Month: October 2018

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Winter’s here!

All of you living in the Northern Hemisphere will have noticed that the mornings and evenings have had a certain chill in the air.  Unless you’re living somewhere in the Mediterranean I imagine your days have been pretty nippy too.  More than half the leaves are off the trees, and here in the UK the clocks went back an hour last weekend and so it’s dark now by 5.00pm.

If I close my eyes, relax, and concentrate hard enough, I reckon I can hear the Cheltenham Roar.  But before that, we have the King George on Boxing Day.  We have top class jumps meetings at Ascot, Sandown and Haydock.  Old adversaries will be joined by younger upstarts, eager to take on the equine patriarchs and overthrow them from their thrones.  This is the horse racing I love.  Give me mud, uphill slogs to the line and tweed before sprints, sand and top hats every time.

Yep, winter’s here.  And you know what that means, don’t you?  Yep, it means the return to the betting fray of Racing Service 2.

And my how the old boy seems to be warming up for the new season, which as it happens starts officially tomorrow (1st November).  Each year he enjoys a full pre-season training schedule, looking at the day’s National Hunt action and posting thoughts and observations on his blog as a way of finding his rhythm and touch.  All seems to be in working order – last weekend from 12 selections outlined he posted winners at 16/1, 14/1, 10/1, 9/2, 4/1 and Evens.  Not bad, eh, and although I’m not recording anything officially on these pages, I don’t mind admitting I dabbled a wee bit with small stakes and was rewarded handsomely for doing so.

Let’s hope that this is just a taste of what is to come, and isn’t a case of peaking way too early, eh.  I’m sure it’s the former and not the latter.

What I would say is that his decision to concentrate on the bigger races last season has worked well.  It was noticeable that the odds held up strongly, and I would hope that betting in big festival and weekend races helped to avoid the unwanted attention of the bookmaking traders/account closers.  Yep, it’s all systems go for Racing Service 2.

Portfolio results from Monday 22nd to Sunday 28th October

I don’t want to say too much as I’ll be posting an end of month review shortly, but suffice to say it’s been another difficult week.  A shocker for MVS (Lite), another week to forget for Football Service 1, and Northern Monkey won’t be too chuffed at how things went either.

Portfolio performance

Main: ROI -19.08%, ROC -2.93%.

Starter: ROI -10.13%, ROC -1.98%.

Broxchange: ROI -7.43%, ROC -1.62%.

Individual service performance

The Accountant: Staked 11pts, -0.331pts.

Racing Service 1: Staked 10pts, +0.425pts.

Football Service 1: Staked 11pts, -4.753pts.

Football Lay Profits: Staked 89.8pts, +6.95pts.

Golf Insider: Staked 11.6pts, +0.8pts.

MVS (Lite): Staked 14pts, -11.125pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 9pts, -6.512pts.

Football Service 2: Staked 11.5pts, -2.52pts.

Racing Service 2: n/a

Racing Service 3: Staked 30pts, +1pt.

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

It’s very easy to be cynical.  Not all Estate Agents would sell their own Granny to the highest bidder, and not all Lawyers deliberately look for grey areas so that their bill based on an hourly rate grows to extortionate levels.  I’m sure that the proportion of racing car drivers that can be deemed as being dull is the same as that amongst the Accounting fraternity.

And so when I settled down to watch the videos of an interview held with Skybet’s CEO, hosted on the StarSports website (, I determined that I would listen with an open mind and put to one side my usual cynicism.

Despite my desire to keep an open mind, I’m afraid it wasn’t long before what I was listening to was causing my hackles to rise.  Although the interview is certainly entertaining in the sense that it both captured and then held my attention, I was left feeling a little frustrated by the interviewer’s seeming lack of desire to really quiz what he was being told.  Jeremy Paxman he wasn’t!  It was clear that there was a list of pre-prepared questions, some of which were very good, but a bit of follow-up wouldn’t have gone amiss.

So what did Skybet’s CEO say that raised my eyebrow and tested my determination to keep my cynicism locked away?

To his credit, Richard Flint was quite open and unapologetic in explaining that Skybet’s business model is one that leaves no room for winning punters.  I quote:

“If we think someone is going to lose money to us over the long run, of course we’re not going to restrict them.”

This statement comes just a couple of minutes before explaining that decisions are made as to whether an account is restricted or not based not on winning or losing but on whether the customer is regularly taking prices that shorten.  In other words, if someone is savvy enough to bet value consistently, Skybet really don’t want to know.

