Monday, 28 April 2014

Final Results for April

The weekend past rounded off a very good month of April. To say that April has been the complete opposite of March is no understatement and whereas March barely had a profitable day for the systems, April has barely had a losing day. If only it was always this easy to make money from betting on football!!!!

Going to keep this update fairly short as that’s the month now complete and therefore, my next task is to look back over the month soon. It really has been a remarkable month for some systems and interestingly, a few of the systems that suffered record losses in March have recorded record profits in April. What a difference a month makes!

The weekend past was actually the best weekend of the month which is great news considering every other update has been profitable so far this month too. Here’s hoping the systems end the season well in May and don’t give back some of these recent gains!

Est Systems

A profit of 40.7pts from 51 bets. Both rating algorithms did well, the combined systems did well and I guess the only disappointing thing is that the filtering filtered out too many winners!  It is weekends like this where you want to see lots of bets on the higher combined systems as it was difficult to lose.

New Systems

A profit of 51.88pts from 103 bets. Ratings did well, systems did and similar to above, the only frustrating thing is that there weren’t more bets on the higher combined systems.

Misc Systems

A profit of 42.55pts from 54 bets. STOZ continued it’s amazing run this month but all 6 systems had a great weekend to cap off a very good month for these systems.

Draw Systems

A loss of 19pts from 77 games. Only 17 winners from 77 games but it was another very tough weekend for finding draws in these leagues. This will go down as a poor month for these draw systems but I actually think they have done well to limit the damage this season.

Euro Systems

A profit of 30.1pts from 74 bets. Another decent weekend for the Euro bets (assumes the bet tonight loses) and it’s been an OK season so far for these ratings and systems.

Under-Over Systems

A profit of 1.3pts from 3 bets. A profitable month for these systems, now there’s a change!

Overall, a profit of 147.53pts from 362 bets. An ROI of 40.7%! Could do with more weekends like this. :)

It’s been a really strange month for the systems and my own betting. Coming off the back of the worst month ever, I went into this month with the possibility that I would lose what was left of my betting bank and I would have some massive decisions to make about where I go in the future. At the end of the month, I’m at a new season high in terms of my P&L and the systems have gone some way to undoing the mess they made in March. Seeing months like this reminds me of how much money I can make at this game when things go well and therefore, it whets my appetite for doing the work required this Summer to hopefully improve the service, the ratings and the systems.

It’s safe to say that this month has given me an enormous boost to continue working on this and to look to the future. 5 weeks ago, I’m not sure I could see a way forward and although I have some massive doubts about the service and how it should look going forward, being able to restructure things off the back of a profitable period is much easier than doing it off the back of a substantial loss!

Next post should be the monthly review although it’s going to take a little bit of time. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Latest April Results

Before I get on with the recent results update, a quick thanks to Dmitri who has taken the time and effort to write a fair bit in the comments section on a recent post regarding the flaws with using a level staking approach on multiple bets which are correlated. Dmitri’s thoughts were very similar to those Tage shared with subscribers earlier this season and it’s always nice when subscribers take the time to try to use their area of expertise to help others. Thanks also to Diego for his comments.

I very much doubt whether any football systems have ever received as much press as TFA has got this season and I guess my only wish was that I had this amount of press during the first 3 seasons when things were going well! Stewboss joked on Twitter this week that I must be loving the publicity I’m getting through Steve’s blog this season (he was being sarcastic!) but I actually think this season will change the way people think about TFA. I always think you learn in life when things aren’t going as smoothly as you hoped and I feel like I’ve learnt more this season than in the previous 3 seasons combined. You never learn when you win too easily.

I think Steve’s predicament this season shows what can happen if you follow a highly correlated portfolio of bets and ultimately, Steve’s losses should be a lesson to everyone about what can happen with portfolio betting if not applied correctly. I think one thing that is clear is that lumping a set of TFA systems together in a portfolio and placing 1pt on each bet isn’t an optimal solution but to be honest, it never has been.

When every system has been profitable historically, the more systems you had in your portfolio, the higher the return on capital as the risk was higher and therefore, it was always about taking a massive risk for a massive return. I think most people realised this (Steve certainly did) and therefore, I don’t think this portfolio strategy was ever about managing risk or optimising risk and return. It was about trying to push things are far as you can go in terms of return on capital and ultimately, the strategy has crashed and burned this season for Steve (and myself to a small degree).  I know others are in a similar boat.

I think those who have had a fair few pops at the service this season have been quick to point to Steve’s losses and say the ratings are rubbish but as always, it’s never that easy. After this weekend past, all 8 algorithms are in profit this season for the first time at once I think this season. Admittedly, a couple of them are nowhere near the profits I expected this season but at the end of the day, to be able to make profits over hundreds of unique bets on each algorithm isn’t easy. Given the rollercoaster this season, unlikely they’ll all be in profit at season end I suspect but even so, it’s not a disaster.

I always work on the assumption that a profitable algorithm is a great base to start from and therefore, it’s hard to be too upset with myself this season. Admittedly, this season has been really tough and the fact we’re in the last few weeks of the season and all 8 algorithms are only now in profit says a helluva lot about the season.

I’m not wanting to start drawing too many conclusions as I’ll wait until season end before looking at the season but anyone following the service will know that it has been a really tough season for the areas I play in (mainly higher average odds aways and homes) and throw in the number of teams who have thrown away 2 goal leads late on in games (feels more than a fair number of bad beats this season) and the fact that all 8 algorithms have a chance of ending the season in profit is actually quite positive.

This season has been a disaster, a nightmare, the worst season ever, the service has been ridiculed, I’ve taken an amazing amount of shi* from subscribers early in the season and then again in March, I’ve struggled to make money myself this season and yet, all 8 rating algorithms may be profitable this season.

That’s quite a sobering thought. If the ratings can make money this season, what can they do in a more normal season? Oh yeah, we already know that answer, look at the last 3 seasons…….

