Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Monthly Review for November 2015

Another month, another loss for the systems. Becoming quite boring now. I could just about handle the fact the UK systems are rubbish as there are ways around this by missing off multiple system bets but the profits on the UK Draw systems this season have evaporated after a really poor month and the Euro system bets just haven’t got started so far this season. Overall, it’s a complete mess of a season so far and off the back of a horrible season last season, it’s looking more and more like I’m wasting my time betting on footie.

I was updating my own betting results last night to the end of Nov-15 and my last profit peak was 25th January 2015. Given the losses since, I had the same level of cumulative profit at Jan-14 as I have now. If I don’t make a profit in Dec-15, it will be 24 months since I have moved forward in my P&L. I touched on this when it was nearly 18 months towards the end of last season but there comes a point when if you can’t move forward, you have to draw a line and stop wasting your time.

I have made no profit over my last 8,000 bets. If I let that sink in, that’s a helluva lot of work and effort for no return over the last 2 years.

As of today, the only UK system (exc Draws) that is in profit this season is system 31 and even then, it is only just. The Euro systems are all in a loss making situation and the Euro Draws are loss making.

Amazingly, I am just better than break-even this season and I’ve had a nightmare November. Considering the results of all the systems, I’m grateful that I am break-even for the season! I touched on this last month but didn’t have the numbers for historical seasons and so didn’t mention it too much on the blog but the one method which is doing well this season is Max 4. Regular readers will be aware of this method that was first highlighted by Tage but if I look at the results this season, they are very good. 

The other system I mentioned over the Summer was using system 41 as a filter as it has clearly lost the plot and if you were to back all bets that appear on any system apart from system 41, you would be doing well this season. You can obviously cross refer both the Max 4 and Not 41 system and it creates a Max 4, Not 41 system which not surprisingly, also does well this season!

Here’s the breakdown of P&L for each of the 3 methods:


As you can see, the results this season for both methods are very good. Unfortunately, the profits I’ve made on these methods have been swallowed up completely by losses on other UK systems, Draw systems and Euro bets but I guess that’s why I follow different systems and methods!

In terms of why Max 4 does so well, it’s hard to explain. Each rating algorithm has the ability to pick up these bets that are to find and therefore, not every algorithm finds them. Ultimately, it is these bets that are the jewels in the crown when it comes to TFA but unfortunately, apart from Max 4 or some method missing off multiple system bets, it’s not as straightforward as you think to find these bets. The systems are populated by all these other bets appearing multiple times and therefore, when you look at the overall results, the losses from the multiple system bets kill the returns from the other bets which are profitable.

I’m sure there are other ways to identify these bets (using a similar method to Not 41) but it’s something that probably needs more time. In addition, I’ve no idea how the TFA Value ratings behave for these other bets too but I know from looking at the results by Value band that you can’t simply identify the better bets by using the TFA value ratings.

Anyway, that’s an oversight of the mess of the systems at the moment. There are still lots of positives to take from my UK ratings but unfortunately, the positives are being massively outweighed by the negatives at the moment. Until this changes, the P&L for the systems in total will look horrible!

On the plus side, if you ignore the profits generated from the multiple system bets in the first 3 seasons, then laying these bets looks the way to go these days. Hence, as well as using system 41 as a filter for example, you could actually just reverse the bets and generate yourself another method or system. Being honest, you could do this with lots of the systems and your only risk is that the systems return to the profitabililtiy they had 3+ seasons ago. As every day passes, the chances of this decrease I think!

Here’s the monthly results update. Going to keep comments to a minimum.

Est Systems




 A small profit on algorithm 1 and a small loss on algorithm 2. System 22 had a nightmare (same every month this season!) and both combined systems lost again. Hard to take too much comfort from these results, the poor start to the season continues.

New Systems




A small profit across the board is like putting a plaster on a massive cut that needs stitches…it might stop the bleeding for a bit but long-term, not sure it matters!  I always laugh when system 41 makes a profit, I sort of hope it loses now given I’m using it as a filter to find the worst bets!

Misc Systems



Losses all round here again and another poor month. System 6-21-31 hasn’t had a losing season yet. It will be doing well to continue the tradition this season!

Draw Systems


The 2nd algorithm was the issue this month, finding 12 more bets than algorithm one but unfortunately, finding no more winners! Not a disaster of a month

Euro Systems


A bit of a nothing month for these systems and they just can’t get any momentum going at all this season. Long way to go but they need a bumper month sooner, rather than later.

Euro Draw Systems


The best lay-the-draw systems on the market continue to perform in line with last season’s massive loss. These really are a pile of shi*!

Overall, a loss of just under 100pts this month.

I think making money at betting based on ratings and systems is still possible as long as the past remains a good guide to the future. The issue I have is 3 years ago, my systems were massively profitable and these days, they aren’t. However, get to the end of this season and it will be 3 seasons in a row for some systems where losses have been made. This is probably a decent trend and therefore, there has to be a way of turning losing systems into profitable systems by reversing the bets. If my ratings don’t work, rather than trying to fix them, keep them as they are and find a way to use systems which are no longer profitable to find ways to make money.  Clutching at straws springs to mind! 


Anyway, I’ll worry about that at the end of the season. If I don’t make a profit betting this season, it’s hard to think I’ll be following any ratings or systems next season, never mind trying to find a way to use unprofitable bets! 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

October 2015 Monthly Review

Going to be one of the shortest reviews of a month ever on the blog. In short, I can’t really be arsed writing about another poor month for the systems.

