Monthly Archives: January 2014

Premier League Preview – Week 24

Premier League Preview – Week 24

Premier League Preview - Week 24

I managed to just about breakeven on the mid-week results thanks to West Ham’s parking of the bus on Wednesday. Man City were the only other winners for me and without the big draw price it would have been a disappointing week indeed. Updated sheet here.

We could count ourselves a little unlucky though with Southampton leading at Arsenal and also West Brom who were leading 2-0 against Aston Villa. Results ill almost win and so nearly lose and the important thing is to focus on value and not try and predict who will win.

Prime example being Stoke at home to Man Utd on Saturday. I actually wanted the sheet to tell me to back Man Utd because  I think that now that Rooney and Van Persie have returned and that they’ve added Mata they’ll beat Stoke who are in poor form. I couldn’t however give them a percentage higher than 62 away from home against a side that has only lost 1 of their 13 home matches! It will certainly be interesting to see what happens here.

Sunderland are the form team coming into the Tyne and Wear Derby and their price of 4.33 looks pretty juicy indeed. Not only are they in form but they won the reverse fixture and Newcastle are now without Cabaye and the suspended Remy.

West Ham continue to be undervalued in my opinion after those cup thrashings and odds of nearly 2-1 are decent against a Swansea side that can lose to anyone on a bad day.

Cardiff v Norwich is a tough one to call. Solskjaer has been one of the busiest managers in the transfer market with Fabio and Wilfried Zaha amongst others expected to sign. The consensus is that Cardiff will win this one but this and the fact that Cardiff have picked up only 1 point from their last 7 matches,  gives us value on Norwich.

Everton should have no problems against Villa and I can’t see anything other than a home win. Everton are brilliant at keeping the ball, something which Villa struggle with. The only doubt is the loss of Romalu Lukaku but other Everton players have stepped up to the goalscoring plate in recent weeks.

Southampton to beat Fulham is my favourite bet this weekend purely because they have a good record against the weaker teams in the division. The Saints are an organised outfit and I’d be surprised if the leakiest defence in the league were to keep a clean sheet against them here.

Hull have proved a match for anyone on their day and although I think beating Spurs will be tough, odds of 3-1 for the home side are the value play here.

I don’t expect West Brom to beat Liverpool on Saturday but the sheet gives the value to the Baggies. Liverpool have had a knack of letting punters down when expected to win easily over the last few years and let’s hope this is another example.

There’s no value backing Arsenal at 1.25 against Crystal Palace. If they were free scoring like Man City this price would be justified but they’re not and Pulis has tightened up the defence which has kept 7 clean sheets in their last 13 games.. The draw is a big price at 6-1 for me.

Finally Man City at home against anyone is a no brainer! Chelsea will be the biggest test City have had at the Etihad this season but goals win matches and City have much more firepower than the blues.


Bet of the Weekend – Southampton to beat Fulham at 2.2 with William Hill



Premier League Preview – Week 23

Premier League Preview – Week 23

Premier League Preview - Week 23

So the premier league returns with a full set of fixtures over Tuesday and Wednesday after a break for the FA Cup. Man Utd will be hoping to put their recent embarrassments behind them and that the signing of Juan Mata will help to turn things around for them at home to Cardiff City. Rooney and Van Persie have returned to training and could return too.

It should be a cracking atmosphere at the ‘theatre of disasters’ with the baby faced assassin returning, now in a managerial capacity. Cardiff are in poor form and have failed to win any of their last 6 away matches. The odds suggest this one is a formality but I don’t quite agree. 16s is a bit too big and Cardiff did manage a draw in the reverse fixture.

The Mersyside Derby is perhaps a more exciting prospect than it has been for a while. There’s only a point separating both sides and with both playing attack minded football it looks like it could be another goal fest. The reverse fixture finished 3-3 and was a candidate for game of the season so far.

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 8 at home though so you’ve got to favour them especially with the modern day SAS in attack. However, I can’t have Liverpool greater than evens for this match (currently 1.84) and the value is with a more than capable Everton with an astute manager at the helm.

I shall be using Kelly Stakes for the first time this season since they have outperformed level stakes thus far (8.48% versus 5.59%). This means that my percentage estimate shave been pretty damn good so far so let’s hope this continues. Check out my estimates and Kelly Stakes here: value finder prem spreadsheet

My estimates for this round of games indicate the biggest value in Fulham, Hull and Man City. I’m especially pleased with Hull and Man City but Fulham’s goals conceded column doesn’t fill me with a lot of confidence. That said, Swansea have failed to win in their last 8 games and 5.75 does look a big price for a somewhat rejuvenated side.