Anyway, here’s the results update for the Easter programme.

Est Systems

A profit of 25.25pts from 83 bets.  Another decent update for these systems and having been loss making all season, there is a little bit of hope these systems could reach break-even if we get another couple of good weeks!

New Systems

A profit of 61.95pts from 178 bets. These systems have a long way to go before they recover from the mess last month they got themselves in but it’s another nice set of results.

I gave system 31 a little bit of stick last month for having its worst ever month on record but boy, has this system bounced back this month. A profit of 25.94pts from 33 bets for this update. With one weekend left, this algorithm has a chance of achieving its best ever monthly profit! Now that would be a good comeback……

Misc Systems

A profit of 33.77pts from 110 bets.  I’ve given STOZ a lot of stick this season but it’s like someone has flicked a switch on this system this month. A profit of 16.08pts from 26 bets in this update. Last month was the worst month ever for STOZ. If it can make a profit this weekend, it can possibly be the best month the system has ever had! Can it do it?

Draw Systems

A loss of 21.72pts from 169 bets. Only 43 winners. I said this on Twitter earlier this week but this is a nightmare month for those backing the draw in the UK leagues. The strike rate is 20% at the moment this month and therefore, I think these systems have done great this update to only lose 22pts. This has been the toughest season for draws over the last 4 seasons and therefore, I think the draw systems this season have outperformed the underlying results by a fair way. If the draw systems can do this in a tough season, what would happen in a good season for draws?

Euro Systems

A loss of 1pt from 72 bets. No real damage done but the ratings have been doing OK. The filtering of the systems has been difficult (same as the UK systems tbh this season) and I guess it’s a step forward that the ratings have done OK this season. The Euro leagues remain a bit of a mystery to me and I’m seriously thinking that having a go at draw systems in the Euro leagues is probably the next logical step for me but I’ll give it some thought during the Summer. I like the Euro bets as it gives me interest in the Euro leagues each weekend but as always, I’m not really interested in having bets for the sake of it. I need to have an edge and at the moment, I’m not convinced these ratings have much of an edge in the Euro leagues. Maybe I could do better with draw systems?

Under/Over Systems

2 winners from 3 and a profit of 1.13pts.  Retirement beckons for these systems!


A profit of 99.38pts from 615 bets. An ROI of 16.1%.

A really good set of results over Easter and the month has been good so far.  As I’ve been discussing on Twitter, it has been a very favourable month for anyone betting on Aways (less so for those betting on Homes/Draws) and therefore, my ratings are capitalising on this. I think my only disappointment so far this month is that the systems haven’t won even more profit and therefore, as has been the issue for most of the season, when things go well, the systems don’t seem to win as much as they should but when things go bad, they lose more than they should!

One weekend of results left this month and 4 midweek games next week. It looks like it will be a profitable month but looking at the last two months together, it’s still a hefty loss for the overall system results. I think that shows how bad March was! 

Monday, 14 April 2014

April Results So Far.......

The first half of April has been much better than all of March I think. It’s like chalk and cheese compared to last month but as always, the underlying results tell the story of what’s happened. We have just experienced the most favourable two weeks of the seasons for Away bets I think and thankfully, my ratings caught a good chunk of it. Frustratingly, they didn’t catch more away winners and I’m a little disappointed to only be posting the profits I’m posting but it sort of sums up the season so far. I don’t win enough during the good times and I lose too much during the bad times!

As has been the case too often this season for my liking, teams have lost 2 goal leads late on and these results would have been over 120pts better off if one team had not drawn 3-3 after leading 3-1 with 10 mins left or if a team had not conceded an equaliser in the 95th minute through a debatable penalty with the last kick of the game!  This 120pt swing can be added to the other swings suffered early on this season when things like this seemed to be common occurrence!

The strike rate for draws has been very, very low so far this month and I think it’s great credit to the draw systems that they are basically break-even this month so far. Hasn’t been an easy time for draws this season and the fact the Draw systems have been my best performing systems says a fair bit about these systems.

The month has been a nightmare for backing all Homes and my Home bets have struggled too. Again, not going to beat them up too much given how difficult it has been but when the Away strike rate is higher than the Home strike rate in a month, you are going to struggle to make money with Home bets!

A really strange month so far but given the way this season has went, I’m not in the least bit surprised. I think the work I’ve done on the underlying results this season has really helped me think about this game differently now and I suspect it’s potentially going to change the way I think about ratings now if I continue with my football ratings into the future.

Anyway, here’s the results for the month so far: (I’ve assumed the 3pts on bets tonight are lost)

Est Systems

A profit of 10.38pts from 76 bets.  Given the underlying results, disappointing these systems haven’t capitalised more so far this month.

New Systems

A profit of 43.04pts from 172 bets. A really strong start to the month after the disaster of last month. 4 profitable days this month from 4. Last month had 2 profitable days from 16 if I remember correctly!

Misc Systems

 A profit of 29.99pts from 78 bets. STOZ has (for the first time this season!) outperformed the other Misc Systems so far this month. A long way back for this system and it’s still on a horrible drawdown but it has at least stopped losing for the time being!

Draw Systems

A profit of 0.28pts from 177 bets. Considering the low strike rate of draws so far this month (less than 20%), to break-even and manage to hit 51 winners from 177 is very good.  Hopefully these systems can build on this in the second half of the month.

Euro Systems

27pts profit from 142 bets. I’ve no idea if the Euro bets have performed better than the underlying market conditions or not this season as I don’t have the same level of analysis available at the moment. However, I am aware of the very low strike rates for Draws and therefore, I suspect the Euro systems are operating in very favourable conditions this season. Therefore, I would suggest these systems may not be performing as well as I’d have hoped but we’ll see what it looks like at season end.

Under/Over Systems

1.62pts profit from 7 bets.

Overall, a profit of 112.31pts from 652 bets.