The same themes have been apparent for a while now and therefore, I’m not going to keep repeating them over and over again. At the moment, the only reason I’m still betting on football is the UK Draw systems look like they have a decent edge and the Max 4 system is doing well. I also started following a new method earlier this season to small stakes (basically, ignore every bet that system 41 has and back the rest) and it has been doing well. The stakes are tiny though and can’t undo the losses on some of the other UK systems I’m following. I really should have gone one step further and basically backed the opposite of every bet system 41 has but I didn’t want to tempt fate. So far, if I’d been following this system, it would have been the best system ever I suspect!

Although I’m no longer proofing the filtered UK systems (7,8,32,33,42) and the combined systems which these systems are part of, I still track the results and show the bets in a single tab each week in the bet sheet. I needed to do this to enable myself and others to continue following the Max 4 system using the same criteria as previous seasons. I have pulled together the results of these other systems into a single sheet just for my own curiosity and will share the results when I share the monthly spreadsheet but as expected, they are shockingly bad. It is even worse than last season which takes some doing!

As well as using system 41 as a filter, you can probably use systems like 7, 8 or 32 as these have been loss making now for a long time – hence, the reason I stopped proofing these systems this season. I was thinking about dropping system 41 this season and then I figured it was actually beneficial to have a system that was probably going to lose money as it could maybe be used in some way to identify my weaker bets….I just didn’t expect 75% of my bets to fall into this category!

Anyway, that’s a little moan about how bad the season has been so far. Keeping my head above water at the moment but it’s simply papering over the cracks and in reality, any edge I had at this game has probably evaporated completely now. A few systems and a few methods are profitable but given how much work goes into finding the other 95% of the bets, not sure it is economically viable to continue maintaining multiple rating algorithms which aren’t very good any longer.

Here’s the results for October. 

Est Systems




Algorithm 2 somehow nearly broke even but the first algorithm had a nightmare as did the combined systems. Even though algorithm 2 did well, system 22 took these bets and had an absolute nightmare. You couldn’t try to do as bad as this system did. Took a 1/3 of the bets and found a 1/6 of the winners!

Overall, a mess of a month with a loss of 68.6pts.

New Systems




Not the worst month in the world for system 31 but another shocker for system 41 & system 31-41.

Misc Systems


Poor month for all 5 systems.

Draw Systems


These systems are my only saving grace at the moment. Let’s hope they can continue bailing me out for the rest of the season!

Euro Systems


Shocker of a start for these systems this season. Hopefully they’ll pick up next month.

Euro Draw Systems



A solid start for these systems this season. Not sure it will continue but would just about sums up the month that these systems managed to make a profit and they are useless!

Overall, a poor month and it’s becoming a common theme. The good old TFA days from a few seasons back when profits were made every month is becoming a distant memory…..

Let’s see what next month brings.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

2015/16 Season Results to end of September

It feels like it has been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. My last post was at the start of July, so it has been a 3 month break for the blog. Being honest, the break wasn’t planned to be quite as long as this but I’ve been very busy over the Summer (more so than usual) and therefore, writing blog posts wasn’t too high up my priority list. We’ll at least get monthly results posts for the next 8 months or so but if time allows, I’ll try to do other update posts but given my lack of time these days, it’s probably highly unlikely.

This post covers the results for the first two months of the season. In reality, it was one weekend in August and the whole of September, so it’s hardly two months of results but this post covers all results up to the end of September for this season.

One bit of consistent feedback I had over the Summer was that many subscribers didn’t really enjoy my regular results updates and comments on Twitter, on the blog or in emails and therefore, I have definitely cut down my comments on social media about how things are going. I suspect last season was a painful one for others as well as me and me moaning about it on Twitter and continually updating on my personal losses probably didn’t help those following keep their confidence that things would turn around. I suspect if things were going well, people wouldn’t mind reading about it but for whatever reason, when things aren’t going well, they don’t want to hear about it!

It is also for this reason that the blog will be getting monthly results updates. I have thought this for a while but updating results frequently actually makes for a bit of a rollercoaster ride and I think looking at things monthly is often enough. I still try to update the results after every set of fixtures but I won’t be updating results on the blog any more frequently than monthly.

If I look at this season so far, the first two weeks were amazing and the systems were showing big profits after a bit of a dream start. Roll on another two weeks and it is pretty much break-even this season and therefore, we have already had a bit of a rollercoaster so far this season but looking at the monthly P&L gives a slightly boring picture but it has been anything but boring this season so far!

Anyway, here’s a quick rundown of the results so far.

Est Systems

Here’s the results for algorithm 1:


A profit of 7.7pts from 157 bets but quite quickly, we can recognise that all the profits have been made in the low value bands which continues the pattern from last season. All bets with a value % of 10%+ has made a loss of 13.2pts from 28 bets. However, low value bets with a value of less than 10% has made a profit of 20.9pts from 129 bets.

Here’s the results for algorithm 2:


A loss of 2.7pts from 133 bets. No clear pattern by value bands aside from the fact that the bets with higher value have again performed poor so far this season. The sample sizes are very small though.

A bit of a mixed bag with both algorithms and it’s not easy to see how this would have translated into a profit or loss on the combined systems. Here’s the results for all systems:


Overall, a profit of 12.1pts from 485 bets. 4 of the 5 systems have made a profit with only system 21 making a small loss.

I didn’t touch on it above but the issues on both these algorithms have come from the Home bets so far this season. Here’s the P&L for the 5 systems combined split by Home/Away bets:


As you can see, Aways have done really well so far this season and have a profit of 51.2pts at an ROI of 19.2%. Unfortunately, Homes have really struggled and it’s a loss of 39.1pts at an ROI of -18%.

Overall, a solid enough start but it’s disappointing that the Home bets have performed so poorly thus far this season. These tend to be less volatile than the Away bets even though they are less profitable but it has been a tough month or so for these bets. Hopefully things improve as the season progresses.

