Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Game of Survival

I think the below table maybe helps to keep perspective on the season so far although I suspect anyone following a portfolio of systems this season are scratching their head! The worst performing system this season has lost 35.2% of its betting bank. Given the current run of the systems, it’s amazing that only one system has lost over 1/3 of it’s betting bank.

However, for those that understand the service, you will be noticing that many of the best performing systems historically in terms of ROI are towards the top of the table and have been letting us down this season. Hence, the strongest bets historically haven’t been winning this season and that ultimately explains why so many systems are in a loss making situation.

The issue for myself (lost 48% of my bank this season) and many others will be the fact that we are playing on the fact that historically, many of the better systems have never experienced this sort of run all at the same time and therefore, anyone relying on leverage in their portfolio (which as we know, increases the risk but also the potential return) is probably in a much worse state than any individual system.

I think the key for all of us now is to stay in the game.  Losing our betting bank when no system is anywhere near losing 50% of its betting bank is criminal and if we can survive this weekend, this month, next month and hopefully this season, I expect we will all view these systems in a different way going forward.

For the next few weeks, this game is now about survival and we’ll need to see what happens. I’m kicking myself already looking at the table of results by system and I expect I won’t be alone…….

Unbelievable Results Update

I’m going to be honest and say I don’t have enough time to do this post any justice. Updating ratings tonight for all UK and Euro leagues and updating the weekend/midweek results has taken up all my time. In addition, rather than discuss the results, I want to spend time pulling together a quick table of the betting bank for each system and the season P&L so we can see how far some systems have to go before busting their bank.  I’ll post it on the blog later. Keeping perspective at the moment is difficult, so standing back and taking stock is never a bad idea.  We are close to the month end again anyway, so I will hopefully get us there in one piece although I expect  some will bow out if this weekend goes poorly.

So, I’ll keep this short but it isn’t  very sweet I’m afraid.

Est Systems

Pushing the statistical boundaries here for how bad these results are but it’s the same on most systems at the moment. I didn’t think it was possible to hit as many losers as this!

9 winners from 123 system bets and an 87.82pts loss. Unbelievable really.

New Systems

Strike rate a little better here but the wins have been coming with Home bets and not Away bets, so the P&L isn’t any better. 32 winners from 188 bets for a loss of 80.64pts. Unbelievable!

Misc Systems

Wow, 9 winners from 126 system bets for a 78.58pts loss. P&L is held up by the fact the winner s were a decent price. Unbelievable loss though.

Draw Systems

Quite ironic that these are now the best performing systems this season. From last to first in a few weeks. Sums up how crazy this season is for the systems. 12.4pts profit from 60 bets. Yes, a profit in a disaster of a week!

Under-Over Systems

These systems have lost the plot at the same time as my other systems. 2 winners from 10 for a 5.75pts loss. Last 18 Under games have an average of 3.88 goals. Last 13 Over games have an average of 2.15 goals. As I said, it’s a crazy season.

Euro Systems

First bets of the season but the first maximum bet lost a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1. Is like the UK systems all over again this season. Weekend was saved by a nice winner in Spain. Overall, 2.9pts profit from 31 bets.

Overall, 237.49pts lost from 538 bets. I’m setting plenty of records this season on the blog for worst results updates ever. That’s 3 records this season already!

Next update will be after the weekend. Hopefully I make it through the other side.

Friday, 18 October 2013

A punter's perspective on the TFA season so far.....

One thing I don’t tend to get much opportunity to do these days is any mid-season posts on anything remotely interesting. Quite simply, running a subscription service, running a betting portfolio of over 8,000 football bets a season and of course, holding down a full-time job means that all my spare time is spent on football in some way or another. If I’m not updating results and ratings, I’m sending out bets or replying to emails and when I’m not acting as a tipster, I’m trying my best to earn a second income from following a successful betting portfolio. Put all that together and you can see why my posts on the blog concerning anything apart from results of systems are pretty infrequent. That’s not to say I don’t have plenty to write about!

I think one thing I tend to do is keep my betting life completely separate from the blog and to be honest, as I’ve touched upon a few times over the years, I do find the betting side of things quite lonely at times. I’ve really enjoyed having a Twitter account this season and it has taken the place of a forum I used to use daily. Of course, my issue with Twitter is the fact I struggle to say anything in 1,400 words, never mind 140 characters, so I am limited on there but I do enjoy the fact I’m able to share my frustrations at times and also it’s great to share in the delight when things go well.

This season has been particularly difficult for me personally as whilst trying to remain upbeat about things and pointing out that I still believe the losses were simply due to variance to a large subscriber base, I was looking down the barrel of nearly a 5 figure loss after 4 weeks of betting. I’m not a big gambler as I’ve also touched upon before on the blog and I actually don’t particularly like gambling in the purest sense of the word. I’m not a gambler at all. I was attracted to football betting as I thought it would provide me with an opportunity to use my skillset that I use in my career on a daily basis and therefore, I hoped that a second income could be achieved in time in a smooth fashion. Losing nearly 40% of my betting bank in the first month of a season is not what I would call a ‘smooth journey’.  Now that I’ve recouped all of the losses and I’m in profit for the season (I’m up 23pts which equates to 9.1% of my betting bank), then it does feel like a time to reflect on the first 6 weeks of the season but rather than look at it from the tipster angle, let me try to describe it from the angle of Graeme the punter and not TFA the tipster.

One tactic that is often employed in my place of work is to describe how I’m feeling in 3 words. If I was asked to describe the first 6 weeks of the season in 3 words, I would probably say “stressful”, “worry” and “relieved”. As any punter knows, when things aren’t going well, it can be a stressful experience. It has taken me 3 years to build up to this stage of betting where I regularly bet more than my monthly salary every weekend and in some weekends, I’m betting the average annual salary of a low paid worker. When I started out 4 years ago on this football betting journey, I guess I hoped that one day, I would reach this level where I’m betting with profits already achieved and the betting bank is at a level whereby I can win an amount each season that actually makes a difference to my life. I don’t want to get into the ins and outs of what I hope to win this season and the betting bank I use as at the end of the day, money is only a relative concept. I know a subscriber with TFA who is using a £100k betting bank this season and I know a subscriber who is using a £500 betting bank this season. In my eyes, they are both gambling and I’m not sure I have any more respect for the guy with the £100k bank than the guy with the £500 bank.