Bet of the Week: Man City to beat Spurs at 2.05 with BetVictor


Laying to a fixed liability

Laying to a fixed liability

In the past I’ve always advocated respecting the market price and laying to win a fixed amount. This has allowed me to enter the market several times even when the price moves against me because the liability is very small. This can be quite handy because you can averaging down for very small amounts of money and the price at which you need to get green comes in further.

I’ve recently started to have more success laying to a fixed liability however and I’ve realised that for me there a couple of pitfalls when laying to win a set amount. The first being that you can get quite complacent and continue laying for the sake of it, not just because you really think a comeback will happen and that it’s definitely value. There are times when it is good to go in again but having such a small liability makes it all the more easy.

The second and more crucial thing is that you are paying too much respect to the market. The current odds are the price the market thinks the selection should be and why should the amount that you win be limited by the thoughts of the market? As the great Warren Buffet says you shouldn’t pay too much attention to Mr Market. “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Just because a price is low doesn’t mean your liability has to be lower than that of a more expensive price.

I did some analysis on my trading and it showed that I’m finding some excellent value at the lower end of the odds scale and laying to a fixed liability would improve my profits as I’m essentially increasing my stake when laying at very low odds.

I previously thought it was a good idea to respect the true price but as most of my activity is now at the very lower end of the odds spectrum and the greatest value being found the lower it goes, an equal liability would have increased my profits.

It also makes for a much smoother and consistent trading process. Each time I press that lay button I’m aware of my potential downside.

I originally layed to win a fixed amount partly as already mentioned, because I wanted to respect the opinion of the well informed market but also because it is the default setting on Betfair and it takes a few seconds longer to select the lay to liability function. It’s not a huge amount of time but most of the events I trade in play are very fast moving and where speed is crucial. Also  I believe that laying to win a set amount is the only option on mobile devices (Both Betfair ap and Zoombet).

A lot of the time I’d be happy to lay for more but I’ve focussed too much on the amount to win rather than the liability because of the way I’ve placed my bets. Before I know it the odds are changing and there’s no time to update the stake.

With all this in mind, I decided to create a new betting tool (I’ve called it lay stake calculator) where you can choose your liability and it will tell you what the equivalent stake (amount to win) is for each of the possible odds selections. This means I can still make my bets quickly (and over mobile) and by laying to a fixed liability.

I’ve only shown the stakes from 1.01 to 6.0 (5-1) because this will be all that’s necessary for most and in the example given for a liability of £10 it wouldn’t be possible to lay at a bigger price than this due to the minimum bet of £2. Generally, the value in play is found by laying short and consistently laying with a greater liability than your potential return is not really a good risk reward strategy for markets with good liquidity.

I hope someone find this trading tool as useful as I have and it would be great to hear which approach others take.

Premier League Preview – Week 22

Premier League Preview – Week 22

Premier League Preview Week 22

*Updated spreadsheet can be found here.

I did wonder if the bookies would shorten up the prices on the big favourites this week to help ease their liabilities after a disastrous weekend for them last time out. The prices are about what I expected, perhaps a tick or 2 shorter than what I expected. I suppose they don’t need to do any more than this and let variance and the publicity of all the wins take their cause.

I don’t think there has been 3 teams under 1.3 in one weekend but a big part of that is the match ups and the form of the favourites. As I said in my last write up, I don’t hold out too much hope for shocks in these big prices and the Kelly stakes for each of these is lowest for these 3 matches but there is certainly no value backing all 3 of these teams at these prices that’s for sure.

Shock results do happen. We’ve already benefited from some big wins this season and there will be more. It might not be this week but that’s what backing value prices and being patient is all about.

My estimates have the value on all the away sides apart from Man United this weekend! Chelsea are looking a hell of lot stronger than united and with home advantage I’m happy to back the blues at 1.8 in that one. It will only take 2 or 3 away wins to see us in profit, let’s just hope we get them!

The Premier League welcomes back Aguero who made his return in the FA cup in midweek and scored after only a minute of coming on. This comment from a spoof James Milner twitter account (@BoringMilner) about the goal made me smile.



