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!