New Systems

Here’s the results for algorithm 3:


Overall, a profit of 0.7pts from 142 bets. Pretty much a break-even month. The same issues were apparent here as on the first two algorithms. All the profits from Away bets were wiped out by losses from Home bets which is disappointing.

The value bands show most bets have fallen into the lower value bands and the profits on the Aways were cancelled out by the losses on the Homes. Hard to draw any conclusions here.

Here’s the results for algorithm 4:


Not too many surprises here but another loss for algorithm 4. I would be disappointed if it didn’t make a loss I suspect! A loss of 6.5pts from 126 bets. I refreshed the underlying systems behind the algorithm during the Summer but it’s like trying to polish a turd I think. No matter what I do, I can’t turn this algorithm around into having an edge.

So, with mixed fortunes on the algorithms, how did system 31-41 do? Here’s the results for the New Systems:


A small loss on system 31-41 of 3.2pts from 99 bets. Did it’s job I guess of filtering out some bets from system 41 although clearly filtered out the profitable bets from system 31 that didn’t appear on system 41. Ideally, I think you need to try to use system 41 to filter out the worst bets from system 31 as if system 41 has no edge, you don’t want to be backing the bets on other systems that system 41 has.

Overall then, a loss of 8.9pts from 367 bets. Not a great start but I’ve had worse starts to the season on these systems before!

Misc Systems

Here’s the results for these systems:


Overall, a loss of 14.8pts from 380 bets. 3 of the 5 systems made a loss with systems TOX and STOY in particular having poor months.

Again, it’s too early to get too carried away with these results but I guess seeing STOZ doing better than the other two systems bucks the trend from last season. Out of these 5 systems, system 6-21-31 is historically the best system and therefore, I’d expect this to perform the best out of these systems again this season.

Not the best start for these systems but it’s early days and plenty of time left this season for these systems to hopefully build some profits.

Draw Systems

Here’s these results:


Overall, a profit of 17.6pts from 183 bets. An ROI of 9.6%. 5 of the 8 systems made a profit with 3 systems showing a 0.2pts loss. At first glance, it looks like a very solid start to the season for these systems but underneath, it has been a rollercoaster month where the profits gained early on in the month were mostly all given back by the end of the month. Can’t help but feel it should have been a much better month but hey ho, it’s hard to moan too much when a profit is made.

It has been a pretty uneventful start to the season with a profit of 6pts from 1,415 bets. Hardly a great start to the season but then again, given some of the monthly losses last season, I can’t moan too much about making a profit in a month! The Euro bets start from October and it will be interesting to see how these bets do this season.

Here’s the results in the usual format showing the results so far this season and the overall results for all systems since inception:



Friday, 3 July 2015

Plans for 2015/16 Season

This is going to be the final post before I send out the renewals for next season and before I contact anyone currently on the waiting list to join the service. Given the overall results last season and the general feeling towards last season (it wasn’t very nice), I expect the subscription base to shrink massively for next season. Given the results for the other ratings services last season and the competition generally, I expect the number of football bettors subscribing to services next season will undoubtedly reduce and therefore, I think the number subscribing to TFA may be at an all-time low.

On the plus side, those on the waiting list (yes, hard to believe you had to queue to join the service!) will be offered a place and hopefully this churn of the subscription base is no bad thing. It’s always interesting getting new subscribers and they don’t have the scars that many of us currently have after last season!

In terms of the service for next season, there is obviously going to be less attention on the UK systems which have been the main systems until now and a lot more attention on the Euro systems and the UK Draw systems. If you look at the last two seasons in isolation, we have the following results for each set of systems:


As you can see, based on this table, the 3 UK sets of systems have made losses for the Est & New systems and the Misc systems have basically broken even. If we compare this to the Euro and UK Draw systems, we can see that there have been big profits and therefore, going into next season, you have to say that I have more confidence in these systems than the UK systems.

Of course, we can’t just ignore the fact that for the first 3 seasons of the service, the UK systems had a significant edge and therefore, you can’t write the UK systems off completely and my hope would be that they can bounce back after last season but with no profits for two seasons, I think you have to have your doubts.

One criticism that the service has had for a few seasons now is that there are too many systems. The survey results indicated this too and therefore, based on the system reviews I’ve carried out, I will be retiring a number of systems. Importantly, I’m not wiping these results from history and most systems have been profitable since inception but I feel going forward, I need to trim down the number of systems.

Rather than discuss each set of systems, below is a table which shows all the systems that will be alive for the 2015/16 season:


In summary, there will now only be 31 live systems. It is most of the lower turnover systems that have been retired as quite simply, although they may have had decent ROIs, the turnover was too low every season and I want to try to reduce the volatility in the results by removing these systems which are basically filtered systems on the other systems.

I have been particularly harsh on the Est Systems and New Systems but they have been around for either 3,4 or 5 seasons now and I think it’s a good time to draw a line under some of these systems.

I have decided to continue with algorithm 4 again next season even though there appears to be no edge there. I will obviously try to revive the system over the Summer but I would have my doubts about this system going forward.

The Draw system D3 appeared to be the issue on the UK Draw systems, so I have removed this with the corresponding combined systems D3-D6 and D3-D7. Same story with the Euro bets where I have removed E3, E3-E6 and E3-E7.

As the table shows, I will have another go at Euro Draws next season but just have two algorithms and no filtered systems. Until I get a set of ratings to work, there is no point trying to filter the bets. At the very least, I need the ratings to be break-even in order to even think about filtering the bets. I’ll build these systems over the Summer.

