Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Happy Christmas everyone!

The more astute of my regular readers will have noticed that my blogging posts have dried to a trickle over the past few months. I offer up no defence, other than to say that the only reason for this is a complete lack of ideas for anything fresh (or even half re-hashed, for that matter!) to write about.

I had a plan last night...

I intended to walk to the local and have a few beers with some friends whilst watching the Special One outfox old Arsene again and savour the Boys in Blue putting a few past the hapless Gooners. The journey home from work took place in a howling gale, with rain lashing the windscreen. The M2 /A2 had several places where, despite all the traffic, there was quite a lot of standing water. Suffice to say by the time I reached my home I'd decided to stay in the warm and trade the game instead.

In retrospect I wish I'd braved the weather, got soaking wet, had a bit of a headache this morning and saved myself the agony of a boring game and a reasonable trading loss! At least I'd have had a sociable, banter filled two or three hours. I appreciate the conditions were awful but I don't think I've ever seen a Premiership game between the two top London clubs where the desire to not lose the game outweighed the desire to win it by quite such a large margin. I hate nil nils!

On a brighter note, I see from my Blogger 'Dashboard' that this little area full of literary masterpieces has now attracted 200,000 plus page views! Never did I imagine that I would hit that number when I first put finger to keyboard way back when.

So thanks for persevering with me, and might I take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2014.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Reality TV Trading (don't adjust your screen, I haven't gone 'soft' in my old age :) )

An interesting piece on this over at Sports Trading Life caught my eye the other day. It's remarkable what these blasted 'international breaks' make a footie trader read!

Anyway, what was written made perfect sense to me so I searched for, and eventually found, the markets for 'I'm a Celebrity......' My (mainly younger) colleagues I'm sure think I live under a stone somewhere when it comes to popular Kulture, and I had to smile to myself when I had to ask or google who four of the 9 'slebs' were! Anyway, I did recognise Joey Essex, the early favourite. On consulting Mrs Gun she's firmly of the opinion that he's gorgeous, and I must grudgingly admit that he does have a certain 'air' about him that undoubtedly appeals to the feminine audience. Changing tack slightly I asked who, in her opinion, is the biggest w****r in the field? The answer was shot back immediately - and on looking at the odds I don't fancy laying that person - especially as he/she (don't want Mrs Gun or self to be sued for slander!) was one of the people I'd had to look up!

To cut a long story short, I've laid Mr Essex as early favourite at odds of just under 2. If people really want to fly half way round the world to eat locusts and centipedes that's their business. If people really want to watch them, that's their business. I just hope Mr Essex blots his copy book somewhere and enables me to have a successful first (and last???) foray into Reality TV trading.

Interlude over.... proper trading resumes this weekend until the next International Break. Hopefully STL can come up with a fresh trading plan for me by then.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Pivotal moments?

Sometimes something happens in a sporting sense that proves to be a pivotal moment in turning fortunes. I can't help wondering whether Manchester City's gift of a late 2-1 victory to Chelsea on Sunday afternoon might prove to be such a moment. The match stats saw City having the edge in possession, but some dogged chasing of a seemingly lost cause by Torres paid off. Doubtless that goal sent his, and the team's, confidence soaring. Following that result up with a comprehensive 0-2 win at the Emirates tonight has sent the Blues to favourites in the Winner's market on Betfair, for now, at least!

At the other end of the table, under the calm and steady influence of Gus Poyet, Sunderland had a much needed and confidence boosting 2-1 win over their North East rivals, Newcastle. I've little doubt that the Black Cats fight for survival will be harder relatively than Chelsea's fight for glory, but at 1.9 in the relegation market I have taken them on for small stakes.

Whether these were two pivotal moments or two blips remains to be seen, but I wouldn't be surprised if both turned out more of the former than the latter.

Monday, 21 October 2013


It was never going to be easy taking on fellow traders, 'amateur' and 'professional' alike, in the FTL as the singleton betting correct scores over 1x2 value bets. I'm trying to hit one from seventeen as opposed to one from three, although I do give myself 3 attempts at it. I'm not bleating, you understand! It's just that, as predicted, this weekend I suffered the ignominy of a complete, absolute wipe-out. Zero from 10. Nought percent. Feck all. I now await the 100% week to put things straight!

With nine games already down my hopes rested on the Torino v Inter match in Serie A last night. I traded that one live and was in buoyant spirits as the game kicked off. The game was a few seconds old when the 'suspended' sign flashed across my screen - but it wasn't a goal. No, Inter somehow contrived to have a player sent off with almost the entire game left to play. In the ensuing chaos in the Correct Score market I was able to get small backs matched at high odds on 2-2 and 3-3 - the market having effectively written Inter off.

They survived a missed penalty before going a goal down at about twenty minutes. They equalised just before half time, before going 2-1 down. That was followed by 2-2, 2-3 and then a last gasp Torino goal made it 3-3 almost at the bell!

In summary, a trade that looked as good as over in the first twenty minutes turned into one of the most exciting, and profitable, in-play trades that I've enjoyed for a long time.

Unfortunately, I am still going to take a bit of a kicking when Cassini updates the table.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Low liability laying part 2

Last night: Watford 2 Norwich 0 - laid Watford at 1.14, 2-2 full time, Norwich went on to win 2-3 in Extra Time.

Tonight: Bologna 3 AC Milan 1 - laid Bologna twice (once at 2-1, but went in a bit deeper at 3-1). Milan pulled it back to 3-3.

Elche v Real Madrid: Laid U2.5 goals at 50 mins at 1.33. RM take a one goal lead. Laid them in Match Odds at 1.18. 92 minutes Elche equalised. Greened Match Odds, but the 2.5 didn't afford an opportunity. Laid the draw for a £25 liability at 1.07. Madrid get, and score, a 95th minute penalty - the only time in my memory that I have anything good or positive to say about the 'winker' ;)

Total liability for these trades less than £150. Total profit over £700. That's why I like low liability laying!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Drive for show...putt for dough

All golfers will, I'm sure, have heard that hoary old chestnut that succinctly highlights the fact that success (for Tiger Woods or an occasional hacker like me) in golf occurs at the business end of the hole, not the 300 yard 'skinner' off the tee. A decent tee shot certainly helps, but low scores in golf emanate from your ability around the green.

This was brought into my mind when I looked at the latest FTL positions over at Green Allover. We are five weeks into the season - where does the time go?? - and a pattern is starting to take shape now. What I found interesting is that the strike rates of the players in the top half of the table are quite close yet the returns vary considerably. So there are some good ball strikers who might want to consider spending some time on the putting green! For some the numbers are as yet small, so it will be interesting to have another look in a month or so when the figures will have more meaning.

For my own selections, I have to say I'm massively encouraged as a result of the last couple of weeks. I thought I might struggle to hit enough scores to make headway, especially as Cassini is calculating the positions on a point p/l basis. I submit 10 selections per week, risking a total of ten points per selection. I strongly suspect that there will be at least one week where I suffer a complete wipeout which would represent a 100 point loss! Champions League spot to relegation in one fell swoop is always just around the corner! On the other hand I might, just might, hit a 100% S/R one week. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Low liability laying

An excellent night for those people out there who like to lay Liverpool. Unfortunately I'm otherwise engaged on Tuesday evenings and rushed out at half time without doing so, but yet again the 'cash cow' of the last two seasons proved worthy of that moniker again.

I did trade the Any Unquoted in the game three times. I'm personally rarely able to resist laying it in almost any game where it's under 3 at the start of the match, and duly did so. The intention was to take the green after 10-15 minutes and recycle it as the goals pinged in. As sometimes happens when you take that course, the first goal pinged in in short time. Whilst unfortunate in terms of my already set trade, it did have the effect of pushing the price of AU down to under 1.7. Think about what that means.....with 86 minutes plus injury time left to play the market believed that in 100 games, 59 of them would end with a four goal or more score from either or both teams. I don't know the stats and haven't the means (or inclination) to dig them out but my intuition tells me that it's bollox to put it bluntly! In this case it's clearly a reflection of the general consensus of opinion being that Liverpool would go on and thump County.  Having relaid at double my original stake I was able in fairly short order to come out with a small green before the second goal, at which point the odds dropped to the mid 1.2's. So I was able to recycle the same money again, and that was all I ended up doing in the game.

