Sunday, 24 June 2012

The wheels on the bus...

...they stand dead still.

Why, why, why, did England not take the game to a decidedly average Italian team tonight? A few years ago no-one would have had a high expectation against the Italians. The current Italian side cannot hold a candle to the days of Dino Zoff, Paolo di Rossi etc but still England contrived to play a defensive minded holding game with a totally unfit and ineffectual 'talisman' in the form of Rooney yet again failing to deliver on the big stage for his country.

Luckily for me, I had backed 0-0 1-0 and 0-1 so trading wise I did ok.

But I've got to say I am dismayed at our lack of attacking spirit. And why Hodgson put Jordan Henderson on in Scott Parker's place I really, really can't understand. Surely the way to win the game, at that stage, was to do so in 'normal' time? Parker might well have been out on his feet but surely getting Rooney off and putting Defoe on would have least given the Italians pause for thought? Or, if you must take Parker off, why not chance your arm with Oxlade-Chamberlain instead of Henderson?

With England's form in penalty shoot outs I was amazed to be able to lay that outcome at 2.74 at about half time extra time. I would happily have traded that win for another night in my local against the Germans on Thursday. The trade in that case would have been simple. Lump on Any Unquoted.

When does the Prem season start again so I can get back to trading properly??

Monday, 18 June 2012

A nice way to spend an English summer's night..

...sitting in my mate's den, known affectionately as 'The Pit Stop' supping a long cold drink scalping the US Open on a dodgy mobile connection. What a pity it was being played in San Francisco - not that there's anything wrong with the city or the golf course - it's just that it was so bloody late! We gave up at about 2.40 am I think, both of us having worked up nice greens over the preceding two to three hours.

I love golf, even though I'm useless at it. My companion last night, however, plays off an 8 handicap and moreover is knowledgeable about the swings and the courses which is where a better degree of knowledge can help your trading.

Jim Furyk never ceases to amaze me - he has the most ungainly swing of any pro I've ever seen and even makes my efforts look polished. However, as the Sky HD slo-mo shows, he invariably gets clubhead to ball at precisely the right angle and at the right time to enable him to grind out a result, especially on courses where accuracy carries a higher premium than distance.

After the last pair had played three holes, Westy had his ball high up in a cypress tree and GMac had dropped a shot. I remember glancing at Els, and noticed that 'Big Easy' was available to back at (if memory serves) 44 or thereabouts. A certain young Webb Simpson was also in the high thirties / early forties. Furyk was available to lay at 2.04 which I duly did. I really don't know why his price had dropped that low. He had a one stroke lead and there were fully 14 holes to go... daft not to lay him really!

Three things struck me during those three hours or so.

Firstly how behind the action Sky's coverage was - undoubtedly not helped by the advertising breaks. We were able to stab reasonable guesses as to what was happening on the course by the price movements on our phones.

Secondly, how much better it is to watch golf on the BBC! Their coverage really does knock Sky's into a cocked hat in my opinion - especially with Mr Alliss's dulcet tones and the complete lack of advert breaks.

Thirdly, and most noticeably, how very scalpable the markets are. Els got an eagle on a par three and his price tumbled from the mid twenties into 9's. A good drive at the next hole saw it come into the sixes before easing back out again as his challenge started then faltered. GMac's odds were up and down like the proverbial clappers as he fought the course. Furyk traded between the 2.04 that I took and just under 3 on just about every hole for some time. Other opportunities came and went, but, providing you are sensible, have reasonably up to date information and use realistic stakes it's surprisingly easy to scalp the golf winners's market.

Give it a go - it's great fun.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Sixty percent plus strike rate? Yes - it's true

With ten Euro 2012 matches now played six have finished 1-1 1-2 or 2-1. Of the remaining four, two were decided by one goal, one was 3-1 the other 4-1. Noticeably absent, thus far, is the dreaded 0-0. This tournament to date has been manna from heaven for Correct Score traders in general and the Scatter Gun trade in particular.

Despite the relatively poor odds available on 1-1 a straight bet and forget of multiples of £5 on 1-1 and £2 on 1-2 and 2-1 would have generated a decent  profit.

Trading the matches in-play would have almost certainly have produced greater profits, as reasonable green screens were available using that trade on both the Ireland match and in Russia's demolition of the Czechs. Results would differ trader to trader as individuals would undoubtedly take differing positions in play.

I for one see little or no reason to deviate from this trade for the balance of Round One, and doubt much will change when the competition progresses to the knock out stages.

Pre-tournament predictions about tight, edgy, low scorers also were spot on with only 4 games going over 2.5 goals so far. The stand out for me, though, has been the low 0-0 odds at kick off. I haven't been around to trade all the matches so far, unfortunately, but of those I have been involved with at least two have seen 0-0 odds below 8 at kick off. For those with the bank and cahones the lay of 0-0 must be the trade of the tournament to date.

England v France

Cassini somehow read my post last night as a criticism of England's performance against France. I'm not entirely sure how he concluded that, but in case others might have read the same thing into it let me put the record straight.