Anyway, over the last 3 seasons, my betting bank has grown season on season and this season is the season when I hoped that by the end it, I could make the leap onto the next level if things went well. All of the growth within my betting bank has been organic growth and if I had compounded my bank at the end of each season, I would be in a much better place than I am now but hey, that’s what you call life getting in the way. I didn’t change my betting bank between season 2 and 3 simply because I withdrew all the profit from season 2 and spent it on other things!

It’s a funny one as at the end of the day, if I lose my bank this season, I’m no worse off than when I started out but when you have worked as hard as I have for 4 years at this, it would be stressful to lose the betting bank I worked so hard to build up. The second word was worry and it’s difficult for me to split this between Graeme and TFA if I’m honest as a lot of the worry during the losing run wasn’t simply to do with my loss. When you know that 100 people are following you as you lose money hand over fist, I can’t help but worry how everyone is doing and feeling. I would say that whatever worry and stress everyone following the systems had, multiply it by 100 and you maybe get where I was at the end of September. At the end of the day, I know I shouldn’t really care as much about others but I can’t hide from the fact I do and I want everyone following me to make money. Simple as that really.

The last word is relieved and I think that probably explains the feeling I had last weekend after Tranmere had won against Bradford on Sunday. My P&L had crept into the black for the season and it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Of course, I know that a helluva lot of people following my bets are still in the red and some are probably still deep in the red but I’ve been contacted by a number of people in the last week who are now in profit. Not massively in profit but in profit. That’s a relief and I think the next target is obviously for everyone to get back in the black for the season. If that happens, the service will be having a good time of it and many of us who are in an OK position now will be in a much better position then!

So, that probably describes how I’ve been feeling over the last few weeks. I’ve had losing runs before and I still remember losing a lot of money in season one in the second half of the season as the systems went off the rails somewhat but the difference then was that I only lost a large chunk of the money I’d won in the first half of the season.

I think the issue this season has been the timing of the run. If I look at the last 3 seasons, I can see similar runs for the systems and I still recall a month where the systems made huge profits in the first two weeks and then lost all of it in the last two weeks to break-even. Likewise, as I said in the monthly review, there were previous times when the systems had experienced worse runs than September but for whatever reason, September felt much worse.

Why was this? Well, looking at it in the cold light of day, I’ve never had so many people following my systems and I’ve never staked so much money on my selections. Add both these things together and I think I can understand why I felt so stressed and worried at the end of September.  I wouldn’t say I’m out of my comfort zone for either of these things but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get affected by it in September. Any rationale human being would be affected by the run I had I think and knowing I was taking down 100 others with me, it wasn’t nice at all.

Now that I am through the worst part I hope (no idea what it around the corner but hopefully not another massive drawdown!), it’s easy to look at things like my historical portfolio performance and say that the losing run wasn’t nothing out of the ordinary. I knew that at the time as my betting bank was never under serious pressure (admittedly, if things had continued like that for a few more weeks, it would have been!) but even though I had done everything right this season in terms of betting bank and being capitalised adequately, why did I feel the strain so much?

I can’t help but come back to what I said above and that’s to do with the fact I’m not a gambler in nature. When I’m building my portfolio of systems to follow each Summer, it’s all about risk and return and I try my best to set myself an appropriate target for a return on capital for the amount of risk I am willing to take. I think I got it right this Summer and yet, I still felt outside of my comfort zone during the drawdown and therefore, it can only be to do with me as a person and not the way I gamble. The second part was fine, it was me the person letting my emotion get in the way which caused the stress and worry.

Anyway, sorry if this is a bit of a ramble, it’s more of a brain dump but it would be interesting to hear how others felt during the drawdown and what they feel now. Did they handle the situation better than me, were they impacted more than me, did they consider quitting at any point?

Below is a table I’ve pulled together with the live bets of the portfolio I’m following this season. I have split the portfolio performance into bet samples of 364 bets for the live results (which are the last 51 samples of 364 bets incidentally.). The reason it is 364 bets and not 100 or 200 bets is that at a point in time I looked at this, 364 bets made sense as my bet number could be split into equal chunks of 364 bets. Now, it doesn’t look so great but you get the gist of what I’m trying to show.

The first 364 bets this season produced a return in my portfolio of -47pts. The next 364 bets produced a return of 53pts and the last 159 bets have produced a return of 17pts. How bad was the -47pts? As I said above, not too bad and if you look at the data this way, you can see that within the live results, there has been two times when the portfolio lost 46pts and 48pts, so losing 47pts was nothing outside of the normal deviation I can expect. Likewise, the profit of 53pts was decent but nothing outside the norm and nowhere near the sort of returns this portfolio has achieved before in a live environment.

Admittedly, the second set of 364 bets this season started horribly too and when I last looked at the data this way, it was showing a 35pt loss I think but that turned around in the second half of the bets in that sample.

I’m as guilty as the next person for looking at things in the short-term and maybe that’s my biggest issue with gambling and tracking results as I do. Should I really care that I’ve lost thousands of pounds in a weekend or in a month? Probably not when I look at the bigger picture but it’s easier said than done!

Next post should be the results from this weekend and probably next midweek as I have bets on Monday evening, so I’ll wait till after the midweek to update the blog. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Another small step forward.....

As the title suggests, the systems took another step forward this weekend and the service is now approaching break-even for the season although I appreciate the gap between the best P&L and worst P&L for subscribers could be quite substantial. However, for the umpteenth time this season, the best bets have let the systems down and we had the top 4 Home bets all drawing but two of them lost 1-0 leads late on and it’s typical of the way the season has gone to date. The biggest bet of the weekend lost a 1-0 and 2-1 lead and eventually finished up losing 3-2. When you put all these 5 games together, to say that I’m amazed to be posting the figures below is an understatement.

The weekend was saved by a couple of wins for a Crewe and Tranmere. Both were 6.00+ when I gave the bets and they were picked out by all 4 algorithms which shows how overpriced they were this weekend. Of course, as I say all the time, finding value in a big priced away is one thing, finding a winner is another thing but this weekend, both teams managed to win.  This won’t happen too often but on a weekend when nothing seemed to go right for the systems again, I’m not complaining.

