Month: October 2019

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How a struggling tipster is like a football manager facing the sack.

Well the back is better at least.  A heady mix of anti-inflammatories and some pretty hefty, prescription strength pain killers did the trick.  I should have put some of the latter to one side, ready to use them to dull the pain next time a horrific day hits.  You live and learn.

So, in this post I want to continue the theme of dropping tipsters.  We’ve already seen that we can apply some cold hard maths to the subject, comparing Betfair SP and/or Pinnacle closing prices to the advised prices to see if there is a suggestion of an eroding edge at play, or simply a bit of bad luck and variance.

One thing I personally take into account when deliberating over this issue is whether there is some change in strategy being employed by a tipster who is going through the mill a bit.  I liken it to a football manager who plays a certain formation for weeks on end, say 4-3-3, and with some success.  However, he starts to make some strange selection decisions, injuries hit, a bit of bad luck and before you know it that manager is coming under real pressure – the fans want him out and the Chairman has done that most dastardly of footballing deeds and given a public vote of confidence.  The pressure gets to the manager who starts changing his system, playing three at the back perhaps, when he would never have done so in calmer times.  Of course, results very rarely pick up as by the time it gets to this stage the rot has set in and the inevitable sacking is merely around the corner – as far as this particular Club is concerned, the manager is done.

So it is with a struggling tipster.  The pressure can begin to take a grip.  Selection strategies change – perhaps a lot more bets all of a sudden, or maybe going the other way and issuing far fewer picks than normal.  Perhaps whereas the norm for a racing tipster is to back win only, they start throwing in a lot more each way selections.  These and other things are tell tale signs that the pressure is perhaps becoming a little too much.  And let’s face it, a commercial tipster on a long losing run has got to be feeling it, right?

This is why the SBC quite rightly place so much emphasis on tipster longevity.  They need to see evidence of someone coming through a deep drawdown the other side, strategies in tact and the wiser for the experience,

What we mustn’t do is confuse the above with a tipster who adapts and tinkers slightly with their approach to adapt to changing market or even sporting conditions.  Football Service 2 is a good example of a service which tells their member that they have noticed a change in an underlying factor that is having an impact on their betting.  This process of renewal and adaptation is essential for a tipster to ensure they stay ahead of the markets.

Being able to differentiate between the two – a tipster panicking and radically and fundamentally altering their approach in response, and another keeping ahead of the market – is an important skill to acquire, and one which will stand your own betting in good stead if you can master it.

No post next week as I’m off on my holibobs during half term.  Back the week after.

Portfolio performance for October to date

Main portfolio: ROI -10.96%, ROC -5.21%.

‘Broxchange’ portfolio (Football Lay Profits, Football Service 1, Golf Insider): ROI -1.19%, ROC -0.57%

Individual Service Performance

Bet Alchemist: Staked 25pts, +4pts.

Racing Service 1: Staked 32pts, -23pts.

Football Lay Profits: Staked 139.3pts, +9.33pts.

Football Service 1: Staked 18pts, +2.097pts

Golf Insider: Staked 41pts, -41pts.

MVS: Staked 41pts, -6.625pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 49.25pts, -10.079pts.

Football Service 2: Staked 24.95pts, -11.001pts.

Racing Service 2: n/a

Racing Service 3: Staked 44pts, +20.737pts.

How to use odds movements to judge a tipster

I’m in absolute bloomin’ agony.  And getting old.  Sadly, the two are, according to my doctor, inextricably linked.

So I wake up on Tuesday morning with a bit of a niggle in my back.  Nothing too bad, just a bit of an ache.  By lunchtime I’m in real pain and struggling to sit, and by teatime I can hardly walk.  Somehow the good lady wife gets me in the car and to the Quacks.  The diagnosis?  A “muscle spasm”.

It’s not even something serious, is it?  A bit pathetic really – an intense form of cramp and I get that all the time in the old calves when I play 5-a-side each week.  Anyway, some prescription strength pain killers and anti-inflammatories and I’m on the road to recovery.  The bigger scar is a mental one. “How did this happen?”, I asked the doctor (who, in her 20s, is about 20 years younger than me).  She looked at me with something bordering on patronizing pity, before dismissing it as “something that happens quite easily as you get older”.  At that point I’m not sure what hurt more – my back or my pride.

Last week I asked for some interaction – and boy did I get it.  Just the one comment (come on, the rest of you!), bu a bloomin’ good one.  So good in fact, that in can make up the bulk of this week’s post.

It came from Ian, and here it is…

HI Rowan – I think this is one of the trickiest issues. No one wants to give up on a tipster only to find out they posted record profits a week later. On the other hand I’ve definitely held on to some previous good performers too long and suffered.

