Month: July 2020

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It’s tough at the top of the tipster world…

A recent blog post on the Racing Service 1 (RS1) site caught my eye this week, and made for very interesting reading.  It was a missive on how the main analyst had sought a reason for the service’s extended poor form.  The conclusion ultimately reached was that the cause has been an unconscious drifting away from core principles and a proven formula.  Reading between the lines, the remedy it seems, is a re-concentration (is there such a word?) on the basics, or perhaps a return to the basics that had for so long proven to be the foundation of consistent success.

To me, that must be easier said than done.  There are so many variables at play in evaluating the relative chances a horse has in a particular race and the price being offered by the bookmaker, I can imagine it would be very easy indeed to fall into the trap of overcomplicating things. I can also see why an extended period of poor form might lead to becoming entangled in a particularly sticky web, the route to escape from which needs a focused, calculated and steady movement as opposed to a thrashing around of arms and legs in a vain attempt at breaking free.

In other words, I reckon it’s bloomin’ hard being a tipster!

The post provides an example of where the ratings that RS 1 use as the basis of their selection process found a clear top-rated selection that was overlooked as a tip, despite it being “the most likely winner”, because the price was deemed too short; a good decision pre-race, for one of the very fundamentals of betting is that if you’re not sure you’re securing a price that holds value (on anything), you do not bet.  However, RS1 did find an alternative horse to tip in the race, which of course lost to the top-rated, overlooked horse.  Their policy moving forward is that if they feel a horse is the likeliest winner albeit at a price that is too short, they will offer no bet, as opposed to trying to find one to oppose it with.  I get the logic, particularly during a losing run, but I’m mindful that it is not uncommon for A. of Racing Service 2 to oppose “the likeliest winner” in a race with one he feels has a decent chance of winning and whose price significantly underestimates its chances of doing so, ie. it’s a real value price.  And over the years he’s had some of his greatest successes by using this approach.

Let me be clear, I am not criticising RS1’s approach here.  To the contrary, I commend them for undertaking some proper self-analysis during a bad run and taking steps to make sure they don’t lose sight of the fundamentals that have made them such a successful service over time.  No, what I’m saying is that the job of a tipster really is a tough one at times, demanding clarity of thought and a consistency in approach that can only be admired and respected.

I wish them well, and look forward to seeing an upswing in their fortunes.

Portfolio performance for July to date

It’s not just Racing Service 1 struggling at the moment.  Bet Alchemist is finding it hard going and although Precision Value produced some good results in the latter part of last week, it is still running at a significant loss for the month.  Even  Racing Intelligence, the one racing service to be enjoying July, didn’t have the best of weeks.

Bet Alchemist (100 point bank): Staked 41pts, -14.213pts

Racing Service 1 (200): Staked 54pts, -32.25pts

Golf Insider (400): Staked 46.5pts, +66.5pts

PGA Profit (500): Staked 126pts, -114.25pts

Precision Value (200): Staked 80pts, -9.585pts

Racing Intelligence (200): Staked 249pts, +45.145pts

Scottish Football Income Booster (100): n/a

Racing Service 2 (50): n/a

Total for July: ROI -8.21%, ROC -2.67%

An alternative view on value.

Is it possible to completely miss a tipster’s price on a consistent basis, and yet still be sure of securing value on each bet he tips?

I was asking myself this question this past week as I failed to get the advised prices on the excellent Racing Intelligence’s bets, and generally struck my wagers at significantly lower.  This is a service for whom the odds move quickly but generally speaking, as I’m usually at my laptop when his bets come through, jumping on immediately means I at least get close to the official prices.  Due to circumstances this past week I’ve not been sitting down and in a position to act as fast, and these circumstances are likely to continue through what is left of the summer.

This all caused me some initial concern.  Should I still be following if I know I’m likely to be only able to bet at much reduced odds?  We all know the fundamental importance of value in every bet we strike.  If I’m not confident of achieving this, am I not relying on luck to make a profit over the next few weeks, needing to hit a higher strike rate than usual to have a chance of making any money?  Over time, one thing is for absolute sure – if you’re not betting at value prices, you’re not going to make any money.

Then I started to consider things from a different angle.

If we work on the assumption that Betfair SP represents as close as we’re going to get to true market efficiency in the price of a horse, then we can start to reassess the premise that if we’re falling significantly short of a tipster’s advised prices, then we’re ultimately doomed to failure.  Say Tipster A advises a horse at 10/1.  I can only take 7/1, but the Betfair SP (the closest to true market price) is only 5/1…then my 7/1 betting slip carries good value, does it not?

Now before we draw any conclusion we have to note that it is not only on winning bets that we must judge whether we are attaining value or not.  We need to be backing at longer than Betfair SP on a consistent basis to be able to say we can follow a tipster profitably or not if taking shorter prices than those advised, whether the horses go on to win or not.  And let’s be clear, we’re not going to turn a profit close to the tipster’s official figures.  But say an outstanding tipster is running at an official ROI of 25-30%, and because of the odds movements we’re not getting close to the advised odds.  We may still be able to eke out a very acceptable 10% say, if we’re consistently beating Betfair SP on the majority of the tipster’s selections.

Food for thought.  I should add too, that the SBC’s odds testing sections of their reviews point out exactly what sort of dent on the official ROI we might expect to take when betting at different times following bet release; hugely valuable information.  But one thing is for sure.  The rather lazy assertion that, “I can’t follow that tipster because the odds move too quickly”, may actually not be true if we’re prepared to make a certain level of profit that is lower than the officially recorded.