The other highlight this weekend was the Draw systems. The top two draws both finished in draws and 3 of the top 4 draws were successful. I’ve been quite harsh on these systems so far this season but it was nice to see the systems rewarded for their consistency on Saturday. I’ve complained plenty about the luck on the other systems this season but the Draw systems haven’t had much luck go their way either and therefore, to see these systems in profit overall after a very tricky start this season is amazing.

Overall, I reckon about 25% of the systems are in profit now this season which isn’t bad considering it was 0% at the end of last month although I have to again highlight algorithm 3 (system 31). This is becoming a common theme on the blog but this is the best rating algorithm I’ve ever seen and I was astonished it made a tiny profit last month in a very difficult month. It has started this month on fire and is something like 20pts in profit this season already which is amazing considering it has suffered the same amount of bad luck as the other systems! It had Accrington on Saturday for example which wasn’t a popular pick but they lost a late goal to draw 1-1 at odds of 5.00. Hence, it is maybe suffering more bad luck than the other systems and is still making profits!

Anyway, it’s another step forward and after a horrible midweek to start the month (who can forget Ipswich?), things have picked up and the last 3 sets of fixtures have seen nice profits made. Still a long way to go this month but hopefully now my ratings have settled down, things will continue to improve. We’ll see what happens.

No midweek bets this weekend, so next results update will be after next weekend.

Est Systems

24 winners from 67 bets and a profit of 29pts. Both algorithms did brilliant but the filtering of the systems didn’t work at all (which is not the first time I’ve said that this season!). System 6 made a profit of 9.9pts from 18 bets and system 21 made a profit of 14.2pts from 16 bets. Great returns but it didn’t make its way down to systems 7,8 or 22 unfortunately.

System 6-21 made a profit of 10.7pts from 15 bets but the other combined systems did a great job of filtering out the winners!

Overall, it’s hard to knock the performance of the systems but the luck factor this season is really impacting the more selective systems. If you are only having 100 bets a season, then to suffer the luck I’ve had this season means I suspect it will be very difficult for the higher combined systems to get near the historical returns unless we start getting some breaks on these systems.

New Systems

The draw was a real issue on these systems although the story is similar to the Est Systems whereby the higher systems filtered out the winners again. An overall profit of 22.8pts from 123 bets is a decent return but when you see the base ratings made 10.4pts profit on each algorithm from 22 bets each, you have to wonder how more profits weren’t made on more systems. The draw was to blame I’m afraid and the draw really impacted these systems.

Things just don’t seem to be able to click this season like the last few seasons but it’s early days and when the systems click, profits can be made quickly. Hopefully this happens sooner rather than later.

Misc Systems

A great return here this weekend. A profit of 39.4pts from 73 bets. System 21-31 was the star with a profit of 14.2pts from 16 bets. 6-32 made a loss which again is a function of the fact 32 filtered out the winners from system 31 unfortunately. STOZ also underperformed this weekend considering system 31 had a great weekend. Unfortunately, the SGM didn’t agree with Tranmere as a bet based on the historical data and results. Shame really as it stopped the 3 SGM systems from having a really good weekend like some of the other systems.

Draw Systems

This is more like it. 19 winners from 27 bets and a profit of 39.22pts. Interestingly, one of the other draws was in a game where I got a late winner on another system, so I guess it could have been slightly better on these systems.

This is the first week I’ve backed the draws and actually thought that I was backing something I thought I would win and so it proved. Of course, it could have ended up with both losing but as I said before on the blog, for me, it’s about being able to see I’m getting value. Probably helped that Skeeve picked the draw in one of the games, so that at least showed my ratings weren’t too bad and I think it’s the first time I’ve actually thought that these systems were half decent this season!

Long way to go though but I’m more interested in these systems and hopefully they can build on this. I appreciate the losing runs are longer and with no short prices, it’s not like following another system which has a mix of Homes and Aways as even when the Aways are being volatile, the Homes can steady the ship. 

Under-Over Systems

I was surprised there weren't more bets this weekend but every possible bet that was thrown up was below minimum odds apart from 2. Thankfully, the 2 that qualified were both winners, so it helps to recoup some of the losses this month. A profit of 2.12pts from 2pts staked.

Overall, another really good update although I suspect a number of subscribers are reading this and wondering “what if”. The biggest bets didn’t cover themselves in glory but on the whole, they were very unlucky again and if we keep knocking on the door, surely it will open sooner rather than later.

A profit of 132pts from 292pts staked. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Midweek Results Update

Managed to find time this afternoon to update the midweek results, so this post covers these results. The midweek concerned 4 bets really, 2 win bets and 2 draws. The systems got 1 from 2 correct in both categories and therefore, another small profit was achieved. The next big test comes this weekend as there are a lot of big priced away bets thrown up as usual, so it’s likely to be a bit hit and miss again but we’ll see what happens.

Est Systems

A profit of 4.5pts after 5 winners from 13 bets. The other main bet was a draw, so that’s why the AH returns look in line with the overall returns.

New Systems

8 winners from 18 bets and a profit of 10pts. The 4th rating algorithm found small value in a number of other games from the first 3 algorithms (nothing new there as it has a much higher turnover) but all these teams lost. That explains why system 41 performed poorly.

Misc Systems

3 winners from 8 bets and a small profit of 2.5pts.

Draw Systems

8 winners from 16 here and a profit of 11.84pts. Slowly starting to warm to the draw systems but it really is a slow process. If we take the 2 games in midweek, the other game was a 1-0 win for the Away side but the Home side missed a penalty to bring it back to 1-1! Frustrating really as at these sort of odds, it’s an 8pt loss rather than a 20pt win. Had a number of these swings on the draw systems already this season and when I see we’re basically one multiple system win away from break-even, it’s slightly frustrating. As things are, I’m actually a couple of points down which is not a lot at all considering the fact I’ve had 3 or 4 games where it could have been a win rather than a loss.  Remains early days but I can see some potential now which is a step forward from where I was last month.

Under-Over Systems

These systems have reverted back to the same as last season. Saying that, one of the Under games was 1-1 at 92 mins and finished 2-2 (was one of the 2 outright selections), so that’s a little unlucky but seen it so many times with these systems over the last few seasons. A loss of 0.78pts.

Overall, a profit of 28pts from 58 bets. Another very small step forward and off the back of the weekend, it’s a decent consolidation.