The main point though, is that it looks as if some £70k was matched on Liverpool at 1.01. The full time score was 2-2. If your bank can stand it, there's little downside to laying  £100, £1000 or even £10000 at those odds. Sure there will be many more losers than winners...but these things do happen. Based on my experience there are two top-flight English teams that it happens to more than most, the aforementioned and Arsenal. I'll always lay both of them at 2 or more goal leads.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

How times have changed

Whilst City were 'playing' with Newcastle last night, comparisons were drawn with the Leeds team of the 1970's who mercilessly toyed with a team (I think it was WBA but my memory is hazy - I stand to be corrected) playing a sort of exhibition match to the delight of the crowd. One thing led another via google  as often happens, and I found myself reading about the 1970 FA Cup Final in 1970. 

That is a day I remember fondly, as at the tender age of eight, I sat with my Uncle Arthur watching the game and became a Chelsea supporter. To say I remember the game in detail would be to over egg the sauce a bit, but the account I read last night suggested it to have been a bruising encounter, and a very bad tempered one to boot. That match ended 2-2 when Ian Hutchinson, of the windmill long throw fame, netted in the final moments of the game.

The replay was played at Old Trafford and, if anything, was a more bruising encounter than the first had been. Remember, this is the era when players rejoiced in nicknames like Ron 'Chopper' Harris, Norman 'Bites yer legs' Hunter and 'Battling' Billy Bremner. Those names were genuinely descriptive of the way the game was played back then.

Which brings me to the title...according to an article on SkySports.com, retired referee David Elleray reviewed the game some 30 years later and revealed that he would have issued no fewer than 6 Red Cards and a staggering 20 Yellows. There was just the one 'booking' in the whole match!

Of course, the Blues won the replay thanks to a Dave Webb extra time header. Happy days :)

Monday, 19 August 2013

The meaning of life

One of the things I like best about the Betting / Trading 'blogosphere' is that it sometimes throws up some fascinating debates, not all of which are directly related to the subject. There is one such debate brewing at the moment about life, wealth, work and happiness / fulfilment / pyschological well-being call it what you will. Anyway, I thought I'd put my tuppenceworth into the mix.

To set the background for those who wonder what the old fool's rambling on about now, look at Caan Berry's piece, and Steve's comment in response to it and then pop over to Green All Over to see Cassini's usual non-combative everyone's entitled to an opinion stance on the subject.

I think both Caan and Cassini are right in different ways. It is rich, if you interpret that term in a holistic sense rather than a straight financial sense, to be your own boss. If you can earn a living working a few hours a day, have no-one to answer to but your other half (if applicable) and don't see the point in working harder to earn more as you don't see the point, I think that's a fortunate position to be in. Likewise if you are so contented in your career, as seems to be the case with Cassini, that the work / life boundary fades to an indistinct line then I also think that's a fortunate position to be in.

I generally speaking really enjoy what I do to earn a crust. There are apsects that I don't enjoy, although they are few in number and none engender a 'hatred' of the task - more of a 'needs must so let's just get it over and done with' response. The truth is though, that I sell cars because I was not good enough at playing either football or golf to make a career out of what I truly enjoy (on, in the case of football, used to enjoy) doing most!

For most people reading this post and the others mentioned I suspect that work is a necessity to enable them to live. I also suspect that, given the choice / chance most would like to quit the 'rat race' and control their own destiny. It is a little too simplistic, in my view, to say that if you dislike your job that much you just need to go and find something that you do enjoy.

I also think that people of my parents' generation and my generation have had / are having a far easier time than people of my sons' generation are likely to have. I'd like that not to be the case, but suspect it will prove so.

One trader I know gave up the rat race to trade full time. As far as I know he was making a good go at it, but then got invited back into the corporate world. After a bit of internal turmoil the appeal and challenge offered by the greasy pole proved too much to pass on and back he went. He stopped blogging regularly then as well, which is a shame. He knows who he is ;-).

Another trader of my acquaintance had been full time for over four years, and again, as far as I know earnt well enough from it. He now works with people who need help in a couple of areas of life truly central to their general well being. When I asked him why he quit full time trading and whether he was enjoying his new role his response was interesting. It seems that Betfair and their attitude to their customers was the central reason for him quitting... i.e. the Premium Charge among other things. He also said that in his new role he feels completely fulfilled, something that trading full time had not achieved for him. I don't know how much he's making now, but suspect he's taken a drop in income in return for what he sees as an improvement in his quality of life.

Cassini says that one definition of richness is when one's income from investment exceeds expenses. I'll add a definition I've heard: 'true wealth has been attained when the interest on your interest exceeds expenses'. I honestly doubt that many people reading these words fall into either camp. I know I don't. But on balance I'm inclined to side with the view that wealth or richness are all relative terms, and that, 'wishy washy' or not, I'll take a good family and close circle of good friends over the mansion and the Ferrari. All day, every day!

An opportunity or an aberration?

Another 'so close and yet so far' week in the FTL. Across the major European Leagues the scores I'm after (1-1, 1-2 and 2-1) account for about 23-25% of results and at the moment, after filtering, I'm stuck at an irritatingly low strike rate of 20%. I'm confident that over time, especially as the season settles into some kind of rhythm that this will pick up. How both Birmingham and Derby contrived to fail to find an equaliser is beyond me, to be honest!

Take a look at the screenshot...

I'm wondering if I've stumbled across something here... the highlighted results would have seen the Any Unquoted pay out. I hadn't logged the prices, but with the possible exception of the Swansea v Man U game, I doubt it would have been below 12 in any of those matches. 

So there we have it... spend hours sifting through the in-play coupons looking for Scatter Gun games... and then... in a blanket fashion, lump on Any Unquoted!

Monday, 12 August 2013

An inauspicious start!

But let's draw some positives from it! Firstly, the dreaded 0-0 was avoided in all ten games. Harder to dodge, however, were some, frankly, freakish results.

Ross County losing at home to Partick, a stunning 6-1 win for Hertha over Eintracht were not in my tealeaves on Saturday morning. Sunday got even more extreme, with (hopefully temporarily) homeless Coventry City running out 5-4 winners in a thrilling match against Bristol City played in Northampton. That actually worked out OK, as I laid Coventry at 0-3. I thought my chance of a big win had gone when City scored the equaliser only for Coventry to score a fourth before my hedging bet was matced. I needn't have worried as Bristol did fight back, allowing for a hedge and then a cheeky LTD - which also came in at 5-4. The 3-3 between Schalke and Hamburg also provided some interesting and profitable trading.

The results would have been a lot more palatable had Zwolle not scored an injury time third goal that turned a 1-2 into a losing 1-3. So, it's all their fault! The sad fact remains, however, that the Scatter (or spray!) Gun results are running at a 32% negative ROI after week one....as they said in a song once upon a time, 'the only way is up'

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Spray guns at the ready!

I'm pleased to say that Cassini has allowed me to take part in his famous Friendly Tipster League in the forthcoming season. My entries will be unusual in that they are Correct Score picks, rather than the match picks the other protagonists will be making (although having said that one of Cassini's own entries is based on the O2.5 market). I will be interested to see how my selections compare with the 1x2 entries - predictably I'm submitting 'Scatter Gun' scores of 1-1, 1-2 and 2-1. I'm grateful to Cassini for allowing an entry like this, as the available odds in this market are not recorded in his preferred data source (www.football-data.co.uk - an excellent site, if it's new to you). We've therefore agreed a fixed odds system for recording this, and the odds agreed are on the low side for most of these games.

