Friday, 28 December 2012

Season Half Way Point - How's It Going?

Seeing as we are 19 matches through the Barclays Premier League season I thought I would do a review of my trading, and bring you up to date with my positions thus far. Firstly, as the section to your left tells you, I had intended on attempting to trade the markets each week to make a modest £500 in order to cover any losses elsewhere. I never really anticipated needing to 'cover my losses' though, which is quite handy considering my trading has been rather poor these last few months! I have made a profit of just over £70 but it has been quite inconsistent profit, due to poor trading or lack of trading each weekend. I realised the other day that I have been quite poor at showing P+Ls this season, particularly compared to last year, but this is mainly due to lack of activity, or the P+Ls being distorted due to matched betting. I am also trying to move away from that side of the blog and have therefore decided to withdraw the P+L from the site. I originally had it up more as a record for myself than anyone else, and also to encourage myself to report every loss with my readers, but I don't really need it for either of those purposes anymore, so it is getting the chop! Aside from trading I have made around £170 from matched betting since August, so things are moving quite smoothly, albeit at a slow pace!

Now on to the part I have been focusing most on this season: the 'outrights'. It's difficult to place an exact P+L on my trades as a lot of them are still in motion, but my expert conclusion is: it is going alright. To expand on this point I will show you all of my moves over the last few months and explain how they went.

The best trade so far. Top two selections backed at start of year and after Chelsea's collapse both prices went below 3 making an easy trade out. Since United have gone ahead I have layed the low price of 1.86 on the top selection, and backed City/United at 5.7, as can probably be deduced from the picture. £175 initially wagered, if cashed out now total profit would be £78.

Layed Chelsea at 2.2 for £121 shortly before their collapse and traded out at 2.9. They went as high as 6.8 during the sacking of Di Matteo however, meaning I could have taken a much higher profit. I was a tad premature to trade out of this one.

Perhaps with the previous trade in mind, I did the opposite of this one and missed the opportune moment to trade out. They traded as high as 1.8 after I layed at 1.27, but recent form has seen their price drop again and I only managed to trade out £15 at the top price. Will stay in for a bit longer, if I cashed out now I would take a profit of £18.

The Chelsea loss was made over the summer so that can be ignored. The Arsenal bet I struggled with hugely, as the form of the sides listed here are so unpredictable I found it hard to manage. I think the trick with this one is to not look at the fixture lists, but to just lay low and wait for the inevitable dip in form from either team. Total profit £15 from risk of £186.

This was a fairly simple one, a back at 1.733 for £200 and a lay at 1.399 after just a few weeks. I initially left the profit on Spurs to finish top 6, but thought it best to spread it later on, especially at low odds.

Fulham I chose to back from the beginning, and after their good start to the season I had hoped I could trade out. Liquidity was a problem here though and I only managed to get half of my liability out, choosing to stay in for a bit longer. Their form however, dropped, and if I was to trade out now I would take a scratch. I will stay in for now though. Secondly we have West Brom, who had a brilliant start to the season and I chose to lay them at 1.283 anticipating the inevitable dip. It came and they went up to 1.65 briefly before regaining form and now they are back to 1.31. On this occasion, I mixed greed with their fixture list and decided to stay in for a bit longer for a better price. I will wait for a bit longer as I don't imagine they can continue this all season. If I traded now I would take another scratch.

Another fairly simple one, I backed Everton at 2.388 for £100 and Liverpool's woeful form has made this quite simple. I am in the process of trading out, I just need a bit more liquidity. 

There are a few here so I'll keep it simple. Stoke: I was wrong, they have been superb, 100% loss. At least it is only £12. Norwich I really thought would actually go down, but was wrong again (so it seems so far anyway). Luckily all I needed was their poor start to take a £31 profit from an £82 stake. Similarly I backed Reading for relegation early on, but was a bit premature in trading out on this one, taking only a £10 profit on each outcome. Since, I have layed Reading at 1.29 as I think they have the potential to see a higher price before the end of the season. With QPR I made a big investment and so far it hasn't paid off. I may wait until the end of the transfer window before deciding what to do. Layed at 1.872, if I traded now I would have a £32 loss. With Sunderland I made the decision to back at odds of 4.7 a few weeks back, and it is now looking like a foolish decision. If I traded now I would take a £33 loss.

As I said before I thought Norwich would be down there, and their good start gave me the chance to square up here, but I missed the chance to green all round. I could have taken a £14 profit on all outcomes but I thought the price would go lower. I was wrong.

Poor decision to get involved with this league. I was taken by last year's outcome and this year just isn't turning out the same way. I chose to take a loss early on as I didn't think it would get much better, and so far that has turned out to be wise.

Current balance 'in-play': £456 of the £500 bank.
Best call of the season so far: Backing United/City, City/United in the straight forecast.
Worst call of the season so far: Stoke to be relegated. 

Well there you have it. That is how it is going for me this season, I hope I wasn't too long-winded for you. In the coming weeks I will be compiling some data on who still has who to play, and then taking up a few new positions based on this. I will also most likely do a 2012 review in the next week or two, just as I did last year for 2011. Based on what I have provided here, I would say that I am very pleased with the start I have made to the season, and feel that my target of £500 profit is within reach. Should I fall short however, I will be happy as long as I make a decent profit on my maiden season trading in this way.

Happy New Year everyone, I am looking forward to 2013 already.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas

This is just a short message to wish everyone a very happy Christmas. I was going to do a review of the weekend's football but, to be quite honest, I cannot be bothered! I have plenty more chocolate and other delicacies to enjoy between now and New Year, and everything I talk about will be different in two days anyway (after the Boxing Day fixtures). The Christmas calendar is one of my favourite times in the football season, meaning I will probably be enjoying the games whilst eating, rather than trading!

I hope you all have an excellent Christmas, I will be back after a short festive break.

Festive fixtures - England vs Germany, 'No Man's Land', December 25th 1915.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Last Post Ever

This will be the last post ever on this blog, or in fact any blog, if the Mayans are correct about the end of the world today. If that is to be the case then this post is largely pointless, but I am a gambling man and I'm willing to make a little punt on waking up bright eyed and ready for the weekend's fixtures tomorrow morning. Worst Bet of the Week award goes to the man who placed 50p on the world ending with Coral at 1,000,000/1. Absolute genius. 

Anyway, back to betting talk and I was given a Christmas treat earlier by Sporting Bet who are offering a £100 free bet if you make 10 bets of £10 between now and New Year's Day. This is a massive offer, and you should be able to make £70 at least by matching it effectively. The beauty of it is the minimum odds on the qualifying bets are 1.2, meaning you can find close match odds for a tiny liability. I have already placed all of my qualifying bets, making a small loss of around £5 and it took me less than half an hour, easy money. If you're planning on doing this bet, I would act quickly as Sporting Bet have been known to withdraw their offers rather swiftly after building up big liabilities. I'm sure they won't be the only ones to offer a Christmas gift, so I look forward to that.

Back in the Premier League my lay of West Brom for the top 10 at 1.283 is continuing to flourish as the Baggies are now out to 1.67 after collecting just one point from their last four matches. It was good news down at the bottom of the table as QPR finally won a match, and the market reacted massively jumping them from 1.62 to 1.87 for relegation. This, combined with a thrashing at the hands of Arsenal, had a knock on effect on Reading who are now as low as 1.16 to go down. This is a trying time of year for the lower teams and those who have relied upon a good starting 11 but lack depth in squad are likely to struggle. I expect this to be a crucial factor in QPR's rise out of the relegation zone.

Up at the top, United and City pulled further away from Chelsea after their exploits in Japan allowed Spurs to pull level with them on points in third place. They now sit 1.66 for a top 3 finish and, although they dispelled suggestions they might be jet-lagged by thrashing Leeds in midweek, I just wonder how they will handle 4 games in 11 days, especially with tough games away to Norwich and Everton. They still remain 4 points worse off than at the same time last season, although with a game in a hand this time, which is remarkable considering the level of their investment over the summer months. The previously depressed Arsenal fans have now realised that they are just 2 points off 3rd place, and it is surely not long before they nominate Wenger for a knighthood for the trillionth season in a row. They're now at 1.96 for a top 4 finish, while Spurs are 2.36. One to keep an eye on may be the price of 4.2 for them to finish in the top 3, although liquidity is currently a problem in that market.

