Friday, 21 June 2013

Introduction to the TFA Draw Systems

Well, here goes, a first look at the new TFA draw systems. Not going to go into any great depth about the rating building element as I don’t think anyone really cares too much about how I build the ratings and systems these days! All I can say is that the methodology is in line with the way I’ve built all the UK systems and I would hope that these systems are as robust as the other UK systems.

The first question someone asked me earlier this week about these draw systems was how confident I was in these draw ratings compared to the Euro ratings I built last Summer and I’ll restate my answer here. 

Last Summer, I had lots of reservations about the Euro ratings due to the fact I was playing in leagues that I didn’t know anything about, hadn’t built anything before in these leagues and therefore, my confidence wasn’t as high as it was usually.  I’ve now built draw ratings in the UK leagues where I’ve never had an unsuccessful set of ratings, never built a system to make a loss, have 3 seasons proofed results behind me and therefore, I have to feel more confident than I felt last season about the Euro systems.

If there is one thing I’ve learnt over the past few years it’s that my confidence in my system building is usually a good indicator of the potential success of the systems. Admittedly, in a season, it may not shine through as well as I hope (TOX, STOY and STOZ in their first season springs to mind!) but as we saw last season, my confidence in these systems wasn’t misplaced. Given the ratings look fairly strong I’ve built during backtesting and the fact the systems I’ve built look like they tick all the boxes I look for, I’m much more confident in these draw systems than the Euro systems.

Am I as confident in the draw systems as I was in the Home/Away systems? Well, no. Simply, I don’t know how easy it is to find an edge on draws and given the fact there aren’t lots of people running algorithms in the UK leagues on draws, my concern is similar to the Euro systems in a way. If it was easy as it appears to back draws in these leagues and make a profit, surely everyone would be doing it?

In terms of my advice regarding these systems, it’s much in line with my advice regarding all my systems over the last couple of seasons. Why would anyone choose to follow a new system with no proofed results where there are another 30-40 systems with great results over a couple of seasons and a proven edge?  Of course, I want people to pay attention to the systems and I’m sure a few people will follow with small stakes but if given a choice between following a system with 3 season’s live results and no live results, you have to go with the proven system.

I’ve deliberately not included the 2006/7 and 2007/8 results even though I have them as the data for these years was all used in the backfitting of the ratings. Season’s 2008/9 and 2009/10 also won’t be representative of what to expect from these systems as a random selection of 50% of the results in these seasons were used in the backfitting of the ratings. So, the final 3 seasons of results should be the most reliable but as I always say, backtesting doesn’t mean a thing when it comes to the future results. One season’s live results is better than 10 season’s backtested results!

So, here’s the results by system and season for each of the systems. 

I think you can see the impact in the first two seasons of including some of these games in the backfitting of the ratings as the returns are a good bit higher than the last 3 seasons which are all 100% backtested.

The most interesting thing has to be last season’s results. The base ratings did really well (D1 and D6) but the filtering of the systems didn’t go well at all. So much so that as you work down the ratings, the opposite trend occurs to what you would expect! The ROI reduces as the bet number reduces. 

Obviously, when I’m testing the ratings and the results for profitability, I look at the base ratings and it’s then only at the final stage when I build the prep systems which are then used to build the final systems you see here that I see these sort of things appearing. I guess the next thing that leads me to want to look at is the performance of the systems for these seasons combined to see if the same pattern emerges.

Now, this is much more like what I expected to see overall. As you filter the bet number, the ROI increases across all the systems. The most interesting aspect here is the fact that some of the higher combined systems have phenomenal ROI’s. Therefore, it would appear that last season was a bit of a blip and the underlying trends are all OK.  Those reading this who remember the backtesting for the New Systems last Summer will remember that some of the combined systems were loss making in their final backtesting season and yet, they produced amazing results in their first live season last season.  You can’t read too much into one season of backtested results I think.

Here are the results by month:

One thing that stands out here is the fact when a bad month arrives, it does tend to be quite bad! Likewise, the decent months look very good and therefore, these systems may be quite volatile on a monthly basis. It makes me chuckle a little looking at the results in the first 7 months of results. An average of over 100pts profit a month. What we’d give for these systems to start like this when they go live!

The results by League are:

Now, we’re talking! As most subscribers and readers of this blog know, my ratings have had real issues with League Two bets, especially League Two Aways. I had picked up the fact that losses are minimised or even a profit created by covering the draw (basically dutching the selection and the draw or backing the selection AH0.5) but this table starts to get my brain ticking over. Likewise, the Bsq Prem hasn’t been the best league for me at times and both leagues appeared to be affected by the draw with regards to my other ratings. Well, both these leagues are key leagues for these new draw ratings and therefore, I would expect a lot of overlap between selections from my other ratings and these new draw ratings in these leagues.

