Saturday, 23 January 2016

Back before you know it.

I feel a bit daft. I got the blog going again, and almost as soon as I've started, I'm going to stop again...but only temporarily.

You may remember I mentioned finding a new place for the blog, and I think I've found it, but as part of a bigger project that is going to take a few weeks to get organised and started properly. It's something I've been thinking about doing for quite a while, and if I don't do it now I never will. However, it is going to take up the majority of my time and trying to do all this and write the blog is proving an impossible task bearing in mind I'm limited to the evenings to do what's necessary.

So bear with me. The blog is back. But soon, rather than now.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Taking a price.

Well thank goodness the "romance" and "magic" and "tradition" of FA Cup 3rd round weekend is over for another year. Honestly, I'm beginning to view the third round of the FA Cup with the same jaundiced eye and level of cynicism as I do Black Friday.

FA Cup "romance" = full strength teams, Saturday 3.00 kick offs, being glued to the radio as they flit from commentary to commentary to chase the potential shocks, endless replays played on increasingly muddy pitches, and John Motson/Barry Davies commentating on MoTD.

FA Cup "magic" or "tradition" does NOT include making supporters travel 250 miles on a Friday night with no way of getting home by public transport, 6.00pm Sunday kick offs, pink balls (see last year), a Cup Final starting at 5.30, Championship teams resting players, or a variety of broadcasters buggering things up for their own benefit and then foisting Robbie Savage and Michael Owen on us all.

And the sooner they just let the crowd sing Abide With Me and the national anthem at Wembley and dump the screeching bird in a ball gown who looks like she's about to lay an egg, the better!

*Deep breath*

Right, how's everyone's punting been? For me, 2016 has so far limped along with no discernible progress made or regress suffered. But I have stuck so far to my New Year's betting resolution, which is to refuse to chase prices and ensure that every bet I place, has value.

To be fair to myself, I've long since given up chasing a price right down well below the line where any sane bettor would stop and lose interest. I reckon doing this, for fear of missing winners, is one of the most common mistakes new bettors make. The mentality I had when I started out was that having a 5/1 winner was better than nothing, never mind the fact that the tipster I was following had perhaps advised the bet at 10/1 and probably saw some value down to about 8/1.

Even now, it stings when I don't strike a bet on a horse because I can't get a price, only to see the nag waltz home barely breaking sweat. In an attempt to ease this particular pain I started to note how much I saved by refusing to back horses at odds significantly below those advised, which then went on to lose. I'm telling you, the amount soon adds up. Try it. It will help put things into perspective when you miss out on a winner.

You do need to exercise some common sense of course. If I can only get 18/1 on a horse advised at 25s, I'll take it. Why? Because mentally I know that missing out on what would, after all, still be an excellent winner would be very hard to take. Besides, these circumstances arise very rarely. I'm not tipped many horses at 25/1 and so although I accept that the same principle of value applies when they are, I also acknowledge how important it is to maintain a level of mental equilibrium if you hope to succeed at this game. If there's one thing that's going to make me go off on one is missing an 18/1 winner because I had drawn the line at 20s. I am however, quite comfortable now missing a 6/1 winner on a horse tipped at say, 9s.

So where do you draw the line, because draw one you must...? Answers on a postcard.

Betting for January to date
I thought I'd post results this way, instead of a day to day update, which quite frankly, can be a little dull.

Even The Odds: Staked 50pts, -1.684pts (missed a couple of winners due to above...and a few losers too!)
Northern Monkey: Staked 7pts, -1.961pts.
The Value Bettor: Staked 1.625pts, +1.316pts.
PCG (NBA): Staked 24pts, -8.495pts.
PCG (NCAAF): Staked 3pts, -3pts.
PCG (NFL): Staked 9pts, +2.59pts.
PCG (NHL): Staked 27pts, +8.91pts.
Soyloco: n/a (*I don’t back the 1pt Sao Paulo Youth Cup bets, if anyone’s wondering)
The Fink Tank: Staked 8pts, +1.358pts.
The Value Bettor: Staked 1.625pts, +1.316pts.

So slow going, the ROI for the year standing at a weak and feeble 0.7%.