That's all from me now, I need to do some last minute Christmas shopping! Enjoy your weekends people, hopefully we will still be here tomorrow for some festive fixtures.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Deadlock is Broken

After many weeks and 16 matches of see-sawing in the Premier League, we now have a clear favourite for the title for the first time this season. Having bounced around at odds of 2s and 3s in weeks previous, Manchester United are now odds-on at 1.61 to win the title, having pulled 6 points clear after Sunday's derby. Manchester City are yet to go below evens this season, while Chelsea were only matched as low as 3.35, despite their electrifying start.

To suggest the title race is over however is preposterous, and anyone uttering those words really knows little about football, particularly English football. Laying United at 1.61 is almost definite to see a return at some point in the campaign, but a more appealing lay looks to be the EVENS on United 1st/City 2nd in the straight forecast, as it allows for more variables to affect the bet. This means that even in the unlikely event that City do not put up a fight for their crown, the bet will still prosper if City are pressured for 2nd place by Chelsea or another contender. Odds of 3.5 on City 1st/United 2nd are also worth considering, although liquidity is currently an issue in that market.

At the other end of the table the boys are beginning to be sorted from the men, and both QPR (1.61) and Reading (1.34) remain odds-on for relegation, though all could change tonight with the 6-pointer between Sunderland and Reading. At present, QPR's price appears to be being maintained at a higher point than it perhaps should be, with the side currently 8 points from safety, which is presumably due to the Redknapp effect. Every winless week however sees them slip that little bit lower, and if there is no win very soon, then it won't be long before their price slips sub 1.5. Further up, we have Sunderland at 3.75, Aston Villa at 3.75 and Wigan at 3.15, which are particularly generous prices considering the form of these teams thus far. The trick is however picking the team which will continue to plummet. At this stage last year, Wigan were only two points worse off than this season, and found themselves bottom of the table by match week 22, six games from now. Paradoxically, Sunderland surged up the table, while Villa maintained a steady pace in mid-table. Although these stats are hardly foolproof, especially considering Sunderland's surge was largely due to a managerial change around this stage last season, it is a decent guide and is certainly worth considering.

The next 5 fixtures for each team are as follows:

WIGAN- Norwich (A), Arsenal (H), Everton (A), Villa (A), Man Utd (H).
SUNDERLAND - Reading (H), Man Utd (A), Southampton (A), Man City (H), Spurs (H).
ASTON VILLA - Liverpool (A), Chelsea (A), Spurs (H), Wigan (H), Swansea (A).

Each of the three appear to have a tricky Christmas period in store, and there isn't really a great deal of difference between any of the lists. Although Sunderland have the most home matches, they are against top 6 teams (tonight's match excluded) and if they were to win tonight, it would certainly be worth looking at their relegation price as a back-to-lay option. Villa likewise could see themselves further in the cesspit after their next three games, but the match at home to Wigan will be a crucial 6 pointer.

That's all from me, I hope you enjoy your week.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Snooker Carnage

There was drama in the UK Championship last night as Neil Robertson and Mark Selby played out an  epic in the quarter finals. In the best of 11 match, Robertson raced into a 4-0 lead and was matched as low as 1.04, before totally capitulating and losing 6-4. Selby was matched as high as 85 in-play to win the tournament, and now sits favourite at 2.5 meaning someone had a nice cash out this morning. Elsewhere, pre tournament favourite Judd Trump crashed out in the first round and 17 year old Luca Brecel impressed before eventually being edged out by Shaun Murphy in the quarters. I watched Brecel at the World Championships last year and he certainly seems destined for big things, I think we may be seeing much more of him over the next few years.

Over in football the big match is obviously the derby this weekend and Bet365 are treating us to another of their £50 in play free bets. Apart from this, I probably won't get much of a chance to trade this weekend due to end-of-term university work, but I did manage to take a £25 profit over the last week. I'm currently waiting for my bet on Everton to win the league 'without the top 6' to be matched, as at the moment this looks like a straight battle between them and Liverpool, and the latter look distinctly unimpressive so far, especially with Europe to contend with as well. Last week the big match for me was Bayern vs Dortmund, with Dortmund desperately needing a win to kick start their title charge. It was not to be however, and the match finished 1-1 leaving Bayern's odds of winning the title still around 1.11.

I decided not to take Newcastle to finish top 10 as there were too many factors in the way for me. I do  still admire them and the players they possess though, and I will be hoping they recapture last years form. Only time will tell if I made the right decision here. Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Polar Opposites

Fourteen games into the season and some interesting angles are beginning to open in the markets. Up top it seems quite routine at the moment, with the Manchester duo powering ahead and both neck and neck for the title, both at odds of 2.3. There is little to choose between the two at present, but the derby next weekend should give us a better indicator. Chelsea have seriously dropped off the pace at the moment and, despite Benitez's appointment, I can't see them seriously challenging long term this season. If we look at the standings at this stage last season, interestingly Chelsea are actually 2 points worse off than they were under Villas Boas, despite all the money they have spent and their quick start to this campaign. United backers will probably take encouragement from the fact that United are on the same amount of points as 2011/12, yet City are 6 points worse off.

Not surprisingly, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs are significantly down on last years tallies, while Everton have made an improvement. The biggest movers however, are the flourishing West Brom and the floundering Newcastle. West Brom are 11 points better off, while Newcastle are 12 points worse off, currently sitting at 1.23 and 2.82 respectively to finish in the top 10. I take issue with people saying that West Brom are 'over-achieving' as it suggests they don't deserve their position, when they have performed excellently so far and deserve this success. I do however, feel that this is a success which may be relatively short lived and have therefore chosen to lay them for the top 10 at the short price of 1.28. Newcastle on the other hand are a more confusing matter, having been hit severely by injuries and facing the difficulties of balancing a European competition with the league. They also have the matter of the African Cup of Nations which will probably see them lose a number of important players throughout January. Despite this however, I still feel they have a good team, and one which is certainly capable of making the top 10. They're currently only 5 points off the top half and the price of 2.82 is looking increasingly tempting to me, I will decide over the next couple of days whether to take it or not.

Down at the bottom I have joined the Redknapp bandwagon and layed QPR for relegation at 1.9. I expect Harry to have some impact, at least, on the squad which is clearly a lot better than their current position. There is also the possibility that the owners might invest more cash in January so the current price is attractive for many reasons. If they get one win I reckon momentum might pull them out of the bottom 3 quite quickly.  

Elsewhere the UK Championships start tomorrow and I can't wait. I won't be trading it, apart from a £5 interest bet on Robertson, but I will just enjoy it as a spectacle. Good luck with your weekend trading.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Long Shots

I was looking through a couple of old posts on my blog when I stumbled across this from April last year. It is a long post but among the waffle I found an interesting point by former self:

'...after 9 games 7 Bayern wins, 1 draw and a loss, 25 goals for and 1 against, saw them 5 points clear and as low as 1.2 for the title. 1.2?! After 9 games? This isn't Spain. Their form naturally deteriorated and now Dortmund are 8 points clear and unbackable on Betfair. Lesson learned, and that is what I will look to do next year.' 

This season has seen a similar pattern as Bayern have rushed into the lead leaving everyone in their wake and after 11 games were W10 D0 L1 F32 A4, 7 points ahead of their nearest competitor Schalke, and odds of 1.11 to win the title. They did recruit players such as Shaqiri and Mandzukic over the summer, but this is still a team who finished 8 points off Dortmund last season. One of the main reasons for the short price is the poor start by defending champions Dortmund, who sat 11 points behind Bayern after 11 games. Dortmund did however manage to keep the majority of their team over the summer, including stars such as Lewandowski and Reus, and have demonstrated their technical abilities in the Champions League, particularly against Real Madrid. With all this taken into account I chose to lay Bayern at 1.12 for £400 (liability £48), and I would be surprised if I didn't see a profit on this at some point in the season. This weekend Bayern dropped 2 points away to Nuremburg and Dortmund won at home to Furth. Bayern actually extended their lead to 8 points because the two below them both lost, but Dortmund are my best hope at chasing down Munich so it is their results which are the most crucial. After the weekend Bayern drifted a tiny amount to 1.13/1.14, hopefully it'll continue. I contemplated doing the same thing with Barca, but the Spanish league is a different thing all together, so I have decided to leave that one well alone. Instead I took on Chelsea to finish in the top 3 at 1.27. 