The ROI’s of over 26% across over 2,500 bets in each league is pretty good and I can’t recall too many leagues having such an impressive set of figures during backtesting in the UK leagues for my other ratings.  It will be very interesting to see how these leagues do next season with these new draw ratings.

Here’s the league performance by system:

Plenty to like about these results too I think and the systems look decent enough across all the leagues with no real issues jumping out at me.

In terms of next season, I have set some targets as I always do for the systems but with no live results, the expected bet number could be way off, the ROI could be way off and therefore, the ROC targets could be way off.  Always nearly impossible to set targets and based on past experience, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bet number on the base ratings D1 and D6 are much higher than backtesting as we’ve seen that with the other systems when they went live.

Here’s the targets:

Not going to comment too much but I think my concern with the higher combined systems is the lack of bets and it’s a general point about all the combined systems. There aren’t a lot of bets overall, which means it will take longer than a season or two to get something statistically significant and therefore, variance could impact these systems. I suspect looking at the results from last season, the higher combined systems just suffered a little from variance as they clearly had a massive edge in every other season, so it’s just bad luck they only did a little better than break-even last season.

Assuming the ratings work like I hope they too, D1, D6 and D1-D6 probably have the potential to maximise ROC a lot more than the other systems simply due to the expected bet number but how much you give up in terms of ROI is the key.

In terms of how we use these Draw systems, my idea is that by using a few of the draw systems alongside some of the other systems, it may allow you to smooth the P&L a little as traditionally, when my main systems struggle, it’s usually due to the draw % being higher than expected and higher than the long-term average. Of course, I don’t envisage anyone following an equal number of outright and draw systems as you may end up offsetting the profits/losses and not making much headway overall but importantly, the draw systems are built independently of all my other ratings and appear to have their own significant edge.  Therefore, you can hopefully follow a few outright systems, include a draw system or two and improve your overall P&L whilst at the same time, minimising the drawdowns overall. 

That’s the hypothesis and the reason I’ve spent 3 weeks on these ratings and systems. Will it work? No idea really but we’ll learn more next season.

Next project for me is the value ratings work I started a few months back. Hoping to complete that in the next week or so before I head off on holiday for a bit. I’ll provide an update on my progress next week at some point.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

All systems go.....not quite!

Just a quick post with an update of how things are progressing.

One issue with the Summer Plan I sent out a few months back is that I had no contingency built into the plan at all. Every week was full of me doing work in preparation for next season and when I created the plan, I realised there wasn’t a lot of time to build a new set of draw ratings, build systems, do all the work in the ratings sheets to pick up these bets every week, amend the weekly bet sheet to pick up these bets and so on. Unfortunately, getting a robust set of draw ratings to work and work like I wanted them to has been difficult.

Don’t want to lay it on too much here but I’ve worked basically nonstop for 2 weeks now to get to the stage I’m at now. I now have two new algorithms built for draws and both look very good I think. I’ve also built 10 systems to find bets and these systems look fairly decent. I would say that finding a profitable edge with draws in the UK leagues is easier than finding an edge with Homes but more difficult than finding an edge on Aways.

What does all this mean? Well, I now need to take these 10 systems worth of bets and build the actual systems we’re going to have next season. This will systems D1,D2,D3,D6,D7 and the 6 combined systems D1-D6 etc.  11 systems in total.

Unfortunately, those who read my Summer plan will be aware of the fact that I hoped to do all of this in one week and in reality, by the time I’m expecting to be done at the end of this week (Sunday night), it will have taken me 3 weeks rather than a single week.

Not ideal but I was probably being ambitious thinking I could do this in a week. So, I’ll continue ploughing away and when these systems are completed, I’ll share the results on the blog along with the betting banks and expectations for next season.  It will squeeze my time later this Summer to help people with portfolio building but my way around this is probably to work even harder then and maybe take some time off my day job at some point to spend dedicated time doing this, so I hope I won’t run out of time to get everything done.

A couple of people have asked why I’m looking at Draws considering I already have all these other systems but as always, everything I do with this service is linked to how I want to play this game. Yes, most subscribers aren’t interested in using draw systems and probably think I’m wasting my time here but for me, these draw systems are the missing piece of the jigsaw. I use AH betting on some bets as I’m trying to mitigate the impact of draws on my betting portfolio but this is a lazy way to do this. I know the draws are the biggest danger to my systems and my betting portfolio and if you look at the biggest drawdowns most of the portfolios have when I build them, it’s due to the times when the systems are really impacted by draws.

Quite simply, when draws are higher than average, my systems will lose badly and it usually costs me a small fortune in the short term. Therefore, covering the draw helps to minimise my losses as I’ve said a few times. Using AH betting was never a way to increase profits, it was a way to mitigate risk. However, if I can actually pinpoint a strategy that is profitable using draws (and of course, this will include some games where I’m backing a selection to win), then instead of just minimising losses, when the draws hit, I can actually recoup some of the losses and if I do it well, I can actually get the draw on my side.