To be honest, it's been pretty quiet on the racing front, with the wet weather meaning that The Value Bettor only supplied bets on Friday and Saturday of last week. Having taken a break through the first days of the month in order to recharge his batteries in preparation for the second half the season, this means that there has been very little TVB action so far in 2016.

Soyloco has been spitting out 1pt Sao Paulo Youth Cup bets, which frankly, I have just ignored. The prices disappear and for many of the bets you need a 188bet account. I do, but not a viable one anymore alas.

Every morning last week it seemed that I would check the overnight PCG (NHL) results to a little 'Yay', and then check the NBA results to a little *sigh*. Talk about giving with one hand and taking with the other. The NFL keeps churning out the profit though, although going 2-1 through the Wild Card weekend was hardly a spectacular performance. But who needs spectacular?

So, could have taken the last ten days or so off. Doesn't work like that though, does it?

Back later in the week.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

If the milk turns out to be sour, I ain't the kinda pussy to drink it.

Even The Odds celebrated their first birthday as a commercial racing tipping service last month. That means, despite the fact that as a high turnover service they advised as many as 2,059 bets through 2015, they are relatively untested. Certainly compared to the likes of Equine Investments, Winning Racing Tips or even Northern Monkey, they are mere pups. The consequence of this is that to jump in and follow them at this stage represents something of a risk, but as we will see, there are certain elements to the service that make them a risk that might just be worth taking.

They were brought to my attention by an online friend of mine about halfway through last year. They had been proofing to the Racing Proofing site and their results had been superb. Subs were cheap, so I thought I'd take a look, playing with what were token stakes. As I joined they went on a superb run of form, strong enough to encourage even this cynical old dog! But of course, as is often the way, the hot streak was followed by a real slump. It was then that the folk at Even The Odds started talking about changing the way they did things, introducing a strategy of officially advising only the stronger bets and discarding the weaker which had been dragging down the overall performance. Naturally, that got the alarm bells ringing a little, so when I had lost the exact amount I had originally won, I thought it wise to adopt a watching brief.

Even The Odds transitioned to their new strategy and although results stabilised somewhat through the latter part of the year, they never hit the heights they had reached during the first half of 2015. However, a lot of what I saw showed promise.

Using the strategy that Even The Odds now put forward as the best way to follow their selections, 2015 shows the service generating 238.5 points profit at an ROI of 9% with no BOG uplift. So as we can see, a splendid debut year...238.5% ROC to a 100 point bank is highly impressive, and that profit level rises to 285.1% ROC if you're fortunate enough to have access to BOG accounts!

So here is how I'm going to play it. I'm backing the selections again, to very small stakes. All the other services in the portfolio have been around for much longer and have proven themselves as long term profitable. Put it this way, I will be very (unpleasantly) surprised if I'm not following all of them this time next year. I can't say that for Even The Odds. I do believe the service has a lot of potential, enough indeed to justify taking a small but controlled risk on them. But there remains the potential for it to go sour, and as the inimitable Rory Breaker once said in Lock Stock, "If the milk turns out to be sour, I ain't the kinda pussy to drink it." For now, stakes will be kept small. Very small.

Has anybody else experience of the service? Do please use the 'Comments' box if so. Always good to hear from others and get a debate going.

Yesterday's Betting
Even The Odds: Staked 12pts, -4.105pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
PCG (NBA): Staked 3pts, +0.878pts.
PCG (NHL): Staked 2pts, -2pts.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016


Got to rush out, so only the figures today. A profitable day yesterday, thanks to the overnight US Sports bets...

Even The Odds: Staked 6pts, +0.302pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
PCG (NBA): Staked 3pts, +0.861pts.
PCG (NHL): Staked 3pts, +1.423pts.

Ciao for now.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Candidates with experience need not apply...

Hello Chaps.

Thought for the what business other than football, can someone be appointed to do a massively important job with no prior experience, and be paid millions of pounds per year to do that job?

I reckon Real Madrid looked at Barcelona, saw how a few years ago they promoted their ex-player and B team coach into the No.1 position, and then watched on with envy as he led their chief rivals to unprecedented success. I guess we'll find out if Zidane can do a Guardiola. In the meantime, I'm working on my job application for the Arsenal manager's role for when Arsene Wenger calls it a day. After all, I did coach Alderley United U10s for a season or two which comparatively speaking, makes me about as qualified as Zidane is for the Madrid job!

