100% isn’t outside the realms of probability and most portfolios next season will be looking to achieve this I think.  Personally, I would settle for 50% growth in the betting bank over a season and if the majority of subscribers can achieve this next season, it will have been another successful season.

I can’t give a target ROI as it depends on the number of bets and the type of bets subscribers will be having. I’m always happy with an ROI of 5%+ as long as I double the betting bank whereas others are happy with an ROI of 15% and 50% growth in their betting bank as it is much less workload for them.

Are you implementing any changes for the new season? Perhaps you are expanding to other leagues or markets or is it more of the same?

There are two big changes for the upcoming season from the previous two seasons. I’ll have a set of systems which will be used on the European leagues for the first time. These systems look as good as the UK systems did during backtesting but as always, until we see some live results, it’s difficult to place too emphasis on these systems at the moment. We’ll learn plenty this season.

Secondly, I expect there will be much more focus on AH betting this season.  I tracked AH0 returns last season and many subscribers utilised this form of AH betting.  Midway through last season, I started looking at AH0.25 and AH0.50 returns and the profitability of this betting method was also monitored.

After various discussions with subscribers and numerous blog posts this Summer, I expect that a good number of subscribers will be utilising AH betting for Away bets in particular this season to try to reduce the variance in their portfolios. I think it’s been shown that if you want to maximise the ROC on many of the systems, you have to use AH betting on the Aways to try to reduce your betting bank, thus increasing your ROC. The exceptional ROI that is generated from big priced Aways can be sacrificed in return for a lower ROI but a much smoother P&L journey.

What bookmakers will you be using and advising this coming season? Will these be predominantly UK high-street based such as Ladbrokes and Paddy Power or the more 'Asian' focused such as Pinnacle and 188bet?

Similar to previous seasons, I’ll be using the odds from the main high street bookmakers and Pinnacle but suggesting people use other Asian bookmakers as much as possible to ensure they can match or beat my quoted returns. I prefer this approach rather than quoting standout prices with Asian bookmakers that not everyone will be able to get as not everyone uses the bookmakers. If I quote a price of 2.10 which is the general price with high street bookmakers when there is plenty of 2.15 available with a few Asian bookmakers, this seems fairer to me than quoting 2.15 which will be utilised by those with these accounts but others are stuck with the high street price of 2.10. I see those as using Asian bookmakers as gaining an advantage with the service and therefore, if you want to maximise your returns with the service, a mix of high street and Asian bookmakers will serve you very well.


Where do you think there is especially good money to be made this season? For example in-play, antepost, corners, both teams to score and bookings markets, Asian Handicaps etc.

I would hope that if my rating algorithms work as well in the European Leagues, this represents a great opportunity for us to exploit over the next couple of seasons.  One drawback with the UK leagues at the moment is that there are rival services with similar rating algorithms issuing similar types of bets (Winabob, Football Investor to name two that SBC members will be familiar with) and I know a number of other services and punters in the market are doing as I’m doing on the UK leagues. From what I can gather, there isn’t anywhere near the same level of competition in the European leagues and therefore, if my ratings work well in these leagues, I expect the edge may be greater than I have on the UK leagues.  Of course, until we know if the ratings work as well, it’s hypothetical but it’s a nice thought to have!

Based on any of the leagues you follow can you give us a team that could be significantly underrated ahead of the new season?

Based on my ratings after the final game of last season in the UK, the teams who were most displaced (higher) in my ratings compared to their league position were:

Premiership: Liverpool
Championship: Nottingham Forest
League One: Bournemouth
League Two: Northampton
Bsq Prem: Newport County

I’d expect these teams to outperform expectations last season if all teams were of the same strength as at the end of last season. Interestingly, Liverpool and Nottingham Forest are probably both expected to do much better this season after managerial changes, so it probably shows that the managers were a little unfortunate last season as the teams were playing better than their league position indicated, based on shots on goal ratings.

Similarly, based on any of the leagues you follow which team do you think could be seriously overrated this season?

Based on my ratings after the final game of last season in the UK, the teams who were most displaced (lower) in my ratings compared to their league position and weren’t relegated were:

Premiership: Norwich City
Championship: Peterboro
League One: Preston
League Two: Plymouth
Bsq Prem: Ebbsfleet

I would expect these teams to struggle this season unless they have strengthened significantly over the summer or unless the newly promoted teams are poorer in comparison to these teams.

What one piece of advice would you give to SBC members to help with their own betting this season?

The most important thing I’ve learnt since I made the switch from horseracing betting to football betting is ROI is overrated by the majority of bettors.  I used to be able to generate a ROI of 20% on the horseracing and yet, my bank growth would have only been 50%-60% in a season.  On football betting, I can generate an ROI of 10% and yet, achieve bank growth in excess of 100%. ROI for show, ROC for dough.  I believe that when making investment decisions, far too many punters are taken in by the fact the system or service has a high level of ROI.  Quite simply, if the service is playing on big prices, the high level of ROI is to be expected but when you look at the ROC, this tells the true story.