Importantly, I know a number of people use the UK systems in order to create methods for themselves such as Max 4, Max 3, Max 2, Min 5 etc. To satisfy these people, although the systems are not being proofed results wise, I will have a table in the weekly bet sheet which looks like the below:


People can even create their own systems like system 6-21-41 by putting simple formulae in this sheet, so there are endless systems people can play about with. I will obviously keep the same systems there as I know a lot of people used these 22 systems over the first few seasons but people can do what they want with this knowledge. Based on the last two seasons, filtering out the bets that appear on too many systems might not be such a bad idea!

I have decided to keep the email to a Thursday evening although as always, this can move around based on work commitments. The time will be as soon as I can get the bets out but with my daughter being at nursery and having her in the car on the way home, I’m not going to be speeding to make 6pm deadlines every week. As last season showed, following the bets straight after other tipsters is the lowest prices anyway and therefore, Thursday is not an optimal time to be releasing bets.

In terms of the bookmakers used, based on the feedback in the survey, I’ll continue to use Pinnacle but with more UK bookmakers used when the Pinnacle prices are artificially too low. Based on the survey feedback, the vast majority of members get the prices no problem and although I don’t want this to change necessarily, it does open the door to more flexibility. In my opinion, if most subscribers are achieving or beating the quoted odds for a service like TFA, I either don’t have enough members or I’m too generous with the odds quoiting!

I don’t foresee too many other changes to the service. I’m always happy to discuss any changes with anyone who subscribers and I’ll always listen to constructive feedback either via emails, on the blog or even Twitter although as I’ve learnt over the years, I’ll never please everyone at this game.

In terms of expectations for next season, I think first and foremost, I need all the proofed systems to return an overall profit. Last season was the first season this hasn’t happened and therefore, this is what I need to correct. If all the systems can create a profit (no matter how small), it’s a great base to work from and I want to get back to the first few seasons where no matter what anyone did with TFA, they made a profit. This has to be the aim.

I think with the bets spread across so many sets of systems these days, it’s probably asking a lot for every set of systems to make a profit but even if one set of systems has a poor system, the hope would be the other systems could cover it. My issue last season was all 3 UK sets of systems made losses which combined with the Euro Draw losses meant that the service had no chance of achieving a profit overall. The performance of the Euro systems were effectively overlooked completely and yet, they had an amazing season I think.

I think this covers off the key points I want to discuss with regards to next season. Details on prices etc. will be available on the website and in the renewal email in due course. I hope to have this all done over the weekend.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Euro Draw Systems Season Review 2014/15

If I was most looking forward to reviewing the Euro systems on the last post, it’s safe to say reviewing the Euro Draw systems is the thing I’m least looking forward to this Summer.

If I wind the clock back 12 months, I had just had a pretty decent first season with UK Draws and therefore, it seemed a natural progression to take a look at Euro Draws in the Euro leagues. I had plenty of reservations though and given my first set of Euro systems flopped in their first season, I think I had my doubts whether or not the same could happen here. My other issue is well documented but basically, backing Draws in the Euro leagues isn’t exactly an easy place to make money. Historically, the underlying losses for backing Draws was on average of 7.5% going back to 2006/07 season and therefore, I had my doubts about finding an edge. I think the combination of both the doubt about the Euro leagues and the doubt about Draws in the Euro leagues should hopefully have helped people didn’t get carried away with these systems last season. 

It is somewhat ironic that based on the underlying results, season 2014/15 was the second easiest season for Draws in the Euro leagues in the last 9 seasons! There was an overall loss of 2.7% and a strike rate of 25.8% over the season and therefore, it wasn’t impossible to make a profit last season if you had an edge in these leagues. Clearly, as we’ll see, I had no edge and wasn’t even close to finding an edge.

I better just get on with sharing the results for last season:


Considering the Euro systems a few years ago had a nightmare season and lost 127pts, this takes losing to a complete new level. A loss of 297.8pts at an ROI of -11.9%. All 11 systems made a loss and the average loss was 27.1pts on each system.

It’s hard to know where to start here.

The ratings themselves were very poor, with both rating algorithms losing 9.8% and 13.6% respectively. This accounts for a loss of 41pts and 61pts loss on each algorithm. If your base is this bad, it’s impossible to imagine any system could make a profit and even cross referring systems isn’t going to help too much as the losses are so extreme.

The filtering between DE1 to DE2 to DE3 didn’t work at all and as you reduced the bet number, the ROI simple deteriorated which is the opposite of what is supposed to happen! The filtering from DE6 to DE7 did work better though and a loss of 13.6% on DE6 was reduced to a loss of 2.7% on DE7. There were 230 bets that appeared on DE6 but not DE7. These 230 bets lost a total of 55.2pts which is an ROI of -24%. Considering the underlying loss was only 2.7%, this is an unbelievably bad result.

Looking at the combined systems, I’m not sure the picture improves. If anything, it’s just as bad, if not worse. DE1-DE6 lost 12.8% which was closer to the losses on DE6 than DE1 unfortunately.

DE1-DE7 did OK as DE7 did OK but again, there was no real improvement from cross referring the systems. DE2-DE6 did worse than DE2 or DE6 and the same is true for DE2-DE7 when compared to the single systems.

DE3-DE6 and DE3-DE7 both had nightmares and lost over 20% each which takes some going over a season backing draws!

Overall, a total and utter disaster and based on these results, all you can say is that you’d need to rip up the systems and ratings and start again if you wanted another attempt at doing something with Draws in these leagues.

To try to give a little insight into the issues these ratings and systems faced, here’s the breakdown by league for last season:


As you can see, France was a major issue. My ratings obviously favoured this league for Draws due to the low goal expectancy historically but last season, the strike rate dipped massively in this league. The underlying ROI for backing draws in France was -18.4% which meant you were always going to take a bath backing draws in this league.

