Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Best Odds Guaranteed - do we really need it?

This is a topic I've been meaning to write about for a little while now, and I was minded of the subject by an email I received today from Paul Ruffy of Winning Racing Tips. The email was in relation to a system that Paul follows, but the general subject of BOG concessions, or the denial of, has long been a thorny one amongst us punters.

We all know that the bookies often take their ball and piss off home with it as soon as someone has the temerity to show any sign at all that they are not a complete mug. Frequently though, the intermediary stage that we reach prior to having our account severely restricted or closed completely is the withdrawal of the BOG concession. When this happens, most of us throw ourselves with gay abandon into a right old session of wailing and gnashing of teeth. I know I did, and judging by posts within various forums I read, others have done too.

Despite my recent exchange with the Customer Services department of Boylesports, I have resigned myself to the fact that when we engage with the bookmakers, we do so in the knowledge that it is a loaded game that we're playing, and it is the enemy that have things very much in their favour. We know that at some point, they will arbitrarily tells us to sling our BOG hooks, and there is bugger all we can do about it.

What's that quote about having the wisdom to differentiate between what we can control and what we can't and not to expend wasted energy in worrying about the latter? (I've no idea what the actual quote is but you know the one I mean). Well, with that in mind, I've girded my loins, belted my braces, and have decided that a lack of BOG is not worth worrying about. In fact, the new, positive me is telling (trying to convince) myself that if I'm following tipsters whose edge is demonstrated by prices that generally contract from that advised into SP, then over the long term my returns should not be too adversely affected. My new couldn't-give-a-toss attitude also means that I can spread my bets like a hyperactive farmer during muck-spreading season, not worrying too much about whether or not my bet will provide a bigger payout should it drift.

Perhaps I'm paying a reckless disregard to the laws of profitable gambling and in twelve months time I shall see a much reduced roi, and have only myself to blame. We shall see. In the meantime, I ain't going to worry about it.

Now, on to a comment left after yesterday's post extolling the many virtues of The Football Analyst. Here it is:

Hi Rowan,

With much interest I read your thoughts about the Football analyst, I have looked at this system before in the past and it is probably one of the best footballsystems/tippers.
You say you are going to play system 7-22, system 7-22 has 70 bets with a ROI over 27 %.
This is excellent of course, but like you rightly say any system that throws up just 70-100 bets is vulnerable to the whims of variance.

The problem I have with so few bets is that your stake has to be relatively high to make some money. The higher the stake , the more stress, it is not my style of gambling.
I rather prefer to play 1000 bets with a stake of 10 euro than 100 bets with a stake of 100 euro.
At this moment I play a system with about 1000 bets a month, another one with 200 bets a month... the good thing about that is that you do not have to stake high to make some money.

When I start to play a system my targetROI is 5 %, so I would make 3.5 (70 * 0.05) points with TFA 7-22.
The costs for TFA are about 200 euro per season.
So if my stake is 100 euro per bet, my netincome would be (100 euro * 3.5 points) -/- 200 = 150 euro.
That is not worth while, to make it really worth while I probable have to stake 500 (!) euro or higher.... and that is much too stressful to me! Of course I could set my target on 10 % but I think a target of 5 % is more sensible.
The other problem with staking 500 euro that you get restricted by bookmakers sooner than staking 100 euro.

I would rather play system 6-21..... the ROI is lower but the number of bets (500) suit me more, I do not have to stake that high!
With a targetROI of 5% I would make 25 points profit with TFA 6-21.
So I get the same netincome in playing system 6-21 with a stake of 3.5 / 25 = 14 % of system 7-22.
With a stake of 500 euro for 7-22 I could play 6-21 with a stake of 500 * 0.14 = 70 euro!
For that reason I would prefer to play system 6-21, less stressfull, less volatile and less problems with bookmakers. I know the ROI for 6-21 (10 %) is lower than 7-22 (27 %) but I will settle for 5 % so I still have a 50 % margin.
I could also play all the combo systems of course but the volatility increases with multiple bets and.... there are bets which are selected by 6 (!) combosystems so the stake is going to be very high for those multiple bets, 6 times the initial stake!

What are your thoughts on this Rowan? You do not have to say what your stake is but I am interested in your thoughts about this..

OK, where to start?

First things first - the subject of variance I really want to address properly and intend to do so in the not too distant future. This was the reason for the question I asked last Friday about sizes of data samples.