I chose to trade out half of my liability in the Arsenal top 4 bet at evens, which was handy because they're now down to 1.74 after their derby win. I'm going to leave the remainder of it for now because they still have a couple of tough games to come. By my reckoning however, I think it is almost time for them to hit their purple patch, and an easy Christmas period might mean that I switch to backing them rather than laying them. It'll depends on where the odds are in a few weeks though so I shall let you know.

Elsewhere I had a very poor week this week and made a loss of around £15. I don't really think I did a great deal wrong to be honest, apart from in one game where I made a bad decision, but mainly the results went against the trends in the matches I picked. It is swings and roundabouts though, and I have been having a number of profitable weeks so I guess this is just one of those weeks where luck eludes you. You can't win all the time.

Tonight is the Champions League and I'm not sure I will be dabbling too much in those murky waters. Some teams are already through, and some are already out so mindsets completely change and it is difficult to call. If I do get involved it will be small stakes. Good luck if you have a bet tonight. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Trading the outrights in-play: Do or Don't?

With another weekend of comebacks and collapses from the Premier League's so called 'elite', I stumbled across an interesting thought when watching the outright markets: is it wise to place bets on the outright markets when matches are in-play? As regular readers will know, the outright markets are where I have been focusing a lot of my attention this season, and this thought appeared in my mind when I looked at the odds in-play. Over the weekend both United and City went behind, and the winners market yo-yo'd accordingly. With United starting at 2.15 to win the title, they drifted to around 2.6 after slipping two goals behind, before Chicharito completed the comeback and they ended the match hovering between 2 and 2.1 for the title. Similarly, City started Sunday around 3.3, before drifting massively to 4.5 whilst being held by Spurs, and finally completed their comeback to return to the 3.2-3 mark. 

Man United Graph

Man City Graph

This got me thinking about if it is worth getting involved in-play in order to take an over-reactionary price in the market. If we have learned anything over the last decade or so it is that United, and now City, are masters of the comeback and rarely slip to unusual defeats. United in particular have been particularly poor at the back this season, but have so far had enough firepower to keep coming from behind time and time again. The benefit of taking a high price in-play and banking on a comeback is that, should the team fail to come back in that particular match, the trade is not lost and it can continue for the duration of the season. But although the price may seem attractive at the time, there is still scope to say that more often than not you will end up with egg on your face.

The problem with taking the prices in-play is that the prices are disfigured, and although that could work in your favour at times, it is more likely to confuse you in the long run. The length of a match is far too short a time to be making any big or rash decisions. I don't believe anyone should make huge decisions based on a team's performance in one match, or even one half of a match, as things can change very quickly in football. Sure, most people trade the in-play match markets throughout the game, but the outright markets require a lot more attention. For starters, the amount wagered would need to be large to take any decent size profit from the trade, and such a quantity would be something I would be uncomfortable with on an impromptu bet. Another reason to hold back and let the match unfold, is that you will probably get a higher price if the result stays the same, than you would in-play. The odds on City to win the title are going to be larger after they have LOST to Spurs, rather than whilst they are LOSING and might possibly lose in the end. 

Lastly, and most crucially in my opinion, is why not just trade the match odds market if you think a comeback is on? They have the potential to be so much more lucrative and you need not risk such large sums either. Had you put £100 on United to win the title at 2.6 when they were 2-0 down to Villa, you could now take a £25 profit on all scenarios. If you put £100 on United to beat Villa at top in-play price 11.5, well, you do the maths. And while you could argue £100 is a lot to stake on the last 40 minutes of a football match, you would only needed to have staked around £2.50 to take a £25 profit. 

This weekend was another positive one for me as I made another small chunk of profit, and my outright trades continued to progress. The results at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge were almost perfect for me, it is just a shame that Spurs couldn't hold on that tiny bit longer. It's unlikely I will be trading the internationals and I am bored already of Wilfried Zaha, who has suddenly become the most sought after player on the planet. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this blog topic, particularly from anyone who does trade the markets in-play. There must be someone out there, because otherwise there wouldn't be movements! 

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Work, text betting and profits

I apologise for the lack of posts recently, but I have been pretty busy at university recently. Being in my third year, things are starting to get a little bit tough so time for trading and blogging has been a tad limited. This is something I was prepared for however, and is exactly the reason I have embarked on my newer challenge of making a profit from the long term markets as it suits my situation better. Despite this however, I have been making bits and pieces over the last few weekends, taking a total profit of £24.41. The initial difficulty I was facing with trading this season is beginning to ease up a bit for a number of reasons; I am beginning to get back into my old ways and have adjusted my staking plan so it is more effective; There is more form to choose from now and trends are starting to shine through; I have had the last few weekends free for a bit of trading. The point about trends is the most crucial I feel, as this is something which bears a lot of weight on how I trade. I am a bit of a stats man, and I will do research on trends in goals, form, teams playing at certain places and so on, so the fact that I now have some data to work with is extremely helpful, and ensures I am not just guessing, as many are at the start of the season.

My bets in the longer term markets are shaping up nicely also, particularly as Chelsea and Arsenal are beginning to slip as I predicted. I will remain in my Chelsea trade for a while yet, as I think that their 'poor spell' is just beginning and they will begin to drop off over the Christmas period due to their small squad. At present they are still at a respectable 2.04 to come in the top 2. In my top 4 trade, Arsenal have been woeful as predicted and it is the time of year when Wenger's head is being called for, but their price is being held low by the torrid performances of their closest competitor: Spurs. I have previously expressed my reservations in putting my faith in Spurs and they have proceeded to throw away numerous chances to pull away from Arsenal in the league. Despite the anarchy in the Gooner camp, they still remain at 1.82 to finish in the top 4. I think I have decided that if Arsenal beat Fulham today and Spurs lose to City tomorrow, then I am getting out of this bet. I will instead swap my stance to laying Spurs, as they have a particularly nasty month coming up.

I tried out Paddy Power's text betting service this week, as I was using it for matched betting purposes, and I was impressed with how easy it is to now make a bet. This is of course likely to be highly detrimental to the addicted punter who can't find a bookie or a laptop, but for everyone else it is a stupidly fast way of placing a bet. By texting '50 Man United Teletext' I had put on a £50 bet for United to win, which was confirmed by an automatic reply text. The only problem with the service is the inability to peruse the odds and find a bet one might like, meaning that you are blindly choosing to back a team without knowing the odds. In order to find the odds, you could obviously go online on your mobile but then why would you not just place the bet online? I think the service is a good idea, but very gimmicky and unlikely to be used too much once the novelty has worn off.

Bet365 returned their famous £50 free in-play bet this week and it was as good as ever. I managed to match the bet to take a £35 profit, while taking a £32 profit from matching my text bet at enhanced odds. I won't put matched betting results in the P+L as I don't think it really counts as 'trading', but I'll keep you updated on what I do do so you know where to look for the latest offers. Paddy Power are offering enhanced odds on certain bets on your first text bet (up to £50), so look out for those to take a small profit, if you haven't already.

That is all from me today, I hope you all enjoy your weekends.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Remarkable Scenes

Well last night was something special, and I don't think I have ever witnessed a game with so many goals before! You can tell it was one of those weird nights though, simply because Chamakh scored a lob! I blame it on the coming Halloween. I had layed Reading at 4-2 at odds of 1.1 for £20, but I had all but written that bet off until Walcott's last flourish. I feel the match completely summed up how it must feel to be an Arsenal fan throughout the course of a season - annoyance - anger - devastation - embarrassment - hope - joy - disbelief - disappointment - ecstasy - we're gonna win the quadruple. Arsenal are now temporarily favourites to win the cup, but I expect the winner of tonight's rematch between United and Chelsea will shorten to favourite by tomorrow morning.