If you simply ignore the French league (I know you can’t do this but just pretend!), then the overall results were not anywhere near as bad and although it would have still been an 83pt loss, nothing like the 297.8pts loss the systems suffered.

I’m sure if I drilled into the results deeper, I can find lots of examples of last season’s results being nothing like the historical results for subsets of bets but this is the same in every league. It’s how your ratings cope with this that determines their profitability long-term I think and last season, my Euro Draw ratings couldn’t cope at all.

Summer Action – I need to decide whether or not I want to continue with looking for an edge at Euro Draws next season. At the moment, I would say it’s probably the end for these systems but I’ll spend some time this Summer seeing if I can develop another set of ratings quickly. I’m not investing too much time though! Even if I do have Euro Draw systems next season, they would be trial systems at best and I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole after this season! 

Euro Systems Season Review 2014/15

I think the only systems I’ve been looking forward to reviewing this Summer have been the Euro systems. Before we get onto last season’s results, it’s worth recalling the history of these systems over the 3 seasons so far.

The first season was season 2012/13 for the Euro systems. I decided I wanted to branch out into the European leagues for a couple of reasons. The obvious reason is for additional diversification and I didn’t want to put all my eggs into one basket when it came to the UK leagues. I was also acutely aware a few years ago that my edge would be eroded as I started to lose bookmaker accounts and therefore, with liquidity becoming a little bit of an issue, branching out into European leagues seemed like a good move.

When the systems went live though, it was clear there wasn’t much of an edge. Although the results were not a disaster, given the Home bias that was apparent in the Euro leagues, launching systems with 70%+ of bets being Away bets was never going to work I think. Here’s the results for season 1:


Although not a disaster of a season, a 4.4% loss across all systems and the fact that both rating algorithms lost 4.5% and 9.3% respectively meant that I made the decision that I needed to start again and basically scrap these ratings completely. My main concern was the Away bias within the systems and when I built the systems, the intention was to match the UK methodology which obviously has an Away bias within the ratings. Considering the Home bias in the Euro leagues, I was basically fighting against the underlying results and therefore, I realised I had no edge with these ratings.

I spent the Summer of 2013 building a brand new set of rating algorithms for the Euro leagues and corrected the Home and Away bias. Here’s the results for the first season of these new ratings:


All 11 systems were profitable, both rating algorithms were profitable and the combined systems did pretty well overall. Of course, it would take more than one good season to wipe out the losses and memories of the first season but overall, it was a step in the right direction at least.

So, that brings us onto last season’s results. Going into the season, I think many (including myself) still had reservations about these systems and even though I appreciated the ease of which I can place the bets and achieve better than the advised prices, I didn’t go overboard with my stakes on these bets last season. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I really wish I’d gone to town on these systems now, especially given the UK results! 

Here’s the results for last season:


10 of the 11 systems were profitable, the overall results of all systems was very good but more importantly, both algorithms did very well. 6.8% and 8.2% respectively for profits of the algorithms is very good and therefore, it’s hard to not be impressed by these results.

The filtering between system E2 and E3 was rubbish and this impacted E3-E6 and E3-E7 but overall, it is hard to be too critical.

E1-E6 and E1-E7 had exceptional years and really managed to build on the profits from the first year these ratings were live (second season of Euro bets).

If we look at the last two seasons when these rating algorithms were live, here’s the combined results:


Although it’s still early days and my comments are similar to the UK Draw systems, these results are pretty good. Both algorithms look solid, the combined systems look solid, especially E1-E6 and E1-E7 and I think as we go into the 3rd season with these algorithms, there is going to be an element of expectation now.

I think having written the UK Draws and Euro systems reviews now, it’s safe to say that as TFA goes into its 6th live service, it is no longer predominantly a service specialising in the UK leagues for outright bets. It has systems with great potential for UK Draws and we have the Euro bets with a couple of seasons of proven results behind them. This isn’t a bad place to be in.

For the record, here’s the results for the first 3 seasons which are not really meaningful when looking forward but of course, this is the proofed results for these Euro systems:


Even with the very poor first season included, these Euro system returns are starting to stack up I think. Roll on next season! 

Friday, 26 June 2015

UK Draws Season Review 2014/15

I think the most difficult systems to review this Summer are the UK Draw systems. This was their 2nd live season and the results in the first season were very impressive on most of the systems. As I alluded to last Summer, the results were even better when compared to the underlying draw strike rates in the UK leagues and the 2013/14 season was the lowest strike rate for draws since the 2007/8 season. Therefore, to produce these results below in the first season of live results was impressive to say the least:


I think coming into last season, I probably had in the back of my mind that the UK draw systems were possibly my best systems. Yes, they didn’t have anywhere near the profits or number of bets as my other UK systems but given they had only been live for 1 season, you had to look beyond this. My assumption was that the 2014/15 season couldn’t be any tougher than the 2013/14 season and therefore, if the underlying results were a little easier, the profits should improve and we would have a serious set of systems on our hands after 2 seasons.

Unfortunately, the strike rate was draws in the season past was the lower than it was in 2007/8! A strike rate of only 25.3% last season makes it the toughest season for draws since 2006/7 and one of the toughest seasons for draws you could ever expect I think. Therefore, any plans of the UK Draws having a great season last season went out of the window quite early on as they got themselves into a bit of a hole and at one stage, break-even looked a helluva long way away from being achieved. However, the systems ended the season well as the strike rate picked up a little in April and the results for the season were:


Overall, these results are disappointing and seeing 5 of the 11 systems making a loss over the season means it can never be a good season for the systems. However, when you consider the underlying results produced a strike rate of 25.3% for draws, then it is a positive that every system managed to beat this strike rate and although they couldn’t turn it into a profit on every system, having 5 systems in profit is not easy when the results are so tough.