I’ve seen the sudden surge in golf interest lately but having looked at the golf market before a few years ago, I struggle to buy into it myself. In my first season betting on golf, I had an ROI of 30%, a profit of 200pts but my betting bank was 400pts. Hence, I was playing small stakes and yes, the ROI figures look great but the ROC was only 50%.  An average football system generates me a 50% ROC figure these days, without the losing runs and mental strain golf betting brings also!

Finally - what kind of bets - however attractive they seem on paper - should SBC members avoid at all costs?

Linked to my last answer but steer clear of services and bets which concentrate solely on ROI and make no mention of ROC. In addition, steer clear of any service which tries to inflate the ROC by suggesting ludicrous betting banks that would be fully utilised based on historical experience.  Never believe a betting bank suggested by a tipster unless you can do some homework to find out whether it is valid or not. Base betting banks on historical drawdowns and on the average odds/strike rate the service has.  Overstaking is one of the most common mistakes people make betting in my experience and it very rarely works out in their favour

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Lack of time......

I feel I need to apologise again for the lack of blog postings again as it’s been nearly 2 weeks since my last post and even then, that was hardly an insightful post!

Quite simply, all my spare time in the evenings is being taken up with answering emails or doing Excel work on behalf of subscribers for next season and as I’ve said to a few people this week, I probably underestimated the workload I was taking on this Summer by growing the service. I think what has caught me out a little is the fact I assumed the current subscribers would just roll on to next season and not ask me any questions but of course, with me doubling the number of systems people can follow, even the current subscribers who understood the UK systems are asking questions regarding the Euro systems!

What I’ve been doing since my last blog post is answering any short emails fairly quickly but the emails asking me to look at various staking plans or build certain portfolios have taken longer to reply to. In addition, I would usually use my lunch break at work to catch up with emails but I’m snowed under at work and have been for a while now, so everything is pushed into the evenings or using my iPhone. I’ve now built around 25 portfolios for subscribers for next season based on the info they’ve given me (no two are the same!) but it feels worthwhile when I get some of the feedback from the guys.

I think there can be very few services in the market where you can enter the season with as much confidence as my systems can give you and although no one can guarantee success at this game, I personally love following systems I have confidence in and I’m sure the others following feel the same.  Seeing historical results, P&L graphs and drawdown graphs may not be everyone’s cup of tea as at the end of the day, the past is no guarantee of future success but it definitely helps the mindset if you know before the season starts how many bets to expect each week, what sort of volatility you will experience and what sort of betting bank you need.  Of course, the past performance will also help you set profit targets and I think this is a massive advantage of following the systems next season. 

Anyway, all of this has meant that the blog has suffered and considering I’m wanting a break before the bets start in September, I don’t expect the blog to pick up until the start of September.  I’ll keep working with subscribers for the next two weeks if they want my help but after that, I’ll draw a line under this and take a break before the bets start on the systems.  I feel like that can’t come quick enough as between work and this, it takes its toll on the mental state and I’m nearly sick fed up of Excel at the moment, so I’ll need to recharge my batteries in that week off!

One other thing I’ve been doing in the background is getting a process set up to get the bets out.  I’ve touched on this before on the blog but getting bets out for 41 systems and keeping 6 sets of ratings (plus another model and 2 Under/Over systems)  updated for 10 leagues when there are games spread over a Friday to Monday on a weekend and then Tuesday and Wednesday in midweek is nearly impossible.

It makes me chuckle when I think of a typical football ratings service with one set of ratings on the go for maybe the UK leagues only. I’m doing that multiplied by 4 and then throwing in 2 sets of ratings for the Euro leagues for good measure! I’m topping it off with 3 SMG models and 2 Under/Over systems. :)

I suspect once I get this season out of the way, I’ll need to look at things in the cold light of day and decide how I move forward. Running 41 systems is going to be an absolute killer this season and I’m not sure I know myself how I’ll manage it yet, never mind tell any of you reading this! People who do this for a full-time job (supply bets) would struggle to do what I’m attempting to do next season and yet, I’m doing it at the same time as holding down a very demanding full-time job.  I’m trying to not think too far ahead though and the key for me and the service as a whole is to repeat the success of the last two seasons.

Before I go, I should mention that it was good to read Rowan’s blog tonight about Summer of Football and the fact that he’s now thinking about his portfolio betting a bit differently. It’s taken me a little bit of time to cotton on to the whole ROC v ROI thing too as in the first season, I was determined to try to get a very good ROI from my footie portfolio but last season, I ended up with a lower ROI but a much higher ROC. I’ve not even started to look at my own footie portfolio for next season but I can guarantee you that I’ll definitely be having less bets than last season but I’ll be using a higher stake than ever before but more importantly, my betting portfolio will be geared at maximising ROC and personally, I’ll not be too fussed about what ROI my portfolio achieves next season.  ROI for show, ROC for dough. ;)