Friday, 11 July 2014

All Systems Go...............

Just a very quick post to say that all algorithms have now been refreshed and it’s all systems go for next season now in terms of the ratings and spreadsheets.

I think when I set myself the task the of refreshing all the TFA algorithms, I didn’t quite appreciate just how big the task was….I do now! It has taken me not far off a month to complete the work from start to end. I’ve been trying to keep an eye on the clock so I can plan ahead for next Summer if I decide to undertake the same task. I reckon it has taken 60 hours of data manipulation and processing time (I use SAS) to do everything, including setting the spreadsheets up for next season. The fact I’ve managed to do it this Summer whilst at the same time working full-time and doing things around the house in anticipation of our new baby arriving is a great achievement. I don’t blow my own trumpet too much but when I finished this last night, I did let out a little ‘phew, thank fuc* that’s done, well done G!’.

I’ve been taking some detailed notes as I’ve been going so I can keep track of tweaks and I’ll share these notes on the blog in the next blog post. Given I always have to go back to the full dataset I keep and the odds quoted in there aren’t the same as the odds I quote for my bets, it’s always difficult to know exactly what impact the changes have had. I don’t intend on sharing any updated datasets or results for any systems as quite simply, the changes I’m making are tweaks to ratings and systems and not rebuilding anything from scratch. If I thought any of my rating algorithms were needing rebuilt (as I did the Euro ratings for example last Summer), I would have approached this a different way and basically started again with the data and no algorithm. However, I’ve approached this from the point of view that the algorithms were already working as I had hoped and therefore, what could I do to improve the results by including more recent data and checking that all filters were still accurate.

I’ll quickly run through each algorithm in the next post and try to discuss what I think the main changes are we will see next season on each algorithm and the likely impact on the systems. 

What I haven’t found is any new rating factors that were not already included in my algorithms. I spent a good few days looking at the full data set from 2000/01 season onwards and trying to find new rating factors at the outset of this project but I couldn’t find any other factors apart from the 16 factors I’m including in my rating algorithms at the moment. That’s not to say that there aren’t other rating factors I could have included and being honest, I could probably have 100 rating factors for every game if I wanted to but so many would be correlated and wouldn’t add anything to the model. 

I did think of removing 3 or 4 rating factors from the models as quite simply, they weren’t strong enough on their own but when I combined the results with some of the other ratings factors, they looked to be OK. I did have issues with one factor (probably been an issue since the 1st season!) and I took the decision to reverse the factor in all models as quite simply, it was throwing up losses instead of profits. Hence, reversing the factor increased the profits across all ratings and systems!  Worked perfectly from about 2000 to 2009 and then reverses over the last 4 seasons! 

Below is the updated diary of my Summer workload. Can’t believe all the ratings work is now complete and the next few months are the fun part of the Summer as we get to look ahead to the new season and how we use the systems.

I’m hoping to email the subscription base early next week and ask if anyone would want to do a blog post or two about TFA on the blog. It can be on anything they like (good or bad!) but as long as it allows everyone to learn something from it and potentially help new subscribers to TFA, it would be worthwhile. Feel free to drop me an email if anyone is reading this and this appeals to them.

Next step is to write a post on the changes I’ve made to each algorithm and what impact we’ll see on the systems/ratings next season. Let’s see if I can decipher my own notes in Excel!

For those waiting for my help, I still hope to kick-off any email exchanges week beginning 27th July. Two weeks time basically. Thanks to everyone who’s been patient thus far and haven’t bombarded me with emails! I think a couple of you thought I’d gone on holiday due to the fact I hadn’t been posting but far from it, I was doing the hard yards to hopefully improve the ratings for next season.  

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