It’s difficult to get away from the short-term nature of this game at the moment as until I get back to break-even, it sort of feels like we’re one bad set of fixtures away from the next disaster but it’s just linked to the fact the downturn this season has occurred before any profit was made. Every season, a losing streak has occurred and this one we suffered is no different apart from the fact we didn’t have the cushion of profits to fall back on.

This weekend will either get us back in the black I suspect or put us deeper into the red, so let’s see how it goes. In season’s gone past, this blog probably wasn’t the most interesting to read as it was simply me posting profits most of the time and talking about how great the systems are doing! 

Never had as much exposure as this before and the trials and tribulations of TFA are being discussed on Twitter and other blogs consistently at the moment. Quite enjoying it in a strange way as this game is lonely at times and the forum I used to use is basically gone, so I’m enjoying the banter on Twitter and enjoying seeing other thoughts. Many are experiencing the same thoughts and same ups and downs as me and it does feel like we’re one big family at TFA at the moment. Admittedly, we’d all be close to living on the street as we’re all skint but it’s nice to share the pain and pleasure of betting on the systems. This season has already been more interesting for me than the last 3 when making money seemed like taking candy off a baby! :)

Right, best get on with the email for tonight’s bets. Next update will be after the weekend. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Results Update

I can’t recall too many results updates over the past 4 years where I’ve gone from such a low to such a high in a short space of time but it has been a mad week. After arguably the worst month the systems have ever had, they followed it up last midweek with maybe the most frustrating set of results I’ve had in a single day. The highlight had to be the biggest midweek bet Ipswich throwing away a 4-1 lead at half-time against a Derby side who were absolutely played off the park. Given the way my luck had went over the preceding 3 or 4 weeks, I wasn’t totally surprised when it finished 4-4.

Nearly all the other bets that night finished a draw and I didn’t hit a single winner. Sheff Wed were the biggest priced away side playing and they led until the 89th minute against a poor Brighton side and then conceded an equaliser. The other teams battered the opposing teams in terms of shots on goal, shots on target and yet, couldn’t find a way to win and ultimately, I had followed up the worst month with a complete wipe-out. To say I was at a low point was an understatement. Over 30% of my betting bank gone, approaching a near 5 figure loss on the season (which is pretty bad after 5 weeks of betting!) and I then received a few typical emails from new subscribers who only joined in the Summer which I’ve come to expect over the years at this game.  It’s always newbies who jump ship first and I had the same thing last season when the systems were break-even until Christmas and I’ve had it again this season.

3 people left the service before the weekend after various email exchanges and therefore, when I updated the ratings after midweek and looked at some of the prices of the selections thrown up for the weekend, I wasn’t exactly in a buoyant mood when I sent out the email last Thursday. It was another really tough looking weekend with plenty of Away bets thrown up at decent odds and it wasn’t impossible that I’d be looking at another tough day.

First bet on Friday night lost, first bet on Saturday lost in an early kick-off, 30pts down for the systems and the bets hadn’t even started yet. The total outlay for the systems was 320 bets, so 290 bets left to recover the 30pts lost and hopefully some profit! How did Saturday go?

Well, it went pretty well if truth be told. Well, 264pts staked on Saturday and a profit of 268pts! Not bad. Sunday took the shine off it a little as Blackburn were the biggest bet this weekend but they managed to go 1-0 up, lose a man, concede a goal with 25 mins left, hold Wigan at 1-1 until injury time and then lose 2-1! Nightmare for anyone following AH0 as it’s like losing a winner when your team has 10 men I think.

Anyway, not going to let that ruin a good weekend and overall, it was a massive profit at the weekend.  Of course, let’s not get too carried away and when you put it against the losses suffered in September and then the midweek games last week, it only makes a dent in the losses but it feels much better mentally to have made my first real big profit this season. Hard to describe the feeling you get, checking football scores, counting up quickly in your head how much you’ve won or lost and then always coming up with a loss that’s in 4 figures. That’s happened every time this season I’ve had a decent number of bets, so it’s not a nice feeling. On Saturday though, I couldn’t get my laptop out quick enough to count up how much I’d won back. :)

Before I get onto the results below, I’m sure people wonder what my thoughts are concerning the 3 people who left the service with massive losses. Well, on one hand, I do feel sorry for them and their timing was horrible and it’s an unfortunate situation for them but on the other hand, why join the service if you are going to bail at the first bad run? After the midweek results with most of the games finishing all square, I was being judged less than 200 games I’d rated this season and anyone backing the Draw/Aways was making a substantial loss. Hence, how can you judge someone on this? It was the worst trading conditions I’d experienced since I started out at this football betting malarkey but at the end of the day, I can only play the cards that I’m dealt. If all the teams I pick decide to play shi* and lose, it’s not my fault. Blame the systems if you want, blame the fact we’ve been unlucky but don’t blame me. I’m a middle man here, I update the ratings, find the system bets and give them out.

I do find it slightly amusing that every person that has ever left the service has basically lost out on a lot of profit but maybe one day, when people jump ship, the service won’t recover and they’ll save themselves a fortune whilst we all lose our betting banks. However, I do question why they join a service and then jump ship when losses reach 30% or 40% as at the end of the day, if you believe in the service and the ratings, you had to believe we’d recover. Yes, we all have doubts (I doubt the systems every season at some point!) but you either believe or you don’t believe. Clearly, some join and don’t believe which is unfortunate for them and it can only end in tears I’m afraid.

I laughed to myself whilst reading a post Matthew wrote here which was his monthly review of his portfolio. This is his first real season of following TFA although he was a member last season. After posting the monthly results (which showed TFA was the worst by far in his portfolio and had lost 44% of the betting bank in 3 weeks!), he then went onto give a confidence rating for each tipster. I started to question Matthew’s sanity at this point when I saw he gave the service his highest confidence rating but I suspect he’s not alone in thinking along these lines. This is my 4th season betting on football and this season, I’ve branched out and added a 2nd service to my portfolio. First time I’ve come across another service I trust and that’s after watching his bets for 2 seasons as he’s my main competitor in the market!

One accusation that has been thrown my way over the Summer has been the fact I’m arrogant when it comes to football betting and football systems but at the end of the day, my confidence comes from the results. Yes, I can’t guarantee what the future will hold and I still may end up losing my betting bank along with everyone else following the systems this season but if I do so, I will not be ashamed of it. My rating algorithms are currently the best rating algorithms for the UK leagues in the market. My systems have proven to be the best systems in these UK leagues over the past few seasons. None of this guarantees the future results but the best guide to what happens next tends to be what has happened in the past at betting and therefore, that’s why me, Matthew and many others have this confidence in the systems turning around this season.