Monday's Betting
Just a quick summary tonight. Tomorrow will be even quicker as I've the joys of a Cricket Club Committee meeting to attend. At least it's down the pub!

I think I mentioned yesterday how December had been a fine month for PCG (NBA) and a poor one for PCG (NHL). So far this month, roles have seemingly been reversed. Two more losers in the overnight basketball means that sport is now 0/6 for 2016, whilst two excellent winners in the ice hockey (Ottawa - 2.71 and Arizona - 2.31) pushed that sport to an ROI of 20.4% since the turn of the year.

As far as the Gee Gees were concerned, only Even The Odds offered any advice, and good advice it was too. Three winners from six bets (Benenden - Musselburgh - 4.7, Cloonacoll - Ludlow - 3.25, and Ziggy's Star - Wolverhampton - 4.7) ensured a decent profit and hopefully signified the start of a strong run of form. Let's see.

Even The Odds: Staked 8pts, +4.152pts.
PCG (NBA): Staked 2pts, -2pts.
PCG (NHL): Staked 2pts, +3.02pts.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Sod's Law!

A bit later than I intended as I'd noticed today just how disgustingly grimy, sticky and unhygienic my laptop keyboard had become. Seriously, I bet there were organisms living down there between the keys that no scientist on God's green planet would be able to identify. So I took a wet wipe to it, managed to open Geek's Toy about 100 times whilst I scrubbed away (I really couldn't be bothered logging off first), created a new play list on Spotify, and sent photos of a holiday cottage in Devon to goodness knows where, all in the act of cleaning. Still, at least I can see the letters on the keys now, so all's good.

So where were we?

I think I was going to write a post about the services I'm following, wasn't I?

Ok, here's a list:

Racing: Northern Monkey (Flat), The Value Bettor (Jumps), Even The Odds (all codes)*.
Sports: The Fink Tank (UK footie), Soyloco (South American footie), Procomputergambler (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAAF).

I guess the first thing to say is that there's a lot less racing input into the portfolio than there has been in previous years. There's one reason for that, and one reason alone...those bastard bookmakers who won't take a bet. Sure, I can get a tenner on at Corals if I really wanted to, and for the hell of it I opened an account with NetBet so there's somewhere I can place the doubles that Northern Monkey often gives out, but basically, I've been through a couple of sets of accounts and at this moment in time, have decided against opening another. Instead, I've concentrated on trying to make Betfair pay. Sure, it's never going to be as lucrative as using the bookies and taking advantage of the BOG concessions, but it's still possible to make a decent enough profit. It just takes a little effort and a slightly different mindset, which is something that I will definitely blog about in some detail soon.

The asterisk by Even The Odds signifies that this is essentially being used as a proper part of the portfolio for the first time this week. It's a service I dabbled with last year, but in the main just watched and made some observations that I'm hoping will hold me in good stead. Undoubtedly it's inclusion is a risk for reasons I'll go into in my next proper post, but it also holds a great deal of promise too. I'll explain all next time, like I say, but in the meantime suffice to say it's the wild card in the pack.

Of the others, I'm sure they're all familiar to you if you read this blog in the past. I'm long term now with Northern Monkey, The Value Bettor, and Soyloco. As for Procomputergambler, or PCG for short, I use the Raw Numbers to identify my bets and don't follow the official picks.

I think the best thing to do is to devote the next few posts to each of these services, give some thoughts and background info on each and go from there. Tonight I just wanted to set out the portfolio as it stands. There's the slight possibility of another service to stick in there too, but we'll have to see on that one. I don't mean to be mysterious, but I need to talk to the tipster involved and see what he has to say first.

One final point. I know that folk who follow the same tipsters are likely to compare their performance with mine. Just be careful and don't forget that I'm using Betfair for all bets on the nags. If I can't get a price I want, I don't back the tip, so on occasion I'll miss bets, both winners and losers. The same happens with the sports betting too. One thing I've learnt is that backing at prices much shorter than those advised doesn't do the bottom line P&L any good in the long term. If you find your figures are significantly better or worse than mine (in the short term), this will be why.

Weekend's Betting

And so for the first summary of the year. And I've got to say, there was no escaping Sod's Law. After a few months of decent profit, I start blogging again and the first weekend goes t*ts up! Well, perhaps not that bad, but it's not been a great start.