Of course, a lot of this is hypothesis and ultimately, I’ve no evidence (yet!) that a portfolio of systems backing selections to win and other selections to draw is any better than what I have been following over the last two seasons (which to be honest, haven’t been bad!) but I suspect that common sense dictates it has to be.

We know that using AH bets in a portfolio had the potential to smooth the returns, reduce the drawdowns and increase the ROC that could be achieved. Therefore, going one step further and actually backing draws rather than just backing the selection and getting the money back when the game is a draw should be optimal.

Anyway, that gives a bit more insight into why I’m spending 3 weeks on this. I actually expect most people to ignore the draw systems for the first season which is a sensible approach but long-term, finding something to work with draws is more beneficial to me than finding an edge in the Euro leagues. Pinnacle and Betfair offer the most competitive odds on draws by a long way and yet, I can get almost any stake I want on the draw each weekend in any game.

Next update should hopefully be this weekend with a summary of the draw systems.

I’m opening the doors to the service for those on the waiting list in the next 24 hours. They’ll have until the 1st of July to subscribe before Joe Public can subscribe if they so wish. Places are limited and severely restricted to protect odds. Keep an eye out for an email and a link to join.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Season Review Sheets to Download

As the title suggests, there are a couple of downloads available for blog readers and subscribers (and also potential subscribers next season). All of my season reviews have been written with me looking at these sheets and analysing these, so instead of looking at the pictures on the blog now, you can now see the tables in Excel.

Season Results by System – This sheet contains the results by system for each season as well as the return on capital figures from last season

Season Results Summary – Contains the results by system for last season and also sets out the targets and betting banks for the upcoming season.

One table I have included within the spreadsheet is the table below. There is a lot of info in here and as I’ve discussed before on the blog, I quite like the idea of being able to rank the systems in some way but there is no easy way. I have 4 rankings shown in the table.

I’ve ranked the systems by the average ROC they have achieved each season. Not a great measure as it is much easier for a system to achieve a high ROC in one season compared to a system that has been live for 3 seasons.

I’ve ranked them by ROI*the number of bets. This measure isn’t great as it puts too much emphasis on bet number I think and not enough emphasis on ROI.

I’ve ranked them by a simple Chisq Test calculation although from my email exchanges with my mathematician follower, I think this is a flawed measure. I've ignored the over-round in the calculation.

Lastly, someone else got in touch and suggested I use a T-distribution to formulate a P-value based on the formulae I’ve used in the sheet. Again, I’m no statistician, so I can’t say for certain how accurate this measure is but from what I can see, it seems to rank the systems in a sensible way although I think it maybe puts too much emphasis on ROI and not enough on bet number! This again ignores the over-round.

I know from various email correspondence that there is no right or wrong way to rank the systems. People look for different things and some would much rather follow a system with a high ROI and lower bet number since it is a big drop in return before a loss is made. Others prefer the lower ROI and higher bet number as they more confidence from the fact the system has shown an edge over so many bets.

When looking at your portfolio of systems to follow next season, I suggest everyone tries to give some thought into what they are looking for next season. It’s easy to say that you want to double the betting bank or achieve a 50% ROC next season but it’s how you plan to get there that matters!

In terms of next steps this Summer, there are 3 major bits of work I need to do before I can turn my attention to helping others prepare for next season.

1). Build the draw ratings and draw systems and share the results on the blog.
2). Finish the value % ratings project I’ve been working on and share the findings on the blog. Will include a download of all live bets and % value ratings.
3). Build the new Euro ratings and Euro systems and share the results on the blog.

Whilst I’m working on these things over the next month or so, the blog will go quiet. I’ll obviously post up the findings of what I’m doing when it is complete but all 3 things above will take 1-2 weeks each. So, don’t expect too many blog posts over the next month or so.

I would suggest that everyone who is following next season start pulling together their own thoughts from the season reviews and have a good idea about what they want to follow next season. Although I’ll contact everyone in due course, I won’t have too much time to chew the fat with everyone this Summer and therefore, it would help me if as many of you do your own work as far as possible. The ideas can be bounced off of me and I can give you my own thoughts but what I don’t want is 40 people writing to me at once in 6 weeks or so saying what should I do next season?

I’ve had a few emails around when the website opens up this Summer for new subscribers. Limited places will be available from 1st July. If you are on the waiting list, you will get first chance to join later this month but thereafter, it’s first come, first served until the service is full for next season. I would suggest anyone who is interested in joining does so at the start of July as I want the service closed as early as possible so I can turn my attention to helping as many of you as possible with advice for next season.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

2012/13 Season Review Part Eight - Euro Systems E1-E6, E1-E7,E2-E6,E2-E7,E3-E6,E3-E7

Similarly to the last review, this review will be fairly short. Anyone who was following these Euro systems in their first season probably did so with much reduced stakes. In reality, I would expect they were also following the higher combined systems since these had the highest ROI’s during backtesting. Therefore, if the worst happens and the ratings bomb, the combined systems could possibly be a little bit better based on the fact the combined systems tend to improve on the base ratings and systems.