The positive start this month wins back around 1/3 of the losses from last month. However, if two games had not suffered late turnarounds, we would have recouped around 2/3 of the losses from last month. It’s a thin line at times and ultimately, too many times this season, the systems have been on the other side of the line.

It’s a really busy end to this month with two full sets of fixtures over the Bank Holiday weekend coming up. Given the way the season has gone, I wouldn’t like to guess what happens next! 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Does this help to explain the issues this season?

I’m off work next week and ultimately, this is the week of the year when I start pulling together my plans and thoughts around what I need to do this Summer in preparation for next season. At the moment, I actually don’t have any concrete plans and it’s difficult to make plans when I’m feeling quite down about how the season has gone. I’ve already said the service needs a massive revamp, the ratings need a lot of work potentially, the systems need binned or at least, filtered in some way to reduce my workload and make it easier for followers of my ratings and systems. I can probably do with starting with a blank sheet of paper and mapping out how I think my ratings and systems should look but being honest, I don’t know if I can be bothered with it.

Anyone who reads my emails will know this season has been one massive pain the arse for me and when you have a month like Sep-13 was (massive losses), it suddenly seems like a much tougher season from there on and ultimately, just when I seemed to get back on an even keel, March then came along and was worse than September! At the moment, my mind is a little bit of a mush and it’s difficult to think clearly about where I go from here.  Tuesday night was like another massive blow (Sheff Wed and Woking losing late goals caused me to have a substantial swing on the night) and it’s hard to pick myself up at the moment.

Personally, coming into this season, I increased my betting bank by 150% from last season as most of you know and I had huge plans for how I would spend my profits this season! A new Garage for the house, paying off some more of my mortgage, reinvesting some more of the profits into my betting bank. That’s the 3 areas where my profits were going from this season. Ultimately, as things stand today, my betting bank is 20% lower than when I started the season.

I always knew my issue at this game would be when I had a loss. It’s easy to have the right mind-frame at gambling when you are winning but for someone who isn’t used to losing, how would I cope with a loss? Well, I already knew the answer to this and I’ve admitted it a few times but I’m a terrible loser. I hate losing (doesn’t everyone?) but I really struggle to accept losing. In the same way as in my personal life, I struggle to accept doing things wrong or struggle to accept criticism for the way I do things.

Now I’m facing up to a losing season, where do I go from here? Part of me says that I’ve had 3 great seasons, this season has brought me down to earth and now is the time to bail out and keep the money I’ve won over the last 4 seasons. I gave it a really good go, created something that was pretty good but at the end of the day, a season like this shows what can happen when things go wrong and ultimately, do I really want to risk losing money at betting?

At the moment, I’ll be honest and say this part of me is winning unfortunately. The other part of me are my usual characteristics and the fact I always believed I have something pretty special here and ultimately, I don’t want to stop after a losing season. I struggle to accept the fact I’ve made a loss this season (I shouldn’t lose at this game!) and therefore, I need to put it right and at the very least, get back the losses people have suffered this season along with me. I’m not a quitter!

I’m always honest on the blog and I know Steve (Daily 25) doesn’t really like his tipsters having emotions but thankfully, all my bets are automated and therefore, I can say what I want about the systems, my losses, how I feel etc. and it has no impact on the future performance of the systems.  Therefore, that’s where my head is at today. I need to quickly make some decisions as the greatest workload at this for me is during the Summer and if my heart (and head) are not in it, I can’t continue beyond this season. I’ll give it some thought next week and I’ll either start planning for next season and my Summer workload or I’ll start winding down.

One thing I have been giving a lot of thought to is the performance of the systems this season and the fact that the Draw Systems appear to be doing really well whereas the systems that are more established are struggling. Is this a new phenomenon? Well, no, because last year, the New Systems outperformed the Est Systems and therefore, is it the case there is a time decay issue with my ratings?

Before I try to answer this, I need to again state that I don’t refresh my rating algorithms every Summer with new data. If I want to do anything, I add new rating algorithms or add new systems but I don’t refresh the algorithms I already have. As I’ve admitted a lot over the last 2 seasons now, with hindsight, I’m not sure this is the correct way to approach this game but it’s the way I chose at the outset.

My concern with refreshing the algorithms was that it meant that every new season, I would effectively be following a rating algorithm that wasn’t the same algorithm as last year. The weightings will have all changed and therefore, I thought this brought additional risk. Obviously, it means that all my rating algorithms have a shelve life and I’ve made this clear since day one that the Est Systems would one day probably need to be replaced. Hence, I built New Systems a few years back. My intention was to continue building new algorithms each Summer but of course, I soon realised that there is a limit to what I could do and given the Est Systems continued to perform well, maybe I could squeeze a good number of years from each algorithm I currently had.

The other way to work with rating algorithms is to try to employ a method of continuous improvement with the ratings and every Summer, use the data from the season past, refresh the ratings based on the new data and then you are good to go for the new season. My issue with this and why I have steered away from this is that it seems so easy to fall into a process of backfitting data. Hence, I have an unbiased algorithm, I bring in new data, change the weightings with the various constraints on returns and bet numbers and then end up with a statistically biased algorithm.

After seeing the results this season, my thinking has gone 100% full circle and I think to stay ahead of the market, you need to be taking into account as much recent data as you have available. At the moment, my first two algorithms were developed using data from 2006 and 2009 and clearly, the power of these ratings have waned over the last couple of seasons. The second half of last season probably painted over the cracks with these two algorithms in particular as at Christmas time last season, I was all for refreshing these ratings in the Summer. The second half of the season was amazing though and I decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

What I have been looking at is the performance of my systems based on how long they have been live. At the moment, 40 of the 41 UK systems are in profit since they went live. The system that is not in profit is losing 0.2pts! As I’ve said before, I think my ability to build profitable football systems is probably unrivalled over the time I’ve been betting on football.