Back in the Premier League it was a good weekend for my bets as Spurs won away and United beat Chelsea, though not in completely legitimate ways. I have to be careful here because naturally I am biased toward United, but I think it should be noted that Chelsea rightly down to 10 men before the Torres debacle, and they would have struggled to maintain their high intensity right to the end. Furthermore, Torres should have been sent off for a horrendous challenge on Cleverly in the first half, and I think if he and the United players had made more of it then he probably would have been sent off. Despite this however, it was a shame how it turned out - never a red for Torres and miles offside was Hernandez - and the markets have shown some sympathy toward Chelsea on this occasion. They have drifted in the markets but only very slightly, presumably because people feel they would have fared better had they not been 'robbed'. They are still fancied in the winners market, only drifting from 3.75 to 3.95, and they still sit a solid 1.09 to finish in the top 4. 

It will be interesting to see if this racism row with Clattenburg has any impact at all on decisions against or for Chelsea. The referee's union is known for being a close-knit group, and I just wonder if there is a 50-50 in their next match which way the referee will swing. We will see.

That's all from me today, more Capital One Cup to look forward to tonight. Chelsea are quite big favourites for tonight's clash, and I'm not sure why really. United won on Sunday and undoubtedly have a bigger squad which should be stronger on paper , if both teams play their reserves that is. Chelsea obviously have the home advantage but I still think that 2.18 is very short, even if there is the 'revenge factor'. Enjoy all.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Chelsea shorten, Arsenal drift

It is that time of the season again when Arsenal drop points to a low placed team and everyone begins to lament their lack of strength and Piers Morgan cries about how poor the team is these days compared to the 'Invincibles'. The sad truth is however, that no one should really be surprised in the slightest. Much the same as every other season in recent history, the club decided to sell big and buy small, leaving the team threadbare and slapdash. Last year it was Nasri and Fabregas, replaced by the monstrous Arteta and Benayoun, along with a spattering of other nobodies. This year it was Song and Van Persie, replaced with Cazorla (okay Arsene, you can have that one) and Giroud (you can't have that one though). Podolski was also recruited but he looks as if he is going to slip into the Walcott bracket Arsenal so dearly cherish, ie superb one week, dire the next. 3 wins from 8 and they sit 9th in the table, yet it is probably fair to say that it is only the Arsenal fans with delusions of grandeur who are surprised by this. A couple of exciting performances from Cazorla and a goal from Giroud got the fans wiggling with excitement, but reality has settled back in now and they must acknowledge they are a top 4 side, but no more for now. Interestingly, the market is still heavily favouring them for the top 4 at a price of 1.7, and I would probably agree with that price for now. They have a good team still, better than those around them, they will improve and probably do just enough to make the top 4, but they won't run away with it. And that is precisely what makes the top 4 market so exciting to trade. After being 1.5 midweek they are now on the drift and don't be surprised to see them hit evens soon if their form doesn't improve.

On the other side of North London we have a club who does know how to spend, and they have done so to devastating effect this time round. For the first time this season they have crept into the 3s for the title, sitting at 3.75, as the market is beginning to take them seriously as title contenders. I have opposed them and I stand by my stance that they can't continue this form for too long, but I have to admit they are playing very well at the moment, and their performance against Spurs was particularly impressive. They're now at 1.09 to finish in the top 4 after storming 8 and 10 points clear of Spurs and Arsenal respectively. Their next task is Manchester United twice in a week, in the league and Capital One Cup, and here we will see what Chelsea are really made of. But with both games at Stamford Bridge and the defensive frailties of United so far, you would be a brave man to take on The Pensioners. That said, Chelsea's defence looks wobbly itself without their captain so I will be expecting the overs markets to be heavy odds on in a fixture which finished 3-3 last season.

I got back to winning ways this weekend taking a small profit of around £13. After reprimanding myself the other week I kept my stakes steady and calculated, even when United lost the lead AGAIN, and it worked out a lot better for me overall. My in-play trading hasn't been as productive so far this season as I would have hoped, but this is more down to lack of time than anything I am doing wrong. Most weekends I have been visiting friends or family and throughout the week I have a lot of work on at university (a student doing work, shocking I know, but it does happen). I will continue to try and take profits but perhaps my inconsistency is costing me slightly and I'm not convinced I will be able to make my £500 target by week 38. But as long as I make a profit, from in-play and my longer trades, I will be happy.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Cashing out and topping up

This last week of football has been pretty dire. Regular followers of this blog will know how much I despise the international breaks, especially when the Premier League is just kicking into gear. Finally the domestic action is back and tomorrow starts with what should be a cracker from the Lane, and my money will be on Spurs, for what it's worth.

This week I have been exiting a number of trades, while topping up others and entering one more. As previously stated, Norwich and Spurs have both done enough for me so I exited the trades which involved them. On the Norwich to be relegated bet I traded out for around £31 on both scenarios for a 37% profit, which I was happy with given that my target was 10%. The 'Spurs to finish top 6' and 'Norwich to finish rock bottom' bets I took my stake back from, but have left the profit on one side for now and will look to even it up at a later date. I reduced my liability on the Fulham top 10 bet by 50%, and will look to take a full profit of around 25% in the future sometime.

After much umming and ahhing, I have decided to top up on my Arsenal top 4 lay rather than take a loss at this time. After studying recent years and talking to others about the trade, I think it is unlikely Arsenal will remain as low as 1.5 all season, so I think the right thing to do is to lay them further, leaving my liability on the trade around £184. I mentioned before that I was looking to find a way to oppose Chelsea, and I have decided to lay them for the top 2 at odds of 2.2 for £121. I didn't really have a great deal of choice on this one, seeing as the winners price of 4.4 is far to high for me to take on, which really only left this market and the 'winners without the top 2' market. Liquidity is a bit of an issue and this led me to take a price slightly higher than I wanted, but hopefully it will be okay when it comes to trading out. I also topped up £25 on the straight forecast bets, leaving my liability on that market at £175.

I don't have a great deal else to report today as the week has been largely dull, but I am looking forward to seeing how these new trades perform. Have a good weekend.

Saturday, 13 October 2012


Last night was a completely pointless outing for England, and although I felt the pundits were being unnecessarily harsh to San Marino, it really was stupid them even being there. FIFA and UEFA need to step in and devise a qualification round prior to the proper qualification round, because it is simply stupid for a team to carry on when they haven't scored a goal in three years or so. The odds were unique and nothing like anything I have ever seen for an England game; after 25 goalless minutes they were still unbackable on Betfair, which is a joke. I managed to make a small amount backing the  overs after half time, but opportunities remained few and far between for the majority of the match.