The other thing that struck me from the above statement is that it runs completely counter to Richard’s line that he tows earlier in the interview that the company is fully committed to helping ‘problem gamblers’.  At what point I wonder, do Skybet intervene and restrict the account of a serial loser?

It’s clear that Skybet is an ‘entertainment’ provider rather than a ‘bookmaker’.  There’s no battle here with the punter.  It’s a business looking to appeal to a mass market made up of folk who are 100% recreational gamblers (which is a subset of bettors far more likely to develop a problem habit, I’d suggest).  Which is fine in itself, but it’s not a business model worthy of admiration (although with the company profit as it is, this is possibly not the outlook of a shareholder to whom a CEO has ultimate responsibility).  My colleague here at the SBC described Skybet as running a ‘Heads I win, tails you lose’ business model, which to my mind sums it up extremely accurately.

Portfolio Results from Monday 15th to Sunday 21st October

Down initially this month, then up, and now down again.  I could do with things steadying out a little.

It’s been a rotten week on the horses and if it weren’t for Football Service 1 and Football Service 2 coming up with the goods, it really would be looking glum.  These were the only two services of the nine that provided bets last week to make any profit.  SFB did a remarkable job on Saturday however, with five winning bets from five.  Impressive stuff.

Portfolio Performance

‘Main’: ROI -19.58%, ROC -2.37%.

‘Starter’: ROI -15.31%, ROC -3.02%.

‘Broxchange’: ROI -5.76%, ROC -1.18%.


Individual Service Performance

The Accountant: Staked 28pts, -3.04pts.

Racing Service 1: Staked 8pts, -7.85pts.

Football Service 1: Staked 4pts, +1.84pts.

Football Lay Profits: Staked 48.65pts, -3.558pts.

Golf Insider: Staked 10.4pts, -10.4pts.

MVS (Lite): Staked 9pts, -3.36pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 7.5pts, -7.5pts.

Football Service 2: Staked 9pts, +6.29pts.

Racing Service 2: n/a

Racing Service 3: Staked 19pts, -15.7pts.

Three different portfolios


So we revealed last week how we are going to change things up a bit moving forward, running portfolios that are geared towards people in different situations.  In a nutshell, we still have a ‘Main’ portfolio made up of ten services much in the way we’ve had since the Bet Diary started.  In addition however, we now have two extra portfolios – one aimed at the beginner who perhaps has limited funds, and another for use at the Exchanges or for those of you who live in appropriate locations and have access to bet brokers.

I thought I’d use this post to outline some of the basic reasoning behind each portfolio.

Starting with the ‘Main’ portfolio, you will have noticed some services have made way to be replaced by others.  In has come The Accountant (a horse racing place lay expert), Golf Insider (experimented with in the past), Football Service 2 and Football Lay Profits.  My thoughts in restructuring this portfolio centred around my feeling that the portfolio as it was, was too heavily geared towards horse racing.  I wanted to diversify more, not merely to spread risk but also to add variety to the nature of the bets I’m placing with the bookmakers.  I want to try to come across to those trading teams that I am a jack of all betting trades and a master of none.  If a bookie looks at my history and sees I have a few bets on the horses here, a couple on footie there, a bit on the golf, etc., then perhaps they may think I’m more of a ‘fun’ bettor.  I might be completely misguided by harbouring this hope, but the variety can’t do any harm, can it?  The inclusion of two laying services too will ease the pressure on the bookies as I’ll obviously be using the Exchanges to follow these.

The ‘Starter’ portfolio is for those who are really just starting out on their betting journey.  Again, we have two laying services in an attempt to not pile on too much action onto unsuspecting bookmakers, hopefully extending their lifespan and building a strong foundation at Betfair or Smarkets or Matchbook – or, as more likely to be the case, at all three.  The theoretical stakes here are very small, but we will be looking to reinvest profit to both increase stakes and the breadth of the portfolio as we go along.

How long this takes is of course dictated by the performance of those services we’re starting off with.  With the two racing services, I’m going to be looking to increase stakes whenever we’ve seen a 25% increase in the relevant bank.  For the laying service we’ll simply be raising the stake every time we hit a new high.  So for example, If the bank for Football Lay Profits is 200 points, and we have set aside £400 for that bank, then as we start our lay will be £2.  If we make £10 in Day 1, then our new bank is £410 and the stake for the following day’s lays will be £2.05 (ie. £410/200 points).  We’ll not be lowering stakes as we make a loss.  I hope that makes sense.

Finally, the ‘Broxchange’ portfolio will use prices available at Betfair primarily, although Smarkets and Matchbook will come into play too.  I’ll also be looking at using MustardBet.  The idea of this portfolio is to show how we can still make money even if unable to bet with bookmakers that close accounts down too easily.  MustardBet’s business model is more akin to the Pinnacle’s, so let’s see how we can use it.