In total, the profits if following all 41 UK systems are:

A 6.5% return from nearly 27.5k system bets. Admittedly, it was a better at the start of the season but at the end of the day, when I started out at this game 4 seasons ago with my first system, if you had said I’d have these returns after nearly 4 seasons which included a terrible season in there, I’d have accepted this I’m sure.

However, the interesting point I want to make here is that if you break the returns down by how long the systems have been live, it looks very interesting. I currently have systems at the moment that are in their first season (Draws), second season (Some New Systems), Third Season (Some New Systems, Misc Systems, Under-Over Systems) and some systems in their 4th season (Est Systems).  Therefore, the Est Systems have been alive for 4 seasons but their results have got worse as the seasons have gone by. The same is true for the other systems in the main. Putting this altogether, you get the following table of results:

Now, I find this table absolutely fascinating! When systems are in their first season, as I already knew and as anyone following the systems will know, the returns have tended to be very good. Admittedly, this tends to be the time we go easy with the staking as the systems are unproven but as the results show, this is when the systems are at their most powerful. As time goes on, the systems and ratings appear to become less profitable. What causes this?

Well, I don’t think it’s too difficult to jump to the conclusion that due to the fact I don’t employ a continuous improvement process with my ratings and don’t use refreshed data, this potentially means my ratings become dated to an extent and therefore, the best time to catch my systems and ratings is in the first season. Of course, my advice before this season has always been to be wary of newer systems and ratings as it seemed risky to take the plunge with unproven systems when there were already proven systems available to follow!

I’m conscious of the fact that this could all be bullshi* and maybe I’m looking for a solution for a problem and it just so happens I appear to have found one but I actually think this makes sense. What it means though is that I have a big issue with my current ratings and systems as they are all out of date and need reworked!

This feels like this post has come full circle…..Do I have the appetite to start again and refresh the rating algorithms, build new systems and so on? I don’t know…………….

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

An update of the UK underlying results to March 2014..............

I first wrote about the underlying results this season in the January monthly review. You can see the comments here.

As discussed in that monthly review, until this season, I had no need to really track the underlying results for the leagues I was playing in. Quite simply, when you are making money month after month, trying to understand what drives your profitability isn’t high on the agenda. Of course, I was fully aware that last season was a really good season for backing aways but considering I’d made better profits the previous two seasons when the underlying conditions weren’t quite so favourable for aways, I didn’t really think too much about it.

Before we look at the results in depth, if we take a step back, my thinking at this game has been pretty transparent from day one and anyone who follows my bets will be aware of this. I am looking to go against the crowd and my ratings tend to find bets that aren’t easy to find if you simply looked at league tables, recent form and so on. All of my bets are mathematical based on my ratings algorithms I’ve developed and therefore, if I was sitting down without my ratings being updated each week, I would struggle to find all of the bets I end up having. However, that’s not to say the bets are impossible to find and even if I was guessing, I’d know the sort of teams I would be backing each week. Anyone with the service could find many of my bets every week if they understand the patterns involved.

I have always employed some parameters around my base rating algorithms and over the first 3 seasons, these parameters have helped to boost my returns. I’m not giving too much away here when I say my ratings struggle to find value in short priced home bets and in short priced away bets. Therefore, in games where there are short prices, I’ll either find no value in the underdog or I’ll be backing the underdog. I won’t be backing the short-priced favourite!

To be clear, that’s not to say that I don’t believe there is value to be had in backing favourites. If I was given a choice of backing favourites with 10% value or outsiders with 10% value, I’d choose favourites every time as the strike rate would be much higher and the P&L journey would be much smoother for me. However, my ratings are structured in such a way that finding value in short prices is difficult and therefore, I’ve always been wary of this.

My other issue which is intrinsically linked to the odds issue is that my ratings tend to favour away bets. Again, it’s not something I set out to achieve and if I was doing this again from scratch, I would probably try to find a way to rebalance the rating algorithms but basically, 70%+ of my bets are away bets. This season is the first season I’ve brought in Draw systems and therefore, if anyone is following a wide range of systems, they can have Homes, Aways and Draw bets in their portfolio but the bet mix will be weighted according to the systems they follow.

So, putting this together then, my ratings are going to be finding a lot of value in bigger priced away bets. By definition, my ratings must therefore be opposing short-prices (both Home and Away) and therefore, this gives an idea of the types of bets that anyone following the systems will be having every season.

Where has it gone wrong this season for my ratings and the systems?

Well, it’s actually quite easy to pinpoint the issue. Quite simply, this season has been nothing like the last 3 seasons in terms of underlying results and the places where my ratings tend to find bets have been much more difficult than has been the case historically.  That's not the only issue and I don't think my ratings have been as good this year as historically and ultimately, the ratings haven't had enough of the rub of the green this season but maybe they got this for the last 3 seasons! 

Let’s drill down into the figures a little more for this season.

Here’s the results if blindly backing all outcomes this season so far in the UK leagues I rate (top 5 English and SPL):

As you can see, at a high level, if backing all Aways this season, you would have lost 7.6%. If backing all Homes, you would have been sitting with a profit of 0.8%. Clearly, if you are picking twice as many bets from a sample of bets that have lost 7.6% rather than a sample of bets that have made a profit of 0.8%, then you are starting from a bad position. However, as always, it’s never as easy as this!

As I said in the intro above, my ratings don’t find many short priced home bets and they definitely don’t find any short priced away bets. Therefore, to understand the impact the underlying results have had, we need to break down the returns further.

Here’s the returns for Home bets split into 3 categories based on odds:

As you can see, although blindly backing all home bets is slightly better than break-even, if you narrow your bets to odds on teams, you can make a return of 7.1% this season! An amazing statistic really and sort of explains why I’ve read so much this season about bookmakers taking a beating when so many odds on favourites have been winning. Unfortunately for me and my ratings, I can count on one hand the number of odds on bets I have at home each month and therefore, I’m likely to be backing the aways in these games! 

