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.

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