I think the most pleasing aspect of these results is the fact that both algorithms made a profit independently. System D6 made an ROI of 5.8% over the season to Pinnacle prices when the P&L to best draw prices was a loss a loss of over 6%. In my opinion, this is probably the best result of any system I’ve ever had over a season. It was very tough to break-even over the season but to make a profit of this magnitude is an amazing performance.

Although system D1 wasn’t anywhere near as impressive, to make a profit of 1.7% is acceptable in a season like this and I think both UK Draw algorithms outperformed the other UK algorithms by a long, long way. The only thing that stops these algorithms being hailed as the best last season will be the performance of the Euro algorithms as we’ll see when I review these systems.

The filtering on systems D2 & D3 and D7 didn’t really work well last season but being honest, it’s hard to be too critical given the underlying results.

The combined systems were nowhere near as impressive as the first season although I think seeing D1-D6 hit a 4.6% ROI in a season as tough as this, combined with the results in the first season means this system is potentially very, very good. I look forward to seeing what this system can do when the underlying draw strike rate increases by a 2%-3% like previous seasons.

If we look at the results of both seasons combined, here they are:


I’ll start with the positives first. After 2 very tough seasons for draw bettors, these results are pretty good I think. Yes, none of the systems are statistically significant and it’s too early to be putting all our eggs in one basket with these systems but given the underlying results so far, I think these results are exceptional.

Both algorithms are doing as they are intended to do and are making a small profit over a large number of bets. A 2.7% and 3% ROI respectively won’t make you rich but if you can turn 5%-6% losses for underlying results into a couple of % points profits to Pinny prices only, you have a great base to work from.

The filtering from system D1 to D2 works exceptionally well at the moment. The filtering from system D2 to D3 is about as bad as you could do! To turn a 12.9% profit on D2 into a -5.6% loss on D3 takes some going!

The filtering from system D6 to D7 is pretty good although not as good as moving from D1 to D2.

The real power of these systems appears to be in the combined systems though. Systems D1-D6 to D2-D7 have now built up very good results over 2 seasons and if the underlying results can just get a little bit easier over the next few years, the results for these systems could be even better I suspect.

Systems D3-D6 and D3-D7 obviously suffer badly from the results with system D3 and therefore, I don’t think these systems add anything to the other systems.

Overall then, still early days for these UK Draw systems but two seasons in, I’m really pleased with these results. Yes, I would have hoped for a better season last season but given the underlying results, we’ll accept these results and move onto next season with a fair degree of confidence.

Summer Actions – System D3 and Systems D3-D6 and D3-D7 will be retired. I don’t see the need for these systems going forward. Not sure they add anything to my proofed results and the turnover on the systems is far too low anyway. I don’t plan on touching these systems too much over the Summer. I’ll take a look at them and see if any tweaks could be applied but I’m never a fan of touching something that isn’t broken or even appears to be on the decline. I’m not sure we’ve seen the best of these systems yet. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Misc Systems Season Review 2014/15

The 3rd set of systems to review this Summer is the Misc Systems. As the name suggests, these systems are a bunch of misfits and were cobbled together at the start of the second season of the service to see if I could improve up on the returns on the other systems at the time, the Est Systems and the 3 New Systems (31-33). To recap, the systems are made up of:

6-32 – any bet that appears on system 6 and 32
21-31 – any bet that appears on system 21 and 31
6-21-31 – any bet that appears on system 6,21 and 31

The rationale for the 3 systems above was quite simple. It was another method to try to filter the bets on the higher turnover systems. Ideally, we would reduce the turnover, increase the ROI and we would have another system that could be followed.

The final 3 systems were a little bit different. These systems were based on a method known as a ‘Similar Game Method’ and simply involved building rules looking for particular types of bets. For example, backing the teams in 21st-24th place in League One every season when they play away from home is a profitable strategy. There are a whole host of rules I have built which are based on historical results which are profitable. When the bets were thrown up using these rules, the bets were then cross referred with either system 21, system 6-21 or system 31 and this created 3 new systems.

TOX – SGM bets which appeared on system 21
STOY – SGM bets which appeared on system 6-21
STOZ – SGM bets which appeared on system 31

If anyone looks closely, there will be the odd bet that appears on TOX for example that isn’t on system 21. It will be a bet where system 21 had it as value but the bet was dropped due to an odds restriction. Hence, it isn’t on 21 but is on TOX.

Again, the purpose of these 3 systems was to provide another slightly different method to cross refer the bets but of course, the correlation to systems 21,6-21 and 31 was basically 100%.

Over the first 3 seasons these 6 Misc systems were live, the results were:


As you can see above, 5 of the 6 Misc systems were actually very profitable over the first 3 seasons and although the results weren’t as impressive as some of my other systems, they were still very good. I took some additional comfort from the methods used to create these systems and for example, for one of the SGM systems to lose, they needed the underlying rules to lose as well as the system it was cross referred with losing. Hence, it sort of felt like these systems were a little protected from a downturn, more so than some other systems. Likewise, for systems 21-31 or 6-21-31 to lose badly, it needed two or three algorithms to perform badly. Given I had never had a losing algorithm over a season, surely I couldn’t hit 2 or 3 algorithms losing at once?

It’s always nice setting the scene, showing the thought that went into things and then boom, a season like last season comes along and the results for the 6 systems were:


I’ll start with the positives first. Systems 21-31 and 6-21-31 didn’t have a losing season even though systems 21 and 31 had a nightmare season. This shows the strength of cross referring systems and although these systems didn’t perform as well as the individual systems did during the good seasons, during a downturn, the cross referral of the systems has helped reduce losses. Therefore, the rationale for cross referring the systems was correct and therefore, in a season of few positives, anyone following these 2 systems did OK.