Of course, having written all of the above, the next few weeks are guaranteed to be rubbish, we’ll be in a worse position than before the weekend and people will be jumping the ship as if it’s the Titanic but as I said in the email a few weeks back, I’m happy to go down with the systems this season. If others believe and have staked appropriately, they should be happy to do so too. It’s why this is called gambling!

Right, enough of my bullshi*, here’s the results update.

Est Systems

38 winners from 87 bets and a profit of 33.81pts. AH returns were much lower and clearly, the more draw coverage, the lower the returns. Helps to rebalance the P&L a little after the start this season! Nice to see system 7-21 recoup some losses. This season, from 25 bets now, it has hit 7 winners, 11 draws and only 7 losers. The system has been hit by draws more than most but Saturday helped a little and hopefully it can push on from this now.

New Systems

71 winners from 157 bets and a profit of 66.94pts. AH were again much lower and therefore, you can see the difference it makes to the returns when your selection wins rather than draws! I talked about this in the monthly review but last month, when the whole world appeared to be falling down around me with the systems, system 31 (algorithm 3) somehow managed to make a profit. I said in the review I had no idea how it managed it given the poor performance of all other algorithms but when you see the returns after this update now, it looks like it’s business as usual for this algorithm this season. A nice profit of 11% from 112 bets this season. Only algorithm in profit but it’s a start!

Misc Systems

34 winners from 71 bets and a profit of 44.21pts. It has been a slow start this season for systems TOX, STOY and STOZ and even after the weekend, these 3 systems trail the other 3 systems a little. However, evidence definitely points to these 3 systems being stronger than the other 3 and therefore, I’d be disappointed if they didn’t turn around this deficit sooner, rather than later.

Draw Systems

I feel like these systems are bubbling away, waiting to burst into action at any moment but so far, it hasn’t happened. A 3pt profit from 70 bets. The overall strike rate is down 10% points on historical seasons for these systems but the overall draw strike rate has been lower this season for the games I’ve rated, so not too surprised with these systems so far. If backing all draws is losing 20% (will be lower now after the midweek and weekend), then making a profit is difficult. My rating algorithms are down 15% and 18% and this is in line with the losses we’ve seen so far on draws. Hopefully when we see the draw strike rate creep up as the season progresses, these systems manage to catch the draws!

Under-Over Systems

Not sure what it is with these damn systems but every time my other systems do well, these systems do rubbish! Last month, they were the only systems in deficit, this month, they are the only systems in a loss making position!

A loss of 4.48pts from 19 bets.

Overall, a good results update and the first real set of decent results this season. There have been many months where the systems start well and then hit a bad patch, so there is a long way to go before we see how the month turns out but hopefully this is the start of something a little better than we’ve seen so far this season. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

September 2013 Monthly Review

Over the years, I’ve tended to dread writing the monthly reviews after a losing month but I’m actually looking forward to this review. I’m not looking forward to discussing the results though and it has been a very painful month for me and everyone else following the systems I suspect but as I’ve seen over the years, we get these months now and again. The key is how the systems respond to a month like this and historically, the systems have always bounced back fairly quickly, so I’m not giving up hope yet but my confidence has taken a massive knock this month. If my confidence has taken a knock, I dread to think what new subscribers are feeling like but hopefully they keep a level head.

OK, in terms of these monthly reviews this season, I think as well as looking at the systems performance, I need to spend time looking at the performance of the value ratings. Until this season, I’ve never cared too much about the value ratings but I know a number of people are using the ratings rather than the systems this season, so I need to review both ways of following the service. Clearly, the systems rely on the ratings and it has been a terrible month for the ratings and systems, so I can’t imagine anyone has managed to do anything other than suffer a large loss this month but it will be interesting to see how the value ratings have fared compared to the systems.

Similar to previous seasons, I’ll review one set of systems at a time. Due to the fact this has been such a horrendous month, I’m going to look in depth at the results a little more than I would usually do but I think this is fair given the performance this month. Don’t expect this level of analysis every month but as I’ve said in emails to subscribers, my way of coping with the size of loss I’ve had this month is to overanalyse things a little. It doesn’t change the results, it won’t change what happens next but I really need to be able to rationalise the loss for my own mental state. I’ve lost over 12% of what I’ve won in the past 3 seasons and I’ve lost over 25% of my betting bank this season. Hence, this isn’t just a normal loss for me. This is a substantial loss.

I think before getting onto the systems, it’s worth discussing the results we have seen so far to date in all games I’ve rated so far this season. I deliberately try to avoid discussing trends in the results as at the end of the day, what we win or lose is all that matters to me and anyone following and when things are going well, I don’t tend to write about how easy it is to make money as the betting Gods are smiling on me.  However, I would be doing myself a disservice if I don’t comment on the season results to date.

I have rated just less than 190 games this season in terms of finding selections. I wait until 6 games are played in each league although this season, I dipped into League One just before this as a number teams hadn’t played 6 games but some had. In these 188 games, what do the results look like?

Backing all Homes outright has created a 10% profit, backing all Aways has created a 20% loss and backing  all Draws have created a 20% loss. Simply placing 1pt on every outcome of these games has created over a 25% loss this season. Long-term, I know that the average loss is 5% for each of the 3 outcomes. What does all this mean?

Well, given the vast majority of my bets are Away bets, trying to turn a profit when all the Aways have lost 20% is very difficult. The same comment goes for the draws. Trying to achieve a profit backing draws when they are heavily loss making is nearly impossible. On the other hand, making a profit should have been pretty easy if backing Home wins.

Keep these stats in mind when reading the performance of the rating algorithms and the systems so far this season.  :)

Here’s the review for each set of systems and rating algorithms.

Est Systems

I think it’s probably easier to discuss the ratings first and then we can look at the performance of the systems.

Here are the results for rating algorithms 1 and 2 for this month:

Well, to say it has been a shocker of a month for both rating algorithms is putting it mildly. Much of the loss has come from the lowest value bets as these have the highest turnover but the highest value bets haven’t covered themselves in any glory so far this season either. It’s difficult to draw conclusions from such small samples and then splitting it down into 7 more groups makes it impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions but basically, algorithms 1 and 2 have been rubbish this month.

