Tuesday 16 December 2014

Euro Draws Update

I thought it was worth doing a quick post looking at the performance of the Euro Draws. In a way, I think one of the best things I did over the Summer wasn’t actually having a go at producing some Euro Draw systems (no, I think I can safely say that was a very bad idea!) but the fact I invested the time to look at the underlying results for the Euro leagues.

I’m not sure why but before I had looked at the Euro underlying results in depth, I had it in my head that Euro Draws was maybe an OK place to be. I’d seen a few services follow Cassini’s lead and start looking at Euro Draws and given the fact I really buy into the idea that few punters back draws and they are more interested in backing a team to win (same idea as why no one backs 0-0 when watching a game as they want to see goals!), I thought Euro Draws was going to be a profitable place to play generally.

You can re-read my post from the Summer here but I’m going to quote some comments I made as it was a little prophetic I think.

Considering I’m about to embark on new Euro Draw systems, let’s just say my confidence is a little lower having seen these underlying results!

The Draws have lost 6.4% over the last 4 seasons, last season lost 8.5% and the 2010/11 season lost 10.5%. Not exactly an easy place to make money!

12 winning months from 37 for Draw bets shows the difficulties playing in this space. Only 2 winning months in the last 12 shows how difficult it has been recently in these leagues if backing Draws.

In terms of the Euro Draw systems, I think the above has opened my eyes to how tough this place is to make money. Being honest, having seen Cassini’s results over the last two seasons, I realised it wasn’t exactly an easy place to make a profit but I’m not sure I’ve seen too many tougher groups of data to try to find a betting angle over the last few years.

Unless conditions get a bit easier for Draw backers (higher strike rate), I would struggle to believe that my ratings could make a profit next season. It’s not impossible (my UK Draw systems did it last season) but experience tells me that when the underlying results are tough, making a profit from a very high number of bets is just as tough. The odd system with lower turnover can do well but the higher turnover systems may struggle if the losses are as bad as 3 of the last 4 seasons.

I had a few emails from subscribers after I wrote this piece and the general consensus was that after reading my thoughts, they were going to give the Euro draws a miss this season. Of course, a few others decided that they would plough on anyway and given the fact they were playing lower stakes, surely these systems couldn’t do too much damage to their overall TFA P&L……

Well, I’ve had a few emails over the last few weeks saying how great a decision it was by some to miss these bets out from their portfolio after my post but I’ve also had two emails from subscribers in the past week who took the plunge with these systems at lower stakes and they are now licking their wounds a little.

I guess the first point I’d make is that although I judge TFA systems as an overall package and every bet carries 1pt in the proofed results, it’s fair to say that this isn’t really representative of the service as a whole. If anyone is placing 1pt on a TFA Euro Draw and 1pt on a UK Draw, they aren’t playing the game correctly I think. If you have zero live results and no evidence that a system or rating algorithm may be profitable, you shouldn’t really be placing too much emphasis on it. Therefore, although I feel bad for anyone following the Euro Draw systems this season at lower stakes, the reason they are following at lower stakes is due to the additional risk of these systems and therefore, even if they lose badly, the decision to follow the systems was down to them and them alone.

Anyway, caveats aside, my conscience is fairly clear given the comments I made before the season started and the fact the comments have been pretty accurate shows I did at least warn about what may happen.

So, after the weekend past (15th December), here’s the results for all 11 systems so far this season:

In total, the 11 systems have lost 180pt from 651 bets. They have only found 137 winners, so a strike rate of 21%. The overall Draw strike rate for all Euro games I’ve rated this season after the weekend stands at 24.7%.

I guess the first point to make is that with a strike rate of 24.7% for the underlying results, I would expect my systems to be loss making. At average odds of 3.40, I need to be hitting 29.4% Draws to be break-even. Hence, at this sort of strike rate for the underlying results, I would expect to have lost c. 16% so far this season. This equates to 104pts! Therefore, my systems are clearly doing much worse than average and worse than expected, even with the underlying results.

I said before the season that if the season was as tough as 3 of the last 4, the higher turnover systems may struggle. The systems with the highest turnover have all lost over 30pts each and therefore, this assumption was correct. 

I guess the question that we all want answered is what happens next? Well, looking at the betting banks I suggested for each system (bear in mind I had no live results to know what the expected edge or lack of edge may be!), there is a very good chance that the first ever TFA system to lose a betting bank will occur. System DE1-DE6 has now lost 33pts of a 45pt bank (bank looks woefully inadequate based on the turnover) and therefore, by setting an inappropriate bank at the outset, I expect this system will effectively go broke.

There are a handful of other systems that may lose their suggested betting bank too and therefore, I think it’s odds on that one of the systems will go broke.

Having never been in this situation before, I’m not sure what it means for the Euro Draws. Clearly, if the Euro Draw strike rate is running at this sort of level, my systems are going to make a loss and personally, I’m not sure there is much I can do about it. You can’t have ratings that throw up Draws in 40%+ games and expect to make a profit if the Draw strike rate runs at the level it is running at now.