Enough of internationals now and back to the good stuff. A friend of mine asked me this week to rank in order Cazorla, Kagawa, Mata and Silva, from best to worst. I said I would do it based on form so far this year as that's the only fair way I could really do it, and I placed them thus: Cazorla 1st, Mata, Silva and Kagawa last. I thought this kind of ironic that their current order was the reverse way round for how I think the league will finish (possibly), and this got me thinking about why this is. The conclusions I came to are largely conjecture but I think they are still a fair representation of the make up of these four clubs. So far it seems as if the two Manchester clubs have more talent up top than they know what to do with and both are struggling to find a system which works and accommodates all of their talent. United have brought in Van Persie and are naturally trying to fit him in at any price, although he is at least scoring goals for them. This poses the problem of where to fit Rooney, whilst Welbeck and Hernandez have been used in bit parts so far. The arrival of Kagawa has completely changed the dimension of play, with United attempting to play a 4-4-1-1 formation with Kagawa behind the striker, only the team has not adapted well to this at all, and Kagawa has now been forced to the left wing as Ferguson is opting for the more traditional 4-4-2. Similarly, City have struggled to find a formation to fit all of their players, with David Silva frequently being pushed to the left also, thus severely limiting his capabilities as a tinkerman. In contrast, Chelsea and Arsenal have a lot less to choose from at the top and have found their feet a lot quicker because of it. Their starting elevens basically pick themselves and Di Matteo and Wenger have had little in the way of tactical headaches so far this season. Stability has meant that Cazorla has got off to a cracker, and since his return from injury Mata has too, along with Hazard and Torres. The problem will come however, when the league toughens up and fixtures become more frequent, straining the squads of each team. I feel things are about to get a lot tougher for Arsenal and Chelsea, and Spurs probably too, (as they have been going well with a small squad so far) particularly as the winter months approach. If we look at the four benches of the top four teams the other day, the comparisons are huge: City (vs Sunderland) : Pantilimon, Clichy, K Toure, Nasri, Dzeko, Aguero, Rodwell. United (vs Newcastle) : Lindegaard, Wooton, Valencia, Giggs, Anderson, Scholes, Hernandez. Arsenal (vs West Ham) : Martinez, Koscielny, Santos, Walcott, Oxlade, Arshavin, Coquelin. Chelsea (vs Norwich) : Turnbull, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Bertrand, Romeu, Moses, Ramires. Clearly here we can see the two Manchester clubs have a much greater squad and this is the point in the season when this should begin to show through to some extent (though probably not quite as much as after New Year). I mentioned before that I would start to take on Chelsea from now on, and I am still looking for the right market to do so at the moment. I was suprised to see how few strikers Chelsea have this year, and wasn't surprised to read this morning that they want Falcao to come in January. Should Torres get an injury they will be relying on Sturridge, who isn't an outright striker by any means.

My other trades have been successful so far, and I am in the process of trading out of a couple. Norwich have had a brilliantly awful start and I am choosing now to trade out of the bet on them for relegation. In addition to this, Spurs have done enough to ensure that their top 6 price has dropped enough, so I am also looking to get out of that one too. I think they have the potential to beat Chelsea next Saturday, but I'd rather just back them in the match odds rather than leave my trade open for longer.

Enjoy your weekends, I hope they're greener than green.

Monday, 8 October 2012


I feel stupid even saying this, and many of you will look at this and say 'tell us something we don't know?!', but the fact is SOMEONE SOMEWHERE religiously thinks it is a good idea to back them and is therefore ensuring that Liverpool's price holds no value. Having won only two league home games since they last played Stoke at home they were bizarrely priced up at 1.5 to win yesterday, before proceeding to cost the blinkered backers a great deal of money...again. Some say it is the Asians who keep the price low, but I am yet to see any evidence or real reason for such an argument, especially since other clubs with large Asian support show no such irregularities in the markets. Others point to the blind faith of the Scousers, but I seriously doubt that club loyalty punts could have the liquidity to have a serious affect on the market, especially when pitted against another club with loyal fans, unless the Scousers are more prone to gambling... Unlikely. I reckon the only explanation is that it is a match fixing scam which has gone wrong. Either that or an increasing number of aliens now have a Betfair account.

Back to my trading now and Gundulf left me a message on my last post re my Arsenal top 4 trade:
'... I think you might be being a bit premature in coming out of the Arsenal lay just yet. There's plenty of time left for them to implode and / or for one of the other 'pretenders to the throne' to continue to improve. In fact if I were in your position I might be tempted to actually increase my exposure on that lay whilst they are as low as they are at present. Sometimes getting in deeper, especially this early in the season, buys a bit of leverage to be taken advantage of if / when the blip comes. Just a thought!'

This got me thinking, or at least confused me a little bit. Gundulf has a point, and when I got thinking about how the top 4 panned out last season, it made me consider whether I am being a tad premature in this case. No one in the league has the ability to go the season without a blip, that is what is so entertaining about it. Arsenal and the other high profile top 4 wannabes are particularly prone to multiple blips throughout the season, and the amount of times I thought that a team was 'nailed on' for a top 4 finish after a small purple patch before slumping dramatically last season, was one of the main reasons I chose to trade these markets this year. My only concerns are as follows; firstly, the poor quality of the opposition. Spurs are troubling me this year as I believe they are currently on a bit of a false high. Their squad is poor compared to last year and their striking options are still extremely bare, and at some point the goals will cease to come. Having said that, according to Opta, they have the most points after 7 matches than they have in any Premier League season bar one, which is impressive. They seem to be quietly slipping under the radar at present, despite winning at Old Trafford, which is probably due to their quiet and routine performances which are just enough to get the job done. At present, Everton are the only team looking capable of challenging for the top 4 and it will be interesting to see if they can keep their early form up. I think that it will probably take a while for the market to properly consider them serious contenders however. My other concern is that, like I said previously, my  matched odds are very high and this is undoubtedly a mistake on my part, particularly considering I have a sizeable stake at risk. Gundulf suggested topping up at lower prices, which I actually did a few weeks ago at around 1.54, but not for too much. I might now consider topping up a bit more with the view to trading out around 1.75, therefore limiting my losses quite a lot. I'll come back to this issue another time. 

The winners market has been interesting so far, as no real opportunities have arisen as yet. United and City have had 'poor' starts according to the boffins, while the market seems a little uneasy about Chelsea's influence in matters. From a Manchester point of view, I see nothing to be concerned about. Both teams are conceding way too many goals, but as long as they are performing up top then overall there isn't too much to worry about just yet. This is particularly true of United who have a stupid amount of injuries and unsettlement at the back, yet too much talent up top. Despite being four points behind the leaders, both United and City have only recorded one 'poor' result each in my opinion, the same amount as Chelsea. Chelsea's only dropped points came in a 0-0 draw away to QPR and, although it is a derby, they should really be beating a team with only 2 points to date. United's loss to Spurs at home is undoubtedly a poor result, yet losing away to Everton was not in my opinion. Everton have proved themselves very difficult to beat this year, as well as beating City at Goodison last year and drawing at Old Trafford. Winning away at Liverpool and Newcastle are two huge results for United, who lost at both of these grounds last year. City on the other hand should probably have done better at home to Arsenal, though even that cannot be considered a disaster. 

This week I will be looking to oppose Chelsea in some way, as I feel their time has come for now and this form can't continue. They face Spurs, United (twice), Juventus and City in the next few weeks so it will be good to see what this young team is really made of.

I'll leave you with a stat, Liverpool are 54/1 to be relegated on Betfair, yet 99/1 to win the title. Make of that what you will.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Fergie's woes

Manchester United's defence has been more shaky than John Terry's in recent weeks and they have being playing havoc with the betting markets, providing opportunities and pitfalls for those who dare to get involved. As a United fan myself, I have always maintained that I don't bet on their matches and, generally, I stick to that. The trouble with supporting a big team however, is that when opportunities do arise, which is often rare, they are normally potentials for big market swings. So far this season United have consistently gone behind in their matches, doing so in 5 of their 6 league games and going on to win 4 of those. This, obviously, opens up the door to backing United at an inflated price in the hope that they pull off one of their famous escapes. It is at this point in each match where I have had to battle my conscience and try and determine whether I am looking to back United from an entirely rational point of view. In each case however, I am fairly sure that I was looking at the game fairly and my choice to back United on numerous occasions was entirely justified, given their firepower and penchant for comebacks. I chose not to back them against Everton, because I could see the Toffees were playing very well, and I ignored them against Liverpool too as Anfield is a horrible place to play. Against Southampton and Cluj I took a profit, yet against Spurs I predictably recorded a loss. I am fairly certain though that the choice I made to lay Spurs that day had no relation to the fact that I support United, and that I would have done the same had they taken a 2-0 lead at City, Chelsea or even Arsenal. With United's home record, record against Spurs, comeback record against Spurs, factored in, I would certainly choose the same choice if the scenario repeated itself. I have mentioned before about learning from mistakes, but a loss should not always be looked upon in a negative way. Sometimes making a loss but knowing you did the right thing is better than taking a bad profit.