Now, I understand what you're saying here but I think we need to be careful how we analyse things. What you've done with your calculations is assume the same (target) roi for System 6-21 as 7-22, and to my mind that is a false assumption. We can't say that it is better to follow 6-21 than 7-22 simply because 6-21 provides more selections, even if by doing so variance should be less of a factor.

The main point I was making yesterday is that there really is no right or wrong way of following TFA, and therein lies the beauty of it. There really is something for every approach. My strong suggestion is to go to the TFA website and read the section devoted to subscriber feedback. Here you will find about ten different strategies outlined with returns for this season. The link is

My final point though is this: I may increase the number of bets I take from TFA next season, but if I was placing all the System 6-21 bets, I'd soon be a single man! System 7/22 suits my individual needs - it provides an extremely manageable number of bets that minimises the time I spend in front of the laptop, at an extremely high rate of return. It also fits nicely into the rest of my portfolio. This is the reason I stopped following the Football Investor bets this past season and concentrated on Strike Zone - it was not a decision made on an assessment of performance, but simply on the time that I could afford to give as a chap with a wife, two young children, a full time job and a blog to write! Were I gambling for a living, it may well be different and I'd be prepared to increase the number of bets to lessen the potential levels of variance experienced. But I'm not. So I can't. :)

I hope this helps, but please do visit that link to the relevant part of the TFA website. After that, I know a chap who will give you all the advice and insight you could possibly want. He goes by the name of Graeme Dand, The Football Analyst.

Today's Betting

Another decent day to follow yesterday's success. I was so, so pleased for Dean at On The Nose to see the second of his tips today run away from a competitive field in the 1m4f handicap at York today to win hard held, and at mighty fine odds too (Mulaqen - York - 12/1). There's still work to do for OTN to get back into profit this month but this result should give Dean a mighty boost as he seeks a return to the exquisite form that us followers have got used to.

The other winner came from The Sportsman Racing (Kris Cross - Perth - 7/2 to 9/2), a service that has shown admirable patience whilst the country has suffered from shocking weather leading to all sorts of going concerns.

Not such a good day for Northern Monkey (0/4 - although The Cheka caught a place at 10/1) or The Market Examiner (0/2).

Northern Monkey: Staked 4.25pts, -3.416pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, +6.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, +1.16pts.

And finally, a quick word for King Kenny, sacked today by Liverpool FC. I for one will miss his cheery post-match persona, his keen eye for a bargain in the transfer market, and the charm and wit that was always to the fore in the many interviews he freely gave as unlike many of his contemporaries, he understood the importance to a big club of a figurehead that was prepared to engage with the masses. Above all though, he should be remembered for his sterling work in ensuring that the valuable top four places were made more readily available to others. Kenny - come back soon!


  1. Oh dear,
    You are obviously one of "them" who have been conned into thinking that finishing in 3rd or 4th is something to celebrate.

    Mind you, Arsenne has you all in his trance.
    "look into my eyes supporters, give me a grand a year and dont expect any trophys coz were playing the kids in these poxy english cup competitions. You will be happy having a 3rd place open top bus celebration"

  2. Erm...sorry, Mate, but perhaps if you could point me to just one sentence held within the 240 posts this blog has published that makes you draw the conclusion that I think as you suggest...

    Mate - get a grip (and a sense of humour). Kenny was an embittered dinosaur who has guided Liverpool to what must be their lowest ebb since being relegated in 1954. Under him, whether LFC fans like it or not, the club has become a laughing stock. In all seriousness, it's sad to see, because they truly are a "great" club in every sense of the word.

    1. perhaps you should look closer to home before talking about clubs who are a laughing stock. It seems that you must be happy with your 3rd place (Yipee) to criticise another club who have actually won a trophy this year and went to the final in another.
      Your club is just a corporate club with no real soul(Highbury Library etc) with a manager whos record couldnt even get close to Kenny Dalglish s.
      Perhaps It is time for the King to abdicate but you need to show a little respect to a true great of the game.

  3. Hi Rowan,

    Thanks for your reply!
    I agree that it could be (and probably is) a false assumption to assume the same (target)ROI for System 6-21 as 7-22.
    System 7 is system 6 with a valuefilter and system 22 is system 21 with a valuefilter so it is not a big surprise that the ROI is higher for system 7-22 than for 6-21.
    And I agree that the huge number of bets will not suit everyone, it is very timeconsuming!

    SBC will do a full review on all footballsystems end of this month, I am very curious how the systems performed and about SBC's opinion.

    But I will send Greame an email...

    Anyway, thanks and good luck!

  4. Look, Liverpool Guy - let it go. And bugger off!