Importantly, anyone who contacted me last Summer for advice on the Euro systems (and had made the decision they wanted to play these systems in their first season) were told to play reduced stakes and to minimise the exposure to their portfolio by only selecting a lower number of systems compared to the UK systems. This meant that most people ended up with a single Euro Combined system (E2-E7 or E3-E7) in their portfolio if they wanted to follow these systems. Therefore, all precautions were taken where possible to ensure that this risk of these systems were mitigated. 

Now the season is over, I actually think I should have gone one step beyond this and really tried to steer people clear of these systems altogether. I let my previous success at rating building affect my judgement and given my previous success at finding something to work in the UK, I assumed at the very least, I would find a small profitable edge in the Euro leagues. Hindsight is wonderful and given my lack of experience of these leagues, in addition to the fact that I don’t see too many other rating algorithms around for these Euro leagues, I should have been more cautious.

Next season, I will definitely NOT be following the Euro systems with any sort of decent sized stakes and I will be paper trialling these in effect. In reality, I’ll probably play a couple of the higher combined systems with low stakes (talking £5 or £10!) so I can get a feel for placing the bets and the type of bets but this will be for testing purposes only. My suggestion to everyone else next season will be the same. If they choose to ignore this advice, then fine but it will be my recommended approach. There is no rush at this game and if we find these bets are massively profitable next season, we can follow them the season after and increase stakes after that season if things go well. Looking at the results of the Euro combined systems coming up, I actually think a lot of us following last season were lucky in the sense the results could have been much, much worse! I don’t want anyone to put themselves in that position again.

Season 2012/13 Performance & All Live Results

I can probably refer back to the comment I just made about luck now I see these results. The fact the top 3 combined systems managed a small profit when the base ratings performed very badly is partially down to luck I think as well as the fact that it shows why I cross refer my algorithms! The two most popular systems people followed were E2-E7 and E3-E7 and therefore, the fact both escaped with a small profit is quite amazing and maybe explains why people didn’t really appreciate how bad the Euro ratings were until much later than me. I guess if the person giving you the bets is telling you the ratings are rubbish and it’s a matter of time before they lose money, you maybe struggle to believe it when in effect, you yourself are making money from following your chosen system or systems.

However, the whole principle that underlies the systems is that you need to have profitable ratings algorithms underpinning the systems and unfortunately, for the majority of the season, this wasn’t happening, regardless of how the systems were performing.  At one point after that amazing weekend when nearly all the big priced Euro bets won, I thought I was maybe wrong and the ratings were finally starting to show their worth but it was a false dawn as we later saw.

Overall then, a 25pts loss from 1,167 bets isn’t a bad performance for the combined systems considering the base ratings were much worse than this! The fact the top 3 systems generated a profit is nearly defying logic I suspect but I think we got lucky last season if I’m honest!

Targets for 2013/14 Season

Can’t say much here that I didn’t say in the last review but I think the important thing that this season did show all of us is that my system building by cross referring the algorithms is very powerful. I know some people reading this actually hate the fact I run different algorithms and cross refer them whereas others think it’s great and this season with the Euros has shown the protection this gives you when things go bad.

My intention is to build two new algorithms, create 5 base systems E1,E2,E3,E6,E7 and then cross refer them again to get 6 new combined Euro systems.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with this idea and the execution of it. Unfortunately, I need to do a bit better than build rating algorithms that create a 10% loss though!

Detailed Analysis

Performance by League

A similar story to the other Euro systems where there is a massive loss in Italy if backing outright but a profit if using AH0.5. France and Spain are profitable outright but they don’t suffer from too many draws and the German league just looks impossible!

Performance by Home and Away

Both Homes and Aways have been marginally loss making overall. Both types of bets are profitable on the higher combined systems though.

Performance by Home and Away by League

Same idea as the last review where there are a couple of pockets of bets that are highly profitable but the rest are all loss making. Again, given I’m rebuilding from scratch this Summer, no point in trying to draw any conclusions as they won’t be valid for next season.

Performance by Odds

Good luck! 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

2012/13 Season Review Part Seven - Euro Systems E1, E2, E3, E6, E7

Similar to the last review, this review is going to be quite short. I’m not going to spend a long time reviewing a set of systems that have clearly failed over the course of the season and given the fact I can scrap these and start again, there is no point in going over old ground.

For what it’s worth, I don’t even think what happened this season will help me any more next season as from looking at the systems during the season, the underlying ratings were never getting anywhere near the profitability they achieved during backtesting which is as good a sign as any that the ratings aren’t much good.

I’ve mentioned a few things in emails to various subscribers over the past few months about why I think these leagues are more difficult to make a profit in than the UK leagues. End of the day, if I knew what was causing the systems to underperform, I’d have corrected it last season but it’s not easy.

