Monday, 18 August 2014

FTL Systems - Season 2014/15

Well, the time has come to take the wraps off my FTL systems for the upcoming season.  I’m still three weeks away from my first bets as I wait until 6 games are played in each league before getting involved but now seems a good time to start outlining my assault on Cassini’s tipster league this season.

Firstly, before I discuss the plans for the upcoming season, it’s probably worth having a quick recap of the system I entered into the FTL last season and how it performed.  The official (prices on a Thursday evening) results of the system last season were a profit of 3.4pts from 401 bets for an ROI of 0.85%. A disappointing performance and ranking it in terms of my TFA systems last season, this unique system would have finished 36th out of 53 systems last season. Clearly, this was slightly frustrating as I obviously hoped that I would end up with a system in the FTL which was better than most of my other systems but this wasn’t to be.

The biggest issue I found last season was the fact that the odds used for P&L purposes in the FTL are Pinnacle’s odds on a Friday afternoon. I’ve done various bits of analysis myself on an ad-hoc basis and I’ve seen a very good analysis from a subscriber this Summer comparing Pinnacle prices over time for my bets and as I expected, Friday afternoon is a low point when it comes to the odds of my selections.  The odds start to rebound a little from Friday and by the time kick-off approaches, there are much better odds available than on a Friday. However, the best odds available are at the time I release the bets as you would expect.

Even though I understood the potential issues with the odds in the FTL, I didn’t really think the impact would be as big as it was last season. The official results in the FTL showed a loss of 10.72pts from 401 bets for an ROI of -2.67%. A 14.12pts swing across 129 winning bets. Given my average odds were 3.11, losing over 0.1pts per winner is a big swing (c. 5%) and ultimately, for football systems such are mine which are price sensitive, I think it shows the barriers my FTL system will have to overcome to do well in the FTL.

So, last season was a bit of a nightmare and at the end of the day, it cost me £125 in bounty prizes for other contestants who finished in front of my FTL system.  Given I’ve put up another bounty of £25 for everyone who finishes in front of me this season again, I’ll be trying my best to do better this season!

FTL Bounty System

One of my regrets from last season was not entering a TFA system into the league! I thought it was a good opportunity to try out a different system and test something live but it flopped badly. Therefore, lesson learnt and this season, my FTL bounty system will be one of my 61 live TFA systems this season.

Given what I learnt last season about the odds movements, I think I have to steer clear of my main systems this season which most people are going to be following. I would love to put a system such as system 31 into the FTL but the odds movements would mean I would lose a helluva lot of the edge this system has at Friday afternoon prices. Over the last 3 live seasons, system 31 has achieved an average profit of 52.5pts per season.  With Friday afternoon prices, I expect this profit would be circa. 30pts lower. This is a massive swing and therefore, my concern is that if system 31 has an average season (might be due one!), this system will make a loss in the FTL.

I think many of my subscribers probably assumed system 31 would be the FTL system this season but I’m worried I jinx the system! If system 31 has a poor season this season, most of us will be licking our wounds and therefore, I’d rather not take the risk. :)

So, my 2014/15 FTL bounty system will be …….. System D1-D6.

Yip, after only one live season of results, I’m going with a UK Draw system as my FTL system this season.

It was a straightforward decision if I’m honest. I know that Pinnacle offer the most competitive draw prices and I know from last season that my Draw systems don’t move the market much at all (maybe a little bit this season as some more people will be following them) and therefore, a Draw system gives me the best chance of competing in the FTL.

In terms of deciding on what UK Draw system to follow, here are the results from the Draw systems last season:

Well, quite quickly, we can rule out systems D1, D3, D6, D3-D6 and D3-D7. All 5 systems didn’t do that great last season and I’d not have much confidence in any of these systems next season.

Looking at the systems that were left, it’s not easy to choose the ‘right’ system. I think the thing that made me choose D1-D6 was simply the turnover. The system had 390 bets last season and I think about 400 bets is a good number of bets for a FTL system.  Last season, a profit of 44pts was achieved and if we look at the FTL over the past 3 seasons, this system would have walked the league each season if a profit of 44pts was achieved. Importantly, I did a quick check of this system based on the same odds as the FTL use (shows I’m trying my best this season!) and this system achieved around 43pts profit last season. No real impact from the prices quoted on a Friday.

The aim is simple with this system. 400 bets and an ROI of 10%. All it has to do it repeat the performance from last season and it will surely finish high up in the FTL this season. 

Before we all get too excited, the backtested results of the FTL system I used last season were better than this and the system flopped badly when it went live. I guess the difference for this season is I have a season’s proofed results underpinning this system and therefore, I have to be fairly hopeful I have a system which can win the FTL. That’s the aim!

FTL Other System

I think the other thing I learnt last season was not to put all my eggs in one basket! Given there is a really good prize on offer in the FTL, I think it is worth having a back-up system in the league.  To be clear, this back-up system has no bounty attached to it and therefore, it is going to be a very high risk system. Similar to my other system in the FTL, it will be a live TFA system but this system has no live results behind it and season 2014/15 will be the first live bets for this system.

Well, anyone with the service will know which type of bets this system will have. Given what I discussed above about odds movements, it’s no real surprise that I’ve gone down the Draw system route again.

Season 2014/15 sees my first foray into the European Leagues with Draw systems and therefore, this will be direct competition to Cassini’s own Draw system for these Euro leagues.  I’m sure Cassini doesn’t mind a little bit of competition. :)

Given I have no live results to go on, picking which system to follow from the European Draws is a bit of a punt.

Similar to what I concluded with the UK Draw systems, I think I’m forced to go for system DE1-DE6. The system is expected to have around 300-350 bets a season and I guess my hope would be that it can achieve an ROI of around 10%. Given I don’t expect any odds movements with these Draw bets (very few subscribers will be following these new bets), I don’t need to worry about the odds quoting impacting the returns too much.

Given my Euro systems flopped in their first season, I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see the Euro Draw systems flop next season. Of course, I hope this isn’t the case and the backtested results are very positive but I’m always wary of the Euro leagues after what happened to my Euro bets in their first season. What I would say is I managed to rebuild the Euro ratings based on what I learnt in the first season and the second season was much more profitable, so I’m hopeful I have a better handle on the Euro leagues than I had when the Euro systems first went live. We shall see.

So, to summarise, the TFA FTL Bounty system next season will be system D1-D6. The other FTL system will be DE1-DE6.

Let battle commence……..

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