Ignoring that positive (says it all that just better than break-even over a season for a system in a positive!), we have the performance of the other 4 systems. I’ll deal with system 6-32 first.

A loss of 12.4pts isn’t a disaster but being honest, the system wasn’t doing that great coming into the season. Over 4 seasons now, the system has generated a profit of 8.3pts at an ROI of 0.9%. That’s nothing and put it down as one of the worst performing systems since inception of the service. This service will now be retired and we won’t see 6-32 in future. It isn’t any better than system 6 or system 32, so no point having it!

Right, the 3 SGM systems.

I’ll start with STOY. A loss of 13.3pts at an ROI of -3.7%. A poor season but given the previous results, it isn’t a disaster. The overall returns for the 4 seasons now stand at 68.4pts at an ROI of 5.6%. Hence, the system lost about 16% of the profits it had made previously which although disappointing, isn’t a disaster.

Unfortunately, the other two systems were a complete and utter disaster. TOX lost 28.7pts at an ROI of -7.2% and STOZ lost 41.8pts at an ROI of  -7.9%.

TOX is cross referred with system 21 and we know system 21 lost 1.5% last season, so the SGM system rules made things much worse. The same is true for STOZ as we know that system 31 lost 2.6% and therefore, the SGM rules have had a nightmare.

I don’t have time at this moment in time to run through all the rules and check the individual P&Ls but I think it’s probably not too surprising. We already know last season wasn’t like the previous 4 seasons in terms of the results for my ratings and given my ratings are based on historical results, it all points to last season’s results being a little bit different from previous seasons. Of course, one issue with using a SGM approach is that if something changes and the historical results aren’t an indicator of future results, then an SGM approach will really suffer. Probably more so than my ratings as my ratings are much smarter than just applying basic rules based on historical trends and results.

Being honest, I had never really thought about this until I spent time looking at the SGM results but in a way, I quite like the fact these systems have bombed massively last season now. Yes, it’s cost me a small fortune (I followed STOY) but it sort of helps me understand why my ratings struggled so badly last season. It’s impossible for me to exactly pinpoint where it went wrong last season (we know it wasn’t the underlying results as the number of Aways/Wins/Draws was in tolerance) but clearly, something happened last season that hasn’t happened previously.

I guess the question for all of us and what we want to know is will next season follow last season and we’ll lose again or will it revert back to the long-term trend?

I’m not really ripping into the systems here as although they created massive losses and performed miserably, I sort of understand why. Systems and ratings are only as good as the data they are based on and if something material changes in the data, the systems and ratings will fall into a hole.

I will obviously rebuild the SGM rules which will hopefully help the performance of these systems in future but I now have my own reservations with these systems now. If we can’t be confident that the past will help predict the future, then the first systems that will fail are the SGM systems I suspect. After last season, I would be worried about following these systems blindly in future although if we see last season as a blip, then there are no worries.

This review is fairly short but anyone who wants to play around with the performance by league etc. can do so in the spreadsheet I provided.

Here’s the updated results for all 6 systems after 4 live seasons of results:


Summer actions – System 6-32 is now retired. I will rebuild the SGM rules for the 3 SGM systems but apart from this, I think it’s a case of waiting to see what happens next season. I wouldn’t touch 21-31 or 6-21-31. I think both these systems are now two of the strongest systems I have as they have never had a losing season even though last season was a disaster! If they can get through last season without a loss, I suspect they can get through any season without a loss! 

Friday, 19 June 2015

New Systems Season Review 2014/15

If we thought it was a poor season for the Established Systems, this review is going to make even worse reading. Going into the season, I would say this set of systems probably carried more weight than any other set of systems in subscriber’s portfolios and betting strategies but these systems crashed and burned badly this season.

These systems have always been a little bit of boom and bust since their inception and this was the 3rd season that all systems had been live. Systems 31-33 have been live for 4 seasons. The first season all systems were live wasn’t great, the second season was amazing and the 3rd season has been poor. Overall, the results don’t look too bad although they now lag a little behind the Established Systems.

Going into this season, system 31 looked like the best system I had and probably one of the best systems I’d ever seen with 3 season’s of live results behind it. Roll on another season and the results don’t look anywhere near as impressive after a very poor season. Half way through the season, System 31 hit the magic <1% P-Value and I thought, finally, a system that is statistically significant. It barely hit a winner after this!

Here’s the results for the 3rd algorithm (system 31):


A poor season for this algorithm as discussed above. A loss of 24.5pts from 943 bets for a -2.6% ROI. Looking at the breakdown by value, all the profits were generated in two bands. Bets less than 10% value lost 33.5pts ( low value bets were profitable historically unlike the other algorithms) and the bets with more than 20% value lost 21.4pts. The sample sizes for the higher value bets were very low but it is these bets that historically, have really made the difference on this algorithm as we’ll see later. Only hitting 1 winner from 20 bets at 25+ value is a killer although the ave odds are pretty high as you can see.

Unlike the first two algorithms, the low value bets didn’t do well and I find it slightly annoying that on the first two algorithms, low value bets were great and were terrible historically and yet on this algorithm, low value bets did poorly and yet, were profitable historically. Very irritating!

If we look at the results on this algorithm since inception, we can see how annoying these results this season are:


I guess if I was data mining, I could say that the value band 25%-30% has struggled since inception and last season’s losses aren’t a great surprise but the highest value band usually does very well.

Since inception, the overall algorithm has generated a profit of 4.3% even after last season and therefore, it is obviously very disappointing to see a losing season.