When I do back home bets, I’m backing teams priced 2.00+ and more often than not, 3.00+ and as you can see, the returns aren’t great but are probably a little better than long-term expectations. My home bets are a little bit worse than long-term expectations this season and therefore, I think it highlights my ratings haven’t been as powerful as usual for these bets.

I think that’s an important point here. I’m not hiding from the fact my ratings haven’t been as good as usual this season, I can see that from the results. The point I’m making is that my ratings aren’t quite as bad as they appear though as they are being badly impacted by trends in the underlying results being different from usual.

If we flip this on its head then, what’s the returns of the away bets split by 3 categories of odds:

 Well, if Homes were an issue for my ratings, Aways are a bigger issue. I can count on one hand the number of away bets I’ve had this season priced 2.75 or lower and therefore, I haven’t been able to capitalise on the fact that these bets have only lost 1.2% (which again, is lower than long-term). All of my away bets fall into the range 2.75+ and unfortunately, this is where the large losses have been this season. A loss of 7.5% for the bets priced up to 6.00 and then a crazy loss of 24.1% for bets priced 6.00+.

Taking all away bets priced 2.75+, it’s a loss of 9.9%. Therefore, I’m picking all my away bets from a sample of bets that have lost 10%. Even if my away ratings have an edge, it’s going to be difficult to make a profit over a very large number of bets.

It’s probably worth pointing out here that number of bets is important here. If I am picking a small number of away bets from a sample of 1,465, with a little bit of skill and luck, I could hit a profitable set of bets even if backing all bets loses 10%. My issue is that I’m backing a high % of these bets given I have 4 algorithms on the go and multiple combined systems which are picking the same bets over and over again and therefore, the more bets you choose from the sample, the more difficult it is to make a profit.

Putting homes and aways together then and looking at bets priced 2.50 and below and over 2.50 (90%+ of my bets are over 2.50), we have the following results:

I think this is the best indication of how difficult my ratings have found this season. If backing teams greater than 2.50 this season, it has been very, very difficult. A loss of 8.7%. Conversely, if backing favourites, you would have found it difficult to lose this season although as my home bets have shown, just because the conditions are easier, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to make money!

I guess one thing anyone reading this might be thinking is, so what?  This is the name of the game and ultimately, these sort of things level out in the long-run.  Well, let’s take a look at the previous three seasons for the same subsets of bets as well as this season:

As you can see, for the first two seasons, the losses for backing all homes and aways were in line with the long-term expected losses of circa. 2%-3% for these odds ranges. My ratings and systems had two very good seasons in both of these seasons and therefore, based on the long-term averages, I was sure my systems and ratings would perform well long-term.

Last season, we had a bit of a freak season whereby backing bets priced 2.51+ was very profitable and backing low priced teams was massively unprofitable. Given my ratings play in the range that was very profitable, last season was another very good season for my ratings and systems and as I commented on lots of times last season, it was fairly easy to make a profit last season using my ratings.

Looking at this now, this season is now nearly the complete opposite of last season and ultimately, if it was easy to make a profit last season using my ratings, it’s nearly impossible to do so this season.

Unfortunately, as I’ve come to realise this season, my ratings are impacted by the underlying results and this season has shown me that even if I have a profitable set of ratings long-term (or 4 sets of ratings in my case!), I can still make a loss if the underlying results don’t fit in with the long-term and if they are biased against my ratings. Last season didn’t fit in with the long-term but fortunately, the were biased towards my ratings not against my ratings and therefore, I wasn’t impacted.

Of course, one way to reduce this bias is to have a blended mix of bets and to not only have larger priced bets or away bets and that’s definitely something I need to think about for the future.  Is it worth giving up a little bit of ROI and ROC each season over the long-term in return for better protection during the seasons that don’t perform like the long-term?

I think that’s the crux of this post. I have done lots of other analysis to try to understand some of the trends were are seeing this season and therefore, I’ll share the analysis below with some comments. Anyone following the systems this season will probably be able to tell me all about these trends without me having done the work as we experience them during the season but it’s always interesting to see if your thinking fits in with the data results.

Here are the underlying results by League:

Lots of observations I can make here but here are a couple that make me chuckle:
  •      Bsq Prem Homes have been very difficult to make a profit from the underlying results historically and have never returned a profit in any season from 06/07 (as far back as my data goes) – showing a 12.7% profit this season. As you would expect, my ratings struggle to find too much value in these Home bets in this league!
  •     League Two Aways have been very difficult to makes profits from historically for my systems and have returned a profit once over a season in the last 6 seasons. A profit this season (although it's lower than what it was a few months back).
If I had the time, I’d do this for every league but basically, you get the picture. This season is a bit different to the historical seasons and therefore, given my ratings are built on historical data, there is a bias against my ratings this season since things look so different. Shi* happens I guess and as I keep saying, I can’t change the historical results this season, I can only impact the future.

One other thing that has been apparent this season has been the difficulties my ratings have faced with midweek games. Interestingly, I was a little surprised at these results as I thought they would be much worse but I think it points to my ratings underperforming for midweek games more than the underlying results. No idea why and historically, I’ve had no issues with midweek games on the systems but for whatever reason, this season has been horrible for midweek games.

Anyway, here are the underlying results:

Clearly, I don’t have enough away bets on a Monday or Thursday evening!

As you can see, Wednesdays have been horrible but there are so few games on a Wednesday, it will just be variance. Most of my bets are on a Tuesday!

I could break Tuesday’s down and show the fact that longer prices in midweek matches this season have performed poorly but we already know this. We’ve been betting on them!