The thing which has put me in the red over the past couple of weeks however, is the poor way in which I have managed my stakes. With all these United turnarounds I should really be in profit, but levying my stakes poorly (which involved a bigger red on the Spurs match than the greens on Cluj and Southampton) was a mistake which I should be working on. Particularly midweek, my confidence was tarnished from the loss against Spurs so I half heartedly entered the market against Cluj to take only a small profit. The last couple of weeks has seen me lose £18.65, still small money but with my aspirations set on building small amounts of profit this has set my targets back a little.

My long term trades are fairing much better however, and the upside of the Spurs shock was that my bet on them to finish in the top six gained a welcome boost (though that did little to quell my bad mood that day). They now sit in fifth place and their top six price is down to a more realistic 1.43/49. It is likely that I will trade out of this after their home match against Aston Villa this weekend. On the relegation front Norwich have been performing suitably awfully, and after topping up last week at 2.12, I am happy to see them now as low as 1.73/4. Fulham are still going well but the top 10 market still seems to be suffering from a lack of liquidity, meaning I haven't had a chance to get out just yet. I may leave the bet for a little longer than I had planned though, as I think this is one which could develop over the year, and I am fairly confident it will pay out for me. The only bet which is struggling at the moment is the Arsenal top 4 lay, despite their recent downturn of form. I now see that laying them at a price as high as 1.89 was a very poor decision, and I might be forced to take a loss on that one, as I can't see it trading that high any time soon.

Good luck for the weekend, I hope it is fruitful for you all.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The life of a trader. Discuss.

I read an interesting article earlier over on The Sultan's blog, where he wrote about different people's approaches to trading sports professionally. I think it is an intriguing topic and I'd just like to add my thoughts. The post can be found here incidentally:

In short, Sultan was describing how he has had to make sacrifices in his life in order to work as a professional trader, and that without these sacrifices one cannot hope to be successful in their work. I largely agree with what he was saying and I find it strange that anyone would be deluded enough to think anything different from this. I have read posts or comments by some people who seem to fail to realise that if you decide to trade professionally, then this is actually a JOB, no longer a pastime. Undeniably, the make up of this particular job is vastly different from the 'typical' work environment, but the fundamental basics should still remain the same. Sultan refers to one guy who claimed he was going to trade on his phone whilst at a party. Erm, sorry, what? How many people do you know who go to a party and do work? And if these parties do exist, then these people really need new friends. Whilst trading may be a different type of job from something in an office, or a job at Tesco, or a binman, it doesn't mean that it deserves any less respect, and if you want to succeed at it that is how it needs to be. The higher up the professional scale you get the more sacrifices are needed, I doubt bank managers and top editors have much time for partying, for example. Another thing is that betting on a mobile is dangerous. I lose more bets than I win when I bet on my phone, mainly because the correct mindset is not there, while it is too easy to just stick something on and become distracted.

'Picard007' commented on the post saying: 'I must admit that I had this imagination of, if I invest 10 hours a day for 3 months I will be in profit soon. My hard work will pay off. It was a complete shock, that it did not and actually cost me a lot of money.' This slightly naive thinking (though who hasn't been the subject naivety over time?), is a belief which I feel contradicts my thoughts on trading professionally. If someone truly wants to go into trading, then they need to WANT to, and success will only happen over time, you cannot force it. It isn't a regular job, and it takes dedication to reach the level of The Sultan, for instance. It is easy to read his blog or other P+L blogs and think that it looks easy and fun, but the truth is that that is unrealistic. I spend a lot of time observing the markets and researching stats, whilst watching a lot of games and reading betting articles, but I am still far from the point needed to go professional and turn a consistent profit big enough to sustain any form of a lifestyle. There is a difference of course. I do it because I enjoy it with no real ambition to ever go full-time. But I think the fundamentals are the same, mainly because I aim to make money. Another point is that one cannot expect to learn all he needs to learn in 3 months, it simply isn't enough time to gain enough experience, just like anything else. One of the biggest things which has helped me improve over time is making mistakes, and I think that they are crucial to becoming successful in the long run. Everyone makes mistakes over time, and as long as you learn from them they can be as rewarding as any profit achieved. I look back over my mistakes over the past year or two and laugh, but I know that these were necessary to my education, and rarely have I made the same mistake again.

Another key point which was touched upon in Picard's comment was, profit aside, the benefits which trading brings to a person, most of all: discipline. I agree with Sultan and Picard who both agreed that discipline was a key aspect of their life which had been improved thanks to trading, and I feel the same way. My control of money is a lot stricter these days, both in and out of Betfair, and I value the odd pound or two a lot more also. My maths and statistical skills have improved, though both are still at a basic level, and I always find myself surprised at how often people talk of 'the odds' or bets, at which point I normally burst in with my superior knowledge (ahem) of the markets.

Each trader is different and I appreciate that. Personally, I trade part time to supplement my student income, and I choose trading over a part time job because I get pleasure from it, not necessarily because the profits are greater. It also suits me to trade whenever I feel like it, something which would not happen if I was to take the big step up to professionalism. I cannot see myself ever going professional as I don't think it is the life for me necessarily, but I am looking to go into the betting industry in some way and I think the knowledge I have accrued over time would give me an advantage in the marketing sector, for instance. (Incidentally, if anyone is reading and would like to give a newly graduated guy a job around June-time, that would be very handy ; ) ) Joking aside, whatever sector I enter I can see myself trading on the side in the future, just because I enjoy it.

Last word from me now. If you are going to trade then the most crucial thing is the 'Big P' - not profit, but passion. If you have enough passion then the other P will come.

Monday, 17 September 2012

10,000 Not Out

Today I passed the 10,000 hit mark on my blog and would like to take a minute to thank everyone who has read, promoted or mentioned my blog over the last year and a bit. I would probably still write the blog even if only 10 people had read it, so to have a fair amount of hits is a huge bonus to me. I see the blog as a good way of ordering my thoughts, as well as keeping a good record of my fads and profits over time, and I will endeavour to keep blogging throughout this year. Thank you all

The league is finally beginning to take shape now and I always find it strange that after as little as four games the league generally tends to have ordered the top end of the table fairly accurately, in relation to how they will finish in May. After a slow start, Arsenal have settled down and have powered themselves into the top 4, causing punters to slash their price both in the top 4 market and the winners market. Having been matched at a high of 28, Arsenal are now as low as 12 on Betfair to win the title for the first time since 2004. As far as I am concerned, anyone backing Arsenal at that price (or any price at all for that matter) is absolutely mental. They beat the worst team in the league 6-1 and recorded a good victory at Anfield, albeit a poor Liverpool team, but I would not even consider them for the title, particularly not at this early stage. They face Man City and Chelsea in the next couple of weeks and I think we could see a knock back to reality for the Arsenal contingent. Their top 4 price is now at 1.54 but, having layed them at 1.899 (an annoyingly high price as they traded down to 1.75 the day after I was matched), I'm not yet concerned for my money. As I said before, they will play City at the weekend, with Spurs (3 points behind Arsenal) playing QPR at home. If both favourites win those games Spurs and Arsenal will be level on points once again and the top 4 merry-go-round will be truly underway once again. 

Relegation is an interesting market at the moment as we have two contenders odds on (Southampton and Reading), along with Norwich teetering on the edge at 2.1. The price ups are intriguing because if we look at the fixtures these three teams have had, it would appear to suggest that Norwich are the worse off out of the three. Reading have one point from three games, with one in hand, having drawn to Stoke and lost to Spurs and Chelsea, the last two being games they weren't likely to gain points from. Southampton are pointless and look to be struggling greatly, but when looking at their games, there is no real shame in being thrashed at the Emirates and losing 3-2 to United and City, leading in both games. Losing at home to Wigan was a disappointing result, but this is the only fixture to date which they have really stood a chance of gaining any points. Norwich on the other hand have had two home games to mediocre opposition, West Ham and QPR, and drew both of these. These are games which they would have been winning last year, and in my opinion they definitely look set to struggle this year. No goals so far (though I know it has only been four games) from Holt or Morison, two players who were relied upon last season, and although they managed to nab a good point away to the ailing Spurs, the 5-0 loss at Fulham highlighted the look of things to come. The problem they now face is that they now face Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal in succession, whereas Reading won't come up against a top 5 team until December, and Southampton's only big test is Spurs over the next couple of months. I expect Norwich to trade odds on for relegation before long, meaning the 2.1 is still pretty big. I backed them for relegation at 2.547 for £50, and might consider topping up on them soon. With my Reading bet, I jumped a bit too early and traded out at 2.3 after backing them at 2.6. After Spurs' poor start I was concerned that Reading were going to take at least a point yesterday, so I took a small profit after Reading's poor start had already driven the price down. It turned out to be the wrong decision but at least I took a small profit. The more I try out these different trades the more I will learn, and hopefully I will learn a lot on timing of trades over the season. 