I’m aware there are a lot of these kinds of accounts but there’s some really creative people who come out with some very amusing stuff on twitter. Evil Kagawa is another clever one and this tweet from @FootyHumour this week was also a classic!



Bet of the weekend – Newcastle to beat West Ham at 2.45 with Betfred

Australian Open – Value bets

Australian Open – Value bets

Australian Open Tennis

The Australian open is well under way and now that everyone has played at least once it’s a good time to assess who looks good in the betting.

The players have noted that the conditions are faster than usual and the scorching hot temperatures are also proving to be a big factor.

In the men’s draw Novak Djokovic looks like he’s continuing where he left off at the back end of last year. Historically he’s not liked this kind of heat and although he is the most likely winner I certainly don’t see any value in backing him at 1.8 which is his best price currently.

Nadal relishes these kinds of temperatures and he’ll be able to grind down his big serving opponents effectively. The courts are fast though and he will be more vulnerable in any night matches where the temperature is cooler. His best price of 4.7 is fair in my opinion but I’m looking forward to seeing if the newly focussed Monfils can give him a match in the potential third round tie. He has beaten Nadal before and took a set off him again last week.

Now that Andy Murray has played his first round match, I feel confident in suggesting that he’s value. He’s reached the final 3 times before here and comes into this one with much less pressure which I think will help him. I recommend a bet on Murray at 11s.

You may think that Roger Federer is a tempting price at 29s on Betfair but think again. I watched his first round encounter with James Duckworth and although he won in straight sets it was possible the worst I’ve ever seen Federer play. His game has lost his edge now unfortunately with his movement in particular poor.

Outsiders don’t tend to fare well in grand slams in the men’s game but you may also want to look at backing some of the big servers who have good all round games, with the conditions being so fast. Berdych and Tsonga should be there or there about as should Del Potro. Berdych will have to get past Djokovic to get to the final and that looks a tall order considering the head to head record.

In the women’s game Serena is obviously the big favourite but Australia is usually the grand slam she has found the most difficult in the last few years. Maybe she relaxes a little too much during the off season and finds it a bit early to get her full rhythm going.

The women’s tournament is often unpredictable and aside from Serena it’s a very wide open tournament in my opinion. Azarenka won here last year but she’s not as impressive for me. She took a long while to get going in her first round match against an average opponent in Johana Larsson and she seems to struggle more with the pressure in recent times.

Li Na and Sharapova are mentally very strong and it gets them through a lot of matches. If the conditions stay as they are though I think Sharapova’s could struggle with her serve in this tiring heat and I agree with the market that Li Na is the more likely of the two.

WTA can be quite random and there are a lot of players who are capable of beating the top players on their day. Two I like the look of are Sam Stosur and Dominika Cibulkova. Stosur will have to beat Serena Williams in round 3 but she did this in the US open final and has won 4 of her ten meetings with Serena.

Cibulkova seems to be playing her best tennis to date and on her day she’s a match for any of the top players. She’s a huge price at 301.00 and whilst winning is unlikely many would have said the same about Marion Bartoli at Wimbledon. Agnieszka Radwanska is also likely to be in the mix and I think she has a decent chance of beating Azarenka should they meet in a possible quarter final.

Just a reminder that tennis and grand slams in particular see a lot of favourites prevail. Backing favourites at Pinnacle prices in the last 5 years at 10 units per stake would have resulted in a profit in 2 of the last 5 years in the men’s and 2 out of 5 in the women’s. The same stakes on underdogs would have returned a pretty big loss each year. See the image below.


Australian open tennis analysis


In the last 5 years there have been 25 underdogs winning on average (out of 127 matches) in the men’s draw and 30 in the women’s draw. So far we’ve seen in the 21 in the men’s draw (3 were retirements) and 16 in the women’s draw so there’s not likely to be too many more wins for the underdogs. Based on the stats we should expect little more than another 10 underdogs winning in the remaining 50 plus matches in each draw.


Advised value bets:

Murray at 11.2 with Betdaq
Del Potro at 14.1 with Betdaq
Tsonga at 68.0 with Betdaq

Speculative bet: Monfils at 266.0 with Betfair

Li Na at 10.0 with Bet365
A Radwanska at 67.0 with Betfair
Stosur at 67.0 with Betfred

Speculative bet: Cibulkova at 437.0 with Betdaq

‘No Bet’ Matches

‘No Bet’ Matches

Arsenal’s win last night added a little more to the profits from this round of Premier League games predicted by myself using the value finder spreadsheet. Away wins for West Ham and Sunderland providing the bulk of the profit but Man City’s win helping too.