The issue with day of the week is that the sample sizes are so small apart from a Saturday, you can’t draw any real conclusions from the data. However, you can see the short-term bias in the results and therefore, midweek this season has been trickier than usual but I’m not likely to be dropping all midweek bets going forward!  My draw systems have done well on Tuesdays though. :)

In terms of performance by month this season, the figures look like this:

I like this table as it paints a pretty good picture of my struggles this season. September was a nightmare, January was really tough and March was a nightmare. Looking at the Away ROI by month, you can sort of see my struggles this season. Interestingly, December and February were good months for my Away bets by the way. :)

In terms of the Home bets, September was a great month but generally, my Home bets haven’t been as good as you would have hoped based on the underlying results.

As some of you will have twigged by now, looking at home and away results like this is difficult as when I’m saying that Aways underperformed as more Homes were winning than usual, I can’t really expect my Home bets to do well as I can’t be backing the Homes and Aways in the same game!

Clearly, although I’m saying it’s been easier this season to make a profit backing Homes, this is the only the case if I’ve not been backing the Aways. I’m not going to try to work this out as it’s too difficult to be honest but you get the gist of the issue.

To finish this post off, here’s an interesting picture which shows the results by month for my 4 rating algorithms since they went live and the underlying results for each month also.

Again, you could spend all day looking at this but the point I’m making is that there is a correlation to the returns from the algorithms and the underlying results. Hopefully, a sign of a decent rating algorithm is that it can outperform the underlying results long-term and therefore, you only have to worry about short-term blips impacting the returns. IMO, a large part of what we have seen this season is a short-term blip but I believe the ratings need refreshed with more recent data and therefore, I’m holding my hands up for the poor performance this season as well as saying that it has been more difficult than normal.

To end this post, here’s a reminder of all live results for all systems since inception. We can talk all day about underlying trends, short-term blips, poor seasons, Home bias, Away bias and so on but the results of the systems are the results of the systems. 52 systems, 45 in profit since they went live, 6.5% profit for all UK bets. Not as good as it once was but still not too bad in my opinion. Over 32,000 system bets over 4 seasons. I haven’t fluked 45 profitable systems from 52 I hope!

Monday, 7 April 2014

March 2014 Monthly Review

It’s difficult to know where to start with this review. I’ve went back to read the monthly reviews for Feb-11, Apr-11 and Sep-13 as quite simply, these 3 months are etched into my memory and unfortunately, Mar-14 is a month I’m unlikely to forget for a long time either!

I have spent a lot of time in the last few days pulling together a more detailed look at the underlying results. I have started to track the underlying results more closely as I discussed in the post from January and this helped crystallise my thoughts about the season so far and where the issues were. After March, I couldn’t help but look at the results for the season and March closely and cutting the data as many different ways as I can as it’s impossible for me to just take this loss on the chin and say it is variance.

I will do another post after the monthly review post looking at the underlying results rather than doing this underlying results post first. I don’t want the underlying results to be used in any way to excuse the performance of the systems but it helps me to take this loss on the chin and look forward to the future. Not everyone’s mind works the same way as mines though and at the end of the day, the results are the results.

For me personally, March was my worst ever betting month by a fair bit. I lost 75% of my betting bank in terms of a monetary amount. Crazy to be writing this tbh but it’s true. My P&L peaked on the 1st of March and I was above 50% ROC and then 4 weeks later, I’m showing a large loss for the season. Quite a remarkable turnaround and ultimately, it has ruined this season for me and most people following the systems. It can be argued that the season was already ruined for many anyway, so at least this now puts many of us in the same boat!

I’m still hopeful I can end the season around break-even and given how difficult this season has been for so many systems, break-even would be great. 4 weeks ago, I was pretty sure I would make 100% ROC for the 4th season in a row and after the horrible start this season, I would have been ecstatic with this. Now, I’ll be happy with break-even! It is a strange game at times…..

So what went wrong in March?  Well, everything! My ratings were quite frankly, terrible. Very low strike rate across all algorithms, the home bets weren’t winning and the aways were doing as they’ve done for most of the season, losing!

It was a similar story to September 2013 whereby finding away winners was difficult but my ratings found it impossible. Unfortunately, the home bets didn’t come to the rescue and I seemed to find it impossible to find home winners although they were much easier to find. Very disappointing and ultimately, it has led to a disaster month on most systems.

On the 1st of March, most systems were in profit this season apart from the very selective systems and I was really starting to think the systems were going to rescue this season after a disastrous start to the season. 4 weeks later and the returns for the systems and the service are a complete and utter mess again. It’s like being at the end of Sep-13 again!

Some of the best systems I have (System 6-21, 31-41, 31-42, STOZ, E3-E6 etc.) all had as bad a month as I’ve ever seen for any of my systems! Unfortunately for me and many others following, these are very popular systems and therefore, anyone following these in a portfolio suffered a MASSIVE drawdown in March.  These systems were not having too bad a season before this month but now, they’re in the same mess as lots of other systems this season!

Anyway, that’s the high level story for the month. A shocker of a month.

Est Systems

As usual, I’ll start with a look at the value ratings for algorithm one. Here’s the results:

25 winners from 91 bets and a loss of 23.1pts. Breaking it down, you can see Away bets found 13 winners from 65 bets for a 22pt loss whereas Homes lost 1.1pts from 26 bets.  Aways were a major issue again.

Looking at the value bands, the big losses were in the two lowest bands (again!) and ultimately, these lower value bets have performed shockingly this season. Unfortunately, with so many bets falling into these bands, I don’t think we can just chop all bets of 10% value or less! I’d not have many bets left.

As you can see by the AH returns, many of the aways bets finished as draws and as always, at the average odds we bet at for these away bets, every draw bet is a significant swing against us. It was a slightly frustrating month with the draw but even so, it doesn’t disguise the poor performance this month of this algorithm.

Looking at the historical results, it is the largest pts loss this algorithm has ever suffered in a month and the second largest drawdown ever experienced. This is looking at all results back to season 06/07. Interestingly, the % loss this month of 25.4% wasn’t as bad as the 29% loss in Sep-13! Hence, in the space of 7 months, we’ve had two losses of 25%+ in a month. Another new record for this algorithm.