In the top 10 market, my back of Fulham has had little movement so far, despite what I see as a very encouraging start from the Cottagers. Two good home wins see them sit in 8th place at the moment, yet there seems to be a large amount of resistance on their price. They remain at odds of 2.38 with the market preferring to side with Sunderland (2.06) at the moment. I haven't yet seen anything to blow me away from three-draws-Sunderland, who finished 13th last season, and Fulham's squad looks superior in my eyes. I may consider taking the best price I can get on a Fulham lay as the market might take a while to side with my opinion. We shall see.

Thank you again for your continued support, I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Trading is easy...

...when the favourite goes behind. It is probably one of the oldest and most simple techniques in trading, but it has been working out for me, and I'm sure quite a few others too, in the opening weeks. I mentioned before the start of the season that I expected goals and shaky defences to be a theme of the coming season and it hasn't disappointed yet. The Champions have recorded wins of 3-2 and 3-1, along with a 2-2 draw and a 3-2 in the Community Shield, while their neighbours have followed suit with two 3-2 wins in a row. As I said before, the mid table teams have strengthened well and the big teams are going to struggle to win every match, particularly away from home. For now trading the overs looks the way to go.

My trading has been slow but steady in the opening weeks. I haven't had a wealth of time and the size of my bank (£50) has restricted me to small stakes. I also like to assess the new season and get a feel for each team before I go charging in anyway, so it has been working just fine for me. So far I have taken a small but positive £19.61 profit. Bank building is one of the things I am best at, in my humble opinion, so taking small but steady profits is something I quite like to do. I am going back to university next weekend, and that is normally where my proper trading takes hold, so I look forward to that. This weekend my opportunities will be limited as I am off to Old Trafford on Saturday.

For now though just sit back and relax, and thank the Lord that the international bore-fest is over.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The calm after the storm

From a betting point of view, the transfer window shutting two weeks after the season has kicked off is not desirable for any ante post bets. Teams can change drastically and yesterday was no exception to this, with over £100m being spent on deadline day. Key changes were made to the likes of Fulham, Tottenham, QPR and Manchester City among others, and this has thrown a whole new set of spanners in the works.

In terms of my positions for the new season, not too much has changed. I was very pleased to see that Arsenal didn't do any late deals and I think they are going to struggle a great deal, particularly in the coming weeks. I was a great admirer of Song and I think that not replacing him will come back to bite them, particularly with their injury situations. Cazorla is a superb addition, but a completely different type of player. Their lack of transfer activity has seen them drift out to evens for a top 4 finish, after being 1.7 last week.

In the week, I added Spurs to my list of bets, taking a large position on them to finish in the top 6 at odds of 1.74. I had hoped for bigger signings than they managed yesterday, but with an easy next few weeks, they should do well enough for me to trade out for a profit. In the long run, I can't see Spurs blowing anyone away, their squad is poor and definitely not an improvement on last season. They have only two strikers available up top, and both of those are hit and miss. Competition for fourth spot is going to be tough, but only because each team is now equally poor. Liverpool failed to bring in any big names and after letting Carroll go, and suffering another Lucas injury, I fear they too will fail to flatter.

It looks to me as if Everton have been the biggest winners over the last few weeks, recording 2 emphatic victories as well as signing a wealth of players, something which their failure to do in recent years has been their downfall. I will admit to not knowing a great deal about their new acquisitions, but David Moyes is shrewd and if they are as much of a success as most of his other signings, Everton could look dangerous for fourth place. Currently at odds of 6 if you fancy that.

My only real concern is the dealings at Fulham and what that will do for my top 10 bet. They smashed Norwich on the opening day, and made a real fight for it at Old Trafford, but the losses of Dempsey and particularly Dembele will hit them hard. They secured a real coup in getting Berbatov, and I really think he will do well with them, but it is in the middle of the park where they will be overrun. Murphy left earlier in the summer, meaning that they have now lost their 3 most crucial midfielders from last season. Richardson and Dejagah have also been brought in, but they are both wingers and I feel Martin Jol would have been much better focusing on the heart of their team. I still think that they have a good squad, but I will be keeping a close eye in the next few weeks.

Good luck this weekend.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Movement in the markets

The opening weekend lived up to its billing and provided us with a number of interesting results, causing certain markets to yo-yo. The outright winners market saw City drift to around 2.5 after their unconvincing 3-2 victory against Southampton, before slamming back down to 2.3 after United followed up with a 1-0 loss at Everton. This caused Everton's top 6 price to plummet to odds of 3, while backing them for the top 4 can still be seized at 9.2. I spoke about their potential in my last post and, having seen off United and seemingly dispelled their start of season demons, many will be hoping that they can continue in such a form. Questions remain about their squad, but they have strengthened wisely and have a relatively generous run of games approaching, which could see them in a good position come Christmas.

Elsewhere, the biggest victors were Swansea and Fulham. I must say I anticipated the Fulham result but, like nearly everyone else, never saw Swansea's result coming. I had read up on Michu and was interested to see if he could continue where he left off in Spain, and based on Saturday, it certainly seems like he is going to prove another bargain buy for the Swans. Swansea's relegation price leaped from around 2.8 to 4, while Fulham shortened for a top 10 finish from 2.5 to evens. Recipients of 5-0 thrashings QPR and Norwich showed us that it might be a tough season for last seasons new boys, and their prices for relegation dropped to 4.8 (from 7.8) and 2.16 (from 2.6) respectively. While this was quite an emphatic start from a number of teams, I cannot help but consider the movements in each market a slight overreaction after one match. I guess it is because previously punters had nothing to base their opinions on, so now the market is just reforming in the shape of the first round of fixtures. Expect all to change very soon however.

The weekend was a good one for me, and the majority of my bets got off to a flyer. As previously stated, I had Norwich for relegation and Fulham for top 10, placing my eggs in one basket some might say, but it paid off. Norwich have a tough set of games (after this weekend) so I will be hanging on with that trade for a bit. The price I got on Fulham (2.62) I consider far too high, so I will be sticking with that one too for a while. The only bet which didn't quite go to plan was Stoke to be relegated, and they saw a slight drift to 7.8 after their draw with Reading. It wasn't a disaster, but I have decided to reduce my liability on that one after reassessing their coming fixtures. The United/City straight forecasts remain around the same odds, the market knows United won't continue how they began, and that is how I view the situation too. No panic with that one. In addition to my current bets, I have placed a large lay bet on Arsenal to finish in the top 4, with a view to their upcoming fixtures and the fact that Spurs have a very easy set of fixtures, and have finally signed the striker I wanted them too. It is a risky bet with Arsenal possibly not finished in the transfer market, but even so I feel that they will struggle in the next few months. Furthermore, I have added Reading to my relegation list.

In normal trading I took a tiny £5.56 profit (which you can see in my all new P&L on the side), but I was just happy to take any profit in a weekend where I kept my stakes low. As weeks go on I will increase my trading but only once I have a better feel for the new season.

Olympics? What Olympics?

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Everton slow starters: Myth or Truth?

Everton are famed for their slow starts, particularly in recent years, but I have always been unsure as to how drastic these slow starts actually are. The footballing world is quick to hand out labels to teams or players, so I was interested to investigate just how justified this particular accusation was. The results were laughably resounding however, and it would appear completely justified that they have been labelled thus. The graphs below demonstrate the proceedings from the last 4 seasons, clearing showing a chaotic run up until Christmas when things seem to settle down. I particularly enjoyed the part (around the same time each season) when David Moyes must have decided that they were going to try and actually maintain a position, and they horizontal lined to the finish.

