Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Updated results of the 'Cassini' TFA System

Firstly, a well done to Cassini for updating the latest TFA FTL tipster table. I monitor a lot of bets and systems myself as you may have noticed but all my data is always in a nice format and of course, I own all the bets and systems. I wouldn’t fancy doing the job that Cassini does every week by taking people’s bets via emails and spreadsheets and then having to record all the results at Pinnacle’s closing line and not the advised prices etc. I doubt many would do what Cassini does free of charge and therefore, I take my hat off to him.  You can see the latest FTL table here.

I gave an update on how the system I entered into the league was doing a few months ago and you can read that post here.

At that point in time, the system was running at a loss and had been through some fairly tough times early on this season.

As you may have seen on Cassini’s blog today, the system in his tipster league has now crawled into profit. A profit of 2.89pts at an ROI of 1.33%. Not setting the world alight but considering the system was -28pts not too long ago, to see it in profit is at least an improvement. :)

One thing I touched on before was my target for this system in the tipster league. I said that I would be hoping for 600 bets at an ROI of 5% to advised prices and at Pinnacle prices, I assumed it would be something like 3%.  The Pinnacle kick-off price bit was always a bit of a guess but given most of my advised prices are at Pinnacle prices, I assumed a slight drop off as my selections reduce in price from the Thursday evening to kick-off as all my members are aware.

Well, we’re roughly at the halfway stage of the season in the tipster league.  The ‘advised’ results from the Cassini system below are shown on the graph below:

A profit of 10.58pts from 217 bets. An ROI of 4.88%. 

Clearly, the system isn’t doing anything too special but considering the start this season, an ROI of nearly 5% is acceptable I think.  This could be backed up by any of my members but the advised prices being used here are achievable. My own records have me achieving 99.6% of my prices this season as of last weekend and I place a lot of bets on Saturday mornings these days which sees some big swings in prices on some bets but some go up and some go down. Interestingly, when I last did an update of this system, I was beating my advised prices, so over the last 6 weeks or so, it has got more difficult to match my prices but then again, I’ve been placing bets on the day of games over the Festive period when I’ve had a really decent run of form and been taking lower prices in the main.

Anyway, I hope this shows that my advised prices aren’t pie in the sky.

So, why is the system doing much worse at Pinnacle prices at kick-off?  Well, there are a few reasons for this but it’s easily explainable:

  •     Part of the edge of my ratings is the fact can identify value at a point in time. If my ratings have an edge, you would expect the odds I’m backing at to be higher than the odds at kick-off and therefore, it’s not too surprising that I beat the Pinnacle odds at kick-off on average.
  •     What I didn’t realise was that some of my newer subscribers (and some of my high roller subscribers) are placing bets at Pinnacle on the day of the game and in the run-up to kick-off as they can get their full stakes on the games. One of my ‘high roller’ subscribers plays his bets exactly an hour before kick-off like clockwork and his betting bank is £250k. Hence, he’s regularly placing £10k bets on some of my teams at big odds with Pinnacle and therefore, he is moving the Pinnacle price himself or at least, contributing significantly to the movement. Combine this with the previous point above and you can see why I’m at a disadvantage when Pinnacle’s closing odds are used. Incidentally, I think this is the fairest way to run Cassini’s league in terms of recording of odds, so I’m not saying it’s unfair but I just want to highlight why this discrepancy has arisen.

I did a quick check on the last 40 bets and if recording the best price on odds portal at kick-off, you will beat my advised prices and recorded P&L for this system over this period. Therefore, more often than not, in the lower league games, Pinnacle are nowhere near the best price at kick-off on my selections. Not something I had paid much attention to until now but I’ve been looking at it over the last few weeks and it’s definitely the case.

My other issue with the system so far is the low volume of bets. 217 bets isn’t enough turnover to achieve my target but as my systems have shown, the higher the turnover, the lower the ROI and therefore, it’s not just the case of churning out more bets on this system as it may lose the edge it has.

What does all this mean in terms of the Tipster league? Well, it’s not going to be as straightforward as I thought to win the league!