This was my first season of really paying attention to these leagues and from what I could see, the majority of bets in the leagues were for the bigger priced teams away from home who are in the bottom half of the league. No real difference to the UK bets but I think one thing I noticed this season is that the Home bets seem to have a bit of a bias towards them and the favourites appear to perform much better than in the UK leagues.

I may take this into account next season and adjust the criteria around the odds. Playing on bigger priced aways seems to create a real edge in the UK but in the Euro leagues, I’m not sure the edge is as easy to find. I’ve been playing about with the data most of the season in the background trying to find an edge or two to explore but it’s not easy to spot anything obvious. I actually think I’d maybe have a better chance with the draws in these leagues given the draw rate and basically, if you are backing something blindly that doesn’t make a large loss, you have a much better chance of succeeding. In the Euro leagues, I’m backing big priced Aways and they make a large loss in general, so trying to find an edge in a place where a large loss is created if backing all Aways is pretty difficult!

I’m guessing some reading this are familiar with the favourite-longshot bias but I suspect a large part of the issues I’m having with the Euro leagues is linked to this. There is a short article written by Joe Buchdahl on this very topic which I think covers the subject in enough depth for most of you reading this.

Of course, one way around this is to adjust my thinking and rating building techniques and concentrate on Home bets at lower average odds in the Euro leagues but as anyone will know who’s built rating algorithms, trying to find an edge at lower odds is much more tricky than finding an edge at longer odds. However, as the Euro bets have shown last season, finding an edge during backfitting and backtesting and then seeing it work in a live environment is a different thing altogether.  It makes me appreciate my edge in the UK leagues more than it did before!

Anyway, leave that for later this Summer when I’ll have another go at trying to get something to work in these Euro leagues.

Season 2012/13 Performance & All Live Results

Not sure how you describe these results apart to say they are terrible! I guess the only positive you can take from the results is the fact that yet again, the filtering appears to work with my systems but when you are working with ratings as bad as this, it would take a miracle to get any system to make a profit.  I wouldn’t quite call it a miracle but seeing E3 with a profit is actually some achievement. I already know this from the UK systems but in terms of system building, my skills are pretty good. My issue with the Euro leagues is my ratings are rubbish to start off with, so I’ve next to no chance of making anything work with the systems I’m building.

One thing that does stand out is the average odds are pretty high. I realised that during the season but my ratings were definitely getting sucked in by the high odds for some Away teams but as I said on a few occasions, the market was taking my ratings, chewing them and spitting them out!

The impact of the draw can be seen on some of the AH returns. At various points in time, the draw was playing a bigger part than it appears here at the season end but a lot of this is down to the run the ratings experienced in the last few months. Again, nothing in the historical data pointed out an issue with the end of season games but clearly, my ratings were useless and again, they got sucked into overpriced away bets against home teams who needed to win. Long-term, the strategy may be profitable but I wouldn’t like to bet on it.

Targets for 2013/14 Season

Given what happened last season, I think my target remains the same as last Summer. I want to try to find an edge in these Euro leagues with a couple of different rating algorithms. If I can do this, I can then cross refer the algorithms and build systems that can hopefully create better return than just following the profitable ratings is the key to making a success of these Euro leagues going forward. It’s not easy and as I’ve commented before on the blog, one attraction to these leagues is the fact that there isn’t many ratings analysts doing what I’m doing on the Euro leagues. The UK leagues are saturated by people using rating algorithms and this is reflected in the competition for the prices at times. The fact that not many are able to do this on the Euro leagues (and those I am aware of using ratings in these leagues aren’t doing great either) suggests it’s maybe impossible to do but I’ll give it another go next season.

Detailed Analysis

Performance by League

I can only laugh at these results. There are two leagues profitable outright (France and Spain) and the other two leagues have massive losses. However, if you look at the AH returns, the two leagues with massive losses appear to have been hindered by a lot of draws (an 18% outright loss in Italy is turned into a profit if using AH0.5!). Therefore, I would suggest that it’s not as straightforward to look at this table and say that France and Spain were the strongest leagues and Italy and Germany the weakest leagues.

Yes, based on outright betting, this would be true. Based on AH0.5 returns, Italy goes from the poorest performing league to the best performing league.

Overall, the results aren’t great but backing the draw in Italy for all the system bets was a massive profit this season, so I suspect the systems weren’t that far away from a good return here given the average odds. When the average odds are nearly 3/1, there is a massive swing between a draw and a win. A 4pt swing and with a crazy amount of draws in Italy, in another season, it could have been a much better season there.

As for the other leagues, the results aren’t great and the best performing leagues were still poor overall.

Performance by Home and Away

Homes were the big underachiever here with a substantial loss of 9% whereas Aways only lost 3.2%. However, whilst I said above that there appeared a home bias and a favourite bias, if you look at the average odds here, I think you can see the issues.