I shan't do this every week but I thought you might be interested to see my selections for this coming weekend.

The full-time results of the matches concerned will determine the outcome of my entry, but in reality of course I would actively trade the games in-play. I would ordinarily put the 2-2 in the mix at the right odds, but with a view to using the leverage that goals create on that score to mitigate liabilities elsewhere. Including 2-2 in these selections would, I'm sure, weaken the return.

In case you're wondering if I've renamed the trade, fear not! Cassini referred to it as the 'spray gun or whatever he calls it...' - hence the post title :-)

Friday, 2 August 2013

The Cash Dispenser is open again

I refer, of course, to my regular Friday night forays into Ligue 2. The screenshot below doesn't tell the whole story by any means as some astute trading in the higher scoring games offset the loss on Arles (which, in their infinite wisdom, Betfair suspended from the fist goal after a couple of minutes for the whole of the rest of the match). The Niort game didn't go in play, and one thing that I noticed last season is that the one game they don't put in play per week (why not, ffs?) seems to usually hit the spot. My intention going forward is to put a half stakes 'set and forget' on the game not going in-play. A loss on the Metz game was averted by a lay of 0-0 at 1.3 and a last minute goal. I know some will say 'that looks like chasing' but in my defence I was green across all seven in-play goals long before I placed that lay, and would do it again next week if the situation arose.

To cap an already more than acceptable night's 'work' off - Braga have just this second completed yet another fightback from 2 goals down. 'Appy days!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Stick or twist?

Reno posed a question recently about how to handle the 'wrong' scores in a Scatter Gun trade:
HiInteresting concept and I've been trying this at small stakes for a few days. When the score-line of 1-1 is reached, hallelujah.. the money comes in. But what do you do when 2-0 or 0-2 is reached? Cashing out at this score leaves you -6p on average, but if it gets to 3-0 or 0-3, you loose all your stakes. So I was wondering whether you trade when 1-0 or 2-0 is reached (or 0-1 and 0-2) Thanks! Reno
The key to answering this, in my opinion, lies in the very first sentence Reno writes. Use small stakes. As simple as that, really! By small stakes I mean small relative to your bank, of course. I am always prepared to lose my entire stake if an SG trade goes completely wrong. That's not to say that I never take 'corrective action' - more that I'm quite prepared not to.

I don't see any point, personally, in trading out at 2-0 or 0-2. Many of those games, even if they don't end 1-2 or 2-1 will see one of those scores at some point. If a team scores a third, take it on the chin and move on.

The trade works best the later in the game that goals come. If there is an early goal, especially to the favourite, you might consider backing 3-0 or 0-3. That way, if they score the second goal you can probably scratch the trade by laying off 2-1/1-2 and 3-0 / 0-3.

Another 'nightmare' scenario is a flurry of early goals - I was trading  the four Brazillian games last night and the Joinville v Boa match was 1-1 after five minutes and 2-2 by half time! In that situation I scrambled out for a small red at 1-1! Not much else to be done really.

I don't think you can be too 'mechanical' with correct score trading. The SG is a pretty resilient trade, and my records show it to be nicely profitable over the long term. If you get out of too many trades too early you are, in my opinion, walking away from profitability and not giving the trade a chance to work.

The bigger question, and the most difficult to call, is what to do at 1-1? Assuming this score occurs in the second half you, as the trader, have to decide how to go forward. You could just hedge for a nice profit by greening up all three scores. You might green just the 1-1 to leave maybe  a small loss there and chunky wins on the other two. you might remove some or your total liability by laying 1-1 to some degree. The only thing I would say is that once you've chosen a particular course of action just do it, and don't look back over your shoulder and kick yourself if you make the wrong call!

Monday, 29 July 2013

In-Play stats and their place in a trader's arsenal

I wonder what peoples' views are on this subject? The reason for my post was a discussion in the Trading Football (disclosed affiliation before anyone asks :) ) chatroom tonight about the subject.

It was clear that for some people the absence of Shots on Target (SOT) is a valid reason for staying out (or maybe for getting out ) of a football trade. Now, I'm nothing if not democratic, and each to his own. But, I've some doubts, and therefore, some questions....

I have two main issues: a) definition and b) averages

What is a SOT? Who defines it? How accurate is the assessment in-play? Is there a universally accepted standard? If we say a SOT is a shot (or header???) that either results in a goal or is saved / blocked then I suppose that's OK as a standard. What about a shot that comes off the post or the bar? Or one that is millimetres out? Were they on target, or were they just 'shots'? What about deflections? See my point?

I can live with all of that, but what I don't get is how the averages work. Below is a table showing SOT and goals in the Premier League last season. From this we can see that Manchester United, the Champions, have the lowest SOT:Goal Ratio needing an average of just 3.48 SOT to score a goal. The 20th ranked team, perhaps similarly unsurprisingly, were QPR (relegated) who needed over 8 SOT per goal. We can also probably conclude that Reading are an efficient scoring machine, ranked second only to Utd and needing only 4.16 SOT to score. The fact that they also were relegated suggests they just need to up their shooting rate! Is Premier League soccer that simple, I wonder?

Be all that as it may, we can see that on average a Premier League side needs 5 SOT to score a goal. So in theory a game with 10 SOT should, on average, produce 2 goals.

I've said previously that maths isn't my strong point. Statistics are even more of a Dark Art to me. But, and this is the crux of what I don't get, how do those who rely on in-play stats allow for previous and forthcoming games and goals? If that sounds double dutch I'll try to explain what I mean.

August 17th 2013 marks the start of the new season for the Premier League. Team A need 5 SOT per goal and they are playing Team B who need 6.5 SOT per goal. Let's assume the game results in a 0-0 bore draw, Team A having had 5 SOT and Team B 7.

When those two teams kick off in their second match, do we count SOT from the first shrill of the man in black's whistle, or from the 5 and 7 figures above? By the same token, should we have taken into account the SOT since the respective last goals scored by both teams last season in our in-play stats for the 17/8/13 game?

Even a mathematical dunce like me can accept there's a causal relationship between SOT and goals. In a golfing situation, if my putt doesn't reach the hole, it ain't going down! But until someone can explain to me (in a way that I can understand) how these stats can be usefully employed in-play I'm going to carry on not worrying about them!

P.S. The SOT / Goal data comes courtesy of www.football-data.co.uk . Their statistical information is drawn from a number of sources - a site well worth a visit if, like me, you're stats mad ;)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

One 'Gotcha' that didn't get me!

Not through any particular skill of mine, before you start wondering!

I put a dutched trade together on the Canadian Open, and one of those I backed was Hunter Mahan. I did so on the back of his impressive play in The Open, and by the close of play on the second day he had a good lead. In fact, his lead was so good that he was available to lay at 2.6, which enabled me to take a useful £32 green screen into the final two rounds.

I got in from work on Saturday night, intending to trade the tournament in play, and Hunter was in my sights as a potential lay to back trade. I scanned the market and couldn't see him anywhere near the top. Eventually I spied him right down at the bottom trading at 1000!

Had he swallowed a putter? Been assaulted by a grizzly bear? Had the Mounties 'Got their man'? No - his wife had gone into labour and he'd hauled himself off the golf course to be present at her bedside!

I've got to feel sorry for any more diligent golf traders than I. Those people put the hours in looking at form, greens in regulation, driving accuracy and analyse a player's strengths and weaknesses relative to the type and layout of the course being played.

I just hope they also knew his wife was pregnant and was  about to drop!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Scatter Gun at its best

I started trading Latin American football primarily because it fits in with my work commitments. I continue trading it now because it is also so consistently profitable for me. Look at the wonders of a last minute 2-2 in the cup tie between Union La Colera and Universidad de Catolica..