Here’s the results of this algorithm for the past 4 seasons, side by side:


I think this picture reiterates the fact that seeing a losing season for this algorithm is very disappointing. The first season wasn’t great by any means but still a helluva lot better than a loss. A 10% ROI two years ago was maybe the best performance I’ve ever seen by a rating algorithm over a season. To go from this to a loss in two seasons is very disappointing.

You could potentially point to the increased bet number as a mitigating factor for the deterioration in performance but as I said with the previous review, I don’t think the increased turnover is to blame for the poor results. Always impossible to prove this but nothing was done to the ratings to worsen the expected performance going forward.

Here’s the Home & Away split for last season:


Homes were slightly better performers than Aways last season but overall, both lost money.

Here’s the same split since inception:


Again, similar to everything else last season, the results didn’t match the historical results. Aways have been the most profitable bets historically and these were the worst bets last season.

Going into the season, the best performing league on this algorithm was the Championship by far. Of course, 437 bets wasn’t a big sample but even so, an ROI of 16.3% was impressive and if I was having to bet on a league performing well on an algorithm, the Championship on algorithm was nailed on. Here’s the results before this season:


Amazingly, the P-value for the results in the Championship was 2% going into the season. Here’s the results from last season:


Well, you can obviously guess but the worst performing league was of course, the Championship. A loss of 25.7pts when on average, the league was making 25pts a season before last season! Grrrr….

I think as always, these sample sizes are small but it shows the difficulties people have with trying to draw conclusions by league or by any other factor they may use to filter bets. It isn’t easy and in any season, I honestly believe the results are going to be random and will bear little resemblance to historical trends.

Overall then, a first losing season for algorithm 3 although at one stage last season, it looked like the algorithm would make a profit. The wheels fell off mid season and never really recovered if I’m honest.

Going forward, there will obviously be doubts about this algorithm now and I think they are justified. However, one poor season can’t undo the work of the previous seasons and it’s important this lost is kept in context. I’ll tweak a few things in the Summer to try to improve the algorithm and check the changes made last Summer didn’t impact the performance negatively.

Here’s the results for the 4th algorithm:


Not much to say here apart from this algorithm isn’t very good. Coming into the season, it was definitely my poorest performing algorithm and nothing last season made me change my mind. If anything, these results reinforce the fact the algorithm isn’t very good.

Annoyingly, the bets that made a profit were the bets with less than 5% value. Here’s the results coming into the season:


If there was one value band on any algorithm I wouldn’t have touched with a bargepole, it was low value bets on algorithm 4. What happens? This is the value band that makes 12.1pts profit, the other value bands made a loss combined of 65.5pts from 372 bets! Terrible.

Here’s the updated results for the algorithm since inception:


Even after last season’s disaster, the algorithm is still pretty much break-even after 3 seasons and 2,639 bets. Although it’s disappointing it hasn’t performed better, it’s not a total disaster and if you were filtering the bets from system 41, you are at least starting from a break-even position. There is clearly no edge here though as things stand at the moment.

Given I basically rebuilt this algorithm last season on the same basis as the previous algorithm, it’s clear that this method no longer works. If this algorithm continues, it needs a full rebuild again and probably ignores any previous method or rules for this algorithm. Not sure I have the appetite to do this!

Over the last 3 seasons then, here’s the results:


Not much to say, even when the algorithm performed well, it was still rubbish!

Not going to show any more tables for algorithm 4, not much point really given the poor results. Any members can do this for themselves using the spreadsheet.

So, looking at the results for both algorithms, it’s hard to imagine the other system results being much better. Here’s the filtering on algorithm 3:


Basically, the filtering made very little difference on algorithm 3. The results were similar for all 3 systems and basically, the filtering didn’t make things better but didn’t really make things worse either.

Here’s the results since inception:


Interestingly, we can see clearly that system 32 and system 33 don’t improve things at all. If anything, they make things a little bit worse in terms of the results. Therefore, there is little point in having these systems.

Did system 42 rescue the 4th algorithm? Here’s the results this season:


In a word, no!

Here’s the results since inception:


Same story here, system 42 adds nothing to system 41.

Based on these system results then, we already know the combined systems aren’t going to look great. Here’s the results for all 11 New Systems this season:


A terrible set of results all round. I guess the only plus point is that the cross referring of the systems ensured the overall impact of systems 41 and 42 were reduced somewhat but even then, if you cross refer two losing algorithms, it’s impossible to do well.

System 33-42 somehow made a profit even though systems 33 and system 42 were terrible, so it shows you can actually make a profit cross referring losing systems but it’s easier to do that with lower turnover systems. Trying to do it with higher turnover systems is much more difficult.

Here’s the same results since the inception of these systems (have to split it in two since systems 31-33 been alive for an additional season):



Overall, the returns from most of these systems have taken a significant hit after last season and therefore, all these systems are now under the microscope I think. I think it’s clear that systems 32,33 and 42 don’t improve the returns on either 31 or 42 and therefore, not sure what the point of having these systems is. The filtering doesn’t work and therefore, there is no need for these systems.

My only concern with scrapping them is that they are used by some people for various methods of filtering the bets but I suspect that next season, these won’t be official systems in the proofed results. They will be retired!

Overall, a really poor set of results and it’s a shame that these systems have had such a poor season after a solid start for a few seasons. I need to think long and hard about what I do with these systems and whether or not they all continue (unlikely) and if I drop some, they need to probably still highlight the bets they would have had for people using the number of times a team appears as a filter.

Summer Actions – Decide what I do with this whole bunch of systems. 31 is the only system that is guaranteed to continue next season although it’s likely I’ll do a deep dive on the rating algorithm to see what I can do. Not sure about system 41 or any of the other systems 32,33 and 42. Something needs to be done though!