The profit is now 138.5 units giving a return on investment of 7.78%. The updated sheet can be found here.

I’ve managed to climb back up to 6th palce in Cassini’s Friendly Tipster League (under alias Webbo) and in case you’re wondering why the return is smaller on there it’s because I started posting the selections a couple of weeks after and also didn’t include all my slections for the first week. There is also the fact that the Pinnacle closing prices are not as good on my selections as the best industry prices I achieve on a Friday as mentioned by the Football Analyst in his recent post.

I sometimes find weeks like this quite frustrating because I actually felt that West Ham and Sunderland were the stand out bets of the bigger prices and felt that my money would probably be wasted on huge outsiders Norwich and Palace, despite thinking the favourites were too short. I looked back in hindsight and think that maybe these should be ‘no bet’ matches.

I think this is a common problem with manual bettors because they can’t envisage a certain team winning and although the price of the favourite is too short they’d rather not risk it. This is by no means a bad idea, especially if the value is only minimal and money kept in your pocket cannot be lost but it’s important to look back and remind yourself of the kind of profits that these type of bets can provide.

I certainly didn’t see the shock wins for Sunderland against both Man City and Everton happening nor did I the win for West Brom at Old Trafford earlier on in the season. My estimations indicated that they were value though and if I’d called no bet on Norwich and Palace at the weekend then these bets would have fallen foul of that rule too. Without big wins like these my results would be looking rather shabby,

Sometimes it’s the stakes I have a problem with and perhaps these bets aren’t always of equal value. This is where Kelly Staking comes in and the current spreadsheet does in fact show the Kelly stakes out performing level stakes by almost 4%.

I only ever place my bets to level stakes as I wasn’t confident in my pricing. A few priced massively incorrectly could really turn the results but I’m encourage by these findings and may look at using Kelly for these soon.

The win for Arsenal last night completed a disastrous weeks for the bookmakers and has believed to have cost them £25 million across the board. They’ll get it back eventually of course and the amount of accumulators placed will be sure to rise. I’m wondering though if the short priced favourites might be a little shorter than usual this weekend just to help speed up the process.

Anyone remember the Magician’s thread on Betfair where the prem had a draw drought in 2010(?) and he began backing draws giving him a very nice profit? Perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad ploy to start backing all big outsiders for the next couple of weeks…

Premier League Preview – Week 21

Premier League Preview – Week 21

Premier League Preview - Week 21

All the talk has been about managers this week with Sam Allardyce and David Moyes under immense pressure. Every man and his dog written a blog entry on Moyes it seems. The truth is that Moyes was always going to struggle with the squad he inherited and I feel Fergie would have too. He certainly didn’t help matters by paying so much for Marouane Fellaini though, in what was possibly the worst panic buy ever.

Man United already beaten by Swansea in Sunday’s FA cup match added to the woe of the league cup loss to Sunderland and the loss to Spurs in the league. I fancy united to scrape the win tomorrow but then I have in a number of games they’ve lost this season. I gave them a percentage estimate of 62% which I thought was pretty generous but at the current odds Swansea are the value and that’s where my money is.

West Ham have conceded 11 goals in their last 2 matches and even though these were cup matches and not their strongest teams, this is not good for Allardyce’s reputation as some kind of defensive genius. Rodney Marsh amusingly pointed out half way through the Man City match that parking the scooter was not working out for the Hammers!

Both Cardiff and West Ham could have their main strikers back in Bellamy and Carroll and despite West Ham’s horrendous run, I still believe this match could go either way and that the value is on West Ham.

Chelsea are the early kick off tomorrow and they seem to have hit a bit a form. Hull will still be tough to beat though and goals are still not coming as easily as Cheslea would hope. The 6.5 on the home win looks small value.

Ross Barkley is a doubt for Everton and although I can’t see Norwich putting up much of a fight, the reverse fixture did end 2-2. Norwich are a team well capable of springing a surprise on their day and odds of 10.0 are worth a punt.

Fulham v Sunderland looks like a low scoring one. Sunderland have impressed me in recent weeks and this was backed up by their Carling cup win against United. Dempsey has returned which has given the Cottagers a boost but I make the Black Cats the favourites here.