One thing that does stand out is the impact that the draw has had. Both algorithms have made reduced losses if using draw coverage and the more draw coverage, the more the loss is reduced. However, even if using draw coverage on every bet, a loss would have still been made and therefore, we can’t pinpoint too many draws as the reason the algorithms lost this month.

Probably worth looking at the split between homes and aways for both algorithms.  Here’s the results:

I think this picture goes a long way to explaining what has happened this month. Algorithm 1 has had 6 winners from 46 away bets for a loss of 23.3pts. Algorithm 2 has had 5 winners from 39 away bets for a loss of 19.1pts. With respective average odds of 3.98 and 3.87, we’d have expected another 5-6 wins.

Homes paint a different picture though. Algorithm 1 has had 11 from 21 homes winning for a profit of 3.9pts and Algorithm 2 has had 8 winners from 15 home bets for a profit of 2.8pts. Therefore, Homes have performed in line with expectations.

When you break it down like this, you can see that ultimately, the problems this month stem from a small sample of Away bets. We’re looking at 5-6 games becoming wins rather than draws/defeats and the ratings would have made a profit on the month. I’ve discussed many times before how this game is full of thin lines and I think this again points to this.

Is it likely to be the case that Algorithm 1 and 2 have lost the edge that was so prevalent for the last 3 seasons over the first 39 and 46 away bets this season? I doubt it and if I look at the live results for both algorithms for Away bets (even after this month), algorithm 1 has a profit of 4.5% from 926 bets and algorithm 2 has a profit of 9% from 881 bets.

It can only be put down to variance and the fact that neither algorithm has had enough time to show the true underlying edge this season.   I don’t believe that we can dismiss the performance of 850+ live bets over the last 3 seasons for the exact same type of bet and think that the edge is no longer there.

OK, I think that’s my conclusion regarding algorithms 1 and 2. The only issue this month appears to be a small sample of Aways and the fact that Homes are in profit gives me confidence that the overall ratings haven’t lost the edge overnight.

I think for most of us, the performance of the systems is what we are really interested in for this month. Here are the results for this month:

The first thing to point out is that the draw has had a big impact on the overall performance of the systems.  I pointed it out with the base ratings but clearly, the teams who have appeared on more systems have been impacted by draws. A 92.4pt loss if backing outright is reduced to a loss of only 22.1pts if using AH0.5. That’s a significant shift in profitability.

The second thing to point out is the fact that as we move up systems 6 to 7 to 8 etc. the ROI’s are getting worse. This goes against everything we have seen over the past 3 seasons where the ROI improves as we move up each system. However, it all down to the draw.

Take system 7-21 as an example. 4 winners from 20 bets this month and a loss of 10.1pts. Shocking and I expect this system is in most people’s portfolios. However, if you look the AH returns, AH0 was a loss of 2.9pts, AH0.25 is a profit as is AH0.50. The same is true for systems 7,8,7-21 thru to 8-22. Therefore, the higher combined systems have really been impacted by draws.

So, I think my first conclusion is that if we look at the overall month for the Est systems, although I wouldn’t say all of the month’s losses is due to an above average number of draws, it definitely helps to explain some of it.

I think if we look at the split of homes and aways overall on the Est Systems, we’ll see where the issue lies this month with the performance of the systems. Here are the results:

A loss of 100pts on the Aways from 191 bets and a profit of 7.8pts from 71 home bets. I think we can see where the issue lies this month!

Again, if you look at the AH returns, any sort of draw coverage on the Aways improved the results substantially and it’s hard to ignore this.  I can pinpoint a couple of games in the last two weeks where I think we should have had winners (Hartelpool last week lost a 90th min equaliser, Middlesboro threw a 2 goal lead) but at the end of the day, that’s the name of the game. In the last two weekends, we’ve  had Plymouth (5.00), Partick (3.75), York (3.85) and all 3 played well, two of them took the lead and couldn’t hold on. When so many appear on multiple systems (Partick and York appeared 11 times), one goal for either team would have caused a 40pts swing. Goals for two teams would be an 80pt swing. 

I’ve discussed this lots of times on the blog and in emails over the last 3 years but at the average odds we play on Aways, it doesn’t take much to turn a profit into a loss. It takes a few things to go wrong to create a 100pt loss from 191 bets but we achieved it this month.  Does this mean the edge is gone and the systems have turned into a pile of shit overnight? No, I don’t think it does.

Lastly, I think most following the systems are keen to understand just how this loss compares to other losses the Est Systems have suffered in the last few seasons.

I kept referring to Sep-11 as being very comparable to this month but as long-term readers will be aware, in the first season of the systems going live, the systems suffered very bad losses in Feb-11 and Apr-11. Here’s the 4 months side by side and showing the P&L split between home and aways:

There are so many ways to look at this I suspect and others may disagree with me but I would say that based on the table, my ratings performed slightly worse in Sep-11 than Sep-13. Backing outright, Sep-13 is the worst month the systems have ever had but I think if you want to judge the ratings, then the draw has had a bigger impact in Sep-13 than Sep-11. Funnily enough, I think if you look back at Feb-11 and Apr-11, you can see that although the losses are comparable if backing outright, as I pointed out at the time, it was all down to draws in these months. Hence, I would say these were much better months than Sep-11 and Sep-13.

One thing that does stand out in the table is the Away performance this month though and clearly, it has been a freak set of results. If the ratings were as bad as they have appeared to be this month, would we expect the Homes to have made a profit?

I think that brings this monthly review of the Est Systems to a close. In summary, a terrible month but I think it’s nowhere near as bad as the results suggest. The Homes performed adequately but the Aways have had their worst month ever by a long, long way. A 13% strike rate at average odds of 3.73 is pretty tough to do if I was laying teams, so it’s a nightmare month but at the end of the day, it has happened and I can’t change it.

Having spent a fair bit of time playing with the data, I can’t see anything too wrong with the selections this month. I picked out some Aways that should have won above but I could also pick out some bets that we’ve had this month which actually lost but with hindsight, we were on an amazing value bet. The best example I can see is Macclesfield. The systems had them 11 times (a max bet) against Chester in a midweek game. Chester won 2-1. Macclesfield have played 3 games since and won all 3. Chester have only 1 win in 5 now (against Macclesfield) and have slipped to 2nd bottom in the league.  With hindsight, Macclesfield was the best bet I gave this month by far. They lost.