A poor week for the portfolio and the month is now running barely above break even.  Bet Alchemist, Racing Service 1 and PGA Golf continue to struggle, and no eroics from anyone else this week.

Bet Alchemist (100 point bank): Staked 35pts, -8.213pts

Racing Service 1 (200): Staked 44pts, -26.25pts

Golf Insider (400): Staked 29.5pts, +74pts

PGA Profit (500): Staked 99pts, -99pts

Precision Value (200): Staked 62pts, -18.54pts

Racing Intelligence (200): Staked 189pts, +67.77pts

Scottish Football Income Booster (100): n/a

Racing Service 2 (50): n/a

Total for July: ROI 0.95%, ROC 0.28%

Tough going, but great profit!

The trend looks like it was set in the first week, when most services found the going a bit of a struggle but by one excelling, a strong overall profit was notched.  And so it was this week, with all the racing services finding winners hard to come by, but then a 150/1 winner (yes, 150/1!) from Golf Insider on the European Tour not only stopping the rot but pushing us really nicely into the black.  Happy days.

You know I really struggle to get my head around golf betting.  We all know that we have to be patient, that the winners don’t happen all that frequently, but that when they do, they tend to be worth the wait.  I can drum this mantra into my head as much as I want – and it’s all entirely true, every word of it – but between you and me, I still struggle a bit with the losing runs, and I still get over excited when we land that mahoosive winner on the Sunday afternoon or evening.  It’s not how it should be.  All this about the ‘professional’ bettor not becoming engaged with the daily ups and downs, not to get excited when big wins land, just to take everything in our stride and accept that this is not a smooth path to profit…blah, blah, blah.  When it comes to golf, I just can’t do it.  I’m reduced to being an adrenaline junkie when I’ve got a golfer at a big price in contention going down the back nine in the final round, chasing the sweet, sweet hit of one bookmaker account or exchange taking what can only be described as a bit of a beating.  BRING. IT. ON.

I’m getting giddy.  Maybe best to remember that elsewhere, results weren’t too impressive.  Not least at that other golfing service PGA Profit, who mentioned the dreaded ‘D’ word (‘Drawdown’) in their latest missive to members.  Nothing to worry about though.  We all know, don’t we, that we have a bumpy ride when it comes to golf!

Bet Alchemist (100 point bank): Staked 26pts, -5.288pts

Racing Service 1 (200): Staked 26pts, -11.55pts

Golf Insider (400): Staked 13.5pts, +90pts

PGA Profit (500): Staked 64.5pts, -64.5pts

Precision Value (200): Staked 40pts, -20.54pts

Racing Intelligence (200): Staked 116pts, +43.95pts

Scottish Football Income Booster (100): n/a

Racing Service 2 (50): n/a

Total for July: ROI 7.69%, ROC 3.14%

Racing Intelligence – the brains behind big profit.

So here we go again.  Back in the saddle, behind the steering wheel, on the bike…you choose whichever turn of phrase to use.  The end result is the same; the battle with the bookmaker is resumed.

And what a weekend it was for Racing Intelligence!  Saturday saw winners at 25/1 and 8/1 (official prices), and this Super Saturday was followed by a Sparkling Sunday, with another winner at 17/2.  I confess I wasn’t able to quite grab the official prices (I managed 20/1 on the 25/1 winner, for example) but I’m shedding no tears at that.

Funnily enough, these winners came just three days after RI had sent an email to members acknowledging that June had been something of a horror show but emphasizing that when encountering difficult periods in the past, the service had always bounced back strongly.  Having not backed anything in June I wasn’t aware of the extent of the drawdown, but I believe that it was in the range of 80 points or so.  Saturday’s results wiped out that loss.

It’s a rare and valuable talent for a tipster to consistently prove his ability to bounce back after a bad run.  Whatever method is used to identify value bets – be it form reading, having access to information, following money from marked accounts, or some other strategy – once a losing run takes grip it must be very difficult not to question your approach.  It’s human nature.  Sure, experience helps.  If you’ve been there, seen it all and worn the proverbial T-shirt, when a losing run hits it must be easier to contextualize.  But even then, I’ve seen many a tipster look great for a year or so, seemingly recover from a drawdown, but ultimately fade away never to be seen again.

I would think that what is absolutely essential for a tipster to survive and thrive long term is an absolutely unshakeable belief in their methods.  When it comes to tipping, one thing is as certain as a Jose Mourinho team defeat being followed by a Jose Mourinho moan, and that is that the belief in those methods will be severely tested.  And I reckon only those with the strongest conviction will ultimately survive.

July performance to date…

Not such a good week for PGA Profit but we’ve only had one tournament to go at so far this month.  A small profit for Bet Alchemist which got off to a flyer with their very first bet landing odds of 7/1, but then a series of losers eroded the profit significantly.  Both Racing Service 1 and Precision Value yet to hit their straps.

Bet Alchemist (100 point bank): Staked 11pts, +1.7pts

Racing Service 1 (200): Staked 10pts, -3pts

PGA Profit (500): Staked 37.5pts, -37.5pts

Precision Value (200): Staked 16pts, -2.54pts

Racing Intelligence (200): Staked 52pts, +86.75pts

Scottish Football Income Booster (100): n/a

Racing Service 2 (50): n/a

Total for July: ROI 60.53%, ROC 4.35%