Overall, a shocking month for the first rating algorithm but it is a common theme this month unfortunately.

Here’s the results for algorithm two:

17 winners from 63 bets and a loss of 11.5pts. Compared to the first algorithm, a much better month! Only a loss of 18.2%. :(

Aways were the issue again. A loss of 12.5pts from 50 bets. Homes made a profit of 1pt from 13 bets.

Again, the Aways were clearly drawing too many games as the AH returns were much better if backing the draw as well as the selection.

Looking at the value bands, away bets with less than 5% value found 3 winners from 18 bets. Shockingly bad again. On the other hand, Home bets in the same band found 5 winners from 7 bets.

As I’ve always said in the monthly reviews this season, we’ll take a look at the value ratings at the end of the season and draw some conclusions.  Having written 7 monthly reviews now, I can tell you have I have written a fair bit about the low value bands losing every month and in the analysis I did a wee while back, it pointed out that dropping these bets was a way to reduce the bet number and increase profits. Hopefully we get some clear conclusions at season end.

Looking at historical results, this month wasn’t as bad as Sep-13 on this algorithm. It’s the 3rd worst month in terms of pts lost and the system did suffer a new highest drawdown a few weeks back. Similar to what I said above though, having two massive losing months in the space of 7 months and in the same season will kill the returns over the season.

Here’s the returns for the Est Systems this month:

90 winners from 307 bets and a loss of 37.9pts.

I think my first observation has to be that the filtering of the systems hasn’t worked on these systems all season but amazingly, in a month when the ratings turn to shit, the filtering of the bets works like a dream! It really is amazing how this game works at times.

Not surprisingly, with the mess systems 6 and 21 made, 6-21 had a shocking month too. A loss of 16.8pts from 55 bets.

However, once you get past these losses, things don’t look too bad at all. Don’t ask me how as all season, the filtering has done a truly remarkable job of filtering out the winners and keeping the losers but this month, the filtering managed to find some winners!

System 7 managed to filter the mess on system 6 and basically turned a 25% loss into a 2% loss which is good going. System 8 then turned a 2% loss into a 90% profit!

It’s crazy to think system 8 found 4 winners from 7 bets considering system 7 found 8 winners from 24 bets!

The same story with system 22 which managed to break-even even though system 21 had a shocking month.

What we then find then is that systems 6-22 thru to 8-22 made a combined profit this month as all the other systems were losing crazy amounts! It’s like role reversal compared to earlier this season.

My last comment has to be on the AH returns. System 6-21 has the same AH0.5 return as the other combined systems. Clearly, the filtering managed to dodge some of the draws that impacted system 6-21 so badly. There is a lot of luck involved in trying to filter bets in my opinion and this season, the higher combined systems have been missing a lot of luck. They got it this month.

I think giving the mess the rating algorithms made this month, I’m a little surprised the systems didn’t lose much more than they lost if I’m honest. Says it all that I think we’re lucky to only lose this much on these systems.

New Systems

Brace yourselves, here’s the results for my best algorithm (bear in mind, this algorithm made a profit in Sep-13 when every other algorithm had large losses!):

Only 30 winners from 116 bets and a loss of 26.3pts. In terms of pts lost, the worst month this algorithm has ever had by a helluva long way. The second worst month (Sep-11) lost 16pts from 78 bets. When algorithm 3 has a losing month, you know it’s tough. When this happens, you have to question wtf has happened this month!

Aways were the main culprit with 20.3pts lost from 75 bets and Homes lost 6pts from 41 bets. Similar to the first 2 algorithms, the AH returns are much better and the draw has been a pest this month for this algorithm.

Looking at the value bands, usual story with the low value bets causing the issues with the Aways. Highest value bets all lost too on this algorithm but looking at the average odds (5.00+), hitting no winners from a small sample is going to be fairly common.

Overall, the worst month this algorithm has ever had by a helluva long way and considering how good this algorithm has been this season, it is a little bit of a shock to see a large loss like this. Also the largest drawdown the system has ever suffered too by a fair bit.

Here’s the results for algorithm 4:

A similar story to the first 3 algorithms and a loss of 28.5pts from 140 bets. 27.2pts loss for the Aways and a loss of 1.4pts from 47 bets.

It’s hard to not be drawn to the low value away bets again here. A loss of 16.1pts from 50 bets for the Away bets. I know for a fact this algorithm has struggled all season with low value away bets, so seeing another loss isn’t too surprising but the size of the losses are surprising.

Looking at historical results, the worst month this algorithm has ever had and the highest drawdown by a very long way. 

So, what we have then is the 3rd and 4th algorithms that has smashed every record I have for worst ever months. Can you guess what the New System results will be like? :(

Here’s the New System results:

A loss of 204.2pts from 572 bets. Only 132 winners.

The largest loss in pts lost by a long way in a month (over 100pts to the next highest loss) and in terms of ROI, the largest negative ROI by some way too. Basically, a disaster of a month.

Going into March, these systems were making a good profit and with a good end to the season, they could have got close to the profits last season. Unfortunately, they will be doing well to break even now.

The issue lies with the rating algorithms more than the systems. The Est Systems got lucky with the filtering but when the rating algorithms are losing this badly, the systems deserve to be losing I think. Hence, I’ve no real complaints.

The draw has been an issue again and too many bets have drawn this month but apart from that, not much more I can say.  New largest drawdowns on many of the systems, records smashed for low strike rates and basically, as big a mess as I’ve ever seen from any of my systems in 4 seasons.

The filtering did actually make things worse but it has been like this most of the season. My only saving grace was system 33 didn’t have many bets. If it had more bets, it would have been greater losses.