There were 5 max bets this month. Partick (took the lead and game finished 1-1), York (took the lead and game finished 1-1), Blackburn (0-0 against Huddersfield but couldn’t score and yet, scored 3 in the first half away from home on Saturday in their next game), Macclesfield (lost at Chester but won next 3 games) and last, but not least, Newport, who won at odds of 3.2.  Newport won again on Saturday and York managed to overcome the odds against Portsmouth and beat them 4-2.

With hindsight, they were 5 very, very good bets and we staked 55pts on these and only hit 1 winner from 5. If my ratings can find another 80 max bets like this over the rest of the season, I’ll be amazed if the Est Systems have a poor season.

New Systems

Here’s the performance of both these rating algorithms split by Home and Away bets.

Right, I think the first comment to make is the fact that algorithms 3 and 4 have outperformed the first 2 algorithms by a long way this month. Algorithm 2 is historically the strongest algorithm and therefore, it is interesting that algorithm 3 and 4 have wiped the floor with algorithm 2 this season.

Algorithm 3 managed to create a profit this month which in a disaster of a month, is somewhat surprising. When you look at the breakdown by Home/Away though, you’ll see it has been a special month for Home bets on algorithm 3. 27 bets and 20 winners at an average odds of 2.38 to create a profit of 22pts. Stunning results and for a small sample of bets, it shows what can happen when things go well. Algorithm 4 wasn’t quite as strong but still achieved a profit of 14.9pts from 35 home bets.  I thought the home bets on the first two algorithms did well but these results are much better.

When we look at the aways though, we see the same issues as the first two algorithms. Massive losses. 18.2pts lost on algorithm 3 and 23.8pts on algorithm 4. The draw definitely impacted algorithm 4 more than algorithm 3 this month but I don’t think either algorithm was impacted as much as the first two algorithms.

Overall, not a great month for algorithms 3 and 4 but compared to algorithms 1 and 2, different class!

Here are the results of the New Systems (seems a weird name now they aren’t new anymore!):

This is where the picture starts to get really confusing to those who understand the ratings, including me! I have just came to a clear conclusion that algorithms 3 and 4 have done much better than 1 and 2 but then you look at the system results and think, WTF has happened here?  31-41 has made a profit amazingly (to make a profit in a month where all outcomes achieved a 25% loss is absolutely stunning!) but working down the combined systems, the losses soon mount quickly.

Another amazing stat is that system 32-42 only hit 3 winners in 20 bets! As the systems have filtered the bets, they have done an amazing job at picking out losers! Take system 31. A profit in the month (really can’t exaggerate how impressive this is) but then, system 32 takes these bets, filters out all the winners and produces a loss of 14.6pts. Crazy figures and although I’ve seen something like this before, not sure I’ve seen it to this extent with the systems.

If you look at the AH returns, the draw clearly hasn’t had a big impact at all on these systems and quite simply, the filtering process just hasn’t worked at all. I’ve seen this happen once or twice before (if you read the monthly reviews on the blog, you can see it yourself in some months) but it’s annoying when it happens. The draw isn’t to blame on these systems and therefore, you have to say it has been a worse month for the New Systems than the Est Systems. Strange saying that considering algorithms 3&4 were better than 1&2 but that’s the way it has turned out.

I think the next picture paints the picture well for what has happened on these systems.  Here’s the P&L split by Home and Aways:

Let’s deal with the positive results. One of the best results for Homes that these systems have had to date. A 39.5% ROI on Homes is amazing and although I’ve said it was an easy month to make profits on Homes, it wasn’t that easy! Crazy return in a crazy month and for those people asking themselves whether or not my ratings are working well, then I think this shows there isn’t too much wrong.

On the other hand, the Away return is crazy for the opposite reason. A 146pt loss from 298 bets is difficult to do I think in a month! A 14.8% strike rate from 298 bets at an average odds of 3.78. A brilliant performance for a laying system and if I was laying these, I would doubt I think I could have a better month! Given I’m backing these, hard to imagine a worse month than this.

In terms of how bad this is historically, all the New Systems have only been around since last season although the algorithm has been around for 2 previous seasons.  Saying all of that, even if I look at all of the backtested results, I can’t see anything as bad as this or even close to this. Here are the 3 worst months historically:

Both of the previous large losing months were in some way down to the draw as you can see by the AH returns but this month, the draw had very little impact. Therefore, I have to admit that this is the worst month these systems have had. What does this mean? Well, it means we are into unprecedented territory and for those of us who set betting banks based on historical drawdowns, we are likely to see new historical drawdowns if we haven’t already and therefore, our bank may come under pressure sooner rather than later.

Last season, these systems made over 100pts in a month twice in the space of 6 months and therefore, if any set of systems can bounce back quickly, these are maybe the systems. Then again, if any set of systems can win and lose 100pts in a month, it’s never going to be a smooth journey and until we see more data, I’m slightly worried we may have got sucked into these systems too early. Last season, I didn’t follow these systems at all and watched in envy as huge profits were made across the board and I’m not alone in jumping in with both feet on these systems this season. Therefore, I am slightly anxious having seen this size of loss in the first month but I’ll give it another month and then decide what I want to do. If another big losing month was to hit, bank preservation would possibly kick in and I may look to exit these systems for a loss in my own betting portfolio but we’ll see what happens.

I think that completes the review of the New Systems. A really disappointing month for the systems but the ratings weren’t anywhere near as bad as the systems are making out. It’s difficult though as the ratings are only the lynchpin which the systems are based on but at the end of the day, we need to the ratings to do well for us to make money long-term and algorithm 3 managed it this month. Hence, I would give algorithm 3 pass marks but algorithm 4 was rubbish and the systems overall were a disaster. Roll on next month. 

Misc Systems

No ratings to judge here, so the system results are all that matters (and they were terrible!). Here’s the results:

Given the losses on the previous systems, these systems didn’t stand much of a chance! I would go as far to say that I’m really pleased with the performance of TOX, STOY and STOZ as they lost less than most other systems with a similar level of turnover, so they weren’t quite as bad as some systems. I like the fact that the 3 systems I follow that aren’t rating based still lost badly as it shows that no matter what I did this month, I don’t think I could have avoided a loss.