The Aways thrown up are on average 5.12 and even the Homes on average are 2.55. Hence, in the majority of games, we’re backing unfancied home teams against better fancied away teams and of course, we’re backing big priced aways against odds on homes. In a season where favourites seemed to do well and Homes especially, it’s not hard to see why the systems struggled so much!

I’ll try to pay particular attention to this aspect during the ratings building later this Summer but it’s natural for my ratings to get attracted to some juicy prices as it’s easier to find value in these as the favs tend to be underpriced (according to my ratings) but we then get into the favourite-longshot bias again and we’re trying to find an edge where it is much more difficult to do so!

Performance by Home and Away by League

Spanish Aways stand out enormously here with some amazing profits across the board. However, aside from French Homes, the rest of the datasets are all losing money. Likely to just be a lot of variance at play here with the sample sizes and therefore, it’s hard to draw any conclusions apart from to say that the ratings were rubbish and these systems were rubbish!

Performance by Odds

I stared at this for a while and I couldn't really find anything too interesting! 

2012/13 Season Review Part Six - Under/Over 2.5 Systems

I think the next 3 reviews are going to be a fair bit shorter than the first 5 reviews. I personally have never liked the Under/Over 2.5 goal systems as quite honestly, I think they don’t have an edge and any edge they may have had is probably eaten away by the fact I’m giving out the bets on a Thursday evening when the markets are sitting with a fairly chunky overround in the English lower leagues.

The last two reviews on the Euro systems are never going to be too meaningful since I’m effectively ripping these up and starting again next season. Obviously, it’s worth looking back to try to see what went wrong last season and hopefully it will help me when I built another couple of algorithms later this Summer but in terms of looking back and setting targets for the future, it can’t be done.

Right, this review centres on the Under/Over systems. These were developed two Summers ago and proofed for the first season in the SBC forum. All I did last Summer was remove all the odds on bets from the Under 2.5 systems as they were badly lossmaking and I kept the Over 2.5 systems as they were in the first season as they had an OK first season. I also decided that it was better to just have one Under system and one Over system rather than try to filter the bets. The systems don’t have enough bets as it is, so trying to filter them is a waste of time.

Season 2012/13 Performance

I think the results say it all here. A 1.6pts loss across both systems combined from 363 bets, with a small profit on Under system and a small loss on the Over system. Not sure what more I can add. It backs up what I’ve said all season that I don’t think these systems have an edge. I will persevere with them for another season to see if there is any improvement but in terms of following these systems to make money, I wouldn’t advise anyone try it!

All Live Results (last 2 seasons)

I was highly critical of the systems in their first season with the lowly ROI but after basically a break-even season last season, I’m starting to think the first season was better than I thought it was! A 3.5% from 836 bets since the systems went live but a system is only as good as it’s peers. These are the blacksheep of the TFA family as I’ve said before and therefore, why would anyone follow these systems when there are a whole host of better systems to follow?

If you look at the ROC figures for the live results, I think this highlights the problems that a low turnover, low ROI system suffer from. Over two seasons, they’ve only grown the bank by 34% and 42.3% respectively and an average ROC growth of 17% and 21.1% ROC hardly set my pulse racing when other systems are looking to double the bank in a single season.

Targets for 2013/14 Season

A target of 3% ROI for each system, couple with the size of betting bank needed and the low turnover suggests that we’re looking at a lowly ROC target of 11% and 14%. Given the poor performance last season, I’m not even sure that’s a target that is achievable and beatable, so I think these systems remain trial systems again next season.

Detailed Analysis

Performance by Season

As I highlighted above, you can see how much better the first season was than last season and the first season wasn’t great either.

Performance by League

With the very small sample sizes, you can see what can happen. Two pockets of data that look amazingly profitable and the rest looks rubbish! If League One and League Two were behaving the same, you might think we were onto something but it is the Over system in League One and the Under system in League Two doing well!

Performance by League and Season

Impossible to draw any conclusions due to the sample sizes but nothing really stands out too much.

Performance by Odds

I thought I would look at this to see if I could see anything that stands out. Apart from the fact that the Over bets with higher odds are really poor performing, nothing jumps out too much. Again, sample sizes are small and it’s too risky to try to draw any conclusions.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

2012/13 Season Review Part Five - Systems 6-32,21-31,6-21-31,TOX,STOY,STOZ

I think if this season has taught us something, it’s that my first instincts are maybe not as far off as they may initially appear. Two Summers ago when I developed the Similar Games (SG) systems, I was probably as bullish as I’ve ever been about a set of systems. In private and on the blog, I made my feelings perfectly clear that I thought these 3 systems could potentially be the best systems I’d ever seen from the backtested results. Given that was after the first season where the results of a number of systems were unbelievable, I think some people thought my comments were a little bit mad!

Two seasons ago, I dived straight into the SG systems with full stakes (I’m pretty conservative when following unproven systems but not with these) and to say it was disappointing was an understatement. I can’t quite recall how much I staked in £ terms (was a helluva lot!) but I basically quit in March that season when I was break-even. The systems then went on a decent little run towards the end of the season and actually managed a small profit over the season but to say I was underwhelmed was an understatement.