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Win sum, lose some

I was drawn to a comment that Ian Erskine made in relation to a recent debate over at Cassini's place relating to the trading mindset. Describing the first of his round of trading training workshops he said the following:
The overwhelming response in the room is exactly as Cassini states - negative. Even with the winner the general view was one of hoping to win. I don't hope I win, I expect to win and over time know I will win.
 The winner referred to is the one person among the 18 present who was significantly ahead overall in his trading. That in itself tells a story, but what I found interesting was the main thrust of the man's own thinking: '....I don't hope I win, I expect to win and over time know that I will win.' (My emphasis).

I don't know about you, but I think that a man who's netted the equivalent of a reasonable lottery windfall in seven years of trading is probably worth listening to.

Back in the mists of time I started writing this blog to try to help with my discipline. I knew what to do, but somehow couldn't resist straying from the path of righteousness. I'm no saint today, but am an awful lot better, partly through experience and partly from taking on board what others have said as well. Slowly but surely I've learnt when to take a loss and when to let a winner run. Of course, I don't always get it right, and occasionally still drop an almighty great clanger. But by and large I've got better, my bank is steadily growing and I do now expect to win overall. And I do...overall.

What interested me when I read Ian's piece was that most of the time when the 'trader's mindset' is discussed it focuses on the mechanics of trading. The message he puts across is much much more to do with thinking of success rather than trying to limit failure. A key difference.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Feeling all contrarian

After struggling to make a small profit from the incredibly dull affair between Brazil and Mexico I looked at the markets for the Italy v Brazil match. The world and his wife seemed to have concluded this would be another dire, low scoring match. I don't know how many times I've traded this kind of game before and then looked back and wished I'd gone against the perceived wisdom of the markets, but decided tonight to do something a little different.

I invested a whole £20 on backing 3-1, 1-3, 2-2 and 3-3 at kick off. Almost unbelievably by the half hour mark the Japanese were 2 goals to the good and my CS trade was looking good. Almost as unbelievably Japan were available to lay at 1.25 in Match Odds!! That just had to be taken, and sure enough by half time the Italians were back in the game at 1-2.

I was in very nice position now, and, with 1-3 showing enough profit to hedge CS for a no loss trade I took that profit and let the MO lay run. The 2-2 score was now a potential 'double bubble' - and the Azzuri duly obliged by equalising. A hedge of 2-2 gave me a healthy CS profit and the move to 3-2, coming as it did only a few minutes later, cemented the MO position to the extent that I hedged it and then immediately laid the Italians. And at this point I made a judgement call ... and got it wrong! The 3-3 score was available to hedge at 7.8 and I took it. I honestly didn't expect the game to have panned out as it had and it seemed reasonable to suspect that the Italians superior class would start to tell so I hedged out of 3-3. About three minutes before the equaliser.........

Cursing myself for missing a three figure hedge I laid the draw, only for the Italians to nick (a somewhat fortuitous?) win 4-3. Wow.

At 0-2 - the point at which I laid Japan in Match Odds my total exposure across both markets was £50 if I did nothing and the score stayed the same. As it happened I returned over 7 times that despite the (as it transpired) errant lay of 3-3 at 3-2.

I do a fair number of contrarian trades - most of them either lose or make modest profits. But, every now and again, something perfect like this one pops up and it's a great feeling! Try it!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Trading software

In a comment to a recent post, Ricardo introduced me to a trading application called 'Traderline'. Being of an inquisitive nature off I toddled to the site and downloaded the application for a 30 day trial.

Installation was easy enough and once registered with Betfair as a user of the software I opened it up and had a nose around. The interface is excellent, and one of its key selling points is that it enables the trader to have live in-play stats and (where available) video of the event being traded. It features the usual software attributes such as a grid / ladder interface, hedging, stop loss and other tools. There is also a bookmaker / dutching tool so it is fully featured.

For me, good as this is, I prefer Geeks - for the simple reason that I normally have multiple games and markets on the go at once and I can't see a realistic way of doing that with this application. If, however, your preference is to trade one event at a time, and stats and watching the event are important to you I would suggest this is well worth taking a look at.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Another season slips by

And an entertaining one it was as well, despite Man U running away with the Premiership. 

Who'd have thought back in August that we'd have said farewell to Sir Alex Ferguson by the end of the season? He's been such a larger than life figure in British (and, probably, world) football for so long now that a future without him is somewhat difficult to imagine. But I'll try... Firstly my sincere best wishes to David Moyes -  a man I'd quite like to have seen in the dugout at Stamford Bridge. His task is monumental, and, a bit like Mr Major and Lady T, it's hard not to picture SAF operating somewhere stage-left in the background! A quick glance at the nascent Winner 2013-14 market for the Premiership makes the point quite nicely - Utd, City and Chelsea within a few ticks of each other at the time of writing, accounting for some 88% of the implied probability of one of the three winning the title. Interestingly the 'Next Man U Manager' market seems to have been around for ages prior to the announcement -  and I hope the board are prepared to give Moyes the time to grow into the job and thereby save Bf the aggravation of setting up another one! For me, Utd are a lay for next year's title at this stage.

A couple of other men that I personally will be glad to see back in charge of premiership clubs next season will be Mssrs Hughes and Holloway. 

The comments on the BBC website show a division of opinion over Mark Hughes and I can see why. But in my opinion he wasn't given sufficient time at City and I don't think his heart was ever really in the Fulham job from day one. Stoke have proved to be a tough nut to crack over the last few seasons, and whilst their style of football might not be the most scintillating to watch they have been extremely resilient. I remember one of the big bookies paying out on the 'Stoke to be relegated' bets quite early on in their first season in the Prem under Pulis. A publicity stunt it might have been, but to their credit Stoke actually did quite well that year, achieving the magic 40 points milestone with relative ease. I think the appointment of Hughes is a positive one and that he will grow the team well.

In my opinion Ian Holloway and his Blackpool team were a breath of fresh air when they gained promotion. Their free flowing, defensively naive style was great to watch and Holloway's post match musings were  always entertaining. Part of me wanted to see how Zola would have got on with Watford had they been promoted but I'm happy that Holloway and The Eagles made it up.

A quick glance at the Relegation markets shows that both Hull and Palace are odds-on for the drop. I'm happy to oppose both at the moment - and am confident that those odds will allow a profit at some stage. 

Trading wise the season has been unspectacularly steady. The staple of my trading arsenal remains the old faithful Scatter Gun trade - especially when played in Ligue 2 and the Argentinian top flight. Laying teams when 2 goals up has also shown a small but welcome profit, but my forays into correct score 'cascading' laying has proved to be a loser overall. This involves laying the current score to a fixed liability, and then laying to the same liability as the goals go in and the odds drop. When it works, it works brilliantly, but that hasn't happened consistently to generate a profit. I think it would have done had I laid to a stake - but to be honest I didn't do the maths and am not about to go back through all that lot to work it out! 

I honestly think I've turned the 'Discipline Corner' this season. In the main I am positive this is due to record keeping. There's nothing like a set of figures leaping off the page yelling at you to 'stop being such a p***k, Dave!' to focus the mind on the task in hand. I still have the occasional lapse, but have come to terms with that. Sometimes these lapses work out OK - for example I know nothing about horse racing but that didn't stop me laying Dawn Approach in the Derby today for no real reason other than I believed him to have been over hyped! Others, inevitably, have gone horribly wrong! (Guess who laid O2.5 goals for stupid sums when Germany took the lead against Ecuador the other night!). 

The 'close season' is not really closed - the Scandinavian and Icelandic leagues are great for my trading style, and there's a fair bit of Latin American action as well. The Open looms large in my sights now - after successful forays over the last year or so in the Masters and the Ryder Cup I'm confident that I've found a sustainable and profitable way to approach golf trading and am looking forward to honing that skill in the oldest (and greatest?) of the four majors. Who knows, I might even try trading tennis, again!