6-32 has done the impossible and hit 4 winners from 25 bets at odds of 3.17! Horrible month and it will be a long way back for this system this season. Break-even would be looking good I suspect.

21-31 and 6-21-31 have had nearly the same bets (apart from 1 which was a loser as well) and overall, it’s a horrible month. Not much more I can add. I’ve already discussed all 3 algorithms in depth.

One thing I have touched on before on the blog and also in various emails to subscribers is the performance of Home bets on systems TOX, STOY and STOZ. Traditionally, these have been the strongest home bets my systems have found and in a month where Homes have done well, I would hope these bets have done well too! Here are the results of all 6 systems split between Home and Away bets:

I’ll be honest and say that I’m disappointed with the returns from the Homes on these systems this month. Yes, they achieved a profit but compared to some of the algorithms and the returns on Homes,  I would say these under achieved a little this month.  On the other hand, they haven’t had as many Away bets as some systems this month and ultimately, that has meant these systems haven’t had massive losses (it’s all relative when you’re losing like my systems are this month).

System 6-32 has hit 1 winner from 17 away bets at average odds of 3.67. All I can say is WOW! Again, if I was laying these, I wouldn’t think anyone could achieve these sort of results, so to hit this on a backing system is a disaster!  The draw was a little bit of a nuisance on these systems but nothing too bad compared to what I’ve seen in the past.

In terms of historical results, these systems have had a number of poor calendar months but overall, I would say this month has been the worst. Here’s the results from the worst months:

We need to be careful here as the bet number over the last 2 seasons is much higher than previously as the backtested results contained some filters which I removed a few months after the systems went live and I never went back to update the backtested results. However, if we ignore the overall pts lost, we still have the ROI for each month and each betting method.

Although a couple of months have had worse ROI’s, these months were clearly impacted by draws. The AH0.5 loss this month is the highest ever seen on these systems by a long, long way, so that’s as good an indication as any that this month has been a terrible month IMO.

I think I get a little more comfort on these systems given the fact I feel like they have been there and done it before and large losses are not totally unknown in some months.  I guess I have more confidence in the Misc Systems than the New Systems given the fact they have an extra season of live results but my own portfolio is staked that way. I stake more on the Misc Systems than the New Systems, so although my confidence may be better, my P&L is just as bad this month on both sets of systems!

That will do as a review of these systems, don’t want to write the same over and over again. Aways horrible, Homes good. End of.

Under/Over Systems

I didn’t think I’d be saying this 4 weeks ago but these were the best performing systems by far this month. Of course, this is probably linked to the fact that it’s the only set of systems that I don’t have any systems from within my own portfolio, so when things aren’t going your way, it’s like another kick in the balls that these have made a profit.

Here’s the results:

A profit of 4.5pts from 27 bets may not make anyone rich but compared to the other systems this month, it’s just great to see a profit instead of a loss! Said it before a lot on the blog but I personally don’t like these systems, I don’t believe there is that much of a long-term edge and I think it’s probably a slow way to win or lose 1%-2% over the long-term. So far, they have made an ROI of 3.9% over 863 live bets but compared to all my other systems, this is poor and they were no better than break-even last season.

I found out last week someone is following these systems this season and it has saved their month (gulp!) but I’m not sure I’d want to be relying on these systems long-term to make a money from following my ratings. Don’t think they’ll do much harm but not sure they’ll make much money either but we’ll see how they do over the next few months.

Draw Systems

Before I get on with this review, I feel like I should share my own thoughts on these systems. I’ve mentioned this on the blog before and I had a decent exchange on Twitter with a subscriber about the systems but for me personally, I haven’t enjoyed betting on the draw systems. I’m only following a couple of systems and I’m only a couple of points down, so this isn’t me speaking through my pocket but I’m not sure these systems are for me.

It’s a strange one as people may say it’s because of the losing runs and the high average odds but that’s rubbish. The average odds for my footie bets are around a similar price to the draw prices as I follow more Aways than Homes in my portfolio and the Aways are usually decent odds, so it’s not linked to average odds or expected losing runs.

I know this sounds a little bit irrational but I can’t help but feel there is an element of luck involved in this on a game to game basis. I actually feel the same way about the Under/Over bets and I sometimes sit and watch a game where it has 0-0 and Under 2.5 goals written all over it and then in the space of 5 mins, it’s 2-1 and the Unders bet is gone. I think I feel the same way about the draw systems.

Now, I know it’s irrational as the backtested results must have all of this factored in which means the ratings in the long-run don’t really depend on luck in any game to make a profit but I think I’m maybe scarred by the fact that my first decent bet on a draw was ruined by a 97th minute goal to make it 1-0!

Anyway, that’s just my own thoughts but it’s based on nothing but my own thoughts on placing the bets. These systems may end up being the best systems we’ve ever seen and they make me a great profit long-term but in the first month,  I’ve been left a little underwhelmed to say the least.

Bearing in mind what I said in the introduction around the fact that backing draws in all the rated games so far created a 20% loss, I don’t think these results are too bad at all! Here’s the results:

I don’t want to overanalyse such a small sample of bets and therefore, not going to make too many comments. I would probably come across as biased anyway given what I just wrote above and therefore, let’s give these systems a little more time to see how things pan out.

If the late goal that occurred in the month had not happened, would have basically been a break-even month to kick off their first live month and that would have been a fair result. Not sure the current results are a true representation of the month for these systems but we’ll learn more as the season goes on.

Ok, I think that’s enough of a review for a single month. Some people analyse a season in less words than I’ve analysed a month! I did start reducing the length of the reviews as I worked through this as there is only so many times I can tell you that Homes had a good month and Aways had their worst month ever. Could have written the review in 5 mins. ;)

I’m not sure about any of you reading but I personally feel much better about the month we’ve just encountered. Yes, it’s the largest monthly loss I’ve ever suffered personally from betting, yes, it’s the worst month the service has ever had, yes, anyone following the systems this month lost a massive amount of money but at the end of the day, when you are backing mostly Aways where all Aways are heavily loss making, it is always going to make things appear worse than they are in reality.

We’ll see what happens next month and hopefully we see a bounce back from the Away bets next month to correct the P&Ls of many of these systems!