Last Summer, I thought long and hard about these 3 systems and I actually thought about dropping them completely form the TFA portfolio of systems as clearly, they didn’t look very good. However, when doing the system reviews last Summer, I realised the results weren’t all that bad as the systems struggled a lot with draws and if a few more results had gone their way, it would have been a much better season.

Anyway, I decided that I should have more in my first instincts and this season, these 3 systems were  a large part of my betting portfolio. I would go as far to say that I overstaked these bets which is never a bright thing to do but I just had a deep belief that the systems couldn’t do any worse than the first season.  If I stand back now and compare that to the Euro systems (which to be honest, I didn’t trust last season at all and never got comfortable with them even people were telling they were fine and had a decent edge!) and even the Under/Over systems (which I have never trusted from day one), then clearly, my first instincts aren’t too far off.

A lesson for myself here I think and a lesson for those that listen to my advice from my postings on the blog.

These 3 systems only make up 50% of the results on the Misc systems. The other 3 systems are solid enough systems but they aren’t great I think. Thought that after the first season and to be honest, think the same after this season. However, they are still better than most of the other footie systems on the market. We’re just spoilt here with the fact TFA has so many good systems to follow!

Season 2012/13 Performance

These systems were the most consistent systems over the season. They started the season well, didn’t have any major midseason blips and finished the season pretty well (although I felt like they were hanging on a little towards the end but I think it wasn’t too bad).

I think we need to look at the performance of the Misc systems in two parts. We have the systems 6-32, 21-31 and 6-21-32 which are simply made up of combinations of Est Systems and New Systems. We then have TOX, STOY and STOZ which are a little bit different although the ratings for the Est Systems and New Systems underpin the bets but the bets have an added dimension to them in the sense they are based on historical trends too.  Hence, this added flavour clearly didn’t do much to the SG bets in season one but boy, has it made a difference last season.

System 21-31 led the way from the first 3 systems with an ROI of 7.9% from 469 bets. As I said above, if this was a normal footie system in the marketplace, it would be a highly respectable system I think.  Maybe in the top 10% of football systems?  Doesn’t even make the top 10 TFA systems!

The other two systems didn’t have bad seasons either. A 6.1% return for 6-32 from 243 bets and a 6.1% return from 449 bets for system 6-21-31.

If we look at the 3 SG systems, we’ll see a slightly different picture.  STOZ led the way with an ROI of 21.6% from 336 bets. That’s a profit of 72.7pts this season. TOX wasn’t too far behind and had an ROI of 20.6% from 306 bets. The lowest performing system was STOY which ‘only’ achieved an ROI of 16.2% from 307 bets.

Overall, the SG systems in total achieved an ROI of 19.5% across 949 bets. A profit of 185.5pts in total across 3 systems. A stunning return and goes along way to showing why I had such a good season myself.

If we look at the 6 Misc systems in total, it’s a profit of 264.9pts from 2,110 bets last season. A much better performance than the first season!

All Live Results

Interestingly, given the fact the SG systems had a poor first season, when you look at the results over the last two seasons, there isn’t such a big gap between the first 3 systems and the 3 SG systems as we saw this season. However, the SG systems now start to look very special I think and given the performance last season, they have a great deal of potential I suspect going forward.

STOZ leads the way with a 13.9% ROI across 608 bets. TOX isn’t far behind with an ROI of 12.8% 585 bets and STOY has an ROI of 10.3% from 588 bets.

The other 3 systems don’t look too bad themselves with ROIs ranging from 4.7% to 8.5%.  As I say, these 3 systems aren’t bad at all but compared to the 3 SG systems, they look fairly ordinary I think.

The power of the SG systems can be seen from the ROC figures from last season. STOZ led the way with an unbelievable ROC of 181.7%. This is actually the best ROC any of my systems has ever managed in a season and therefore, this puts this system pretty high up the pecking order I suspect of systems in the marketplace. In any other season, TOX would surely be taking all the plaudits going with an ROC of 140.4% and likewise, STOY isn’t too shabby either with an ROC of 103.5%.

21-31 and 6-21-31 managed ROC’s of 63.8% and 54.9% respectively and the only slight disappointment is system 6-32 with an ROC of 29.9%.

Overall, some stunning returns from these systems over the first two seasons and I think they enter their 3rd season next season in a much better place than they entered last season! Of course, with that comes added pressure and I can’t imagine I’ll be the only one keen on these systems again next season but hopefully they can produce a similar level of return.

Targets for 2013/14 Season

Going into last season, the actual targets for these systems weren’t that high and they absolutely smashed the targets out the park, so I don’t want to go mad with the targets next season as it would be unrealistic to expect the systems to achieve the same returns again.