Friday, 24 May 2013

And again...

Ligue 2 proves to be a profitable Friday night hunting ground yet again.

My 'Fantasy Multiple' proved to be just that. A pitiful one from five left me four short of three grand, and three matches short of a £50 refund had I actually placed that bet. Looking at some of the odds I don't think it would have been that difficult to work some kind of trade around the promotion but also think that would have been far too much like hard work! Better with a fivefold to LAY the multiple.... if you've the bank and cahones for it.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Just for a bit of fun....

Let's see how I get along with the Betfair promotional offer on multiples this weekend....

Those readers concerned with my recent lack of edge can rest easy. The 'Place Bets' button remained un-clicked.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

An idea for a 'sequence buster'...

Well done Chelsea! The fist British club to complete the European 'hat trick' - a great game and they fought well to nick it at the end.

The sequence buster bet, of course, is to back Benfica in the next final they appear in.... 7 lost finals in a row.

Friday, 10 May 2013

How to win on Betfair on a Friday evening...

... trade the Scatter Gun in Ligue 2. It is, pretty well, that simple.

For reasons best known across the channel the Ligue 2 Friday evening matches kick off at 7 pm rather than the 7.45 slot they occupied last season. This has played absolute havoc with my Friday trading as I'm rarely home before about half seven. I've still traded them and made money, and I remain convinced that this league is one of, if not THE best, league for this trade.

I've been picked up before, quite rightly, for making sweeping statements with not a lot to back them up, so, in the interests of accuracy, I trawled through www.soccerstats.com noting just the Friday night results for the current season. There are two match days left but I doubt the figures you'll see here will change that much.

I have made some assumptions for the purpose of this exercise, namely that all bets will be placed from the off, and that every single match played was traded - i.e. no filters whatsoever. The odds I've used are realistic, and the stakes scalable. A quick glance at the attached image shows a loss over the 36 rounds to date of £14 from total stakes of £3,058.

Betting theory states that if a 'system' can't be profitable to level stakes then it can't be profitable, and obviously I really wouldn't want to trade 300 odd games to come out the other side a few pints in arrears! But the SG is not a 'set and forget' trade / bet. It is designed to be actively worked in-play. In reality, for example, there is no way I'd take 17 as a 2-2 bet - my method is to wait until the 2-2 price hits at least 20 and more usually I look for 24-26. I also sometimes trade out of the 2-2 at 1-2 or 2-1, other times I'll let if run having already taken a green book as the game has progressed. A classic example of this is the Auxerre match against Angers this evening. It finished 2-2, but I'd already got an all green book of over £25 before Angers scored a last minute equaliser to net me a further £45. On the spreadsheet pictured that game made £23 so you can see just that one match would have turned a loss into a profit overall.

So the next time you think about heading to your local watering hole on a Friday night, tell your mates you'll be a bit later than usual and put your beer tokens in your wallet courtesy of a league in a country some people would have you believe is useless to trade soccer in!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

It didn't work out last night, but I've a feeling it might tonight...

In case you were wondering I'm referring to a low liability lay of Bayern in the Champion's League semi against Barcelona. I tried the same trade last night with Dortmund but despite a veritable assault on the German goal in the first twenty minutes or so the winker and his colleagues proved to be sadly lacking in the task.

I really, really, really can't see the Catalans giving up quite so easily and 1.06 is too good and too low to resist.

Good luck if you trade it, should be an enthralling match.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Masters and other musings

You might have noticed that I'm finding it harder and harder to come up with anything to write about these days! I have thought about gracefully retiring from the scene, but I'll leave that thought alone for the time being.

Despite the controversy over Tiger's misplaced ball, his 'rules is rules' opinion of the rather heavy handed penalty meted out to an extremely talented 14 year old and lots of rain on the final day I had an excellent four days trading The Masters. A lay of Mickelson in the hitherto un-noticed (by me, at any rate!) 'Top Lefty' market yielded a nice return even if Bubba did try his damndest to score higher than 'Lefty' by taking a 10 at the  par three 12th and frightening the life out of me! On the main market, lays of Tiger and Rory coupled with a smattering of small stakes large odds back bets together with live scalping on days three and four gave me a very healthy return on the event as a whole.

I'm still slogging away at the football trading, but think I'm at a point where I know what I'm doing, have done all the experimentation and am comfortable in my particular style of trading. I'm sure there's lots still to learn, and a post by the Sultan pretty well confirms this to be the case. This piece is well worth reading, especially if you are newish to sports trading. To be honest the final point (5) that he raises is still, after all this time, the one I struggle with. In fact this is so much the case that I have resigned myself to just enjoying trading - I don't think I have the necessary intestinal fortitude to fully conquer the discipline area of trading.

Eddie over at A Football Trader's Path has a couple of excellent posts about back testing trading ideas that you might have. Despite his protestations to the contrary I think he is a bit of an Excel wizard, and the sheets he's come up with are, in my opinion, well worth having a good look at. Despite what I have written above it is fair to say that since I started record keeping and looking at trades beyond a casual glance 5 minutes before kick off that my results have improved in leaps and bounds. A working knowledge of software tools like Excel helps with this no end, and the data is out there for you to access, assimilate and interpret.

Cassini is back from his company beano to the mountains and the US of A, saying, Twainesquely, that reports of his demise were premature.

In his post he makes the point that since he has been the subject of Super PC that he is a less frequent visitor to the markets. I can't say that I blame him for this - but the way he put it did get me wondering. He used the phrase 'the Premium Charge has done its job' in making him more circumspect about his activity on the site. Surely, not even Betfair are stupid enough to really want to force players like Cassini away from the markets, are they? The justification for the SPC is that they don't make enough money from the exchange model by charging ordinary mortals like me a mere 5% or so commission and that big winners should pay more to use the site. A cynical observer might suggest that they spend more time looking after their exchange customers instead of trying to compete with the big sports books, let alone their fixation with all the silly gaming ventures. The almost weekly Saturday meltdowns of their servers right in the middle of big racing and soccer cards must have forced still others to rethink some of their habits. Disappointingly there is little evidence that Laddaq are doing much about it, manifesto promises or not!

No round up of interesting posts around the blogosphere would be complete without a mention in dispatches for Betting Blogs Exposed. 'A running commentary on the best and worst betting blogs out there.' I read this blog a while ago and thought the premise was a good one - in a 'sort the wheat from the chaff' sort of way. On this blog, I mused, you'd probably find details of dodgy tennis trading ebooks with a limited production run of 3m copies at a special introductory price of £97. But, sadly, I'm none the wiser. To see the 'expose' in all its glory you need - wait for it - a password! Priceless!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Are Football Traders missing a trick?

I don't know how many millions were matched in the various markets available on the Chelsea v Man U FA Cup replay on Easter Monday, or in the two Champions League matches tonight. All these games, plus several other lower (but still high-ish) profile games swallow most of the liquidity on Betfair at any one point in time. Fair enough; the competitions and clubs involved are 'glamorous' and the games usually televised.

I just wonder what would happen if some of those traders broadened their horizons a bit and looked more closely at some of the less glamorous leagues and competitions. I am looking at an Icelandic Cup Tie scheduled for tomorrow evening and there is currently £23 matched on the Match Odds market and Sweet Felicity Arkwright on the Correct Score market. This is a shame, as I wouldn't be surprised if this one game nets more goals than both the multi-million pound Champions League games manage between them. I for one find football trading a) easier b) more profitable and c) much more fun if there are goals!

I expect by the time the game kicks off there'll be enough money floating around for me to make a trade, but if you've never strayed beyond the big leagues and the televised games please do have a look around. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Free money? Don't be so hasty, Gun!

