The perils of not following a system properly

I have tried, you may feel I have failed but I assure you that I really have tried, to write fairly considered pieces for inclusion in this blog. Today I am scrapping that idea and resorting to an entirely self-pitying, ‘woe-is-me’, style rant.

I am sure there are many punters who believe themselves to be unlucky, but results in recent months have made me wonder if I have somehow forgotten inadvertently tripping over and crushing a black cat while walking under a ladder, causing me to break the armful of mirrors I was carrying at the time.

I really do not want this blog to become fixated with the Holy Grail football system but it is, unfortunately, largely responsible for my ire this week. Or rather it is my unlucky (or perhaps appalling, depending on your view) management of the system rather than the system itself which is causing me such grief.

The system did not have a good week. This can happen from time to time and is not in itself a cause for concern. When I originally signed up for it I was advised that it had a winning ratio of one in three matches and returned in excess of 10% profits. Seven weeks in and there have been 42 winning tips from 126 matches. That is exactly one in three. The ROI is running at 15.4 points or 12.27%. That, again, is pretty much spot on compared with initial predictions. These are the signs of a long-term successful system and one I cannot criticise. So how is it that my own results are now showing a LOSS of 4.5 points? Well partially because I am an idiot and partially through sheer bad luck. The degree to which those two elements have contributed to my downfall is for you to decide.

As I have mentioned in earlier pieces I have received all the tips in time but for four matches I failed to act quickly enough to get the bets on. They all won. The system wins one in three remember yet all four that I missed won. That is irritating.

I also began with the idea that with a 67% losing ratio then the ‘Draw No Bet’ option may help smooth the peaks and troughs, however there seemed to be fairly few draws and so this idea only managed to reduce my returns on winning bets. At November 3rd the system proper would have been three points ahead (starting on 11 October when I joined, but ignoring the winning bets I had missed) yet I was three points down. This was due to a draw ratio of a fraction over 20% of matches. At this point I decided to split my stakes to half a point on the outright win and half a point on the DNB option. This went okay as the system went on a good run, but still caused me to profit by a couple of points less than had I just backed the selections on an outright win basis as the draw ratio was static at just over 20%.

This week I therefore decided to stop messing about with DNB and just go for the match odds market. So, from Tuesday, I was placing a point on each selected team to win. 20 games, only three wins and SEVEN draws later (that’s a draw ratio of 35%!) and my week’s losses were in excess of ten points whereas had I staked on a DNB basis they would have been around six!

This has basically been the story of the last few months. How can I manage to take a perfectly decent system, which has made a 15.4 point profit while I have been using it and, using the exact same selections, turn in a 4.5 point loss? That’s 20 points worse off. How on earth did I manage that?!

It gets worse. One of the selections for the weekend was Bournemouth to beat Everton. I therefore had a point on that. Lo and behold an entirely different system I use then threw up a 2 point back bet on Everton in the same game. I therefore did that as well, meaning I would profit from an Everton win, be a fraction ahead if Bournemouth came out on top and show a three-point loss if it were to finish a draw. Going into injury time at 2-2 I was therefore a bit downhearted but when Everton took the lead in the 95th minute I punched the air in delight. My reaction to Bournemouth’s subsequent 98th minute leveller cannot be printed.

I had Bristol Rovers to beat Exeter courtesy of the HG – scuppered by a 93rd minute equaliser. I had Palermo v Juventus on Sunday to finish under 2.5 goals. Juventus made it 3-0 in the 93rd minute. That was it for injury-time goals this weekend. Not one in my favour naturally.

I have also been trialling a football trading idea about which I am cautiously optimistic. Yesterday I had secured a ‘no loss’ position in the Utrecht v Heracles game in the Dutch Eredivisie and was in the process of laying the current score to lock in a profit of just over a point when my laptop crashed and rebooted itself. When I finally had things back up and running after five minutes I discovered that Utrecht had scored twice in three minutes meaning I could no longer make anything more than 95 pence. There was not a lot of money involved but, coming hot on the heels of my Saturday irritations, it just added further fuel to my ‘Why me?’ fire of self-indulgent howling.

Horses, much despised and derided in recent times, are my friends again at the moment. They have kept me afloat this month. Footballers, however, I am now falling out with in a big way. I will persist with the Holy Grail – it works – it’s me that doesn’t. Hopefully we will be in sync in December. I will also hopefully manage to avoid forcing you to read about my own personal misery again in a hurry too, preferably because I don’t want there to have been any.

Thanks for your patience everyone. Be lucky!


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.