My pre-Christmas piece confirmed the numerous strategies, systems and random punts that I have decided to remove from my portfolio in 2016. It also promised details of what remains and, true to my word, here it comes.
Firstly there are the tipsters. I have learnt a valuable lesson from the catastrophic results I experienced having increased the number I was following last year and have trimmed right back to a total of only four: three from this site and one from elsewhere. I am not backing all their selections either, as I have carried out detailed analysis on their results going back for the two years such information is available on Betting Tools. Between them the three chosen tipsters have made an impressive 612 points profit in two years based on the criteria I have specified, with only three losing months in 24. Naturally one of these was December 2015, but what else was I to expect?
There is always the slight concern that having to take a lower price will clearly reduce returns from those published, which are based on prices available at the time the selection was posted. It is an inevitability that those horses whose prices come in will be more likely to win than those whose price drifts, nevertheless I remain optimistic that although I do not expect a to make the 300 points averaged in 2014 and 2015 the consistent historical performance suggests I can still make a profit by following the selections of the chosen few going forward.
I am going to stick with my recently instigated football in-play trading strategy. Early days are inconclusive but I do believe I am on to something. It has only been breaking even over the two months it has been in operation, but I have now firmed up the criteria for selecting qualifying selections, tweaked the staking and these changes seem to have helped. It is certainly something I intend to persist with over the remainder of the season and am confident it should show some profits. Whether it is worth continuing into next season will depend on the ratio of profit to the amount of time it takes up. There is minimal preparation to select the matches but, once you have made your initial wager, you are somewhat tied to the Betfair screen for the rest of the game which can be frustrating on days when there are games at 12:45, 3:00, 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 as there often are on weekends. Watch this space is really the order of the day here.
I may also continue to dip my toe into the tennis trading waters. I had a go last year and lost 7.5 points, but when completing my year-end analysis of everything I had backed in 2015 I noticed that the matches where I traded out in the same set in which I came in I actually made 36 points profit. This suggests that the matches I let run in order to recoup losses were allowed to carry on for too long. I know from financial traders that the most common trading mistake is to allow losing positions to carry on for too long in the hope they will turn around. They sometimes do which leaves you frustrated if you have exited at a losing moment, but far more often than not they continue to go against you, often wiping out several earlier wins. It can be a hard mind-set to adopt, that of trading out for a loss, but I am prepared to give it a go and trust in my own discipline to abandon the whole strategy if I find I am not ahead.
The Holy Grail football system is something else I intend to pursue, despite a shocking final weekend of 2015. Up to and including Boxing Day it had been performing in line with expectations, with a winning ratio of 33.7% and a ROI of 11.8% since I began to follow it in October, but the post-Christmas weekend brought only one win from 21 selections which saw 17 points wiped out, the winning ratio drop to 30.6%, the yield reduce to 3.7% and left me with the thought that I would have done better had I ignored the computer predictions and instead armed my six-year old niece with a bookies coupon, a blindfold and 21 darts. This to me though seems more like a temporary blip than a cause to panic and a solid start to 2016 has helped restore my confidence. I fully expect profits to continue as the year progresses.
I am also a member of another footballing service which has had its own bumpy patch lately, but again the long-term results are positive and I will also continue to follow their tips for at least the remainder of the current season.
All of which leaves my largest area of interest, which is in my own horse-racing systems. I have overhauled many of these recently, changing parameters and staking levels, and have now completed detailed analysis of all results since 2008 using the enormous Horse Race Base database. I have had my concerns about long-term profitability of these strategies calmed by what I discovered. I go into 2016 with 37 different systems: 9 are concerned with backing horses and the other 28 with laying. These laying systems are split into 13 at short-odds, 12 focusing on long shots and the other 3 are somewhere in between. Between them these 37 systems have averaged over 1000 points profit per year over the last five years with a worst performance of 664 and never more than six of the different strategies showing a loss in any one year.
These results fill me with optimism ahead of a new year of wagering adventure. I know that past performance is no guarantee of future results but it confirms my belief that my ideas are sound. The laying strategies alone have had over 41,000 qualifiers in the last five years and if that isn’t robust data then I don’t know what is.
So, in 2015 I have had my confidence, and my bank balance, dented, but I am back in 2016 with a thoroughly researched and proven set of strategies and a belief that this year can’t possibly be as bad as the last one…surely?
I hope to be keeping you all informed as to my ups and downs (for there will be both) as the year progresses but for now I will just say thank you for bearing with me and I would like to take the opportunity to wish all in the Betting Tools community a happy and profitable 2016.
Paul Dixon is a lifelong sports fan and author of the book Fun and Games in Fife and Gretna– a humorous look at an Englishman’s journey into Scottish football. He has been making regular profits from betting since 2012.