In spite of this overwhelming evidence however, experts are more hopeful than ever that Everton may be able to get off to a roaring start, after one of the most productive transfer windows in their recent history, (purchase-wise that is). Having only lost the aging Cahill and youngster Rodwell so far, bringing in much-needed reinforcements in the process, Moyes' men do certainly look to be able to push the top 6 or 7 from an early stage. They don't have the easiest of starts at home to Manchester United, but after that they have a more favourable run, facing only Liverpool and Newcastle (both at home) from the top 8 clubs until late November. They are currently 4.2 for a top 6 finish and 14 for a top 4 finish on Betfair, but don't be surprised to see those prices fall between here and Christmas. This is probably a (potentially lucrative) bet for the more daring folk however, as the stats below speak for themselves.





Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Plan

So I've given you my thoughts and previews on the upcoming season, but now it's time to say what I am personally planning to do for this year. As previously mentioned, I will be looking to the long term markets primarily this year, and will be using a bank of £500 to fund that. I will be trading in many different markets throughout the year when the opportunities present themselves, and for each I have set a target of 10% return on each investment. By May, I hope to have made 100% profit on my £500 investment, any more would be welcome of course! This is the first time I have ever tried anything like this before so it could go wrong of course, but I have high hopes for it and will keep you posted all the way. A season of transition if you like, think of me like Liverpool. I was going to start the season with my entire bank in play, but poor liquidity issues and concerns about start of season unpredictableness has meant that I have left £200 on the sideline. This will work out quite handy in the coming weeks however, as I am sure further opportunities will crop up fairly soon. For now, I have chosen to spray my money around a few options:

  • Top ten finish: Fulham 
  • Straight forecasts: both City/Utd, Utd/City
  • Relegation: Stoke
  • Relegation: Norwich
  • Rock bottom: Norwich
I'll add a new bit on the side of my blog which lists all the bets I'm doing at any point in the season for clarity. In addition to this, after the success of my first proper season of trading, I will be doing week by week trading geared towards a target. It will be on a much smaller scale than I was doing last season, mainly because I don't have enough money to fund everything! But I will be working towards making £500 profit over the course of the season, which should cover my action in the long term markets should stuff go pete tong (hopefully not). So that's my plan for the season. Obviously £500 profit target over 38 weeks doesn't equate to much each week, which means my targets will be slow and small, something which suits me and allows for a smaller liability.

That's all for now. I won't be getting involved on a big scale today as there isn't any form to go on and no one knows what's going on. One thing is for sure though, I cannot wait. Here's to a great season, it's going to be BIG.

Good luck everyone.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Top 10 and Relegation review

I was going to do a post on the top 10 market, and then another on the relegation market, but I appear to be running out of time before the big kick off! Luckily, the guys at Sports Trading Life have covered the relegation markets, and their analysis pretty much resembles my thoughts. You can read their post here to save me a job:
There are however, some bits which I'd like to add my thoughts to, as well as a couple of mid-table battles I’d like to mention. So, here goes.

The Top 10 market:

This is a team which I feel really has the potential to push on and cement their place in the top 10 teams, particularly after making smart signings over the summer. They finished in 9th place last season (joint with Liverpool in 8th, and 5 points clear of 10th) and Martin Jol really looks like he is getting a hold of the Cottagers now, bringing in the exciting Petric and Rodallega which is sure to provide a necessary boost to the Fulham attack. They have, so far, been able to hold together the core of their team, though I wonder if they can hold on for Dempsey for too much longer. Even without him though I think they should be able to make their way into the top ten quite comfortably, with the impressive Dembele, Ruiz and Diarra forming the heart of their midfield. My only worry is the loss of Murphy and how much that will affect them. Although he was aging, he still made 33 appearances last year and undoubtedly provided a calm experienced head in the middle of the park. The team has enough to step up to the plate though, and should Dempsey leave we could see another signing before the end of the window. The defence which kept 11 clean sheets last season remains the same, with the addition of right back Reither on loan. As with the top 4 market, expect much chopping and changing. But for now, 2.62 on Fulham to finish in the top 10 looks like a steal. Especially when you consider that since 08/09 they have finished 7th, 12th, 8th, 9th. Those bolder might fancy taking on them for the top six at 12 for a back to lay option, but my concern would be the better teams could push away from the middle pack early doors. If we look at the graph of Fulham’s positions last year, we can see that although the general trend is upwards, the middle of the table is so tight that any run of losses will drop you down a number of places.

On the other side of things we have Sunderland, who look like a struggling team to me. They came 13th last season and appeared to be slipping back into their frail ways toward the end of the season, despite the burst around New Year after the appointment of Martin O’Neil. They have failed to really strengthen during the summer, and up until last week had only swapped centre back Turner for Carlos Cuellar. This week has seen a flurry, and a desperate looking one at that, of transfers, bringing in Steven Fletcher for silly money and the hapless Louis Saha earlier today. Fletcher is a good striker and proven finisher, but will only really fill the big hole which Bendtner left when he returned to Arsenal. Saha is another good striker, but only when he is fit, which he rarely is, sadly. He has only managed over 25 appearances once in the last 10 seasons, and I seriously question his ability to carry the Sunderland front line.
Depressed Sunderland fan and Betfair blogger Jonathan Wilson has been lamenting the Mackem squad this week, which I was (a tiny bit) annoyed about because his (apparently large) influence has caused a drift on the Sunderland price for top 10, as well as shortening for relegation. I don’t think they will be in the relegation mix, as he tipped, mainly due to the quality of players such as Sessegnon and Larsson, but I cannot see them finishing in the top 10. The competition is too high this year and there is no room for Sunderland. If they buy a few more players in the next few weeks I may reconsider, but for now, 2.26 for the lay of top 10 looks great to me. 

Reading are currently second favourites for the drop, but I will be surprised if they remain at their current price for long. They were the best team in the Championship last season after a remarkable second half of the season, and have strengthened considerably in a bit to cement their place in the top flight. Pogrebnyak is an excellent signing for free, after we all saw his potential at Fulham last year. Elsewhere they have brought in some experienced and talented faces, and I think there are quite a few teams worse than them this time round. They can be layed for the drop at 2.52, and backed at 7.2 for a back to lay trade if you are feeling more confident. They don’t have the easiest of starts however, so waiting a couple of months for their price to rise might get you better value.

These are my biggest tip for relegation this year. They surprised everyone last year by having an exceptional season and producing performances a lot higher than the quality of their squad, but I cannot see them keeping that up this year. They have lost their very influential manager and replaced him with Chris Hughton. I have nothing against Hughton but I question his ability to keep a very average squad in the Premier League, especially so soon after Lambert's departure. Last year, they relied on Holt and Morison for goals, two strikers who ordinarily would not have provided such a tally, but were riding on adrenaline which I would be surprised if they kept up this year. I think it is telling that Holt was not picked for the England squad, I for one was not wishing for him to play for us vs the likes of Italy or France. Not that I hate the guy by the way, I like him and hope he does well this season, but I just think last year was a small fluke. But anyway, they haven't strengthened quite as much as I think they need to - Turner is a good buy and much needed as their defence was awful last year.
Towards the end of last year they began to lose their form and I expect them to continue that into the new season. And baring in mind their tough start (Spurs, Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal) in the first couple of months, 2.58 for the drop looks tasty. You might even want to take a bit of the 6.8 for rock bottom.

And finally...
Just a word on Stoke. I'm not sure what to think about Stoke. I've heard quite a few people now say that they think Stoke might struggle in the league this year, and I think there's a chance they might be right. I think they have too much firepower (and too good a home crowd) to actually go down, but I think they will struggle. The graph for last season shows how their results waned towards the end, and I think maybe their small squad is being found out. The biggest thing though is that their start consists of playing Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United before the end of October, so backing them for relegation at 6.6 with a view to laying it off looks good.