Before I discuss the targets, I should point out that even after that amazing season, I’m increasing the betting banks for the SG systems. They look a little light after seeing one of the drawdowns last season (which admittedly, all  happened in two weeks and was then recovered in one week) but even so, I think we should adjust the betting banks as a result of the drawdown. An extra 5pts has been added to the bank for TOX and STOY and 2pts for STOY.

As you would expect, the 3 SG systems have the highest ROI and ROC targets next season. STOZ leads the way with an ROC target of 80%. TOX and STOY have 66% and 60% as targets and 21-31 and 6-21-31 both have a 54% target. The only system that doesn’t look worth following is system 6-32 which has an ROC target of only 18%. The system doesn’t have enough turnover unfortunately and doesn’t achieve a high enough ROI for it to be of interest for most of us going forward.

 Detailed Analysis (All live results e.g. last two seasons)

Performance by Season

I doubt you’ll see this sort of improvement often from a set of systems than you’ve seen this season with the SG systems. The 3 systems achieved an ROI of circa. 4% last season and now have achieved a near 20% ROI this season. 5 times as high and a massive improvement.

Last season, the systems achieved a similar level of return for outright betting as for betting with AH0.5 but this season, outright returns were much, much better. Again, it points to the systems maybe being a little unlucky last season with draws.

Interestingly, system 6-32 actually had a better season this season than last season even though it is the worst performing system in the group. The other two systems 21-31 and 6-21-31 did better in the first season but they at least now have two very similar seasons and in a way, that gives me confidence in the systems. Although the SG systems have been brilliant this season, maybe they carry more risk after what happened the first season and maybe the other two are safer options as at least they have two good seasons behind them and look fairly solid.

Looking at the Misc systems in total, I would say last season maybe wasn’t twice as good as the first season although the outright returns indicate this. As you look along the row of returns, the draw coverage ate away at the profit margin last season whereas the first season, covering draws wasn’t a bad idea at all given the number of draws.

Performance by League

It’s quite scary to think that even with these returns, two of the six leagues are losing money! League Two and the SPL are both showing quite poor losses and it obviously means the returns in the other leagues are amazing! We really need to wait to see what areas are causing the losses as I would guess it’s SPL Homes and League Two Aways based on what I’ve seen on other systems.

Performance by League and Season

In the first season, League Two created a substantial loss of 15% if backing outright (AH0.5 was profitable) but all the other leagues were profitable.

Last season, the SPL created a substantial loss of 30% but importantly, League Two was much better than the first season. Based on the first season, you might have dropped League Two but it would have cost you money last season I’m afraid.

Performance by Home and Away

I remember discussing the performance of the Homes after I built the SG systems, I remember discussing the performance of Homes during the first season when the systems didn’t do well.  Well, if you look at the performance of the Homes on the SG systems now, it is truly stunning. Admittedly, the sample sizes are very small and I wouldn’t like to be betting my life on this trend going forward but so far, the Homes on the SG systems are the best Homes I’ve ever seen on a football system.

STOZ leads the way with an ROI of 24.3%. The other two SG systems have an ROI of 22.4% and 18.9%. Given the average odds on these systems is 2.45, 2.22 and 2.25, to see ROI’s of 20% is nearly impossible to believe. I’ve seen it done by Away bets before where you need to play at big odds to achieve ROI’s of 20%+ but to see it on Home bets is incredible.

Interestingly, the Home bets on the other 3 systems really struggle if I’m honest. None of the systems can beat a 5% ROI for Home bets.

The Aways are much better on the other 3 systems and are actually in line with the Aways on the SG systems.

I think what I’m getting at here is that you don’t need to follow the Homes and Aways on any system. If you want to, you can split any system into Homes and Aways and maybe you take the Homes from one system and the Aways from another and create some form of Super System for you to follow.  Admittedly, you don’t want to be just cherrypicking the bets from the systems as you are in danger of backfitting something that you’ll never manage to achieve live I suspect but when there are clear trends (the Homes on the SG systems are the best homes from all my systems I think), then you really need to play on it and maximise your profits to the max.

Performance by Home and Away by League

Some really clear trends here and with two seasons behind these, maybe it’s worth considering varying your stakes or varying the bets a little to try to maximise profits.

League Two Aways are terrible if following outright but if using AH0.5, you can probably minimise your risk exposure based on the first two season’s performance.

The SPL Homes are simply terrible and are probably the worst subset of data I’ve seen reviewing the systems this Summer. An ROI of -45.7% is crazy and although the sample size is small, we’ve seen similar issues on the other systems. The SPL looks a tricky league full stop. Is it worth the hassle of trying to find an edge in this league when the results look so variable at times?

Obviously, there are lots of pockets of bets where the returns are amazing and maybe it’s a case of trying to increase stakes on these and minimise stakes on the bets which appear to struggle to find an edge or at least, keep an eye on the trends early next season and maybe adjust your stakes accordingly if you feel the trends are continuing.