In my view the result against France was a perfectly acceptable one. It wasn't the most scintillating of contests but I thought England looked reasonably efficient and the job was well enough done. My hope is that Hodgson saw that match as the 'anchor' of the campaign and set his stall out accordingly. My fear is that he will continue in a similar vein for the other two group matches.

Looking at the matches pre-tournament I think most would have expected the Swedes to have won or drawn the match against Ukraine. The England / France result is probably not too much of a surprise so I guess my thinking was that France would beat both Ukraine and Sweden, and England would at least draw with the Swedes and beat Ukraine. My fear now, and the point of last night's post, is that Sweden's failure to at least draw the game last night has completely changed the dynamic of the group. I think it is fair and accurate to say that drawing with Sweden is now not an option. We need to win that game. So, I am with Cassini when he says (with respect to England's situation) that....

They may well end up failing to qualify, but if they do, it will be because of failures in their next two matches, not because of drawing the first one.
For the further avoidance of doubt and for the record I have seen / remember all England World Cup and Euro tournaments since Mexico 1970, and am well aware that drawing (or even losing) the first game does not automatically mean we're on the next flight home!

Monday, 11 June 2012

I tried archery as a teenager and have a question....

how is it that I, with all the gangly uncoordinated inability of youth, can hit a small target from about 20 feet with a tiny arrow and yet a professional footballer can miss a f'g eight foot high, eight yard wide target from a similar distance???

Well thanks to Mr Elmander a couple of  things have come to pass.

Firstly, England now have in my view even more of an uphill struggle to get anywhere in the competition than they started off with. A win against the Swedes is now not optional, and I'm afraid that with Woy's inherently defensive and negative approach I just can't see that happening. Let's play devil's advocate and say that France and Ukraine draw and England beat Sweden. That would mean us going into the game against Ukraine, on their turf and with their tails bolt upright, with the hosts needing a win to progress to the quarter finals. Can't see that going our way, personally.

Secondly, from very modest stakes I was looking at a green screen on Correct Score, with a tantalisingly large lump resting on 2-2 that I hadn't hedged. I'd also laid Ukraine at silly low odds. So he owes me a substantial three figure sum.

So thanks, Johan, nice one!

Such is the nature of our hobby, but as a football fan I must say that the quality overall of this tournament is much higher than I had expected. The win for Ukraine has really set the stage for a fascinating Group D denouement and I suspect a few people are now greening up nicely on Sheva being top scorer (matched in small amounts at 500 I understand!).

I think things can only get better as the lyric suggests.

Friday, 8 June 2012

An upside down market if ever there was one!

Betfair markets are normally noted for their efficiency and accuracy. Eddie, over at A Football Trader's Path, posted some stats that suggested that the early group games in the Euros would likely be low scoring games with both sides trying hard not to lose rather than trying to win. I concurred with that assessment, even commenting that I wouldn't be laying the 0-0 in the curtain raiser! Listening to the second half of the Poland v Greece game in the car on the way home from work it certainly did not appear to be the dire affair that many had predicted, and maybe it was this that caused me to look at the Russian game in a slightly different light.

Looking at the teamsheets and the quality of some of the players in both teams caused me to question how the market had settled on 0-0 at 7.6 pre match, with Any Unquoted at (from memory) nearly 20. Even 2-2 was mid twenties pre kick off.

Regular readers will know that I like laying at odds on usually, but to me the 0-0 price was a real value lay. I didn't go mad, but did lay it at 7 a few minutes in. Typically, and especially with the benefit of the most accurate vision available to man (20/20 hindsight), I completely ignored the rather bloated AU price. But I did manage a lovely green on the game.

Sometimes the real value in football trading lies in going against the crowd. I'm not suggesting doing this for the sake of it - but if you look as I did at the teams and apply a bit of thought from your knowledge of the sport you can sometimes hit real paydirt.

Let's hope such opportunities arise more during what I think and hope will be a compelling tournament.

Thursday, 7 June 2012


Someone has just had a value bet at my expense!

Fat fingered trading meant I offered £100 to back Any Unquoted in the upcoming Stjarnen game at even money instead of offering to lay. Needless to say money that wasn't there suddenly swopped and took it before I could cancel the bloody thing!

I'm sitting here now wondering whether to take a substantial pill before a ball is kicked or let the bloody thing ride in the expectation of goals....

Friday, 1 June 2012

How does this work, and can i get some of it, please?

A nice, quiet Friday afternoon friendly international between Czech Republic and Hungary. The U2.5 is suspended for what turned out to be an equalising goal for the Czechs. Below is a screenshot of the market:

The money waiting to be matched has gone from the square root of sweet Felicity Arkwright to over £100 k on both sides of the market! I can't get matched during suspensions, but you could watch the money piling in....

I'm assuming this can only be for one of three reasons. Firstly, people cleverer than I have found a backdoor to enable them to match bets during suspensions. Secondly the money belongs to either Betfair or clients far more important than me. Thirdly, Evo is having hallucinations.

I suspect I know which it is, but if anyone can shed any light it would be interesting to hear!