I've just had the strangest trading experience in four years or so tonight. Regular readers will know that I like trading Latin American soccer, and there was an Argentinian cup game between Patronata and Tristan Suarez. Or was it between Tristan Suarez and Patronata? Confused? You will be... but in my erudite prose I shall attempt to shed some light on it for you.

In hindsight there was something strange going on in the market before kick off - and young Mark and I in the Green Room were thinking 'FIX'! I was able to lay 1-0 at 5.6 before kick off, and got matched at 8.8 on 0-0 a few seconds into the game. So the market thinks 1-0 or 2-0 highly likely - yet Any Unquoted is trading at 10.5! The market is all over the place in many ways.

Anyway the game gets under way and after about 15-20 minutes there's a goal. Futbol 24 said 1-0. Now, I should have twigged then, but put it down to misreading the screen. I could have sworn that after the market reformed I could have laid 0-1 at 5. something. No matter, within a minute or two it was 1-1, so at least we now know it wasn't a 1-0 fix!

Then came the third goal. Imagine my surprise when the market reformed.... 1-1 at 75 or similar - 1-2 at 5.8, 2-1 at 6.2........

Futbol 24 says it's 2-1

I can lay 1-2 - so ... thinking there's a bot run amok somewhere in I go! Three f'g times! Then Mark casually comments that he's glad it's 1-2 as it suits his trade. 'It's 2-1!' I say... then watch in disbelief as the 2-1 odds shoot out to 1000 in front of my very eyes! Flashscores have the score at 1-2, my trading screen has the score at 1-2 yet Futbol 24 has it as 2-1....it seems that I wasn't the only one caught out. The apparently 'free money' sat there for some minutes whilst muppets like me nibbled away at it.

Meanwhile, presumably, those looking at Flash and other score services who had the scores the correct way round were laughing all the way to the bank by laying 2-1! What this does illustrate perfectly is that when working correctly the Betfair website really does allow customers to offer and accept their own odds. Even if some of the backs and lays being offered are 100% not accurate to the live position!

 Unfortunately I was too pre-occupied to grab a screenshot, but if you look at the picture below taken from Google it becomes apparent that I was not the only person unsure of who was playing at home tonight!

As I write I am pleased to report that  all is now well as my blushes have been saved by an equaliser. So it's now 2-2. But I don't know who to :-)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

'Ow's yer luck?

Wow! What a night! I'd laid the current score on every game on tonight's in-play coupon for £1000 stakes and look at the screenshot! Every game bar one in Switzerland  had a goal at exactly the same time! Unbelievable!

Before you conjure up images in your mind's eye of me sitting, Scrooge like, wearing a pair of fingerless gloves calculating how many years' sabbatical I could take on the strength of this unprecedented event - it's all bollox!

What you are in fact looking at, is a graphical representation of a mass suspension. Betfair at its indomitable best. I have no real beef with losing trades through my own actions. Sure, they disappoint and annoy in roughly equal measure, but my trading successes and failures are mine, all mine! I'm proud of them! However it goes beyond the pale when I lose money (and to be fair, make money) in unplanned ways such as the whole f'g coupon getting suspended.

As I write (with smoke a similar colour to that seen in Rome recently coming out of both ears) the entire in-play coupon, bar  games on Sky or major radio networks, have been suspended for nearly an hour. According to the seemingly knowledgeable people on the Betfair forum, if you can pick out the sense from the expletives, this is because Betfair and other in-play players get their feed from the smaller games from a third party provider. I suggest that they have discovered what some managers describe as a 'training issue'. Best they act on it.

I read on Sultan's blog that LadDaq are slowly starting to get their act together. Please hurry up.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Other Peoples' Money

Those who've been following the developments over at The Sultan's place will be aware that he was hoping to get an investment from a pro gambling syndicate to fund a trading bank that he would work in return, presumably, for a cut of any profits. It would seem that negotiations have stalled, and the poor chap is really quite down about it, to the extent that he is thinking of quitting trading. I hope he finds the resolve to keep going, as it seems to me that he trades his chosen sport well enough, and his blog is one of the more thought provoking and interesting ones out there imho.

Despite my views about the Sultan's trading and blogging I must admit I am puzzled by his apparent despair at being unable to secure a funding deal. A while ago a friend of mine, interested in the potential upside of trading but unwilling to go to work at the coalface, gave me a few hundred quid to work on. The deal was that I would trade that as a separate bank from my own, but do the same trades from both, keeping 50% of the profits but bearing no loss. 'I don't really care if I don't see it again, but if we can make some money all well and good!' were his words. I somehow didn't believe him totally. It was a short lived experiment, the sums relatively small all round, but if someone said to me 'Dave here's ten grand to trade with, you keep 50% of the winnings  and if you blow the lot we'll put it down to experience' I'd tell him to jog on. Seriously. And if a similar offer were made with some kind of joint responsibility for any loss, I'd tell him to sprint on. I really don't need a pile of someone else's money, and neither do I see any mental value in having it either. If I lose my own money on a trade I'm not happy, but it's my money, my decisions that caused the loss and I feel aggrieved enough as it is without having to explain myself to a third party. Likewise, I don't really want to be handing over 50% of any winnings - I pay tax at work thank you, and there's always the outside chance that I'll make Super PC one day - although I doubt it!

Everyone trades for different reasons and with different end games. It is, honestly, a hobby for me and I treat it as such. The Sultan openly says his trading profits don't really contribute to his general living expenses but are pursued with another, undivulged, purpose in mind. Fine and dandy. But I reckon he'd be better paddling his own canoe personally.

I've made no secret of the fact that I belong to www.tradingfootball.eu and have been a member since day one, whenever that was. The chatroom is fantastic - good banter, knowledgeable traders, keen newbies and a generally pleasant place to be especially when working a busy card. Occasionally I 'lead' a trade in there which means I am responsible for, effectively, investing other peoples' money. In a way this is a good thing in that it externally forces discipline on me. I try to make sure that any trades are well reasoned, well explained and have some kind of a 'Plan B' if the carrier pigeon entrusted with the scripts can't find the dressing rooms in time. It's a great feeling when a trade is successful and makes people money. It's far from pleasant when you know that a failed trade has cost those people money. No one complains, I think most realise that I (and other trade leaders) are not in possession of magical powers, but it is still a responsibility that weighs heavily with me even though those people enter the trade willingly and (big assumption here!) are trading with money that isn't needed to put food on the table. But that's as far as I want to go.

Looking at the matter from another angle, would I entrust my hard earned to The Sultan, Cassini or anyone else willing to take an investment? Errrr ....NO! I'll stand or fall on my own, ta very muchly.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Gift horse.....mouth

Many people will try to tell you that people who trade Latin American games in the wee small ours are over trading / addicted / whatever. I would beg to differ. Some of my most profitable trading involves teams that aren't generally well known this side of the pond.

On Sunday night I traded the Argentinian Primera clash between River Plate and Tigre, and the screenshot gives some idea of how eventful this match was after a totally forgettable first 50 odd minutes.

With River Plate seemingly sealing a last gasp victory with a third goal in the 92nd minute of injury time I looked at a chunk of money sitting at 1.01 to lay 3-1. Spurning the opportunity to spend a tenner of my hard traded profit to lay a thousand pounds (to be honest I'm not really sure how much was on offer - but that's not the point!) I watched as the suspended sign filled my screen. Assuming that was the final whistle I was all ready to hit the sack. You can imagine my emotional state when the market reformed to show the score at 3-2! Un-ber- leevable!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

A walk down memory lane

At a friend's daughter's 18th birthday party recently the hosts provided, amongst other things, a chocolate fountain and some 'pick 'n' mix' sweets to accompany a healthily stocked bar (in case anyone was wondering what I was doing at a 'dry' 18th party!). I noticed in the pick 'n' mix there were some sherbets, and commented that I used to really enjoy them in my youth.