One thing I try to do nowadays is benchmark the tipster’s performance in terms of their advised prices (and the prices I can get on at) vs closing prices.

The idea here is that “money talks” and that on average, closing prices with the sharper bookmakers or most liquid exchanges (pinnacle, betfair exchange) are a good approximation of the true odds of the selection.

So in other words, if you can get on at significantly higher odds than the selection closes at (enough to beat the bookmaker’s margin or Betfair commission) you should win in the long run (and any losses you see in the short run are bad luck/variation).

And conversely, if you bet on something and the odds drift so it closes higher than the odds you got, the chances are you’ll be a loser in the long run and any profits you’re seeing are primarily down to luck.

Not everyone believes in that theory, but in any case, I think it’s a very healthy sign if the odds of a tipster you follow consistently beat pinnacle or betfair closing prices. And it’s a sign to be wary if they don’t.

As an example, Football Lay Profits is on a bit of an awful run right now so I checked their stats. Historically they bet betfair closing odds by 5%. Not enough to make a profit if you’re paying 5% commission, but a decent edge if you’re paying 2%.

However, in the July/August period this year before the season got started proper, they were advising at odds that were 2% worse than closing odds. Not a good sign and caused me to think something had changed in their algorithm or the market in general that would mean I might need to drop them. However, from September onwards their advised prices have been back to over 5% better than closing odds which again should be profitable in the long run.

I’m not saying this is a universal solution, but if a tipster is going on a bad run it’s worth doing the work to check their advised prices vs closing odds (I use oddsportal to check). It takes out the randomness of wins and losses and just focuses on odds movement so you can judge performance earlier.

And conversely, if a tipster is doing well but not beating closing prices, it’s as well not to go too overboard.

Hope that helps.

It does, Ian, it does – and thank you so much for posting.

Ian has articulated this point so well, I know I can’t put the points across any better, hence why I’ve simply reproduced his ‘Comment’ here.  And there is some really sound advice – when making the decision as to whether or not to drop a particular tipster, we need to do some detective work to see if there is any actual evidence that he is losing his edge, or indeed had one in the first place.  The method of comparing advised prices (and secured prices) to closing odds is pretty basic, but to my mind, sound.  Sure, it requires a wee bit of effort, but surely it’s worth it when conducting an exercise like this can literally save us thousands of pounds.

Next week we’ll look at detecting changes in approach or strategy by the tipster, and whether any tweaks made are a tipster unsure of his approach, or making changes to adapt to changing market conditions.

Again, any comments welcome in the meantime.

Portfolio performance for October to date

Main’ portfolio: ROI -15.59%, ROC -4.77%.

(The October losses mount up!)

‘Broxchange’ portfolio (Football Lay Profits, Football Service 1, Golf Insider): ROI -16.53%, ROC -5.87%

Individual Service Performance

Bet Alchemist: Staked 18pts, -8.25pts.

Racing Service 1: Staked 20pts, -20pts.

Football Lay Profits: Staked 62.8pts, -0.41pts.

Football Service 1: Staked 9pts, -1.112pts

Golf Insider: Staked 27.5pts, -27.5pts.

MVS: Staked 21pts, -3.25pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 39pts, -0.204pts.

Football Service 2: Staked 20.95pts, -7.921pts.

Racing Service 2: n/a

Racing Service 3: Staked 31.5pts, +21.937pts.

Drawing a line – when to give up on a tipster (Part 1)

We all know by now don’t we, that profitable betting means focusing on the long term.  It’s drummed into us SBC members right from joining up, and quite rightly so.  We have evidence from the SBC’s tipster monitoring that even the very best services on the market have losing runs.  Drawdowns simply cannot be avoided and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar.

On the one hand we have the experts telling us that we simply must focus on the long term if we want to have any chance of betting success, but our own inner demons – the voices in our head – are screaming at us to drop an underperforming tipster quicker than Rebekah Vardy can scribble out Colleen Rooney’s name from her Halloween Party guest list.

So what do we do when it’s time to make a decision as to whether we should drop an underperforming tipster or group of tipsters (what is the collective pronoun for tipsters?  A shackle?) a shackle of tipsters?  How can we make a decision based on logic and sound thinking rather than one that is made too hastily and which is influenced by raw emotions brought about by losing money?

I’m afraid to say that there is no simple answer.  There’s no magic formulae or ‘golden rule’.  The decision-making process becomes easier with experience and I have to say that often the most reliable influence comes from what I can only call gut instinct, which isn’t very helpful I know.

Having said that, there are certain things you can do and watch out for that set you up to being capable of making your decisions based on the right reasons.  And that is all you can really ask of yourself.  It will mean that you make more correct decisions about your betting than you do wrong ones and ultimately that will help you be profitable and not loss-making.