Northern Monkey managed to get his 2016 off to a decent start with a winner on Friday (The Lock Master - Southwell - 3.2/1) but subsequently gave the profit back over the weekend. The Lock Master's win was quite incredible, and is worth looking up on the ATR website to take a peek. It was seriously outpaced for the first three quarters of the race, became so detached it traded at 37/1 on Betfair, before storming up the straight to win easing down. If it's ever tipped again, I might just stick in a cheeky in-running order at a silly price and see what happens.

Nothing from The Value Bettor as he takes a few days off to recharge the batteries, which just left Even The Odds as the other racing service in action. Frankly, I'd preferred it if they'd taken a few days off too, and if it hadn't been for one good winner (Singlefarmpayment - Chelmsford - 7/1) on Friday, the first few days of the New Year would have been ones to forget!

It was typical that having made a profit of over 10 points through December (which amounts to an ROC of 20%), PCG (NBA) got off to a horrid start to January with five losing bets from five since Friday, and the College Football bets tried vainly to keep pace with three losing bets from three! The NFL picks continue in excellent form however, going 4-2 yesterday. It's been a superb NFL Regular season for the NFL Raw Numbers. Fingers crossed that form continues through the Play Off season.

Finally it was a solid start for The Fink Tank which hit 4 winners using the Asian Handicap lines.

Even The Odds: Staked 14pts, -6.264pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 2.5pts, -0.471pts.
PCG (NBA): Staked 5pts, -5pts.
PCG (NCAAF): Staked 3pts, -3pts.
PCG (NFL): Staked 6pts, +1.754pts.
PCG (NHL): Staked 7pts, -1.179pts.
The Fink Tank: Staked 8pts, +1.358pts.

I can't be doing with Soyloco's bets in the Sao Paulo Youth Cup. I don't have access to a book that provides the relevant markets, never mind manage to get the odds on these bets before they crash big time. I think you need a 188Bet account. I have one, but play at more than £5/point, so it's a no go for me. Roll on the proper leagues!

I'm pretty busy over the next couple of nights so basic results updates only, and then all things being equal, a meatier post on Thursday.

Until then...

Friday, 1 January 2016

Well who'd have thunk?!?

It's been a while, eh?

Rising from the ashes, like a Phoenix from the flames...The Portfolio Investor is back! I'd love to say back with a bang; bigger, meaner and badder than before, but that would be glamorizing things a touch and in fact since the last time I blogged, the only discernible change in me is that I'm just a touch thicker around the old waistline. I suppose that's inevitable in the face of both middle age looming (44's still classed as fairly young, isn't it? Isn't it?) and my having stuffed myself silly over the past week or so. Still, if you can't be stuffed at Christmas, when can you? Millions of turkeys can't all be wrong.

Anyway, that's enough of that nonsense. This blog isn't all "Me me me" you know. It's about betting. Gambling. Making some cash...or trying to at least. It's about following tipsters and sharing the good times and bad. It's about venting frustrations and yelling successes from the virtual rooftops.

So here's the plan. Having dusted off the cobwebs in this place, I'll be posting here for a little while, and in the meantime I'll be looking for a new home in the form of a proper website. Not sure how long that will take. Weeks, perhaps? Months? Not sure yet, but before too long there'll be a brand spanking new, sparkling place to blog, and more to the point, somewhere where I'll be able to implement some other ideas I currently have brewing. I suppose I could have waited until that was all set up and ready to go before starting to blog again, but where would the fun in that be?

If I was a cynic, I'd wonder if this post appearing here today isn't rather like starting the old diary when you're a kid (and let's face it, there is a whole generation - to which I belong - who was inspired by Adrian Mole) with the very best of intentions, only for initial enthusiasm to fade rapidly and for it to become quite clear by the 10th January at the latest that daily updates weren't going to last.

Well, I ran this blog for three years or so which isn't too shabby, and like I say, I've plans. I won't be blogging every day, but I'll try at least to post results most days. Not at weekends though, which are far too precious to commit to doing anything other than eating and drinking in. And let's face it, you've got better things to be doing with your weekends than reading this blog!

So...that's it. Back Monday, when I'll go through which tipsters I'm following and how they've fared through the first couple of days of the New Year.

The Portfolio Investor - The Force Awakens...