I haven't been 18 for more years than I care to remember, but do still have birthdays! It's mine today, in fact, and the parents of that young lady duly wrapped four Barratt Sherbets up for me to enjoy. I have devoured two of them this evening and, in light of recent events at Betfair towers it got me thinking about 'progress'.

The Barratt Sherbet I so fondly remember came in cardboard tubes, with a paper wrapping which was sort of ruffled up at the neck, surrounding the liquorice dip. You'd peel the paper back, and, in my case wolf the liquorice down in one go then tip the contents of the tube down your throat afterwards. Being cardboard, the tube was very 'squeezable' - which it needed to be as the sherbet tended to get lumpy and difficult to move down the tube. You almost used the tube as you might a tube of toothpaste.

So, what's it like today I hear you ask. Still tastes as nice but progress has completely fooked the packaging right up! Obviously in the sick world that we seem to inhabit these days you can't have the liquorice exposed to the elements. Leaving aside the preference most people would have to not have it exposed to dust and the unwashed hands of schoolkids etc there's always the very real possibility that some nutter would inject it with  botulism or similar, or, even worse, horse meat! So, in place of that comforting cardboard tube it now comes in a plastic tube with a twist top that sort of resembles the old packaging in its graphic design. Not only does the plastic tube not feel as good as the old cardboard one, neither does the sherbet clog around the open end as you tip it down your neck. This might seem like an advantage, but I always used to like the way you got a second bite of the cherry with the cardboard tube, by peeling it like an orange and getting at all the stuck sherbet.

Times, and tastes, change. I strongly suspect that Barratt Sherbet is a relatively slow selling sweet brand and that others might not share my nostalgia for the original packaging. But I'd also be confident that the change has not helped its cause.

Fairly obviously the above has nothing whatever to do with trading or betting.

But I still really can't get my head around where Betfair are trying to take their business with the recent re-packaging. As Soccer Dude points out the brave new world of the sportsbook has even reverted to using fractional odds. I'm sure that if I looked (I haven't, and won't) I could probably change a setting to have them displayed as decimal odds, but what are they thinking?? The world has moved on, and most people who bet or trade a lot have now got used to the much more sensible decimal format.

Enter www.betfair.com into a browser and you are taken, by default, to the sportsbook. You need to choose to go to the exchange. I could go on, but there really seems little point. I trade primarily for fun and the exchange model is the vehicle for this, not the sportsbook. So, unless Laddaq rescue the exchange model I can't help thinking that I might be in need of a new hobby for the winter evenings in a year or two.

I've always fancied having a go at one of those highly detailed wooden model boat kits, maybe that'll do the trick?

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Oh Dear

I'm sure most people reading this will have received the same e-mail from Betfair that plopped into my inbox earlier this evening. In essence it was to publicise the launch of the much vaunted Sportsbook, something in which I personally have zero interest in. I have sportsbook accounts elsewhere and with Bf's form will not be in too much of a hurry to add them to that portfolio.

But, buried deeper in the email was the news that they were still intending to close the old (for which, read current) Bf site in favour of the new one. We should, however, be reassured  that

We've been listening to your thoughts on the new Exchange site, and - while it's still our intention to close the old site down - we will continue to develop the new Exchange site in line with your feedback before doing so. 

Fair enough, they've been listening to customer feedback - there's always a first time, I suppose! So I beetled over to the Forum expecting to find page upon page of posts praising the new look site and suggesting pay-rises for the developers of same. Hmmm. There were plenty of posts about the subject. But guess what? I couldn't find a single, solitary, one in favour of it!

I don't use the Bf website as a trading medium, preferring Geeks or Evo depending on what I'm doing, but, as I said previously, I do like to have the in-play coupon available as a scrollable list on one webpage, which the new one doesn't necessarily offer . My issue seems trivial compared to those being endured by people who actually use the site to bet or trade. Why they don't use software is beyond me, but it seems ridiculous that Bf can't make a betting site work for its customers.

I hope the move to this new site, and to a sportsbook, don't emerge into a winding down of the exchange model. For all their faults, surely Bf don't want to become a reverse Kodak, do they? Let's hope not, and in the meantime let's hope that, for once, they do take some notice of what their customers are saying.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I'm not a moaner by nature....

...but I'm going to moan about a couple of things tonight!

Firstly can someone please tell me if I'm imagining it or are Betfair taking longer than ever to unsuspend a market? I don't think this is a figment of my imagination, and it really is getting beyond  a joke. I'm still not 100% sold on the reasons for suspending a market on a goal or a red card to be honest. The 8 second delay is there to protect people from others whose information is quicker means they can have an unfair advantage. I acknowledge that  the various livescore websites sometimes make mistakes, but surely it's a trader's own responsibility, to a large degree anyway, to ensure the accuracy of his information before placing a trade. There is nothing more frustrating than sitting looking at those large red letters on my Geeks or Evo and not being able to enhance or rescue a position. Especially when another goal is scored whilst this is going on, and, of course, the law of sod invariably makes this a goal that you needed AFTER having adjusted your position and not BEFORE!

Whilst I'm in whingeing mode, why also do they feel the need to suspend a market when someone stubs his big toe in the general direction of a goal, or takes an acrobatic tumble after a perfectly fair tackle? Let's hope the new LadDaq experiment prompts a review of what has to be amongst the worse customer experience most people are likely to suffer at the hands of a multi-national corporation. Whilst they're about it perhaps they can remove Lee Dixon's gurneying fizzog from the front page of the new and exciting 'betting experience' web page.

I'm on a roll now.

Said 'betting experience' web page is NOT what I want to see - I want the old in-play coupon displayed, on one page. That's it. So every f'g night when I log on I click on 'Revert to Old'. And every f'g night it asks me 'Are you sure ..... you want to revert to old?'. Yes, thank you. Very sure.

That's dealt with the major gripes I have with our trading provider.

My second main moan concerns Chelsea fans more than the majority of traders I would guess. The mighty Blues are becoming a joke. It's almost as certain a profit to lay them at a 2 goal lead than it is to lay Liverpool in any circumstance. This can't go on. Will someone please arrange a cab for Rafa?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Correct Score Gaps

Jack commented on the little Correct Score trade I highlighted in my last post. By way of illustration look at the screenshot taken from a Chilean Cup Game tonight. The shot was taken about 10 minutes (only because I didn't think of doing it before then!) and clearly shows the quite sizeable discrepancy between the current  (0-0) score and 1-0 , 2-0 and 3-0.

I chose not to do the trade this time, having laid 0-0 and Any Unquoted, primarily because, as Sultan sarcastically alluded to the other day, South American football is a tad .... unpredictable! Had I got involved I reckon I could have got matched at about 8.2 ish on 1-0 looking at the gaps in the market.

As it transpired it would have been a sensible move to have got involved as Uni Chile scored at 23 minutes and after the market had settled it looked like this...

As you can see a fairly safe, easy, profit had been there for the taking.

Monday, 28 January 2013

What an FA Cup day!

There was a steady stream of people on Five Live's phone in session this evening bemoaning the decision of Mr Rodgers to field a 'weakened' team against Oldham. Spurs fans were accusing AVB of similar things. What these people miss, or forget, in my opinion, is that the FA Cup still has a massive attraction to the lowlier clubs. It's their opportunity to match up against the big boys, give the fans a day (or more, if successful) to remember and to benefit from some much needed TV revenue. The magic of the FA Cup is still alive and kicking.

The teams fielded by all of Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs should really have been able to see off their respective opposition. Two of the three can now concentrate on the league, and Liverpool in particular have enhanced their reputation as the cash cow of the current season for us traders who oppose them. The fact that they couldn't is the great thing about the cup.

Matches that go against expectation throw up all sorts of problems and opportunities for traders, which made for a challenging, enjoyable and profitable day overall for yours truly.