I’ll spend the next few weeks chatting about various factors and try to give you examples of where I have learnt from my own experiences, including outlining some of the mistakes I’ve made over the years, dropping a tipster just before they’ve posted record profits and following others over a cliff with the inevitable consequences.

It would be great to make this interactive, so please do ask questions and post your own experiences in the ‘Comments’ section.  Having a good idea as to when to drop a tipster is a skill we can all benefit from acquiring or improving, so let’s do that together.  If you’re reading the non-members version of the ‘Bet Diary’, join up and contribute to the discussion.  It can only benefit us all.

Right then.  Looking forward to getting stuck into this.  See you next week, and in the meantime, good luck in the ever raging war against the bookies.

Portfolio performance for October to date

Main’ portfolio: ROI -17.33%, ROC -2.89%.

(-17.33% ROI!?! – sack it!  Drop ’em all!)

‘Broxchange’ portfolio (Football Lay Profits, Football Service 1, Golf Insider): ROI 6.45%, ROC 0.96%

(6.45% ROI? – apart from these ones)

Individual Service Performance

Bet Alchemist: Staked 6pts, -6pts.

Racing Service 1: Staked 12pts, -12pts.

Football Lay Profits: Staked 41pts, +3.83pts.

Football Service 1: Staked 2pts, +1.887pts

Golf Insider: Staked 13.5pts, -13.5pts.

MVS: Staked 11pts, -0.75pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 20.25pts, +4.537pts.

Football Service 2: Staked 13.15pts, -4.571pts.

Racing Service 2: n/a

Racing Service 3: Staked 11pts, -4.1pts.

September Review

Another solid enough month in all.  Of the ten services providing advice in September, seven ended the month in profit.  An overall ROC of 5.76% is perfectly acceptable (I’d take that every month!) and the ROI of 7.43% is decent enough.

Star of the show has undoubtedly been Football Service 2 which weighed in with a superb individual ROC of over 33%.  I must admit I was just a touch anxious when July and August proved underwhelming as traditionally these have been lucrative times for this long-termer, but as form has started to settle then the edge has started to show through.  Interestingly it was only a few short weeks ago that FS2 sent out an email saying that changing conditions within the game meant he was going to be a little cautious, take stock and look to adapt.  Figures this month strongly suggest that that process has been successfully executed.  Therein lies the advantage of following tipsters who’ve stood the test of time and who know their market and their own strategies inside out and back to front.

After expressing serious concerns over the performance of Racing Service 3 a little while ago, a really strong week has resulted in what has ultimately proven to be a strong month.  Like I previously said, this perhaps eases the pressure a little, but there is still a lot of work to do.  What we need to see now is some real consistency.

September’s performance from Golf Insider was a microcosm of what following a golf tipster is all about.  Not so much as a penny of a return to be seen all month, and then wham!  A winner and a placed selection – both at odds in excess of 100/1 – over the last weekend, and the losses are eradicated and an excellent profit banked.

It was nice too to see MVS (tips priced between 7/4 and 3/1) enjoy a good month.

On the other side then I’m afraid Football Lay Profits has suffered something of a shocker.  A downturn of 21% of the bank, whilst obviously not great to see in a month, isn’t in itself a cause of too much concern.  We’re talking only a fifth of the bank so it’s hardly panic stations.  The frustration lies more in the fact that it feels like getting those losses back could very easily take a lot of time and in the first month of the new season, there is real pressure to make a profit by the end of it next spring.  I’ve seen the service embark upon long winning runs in the past – it really needs to repeat that trick and very quickly.

‘Main’ portfolio: ROI 7.43%, ROC 5.76%.

‘Broxchange’ portfolio (Football Lay Profits, Football Service 1, Golf Insider): ROI -5.27%, ROC -4.35%

Individual Service Performance

Bet Alchemist: Staked 29pts, -9.387pts, ROI -32.37%, ROC -9.38%.

Racing Service 1: Staked 58pts, +3.425pts, ROI 5.9%, ROC 1.71%

Football Lay Profits: Staked 278.35pts, -41.98pts, ROI -15.08%, ROC -20.99%

Football Service 1: Staked 22pts, -0.718pts, ROI -3.26%, ROC -1.43%.

Golf Insider: Staked 59.5pts, +47.9pts, ROI 80.5%, ROC 11.97%.

MVS (7/4 – 3/1): Staked 64pts, +10.375pts, ROI 16.21%, ROC 11.52%.

Northern Monkey: Staked 53.875pts, +2.689pts, ROI 4.99%, ROC 3.36%.

Football Service 2: Staked 44.14pts, +13.448pts, ROI 30.46%, ROC 33.62%.

Racing Service 2: n/a

Racing Service 3: Staked 98.5pts, +17.225pts, ROI 17.48%, ROC 12.3%.