Southampton are on a poor run, losing 6 of their last 9 but I think it’s important to look at their opposition in these losses. They were Arsenal, Chelsea (twice), Tottenham, Everton and Villa. The Villa match was one of those matches but the other sides are quality and Southampton have been pretty consistent against the teams in the bottom half. I think they deserve to be odds on at home to West Brom.

Tottenham at 1.37 are far too short against Crystal Palace in my opinion. Pulis will have his team well organised and could spring a surprise form a set piece. Spurs are more attacking under Sherwood but this will make them more susceptible to losing to a team like Palace. Paulinho, Sandro, Townsend Vertonghen are all missing for Spurs.

The way Man City are playing, I’m very happy to back them at 1.7 against Newcastle. Their away form is far from perfect but Newcastle’s open and attacking style should suit them as it did on the opening day when City won 5-0.

Stoke are very difficult to beat at home (unbeaten in last 7) and when you consider the fact they’ve beaten Liverpool in all of their last 3 meetings at the Britannia, odds of 5.00 look good value.

Finally, Arsenal take on Villa at Villa Park and will be keen to take revenge for the 3-1 defeat in the reverse fixture on the opening day. Arsenal have been far from impressive in recent weeks but Villa even less so. Their main man Benteke hasn’t scored in his last 12 matches. I think Villa could be in trouble this season and this should be an easy win for the Gunners.


Bet of the Weekend – Sunderland DNB to beat Fulham at 2.63 with Betfair

Backing at odds of 1000

Backing at odds of 1000

This week has seen the return of the tennis and although I myself tend not to do much trading until the start of the Australian Open, there is the odd match that takes my fancy. I only trade with small stakes in these pre-slam tournaments however as form and motivation is hard to judge.

One match that took my fancy today though was Azarenka against Voegele in the quarter final of the WTA Brisbane International. I know what Vogele is capable of and she had some good wins against top players at the end of last year. Azarenka struggled with injury and lost a lot of matches at the end of her season and I was very surprised to see the market effectively award the match to Azarenka, particularly knowing that Voegle is always one who fights to the end.

I had a couple of lays at 1.02 and 1.03 and secured a free bet at odds of 1.05. The odds eventually moved back in to 1.01 to the point where there was no money available to back Azarenka. At this point there was however money available to back Vogele due to the way the odds ranges work on Betfair. Odds were matched upwards of 200 and when I checked the graph I saw that £33 had also been matched at 1000.

A lot of the time odds of 1000 are only available to back when the event is either actually over or as good as. In this particular case there was still a lot of the second set left to be played. I was tempted to go in and lay again as I still thought a comeback of sorts was possible.

Most trading takes place on the favourite because that’s where the most money and action is but in this case, if I had layed at 1.01 it would have been a mistake when I could of backed upwards of 100.

The odds soon came back in to 1.1 and this trend continued when Vogele managed to take the second set. Azarenka eventually traded as high as 1.46.

Obviously not too many matches will see such an extreme movement of odds but a lot of profit can be made just from the original move out to 1.1 and I decided to look at the extreme case and see what the difference would have been from laying at 1.01 and backing at 1000.

Let’s say you have £10 to play with and you lay at 1.01 with your potential profit at £1000. When the odds reached 1.1 you could trade out for an equal green of £82.

This is compared to backing £10 at 1000 for a possible profit of £10,000 and an equal green of just short of £900 when the odds reached 1.1 Some difference I’m sure you’ll agree. See the screenshots below but ignore the currents odds as this one was not inplay yet and this is just to demonstrate the point.

I didn’t get any matched in Azarenka’s match at 1000 and it’s undoubtedly more difficult to get matched at these odds than to lay at 1.01 but there will have been an opportunity to easily better the 1.01 which is effectively odds of 100 and getting matched at 200 or 300 should be no problem.

So, it’s important to remember this anomaly in the odds and be mindful of this when there are no available to back odds on the favourite.

Even at the more regular odds movements it can be difficult to determine which selection offers the best value. If you’re ever unsure whether it would be better to back at a price or lay at another then you can use our back lay equivalents calculator.


Trading solely on favourite

Backing at odds of 1000 betfair

Backing at odds of 1000 betfair


Backing the underdog instead of laying the favourite

Backing at odds of 1000 betfair

Backing at odds of 1000 betfair