One trade I was able to do several times today involves taking advantage of market reaction to events. With the score at 1-1 between Barcelona and Osasuna the price on offer to lay 2-1 was 7.2 whilst the current, 1-1 score, was north of twenty. By laying 2-1 I was quickly able to take a profit when Barca scored again in short order sending the odds out to about 20. Now I know it could be argued that with only about half an hour gone that my lay was fairly safe, taking the profit enabled me firstly to avoid any risk, and secondly freed that part of my bank to be used again immediately for other trades. These situations occur frequently and are well worth looking out for.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Is 'nothing' the same as 'anything'?

After a modestly successful trade on the first League Cup semi-final it all did go decidedly pearshaped with the second one! Having written that with respect to the Correct Score market in the Swansea v Chelsea match that 'anything could happen' I was bitterly disappointed by the 0-0 final score.

As a Chelsea man it obviously hurts to bow out of a competition with a whimper rather than a bang, and as a trader who has placed his position around the assumption of goals (and Chelsea goals, at least in part, to boot) a 0-0 is an unmitigated disaster.

Having read my post again once the immediate post match gloom had dispersed the clues were there really. Swansea thoroughly deserved their place in the final. I said that Laudrup had them well organised and he knew exactly how to play the match, and to be fair had I been slightly more 'neutral' during the game I would (should) have adjusted my position in light of the evidence before me.

Plenty has been written and said about the Hazard v ball boy incident but I can't be the only one who found the whole thing doubly bizarre. For a grown man to even think about kicking a ball out from under the prone body of a teenager is frankly untenable, and for that same youth to then go rolling around as it he was either a) Suarez's brother or b) recently shot by an anti aircraft gun just elevated the whole thing to the ridiculous in my mind.

Let's hope the FA Cup returns football in the UK to some semblance of normality this weekend.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

It was in danger of going pear shaped...

...but my reading of the Villa v Bradford semi-final proved accurate in the end! A full-on assault on the Bradford goal in the first twenty minutes gave the premiership team a one goal advantage and saw a massive swing in the 'To Qualify' market, with the odds on Bradford, still holding a one goal aggregate advantage, flying out massively. I'll admit that at one point I did consider taking the loss and moving on. To their considerable credit Bradford equalised early in the second half. I always thought they'd score at least one goal. I went out shortly afterwards, but laid the 1-1 scoreline to cover my stake on the TQ bet. The liability was higher than I would have liked - but as it turned out it was a very smart move!

The Villa 2-1 win meant that I won both the back of Bradford in the TQ market and the 1-1 lay - double bubble as we say in the South East!

As a Chelsea fan I am in about five hundred minds about the other semi-final. Swansea are a force to be reckoned with, Laudrup has them well organised, playing well and has made some quite astounding purchases working with a relatively small budget. Playing at home with a two goal cushion they are strong favourites to be playing Bradford in the final.

Anyone who writes the Blues off at this stage could regret that decision. Whilst they seem totally inept at the Bridge at the moment their away form is strong. The quality of the squad screams goals and I think they will be smarting from that defeat at the Bridge, especially as the second Swans goal really was a gift! Ivanovic is a great player and he, I'm sure, will wish to atone for his failings.

My five hundred minds have now, in the process of writing those last two paragraphs, crystalised into one. I think Swansea TQ at 1.42 is a value lay and that's what I'm going to do. From a Correct Score point of view  frankly anything could happen, but I do fancy a few goals. To me, the stand out low liability lay is the 1.03 offered on Any Unquoted in the Correct Score 2 Home market. If Swans race to a two, or even three, goal lead watch that price leap out.

Good luck if you trade the match.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Interesting match tonight - round two to follow

For those wise old sages who claim the League Cup (under whichever advertising guise it is in hock to this, or any other, season) to be an inconsequential competition should have watched or traded the match between Bradford and Aston Villa this evening. This was a proper old fashioned English cup tie with that old favourite of the sloggers from a lower league taking on the might of the Premiership. We Brits love the underdog winning and Bradford ran out 3-1 winners tonight.

On their way to the semi final Bradford had already taken the premiership scalps of both Wigan and Arsenal, albeit through the medium of a penalty shoot out in both cases. Tonight, being the first tie of a two leg semi-final, they beat the 'superior' team fair and square in open play.

Villa have been woeful of late, shipping goals like nobody's business and this latest defeat will surely have increased the pressure on manager Paul Lambert. They did get a valuable away goal, and a 2-0 win at Villa Park will see them through. But I've got my doubts.

As the first leg drew to a close I was already formulating in my mind a cunning trade for the second leg based around laying Bradford in the To Qualify market and backing some correct scores at Villa Park. Until I looked at the odds, that is.

At the time of writing I think the price on Bradford to qualify is massive at 1.87 so my trade will now be reversed and I'll be looking to back Bradford to qualify. Apart from the fact that I consider them highly likely to score at Villa Park, for every minute they hold Villa at bay the TQ price will steadily come in. Should they take the lead, or equalise to 1-1 on the night it will crash.

That's my read of it. Be interesting to see if I'm in a minority of one as usual!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Proof, if it were needed....

.... that I really should stick to trading in-play!

Zero, zip, zilch from 4. Hope no-one lost any money but if you did the warnings were there!

Friday, 4 January 2013

3rd Round Opportunities

The retail motor trade is busy on a Saturday, so as always no in-play trading for me until the evening matches. In such circumstances I sometimes look for a couple of 'set and forget' trades and a couple of low liability punts to have something to look forward to when listening to 5 Live on the way home from work.

Following on from my last post which discussed eyesight problems and low liability 'contrarian' trades I thought I'd flag a couple of such opportunities for your consideration. If you've an ounce of common sense you'll discard them as the rantings of a lunatic, but for interest here they are.These punts carry a wealth warning so if you do get involved please use stakes you can afford to, and are prepared to, lose.

The FA Cup third round usually throws up a surprise or two, and there are two low liability lays I'm going to set and a couple of tentative backs as well. I don't honestly expect either Spurs or Citeh to not win their respective ties so will leave match odds for braver souls or those able to trade in-play. I do, however, think both represent reasonable value in the Half Time markets - if you can get matched. I'd be prepared to take odds up to about 1.6 - 1.7 on each and will set up accordingly.

In terms of backing the two that catch my eye are both home wins - Palace against Stoke and something draws me to back Crawley against a team with more urgent issues elsewhere in the form of Reading.

Good luck if you try any of these or for any other trades of your own, but I know the best opportunities will present themselves in-play. Wish I was able to partake, but sadly I can't.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Contrarian opportunities

I've been gently joshing The Sultan over his eyesight with respect to what I thought was a perfectly legal goal scored against his beloved QPR last weekend, and in that exchange he boldly told me to expect a shock in tonight's match with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. His prediction? A 1-1 draw.

Now, I've a lot of respect for Sultan's knowledge of tennis and trading. His blog is always interesting and worthy of a read, even if, like me, you have no real interest in tennis. With the best will in the world, though, to be honest I thought that being a) predominantly a tennis trader and b) a QPR supporter that his knowledge of football would be..... shall we say, on the skinny side :-)

How he must be quaffing the best champagne from the finest cut crystal glass tonight! Against all the odds and expectation QPR managed not the 1-1 he predicted, but a 0-1 win! So hats off to him for that call.

I didn't, of course, take any notice whatsoever and planned a trade around the expectation of goals, lots of them, for the home team.

What this little episode has  done is to remind me that very often, particularly with a sport like soccer, it is by going against the market that you will find the best opportunities. Your strike rate will not be high, but the odds available should compensate. In this instance Chelsea were in the mid 1.2's to lay pre kick off and 0-1 was north of 30! So a relatively modest investment would have paid handsomely.

Finally, Sultan, I do think QPR are worthy of a lay in the Relegation market. I'd rather be laying them after they'd been beaten tonight but that didn't happen. I do, however, think that at 1.5 or thereabouts there are sufficient games left to see some profit there even if the Great Escape doesn't happen.