With hindsight, having seen what I saw with the Underlying results, having Euro Draw systems that bet in 40% of the games, knowing that it’s a very tough place to make a profit is probably not the most sensible thing in the world. However, the Euro Draw systems were built before I had looked at the Underlying results and therefore, I wouldn’t have had such high turnover systems if I had known how difficult it could be.  Then again, if my ratings had an edge in these leagues, the more the merrier when it comes to bet number and therefore, if I had gone down a very selective approach and made a small loss, I’d have been wondering what would happened if I had more bets…the truth is, a bigger loss. :(

I think if anyone is following the Euro Draws and have based their betting banks on the banks I suggested, I would suggest they reduce stakes if they feel the losses on the Euro Draws are impacting their overall portfolio too much. I personally follow the Euro Draw systems (E2-E6 and E2-E7) and I’m down 28pts at the moment. 1pt for me on Euro Draws is worth 3pts for UK Draws but even with this sort of staking plan, the losses on Euro Draws has wiped out my profits on the UK Draws and more unfortunately. With hindsight, I was too aggressive with my staking on the Euro Draws given the turnover on these systems and although I adjusted stakes based on the fact they had no results, I probably underestimated the sizable turnover the systems have. As always, I live and learn!

There is nothing I can do about the fact the systems are running so poorly at the moment. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the bets thrown up. I’m pretty close to the Euro leagues this season due to the fact the Euro outright bets are doing great and so often, the Euro systems are on a big priced bet, the Euro Draws have the same game and then the big priced team wins! That weekend past, how PSG didn’t equalise or how Ath Madrid lost I’ve no idea but the outright ratings got the big priced winners as the Draw systems were left licking their wounds. The same could be said for the number of 1-0 games or the number of games with late goals which swing a Draw from a winner to a loser. However, this is gambling and ultimately, it happens to everyone!

If these systems do recover from these losses and reach break-even or a small loss (miles away from this at the moment!), then we could reassess the banks in the Summer and decide whether or not these systems should remain part of the service going forward. I have the option of doing what I did with the Euro systems and rebuilding them from scratch for next season or I could just take the decision that it’s too difficult a place to make money (sort of there now in my own head!) and why bother even trying to get something to work? At the moment, I’m definitely wondering why I’m even bothering continuing to back these bets given there are much easier ways to make money with other systems but I’ll continue until I feel the losses have reached a level that I feel like I’m not comfortable with and I’ll probably stop.

Interestingly, I stopped following the Euro systems myself in their first season just before an upturn after 3-4 months of poor results and it’s funny how things like this leave a psychological mark! I was playing small stakes on these systems too although the losses were nowhere near as bad as I’m suffering with these Draw systems. I’ll personally give it a few more weeks and then take stock of the losses and the impact it’s having on my P&L this season.

I expect those who took a chance on the Euro Draws this season are the same ones who took a chance on the UK Draws last season and coined it in! I bottled the UK draws last season and jumped on board very late and still managed to make a nice profit. If I had just showed the same little bit of patience and discipline again this season with the new Euro Draw systems…….


  1. Hi Graeme, have you done any research on profitability of Euro draws broken down by odds bands? I know that Cassini did some research on the underlying results by odds and found some areas to be historically far more profitable than others.

  2. Hi Matthew.

    Yes, I was aware of Cassini’s thoughts when I was looking at these ratings in the Summer and there is a minimum filter on both algorithms of odds of 3.00 as when you go below this, the results appear unprofitable. I also have various max odds caps in place on some of the systems as I was finding I was basically finding draw bets in most of the games where there were big odds on teams. When I looked at the results, there were large losses in these areas on some systems, so these bets are removed too.

    As I said in the post, I would have expected my systems to take a bath given the low draw strike rate in the games I’ve rated. To be honest, I should have known that when the Bundesliga was running at a 50% draw strike rate when I started rating games, it was going to be carnage in that league for the next few months as a correction was bound to take place!

    Like everything though, these are short term trends and given the fact the my Euro algorithms are in their 3rd live season and both algs are running at a 25% ROI this season, I can’t have it both ways! Before the season, I’d have settled for the Euro Draw ratings taking a bath if it meant my Euro bet ratings did great, so I can’t moan too much.

    What I didn’t really understand before the season started was the amount of correlation between these Euro Draw algorithms and Euro algorithms. I’m betting in around 75% of the same games which is not really a way to make profits long-term. I’d be as well formulating a lay strategy for the team that doesn’t appear on the Euro algorithms or Euro Draw algorithms!

    Anyway, last night saw 1 draw in Germany and I hit it, so maybe it’s the start of an upturn. I also had one Euro bet (Hannover) who won at nice odds too, so it was a profitable night for both the Euro bets and Euro Draws. That’s a first this season! :)

    On the plus side, my UK Draws recovered from a slow start this season (started slowly last season too) and are now making decent profits. Hence, I can find an edge with Draw ratings I think, maybe just need to give my Euro Draws more time.



  3. Very simple reason why there is a lack of draws in league 2 and that reason is the % of early goal games this season which is 29.46% and of the 29.46% only 14.08% ended a draw. In basic terms the early goal in league 2 will accelerate goal production and as a result lower the draw bias ( if there was any before the game started) , If you have a draw strategy before the game starts and there is an early goal in league 2 then expectation of a draw will drop to around 15%.

    Why not simply wait for the early goal and lay the draw.??????