Next week, I’ll give some thoughts on the new services we’re following.

Portfolio Results from Monday 8th to Sunday 16th October

An excellent week for the ‘Main’ portfolio with Racing Service 3 and Northern Monkey in fine form.  NMP had the winner of the Cesarewitch at 12s ante post which was a real boon, especially as Wayne topped up on the beast on Saturday morning.  As for RS3, well, what can be said.  From 12 bets last week, he had five winners at 11/2, 8/1, 11/1, 18/1 and 9/2.  Add to that two that were advised each way and finished in the frame at 16/1 and 10/1.  Incredible!

It was a strong week for the ‘Starter’ portfolio too, with Northern Monkey being a part of it, and this despite no bets at all from Football Lay Profits and Racing Service 2.

Not so good for ‘Broxchange’ though, as Football Service 1 still can’t find a winner, The Accountant not getting off to a great start, and Golf Insider identifying golfers who played well, but not quite well enough!

Portfolio Performance

‘Main’: ROI 40.38%, ROC 3.08%.

‘Starter’: ROI 52.56%, ROC 5.11%.

‘Broxchange’: ROI -50.79%, ROC -2.58%.

Individual Service Performance

The Accountant: Staked 6pts, -1.417pts.

Racing Service 1: Staked 12pts, +5.56pts.

Football Service 1: Staked 2pts, -2pts.

Golf Insider: Staked 14.4pts, -14.4pts.

MVS (Lite): Staked 10pts, +0.25pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 14.25pts, +12.062pts.

Football Service 2: Staked 7pts, -1.38pts.

Racing Service 2: n/a

Racing Service 3: Staked 20.5pts, +39.85pts.

As keen as mustard…

Did you read the recent SBC blog piece that contained an interview with a representative of MustardBet?  If not then you really should, as the recent entry into the bookmaking world of this firm could be the biggest thing to happen to the UK betting market since the withdrawal of Pinnacle Sports.

And boy is the overly-comfortable, cosy world of the leading UK online bookmakers due a proper shake down or what?!?  I still cringe at the absolute cynicism of the PR figureheads appearing on ITV Racing shouting out their special offers and great prices, whilst knowing that anyone who might have even the slightest inkling of what they’re doing when it comes to betting will be turned away from their doors with the speed and efficiency of a Lionel Messi run and finish.

The business model of most online books seems to be attract as many mug-punters as you can through aggressive advertising, special joining offers and deals and then play a numbers game.  Quickly weed out the competent, prevent them from betting, and then keep the mugs by offering more and more offers, many of which draw them into their Casino offering from where there is absolutely no mathematical chance of profiting in the long run.

MustardBet appear to be different.  Their business model is built around low margins, competitive odds, an ability to bet and win without being closed down, and a mathematical/statistical approach to creating opening market prices.  Once a market is available, weight of money will dictate price movements and a balanced book with a reduced overround is the result.  Simple, eh?

The benefits to us punters include value prices and the ongoing ability to have a bet.  I sounds daft I know, but we really shouldn’t downplay the extent to which this represents good news.  Along with growing exchanges offering competitive commission rates and an ever-increasing breadth of markets such as Smarkets and Matchbook, we’re beginning to get back to the situation we had when able to bet with Pinnacle before they withdrew from the UK market back in 2014.  And for that, we are grateful.

Portfolio results from Monday 1st October to Sunday 7th October

Right then, we have some developments.  We have a shaken up ‘Main’ portfolio, and today introduces two other portfolios to follow.

The first is what I’m going to call a ‘Starter‘ portfolio and is aimed at starting small and increasing stakes as we (hopefully) make a profit.  The aim is to show how from small acorns bigger things can grow and how a strategy of reinvestment can work.

Finally, we have the ‘Broxchange‘ portfolio, made up of services which we can use the betting exchanges and bet brokers to maximum effect.  This will start small but as and when suitable services become apparent, then we will look to expand.

I’ll write more about the make-up of each over the weeks ahead, but for now let’s see how we’ve fared in October so far…

Well, typically it’s been a wee bit of a nightmare.  Football Service 1 has got off to a shocker with nine bets from nine losing last week.  That’s always going to put us on the back foot but with Northern Monkey’s heroics of last Saturday soon forgotten amidst a few losing bets this, and MVS (Lite) and Racing Service 3 finding winners hard to come by, then it’s not been great at all!  Not one service excelled, and so the overall effect was a pretty bad week, but hey that at times is the reality of betting.