It’s easy to go over the top here (I’m trying my best to reign it in!) but not sure I can say too much apart from show the results. I didn’t think it was possible to have a month as bad as this and ultimately, this will lead to potentially bigger banks on many of these systems in future if they recover from the current drawdowns.

Here’s the split by Home and Away bets:

As you can see, Aways were the big issue as you would expect. System 32-41 hit 1 winner from 22 bets at an average odds of 3.55. Shocking.

System 32 hit 3 away winners from 24 bets. 11 draws were in there though and as I know only too well, there is a thin line between success and failure. 11 draws with an average win price of 3.60 for the selections. Turn a few draws into wins and the P&L would look a bit different.

Overall then, the worst month I’ve ever seen for these systems or for any systems I’ve ever looked at! Wipes out the profits from earlier this season and ultimately, break-even now looks a challenge for these systems this season.

Misc Systems

Here’s the results of these systems:

All 6 systems lost although the losses varied to a degree by systems. Overall, a loss of 88pts from 275 bets.

I keep saying this every month this season but previously, the additional bets that appeared to STOZ were the bets that separated STOZ from the other two SGM systems. Unfortunately, the additional games on STOZ have been a nightmare and it is actually quite funny this month in a surreal sort of way. STOZ had an additional 19 bets that STOY didn’t have and amazingly, none of the 19 bets were winners! Hence, STOY and STOZ both hit 12 winners. They weren’t the same 12 winners but I think 11 of the winners were the same.

Going into this season, STOZ would have been my favourite system but at the moment, it is on its knees unfortunately. Again, the performance of STOZ highlights how this season looks nothing like previous seasons but it’s hard to take on the chin. The swing from last season to this season on this system alone is hard to fathom, never mind what is happening to the other systems!

The draw was a significant issue on these systems as you can see by the AH returns and ultimately, this has killed the returns this month.

Here’s the split by Homes and Aways:

Aways were the big issue again with 81.1pts lost from 218 bets. Only 38 winners from 218 away bets.

Traditionally,  my strongest home bets have appeared on STOZ but even they can’t perform anywhere near as well this season.

Overall, yet another nightmare month for these systems and this season has been worse than the first season for these systems which was a poor season too. Very frustrating and after an amazing season last season, they have followed it up with a stinker of a season.

Draw Systems

Here’s the results from the Draw systems this month:

After having to review the first 3 sets of systems and the massive losses, I’m just glad these systems didn’t have a losing month! Not the best month for these systems but a profit of 42.6pts from 484 bets. An ROI of 8.8%.

9 of the 11 systems made a profit although the second draw algorithm had a nightmare and then D7 couldn’t rescue the results and made a loss too.

I’ve said this a few times this season but these systems have performed better than I could have hoped for and ultimately, if I didn’t launch these new systems this season, this season would have been even more painful than it has been. Ultimately, I suspect I will go into next season with a set of draw systems with very good results and lots of other systems with massive question marks against them.

System D2-D7 has been brilliant this season so far and the returns are unreal this month again. Again, I know the returns this season aren’t typical of what we can expect long-term but it reminds me of how system 7-22 performed when it first launched.  I’d never seen anything like it and ultimately, D2-D7 (its cousin) has performed the same way.

I want to see a full season of results before we draw any conclusions for these systems but so far, apart from a losing month in September, they have performed very well. We’ll see what the results look like at season end.

Euro Systems

Here’s the results for this month:

A bit of a mixed bag here for these systems this month. A loss of 15.4pts from 518 bets.

I think my first observation is that when the rating algorithms both have profitable months, to be posting a loss is frustrating. E1, E6 and E7 had good months but when the systems have been agreeing, it hasn’t been working as well as I’d have hoped.

In addition, the filtering on the first algorithm didn’t work at all and E2 and E3 had nightmare months even though E1 had an OK month. This then ruined the returns on the combined systems unfortunately.

Interestingly, before this month, the AH returns on these Euro bets were doing great as the selections were hitting far too many draws but this month, with the very low number of draws in these leagues, when the bets haven’t been winning, they’ve been losing! Hence, it’s even more disappointing to be posting a loss on these bets when the draw hasn’t been a nuisance at all.

Still early days for these systems and all I can say is that I think these Euro systems are better than the first set of Euro systems I built for last season. However, compared to the returns on the UK systems, these systems are nowhere near although the irony with that comment is that after this month, the Euro systems are the 2nd best behind the Draw systems this season! I don’t believe this to be the case for one minute and shows how short-term a season can be.

I’ll do a much fuller analysis at season end on these Euro systems and draw some conclusions.

Under/Over Systems

These are staggering towards their retirement. Here’s the results this month:

8 winners from 16 bets and a profit of 1.1pts.


A loss of 301.8pts from 2,172 bets. An ROI of -13.9%.

Well, as I said in the introduction, Mar-14 will now join the months of Feb-11, Apr-11 and Sep-13 in my memory bank. For me personally, this is the biggest loss I’ve ever suffered from betting and it has been a wake up call for me. I’ve discussed this before on the blog but I appreciate the way I play this game carries lots of risks but I have always felt like the returns were appropriate for the level of risk I was taking. Before this month, I was on course for a pretty good season which considering the start I had this season, would have been amazing. 4 weeks later and any thoughts of doubling my betting bank this season for the 4th straight season are gone. I’d take break-even again which is what I said a few months ago before things started going well.

I think the interesting thing about this month is that the biggest losses by far were on some of the systems which were having an OK season. Hence, those following systems 31,31-41,6-21,31-42,6-21-31 and the like have taken a massive hit. Those who were following the systems that were doing rubbish before this month have suffered a smaller hit although on top of the earlier losses, it’s not exactly a positive!

The most disappointing system this month and this season has been STOZ. Hard to believe it’s the same system as the one that carried all before it last season but shows how difficult the systems have found this season.

Well, that’s the review of March. The worst month the systems have ever had and the worst month I’ve ever had. Let’s see what April brings……