Rebasing the system targets then for this season, 450 bets at an ROI of 5% gives me a target return of 22.5pts. At Pinnacle odds at kick-off, this is more likely to be 450 bets at an ROI of 1.5%. 6.75pts.

6.75pts won’t win the tipster league but it would at least see me finish in profit. As I said at the start of the season, based on previous seasons, finishing in profit would see me in the top half of the league and given I was taking that as a given at the start of the season, that’s partly where my idea of a £25 bounty for everyone who beats me came from!

I have four options now.

1). I increase the turnover, make the system more volatile potentially and hopefully hit enough winners as my expected ROI may drop a little but if I get lucky, I could still make a decent profit. With no luck, I’d probably make a loss this season.  Not worth the risk.
2). I reduce the turnover, play fewer bets with a higher expected ROI and hope that I get a run of nice winners in the second half of the season. With the low bet number could come more volatility and therefore, it goes against what I believe in when it comes to these systems. No.
3). I do nothing and stick with the system as it is. Based on current projections, I’d scrape a profit this season at Pinnacle prices but end up with an OK profit at advised prices (which don’t mean anything in the context of this system!)
4). I build a new system for the second half of the season.

I did think of trying something new in the second half of the season and maybe going for broke and try to build another system but I think that with a bounty of £25 to everyone who finishes above me, if the system crashes and burns, it would be costly!

Therefore, after all this, I’m going to do nothing. I’ll keep this system churning out the same bets it has done all season and although it’s highly unlikely I can make enough profit to win the league, I can still finish top 6 or so which wouldn’t be a disaster and would at least minimise my bounty cost!

Of course, given the system has about 230 bets left, anything can happen this time. The first 100 bets on the system this season saw a 19pt loss, the next 100 bets saw a 23.5pts profit. The last 17 bets have saw 6.2pts profit. As you can see, over 100 bets, it is fairly random and over a sample of 100 bets, it is very rare to hit the expected return of the system. Hence, another 230 bets like the first 100 bets and I’ll finish last in the league. Another 200 bets like the last 100 bets and I’ll win the league doing handstands. In reality, I have little control over the results as always and I just have to hope that over 450 bets this season, the system has enough time to show the edge it has. The fact I’m beating the Pinnacle closing line by 4% on average for my winning bets shows that the system has an edge to advised prices but nearly all of the edge is eroded at Pinnacle prices at kick-off unfortunately.

Let’s see what happens next……


  1. Good to see your results back on track Graham, I expected they would to be honest.

    It’s worth noting that any positive edge right before kick off could be much more valuable than a bigger percentage prior to this because Pinnacle’s limits will be much higher at this point and bigger stakes are allowed.

    Brian (aka Webbo)

  2. Hi Brian.

    Thanks for the comment. I agree with you to an extent but given the fact my teams shorten over time generally, waiting to kick-off to be able to place pretty much unlimited amounts on the bets erodes too much of the edge.

    I place my bets on a Saturday morning now more often than not for the simple reason that when I release the bets, the odds are cut across the board from the weight of money being placed at that time. Not an issue though as if I wait until Saturday morning, liquidity is better and the prices bounce back.

    If I take today, for the lower leagues, I can get £850 on my bets with Pinnacle and £5k in the Championship. I’m not at the level with my betting yet where I need to wait until later to get more money on.

    The other advantage of Saturday morning is that there are more standout prices with other bookmakers who still lay me a decent bet and therefore, I can beat the Pinnacle odds and usually get very close to my advised odds if I shop around. This can probably be seen best on my Bet Advisor system which is just another unique system but it’s played at odds available with a few bookmakers on a Saturday morning. This system does OK but again, it’s no world beater given the fact my subscribers get better odds.

    If I didn’t have the service, I would get a much better return from my own betting but I’ve said that many times before on the blog. The issue is the work I need to do to run the systems and ratings I have. I’d need to take my betting up a notch or two before I could justify the time and effort to do this. The service pays for my time and effort.