I have had much worse weeks in the past and always turned it around!

Let’s hope for better next week.

Main Portfolio

Racing Service 1: Staked 7pts, -0.25pts.

Football Service 1: Staked 9pts, -9pts.

Football Lay Profits: Staked 87.25pts, +1.55pts.

Golf Insider: Staked 350pts, -121.5pts.

MVS (Lite): Staked 12pts, -4.5pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 14.925pts, -6.01pts.

Football Service 2: Staked 12pts, +1.5pts.

The Accountant: Staked 11pts, +0.521pts.

Racing Service 2: n/a.

Racing Service 3: Staked 12.5pts, -12.5pts.

TOTAL ROI: -25.48%.

Starter Portfolio

This will see stakes raised for each service as they make a profit, reaching a certain point before profits will be reinvested to add to the portfolio.  This may well take a fair amount of time.  It may not.  We’re in the hands of the betting gods, but we will get to the point of reinvestment at some point.  Each week I will note if stakes are to be raised or not.

Football Lay Profits: Staked 87.25pts, +1.55pts. (Stakes raised by 0.66%/point).

Northern Monkey: Staked 14.925pts, -6.013pts.

The Accountant: Staked 11pts, +0.521pts (Stakes raised by 0.8%/point)

Racing Service 2: n/a.

TOTAL ROI: -9.64%.

Broxchange Portfolio

All bets placed via the Exchanges or MustardBet.  This is a small portfolio designed for those who can’t use the main online books.

Football Service 1: Staked 9pts, -9pts.

Football Lay Profits: Staked 87.25pts, +1.55pts.

Golf Insider: Staked 350pts, -121.5pts.

The Accountant: Staked 11pts, +0.521pts.

TOTAL ROI: -28.84%.

September Review

It is a commonly held belief that September and October are difficult months for those of us who bet on the horses.  We’re getting towards the end of the flat turf season and horses have “gone over the top” from their previous summer exertions, and at the same time the National Hunt season proper has yet to get going and the jumps horses are lacking fitness.  Personally I think this is all a load of old codswallop, if you’ll forgive the overly technical term. Still, the racing services in the portfolio have largely struggled with only three of the seven producing a profit.  Perhaps there’s something in it after all.

Let’s start with the positive.  September was an outstanding month for Northern Monkey, who really cashed in on the last Saturday with over 22 points profit on the day!  It was interesting to read in Wayne’s own monthly review how profitable the multiple bets have been this year so far.  Last season the multiples barely broke even and it shows how patient you need to be when backing in doubles and trebles.

This last point is a pertinent one when we look at the rather dismal September suffered by the Fake Mug Bets Club.  FMBC and Northern Monkey represent the two bookends on the profit and loss shelf.  We might expect MVS (Lite) to have had a bad month if FMBC do, but this was not the case as MVS ended just a little in the red.

The other notable loser on the month was Pilelist Racing and this service needs to see a bit of an uplift soon.  It’s important to acknowledge that playing at longer odds as Pilelist does, it can be pretty testing at times.

Finally a nod to Jason James who supplied a fairly regular supply of winners to post some decent figures.

AH Betting: Staked 53pts, ROI -4.36%, ROC -3.85%

Fake Mug Bets Club: Staked 154pts, -71.874pts, ROI -46.67%, ROC -17.96%

Football Service 1: Staked 5pts, +2.54pts, ROI 50.8%, ROC 5.08%

Jason James: Staked 71pts, +21.2pts, ROI 29.85%, ROC 10.6%

MVS (Lite): Staked 62pts, -1.725pts, ROI -2.78%, ROC -1.91%.

Northern Monkey: Staked 66.5pts, +37.284pts, ROI 56.06%, ROC 46.6%.

Pilelist Racing: Staked 41.99pts, -10.613pts, ROI -25.27%, ROC -14.15%.

Racing Service 1: n/a

Racing Service 2: Staked 87.5pts, +3.125pts, ROI 3.57%, ROC 1.56%.

Racing Service 3: Staked 16pts, -2.938pts, ROI -18.36%, ROC -2.93%.

So rounding it all up, the month produced an ROI of 5.9% and bank growth of a slightly disappointing 1.66%.  And on that note it’s perhaps relevant to tell you that from next week I’ll be reporting back on a slightly different portfolio.  I feel it’s time to shake things up a little, cover more sports and types of service.  I’ll also be charting progress of a small portfolio designed for following using the Exchanges, and another aimed at showing how it’s possible to start small and by reinvesting profit grow your betting operation which I’m hoping will appeal to those of you with limited starting resources.

See you next week.