Friday, 29 June 2012

Glory and failure.

It was the kids' school sports day today. My lad has always been rapid for his age and today he was winning everything. He won the 80m sprint by about 40m, and this against the boys in the year above him because he could almost walk against his class contemporaries and win. Seriously, he's like Road Runner when he gets going.

Which is all well and good, but it has consequences. How can I see him winning medal after bleeding medal, and then crash and burn in the Dad's race at the end? I'm telling you, the pressure is intense.

Now I like to think that for 40 years old, I'm not in bad shape. I run, play tennis, and used to be fairly sharp myself. So usually, winning the Dad's race isn't too arduous a task. Today though, was different. Today presented me with a real chance of glory. Glory however, can make men that pursue it look foolish in the extreme.

I was in lane 4 for the 80 metres. In Lane 3, was someone that I have to admit, I thought might give me a race. Ashley Young. I looked at him. He looked at me, and if I wasn't very much mistaken, I definitely caught a flicker of fear in his eyes; a recognition that he may have met his match. I, on the other hand, could only think of two things. 1. This was Arsenal vs Man United. 2. This was the country against the plonker who missed a penalty last week and saw the Italians knock us out. This was my chance to strike a blow for the long-suffering supporter, the taken-for-granted down trodden fan. I was running for England.

Suitably inspired, I was off like the crack from a pistol. I kid you not, at halfway, I was ahead. Fully focused. In the zone. Legs like pistons, head still. I swear the opening bars to the Chariots Of Fire music started up somewhere. Anyway, there was no-one in my peripheral vision other than my main foe on my immediate inside. But behind me. Not by much, but behind all the same. My concentration was such that after about 50m, I almost felt as if my feet were no longer touching the ground - I was literally running on air, flying, fuelled almost by some higher being lending support to my noble cause. A split second later this cruel illusion was shattered. Indeed, my feet were no longer touching the ground. But my arse was as I cruelly succumbed to the God of Fate. Spitting grass from my mouth, I rose again, but my foe had flown. What. A. Twat.

Later, my lad came over to console me. "Dad! Dad! You were winning! You were beating Ashley Young!", he shouted. "I know, Son," I said, "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it".

"Yes", he said. "You are, but you were winning. To be honest though, Dad," he said, "I think Ashley Young was fairly confident of winning himself. He didn't look as if he was trying that hard when you fell".

Tell you what is bloody ironic. There we were, running side by side, and for once he didn't go down like he'd been shot with no tackle anywhere bloody near him! Instead, I did. What are the odds!?!

Gonna insist on a rematch next year, I think. I'll have him yet.

Today's Betting

Not so good.

No luck for Northern Monkey (0/3) or On The Nose (0/2). The Market Examiner had another nice winner (The Nifty Fox - Musselburgh - 8/1). Winning Racing Tips had three bets including an each way double. All essentially broke even as they placed but failed to win.

Now, I can't put the actual figures up because I've used BetButler for some bets today and they haven't updated my account as yet, so it's a bit tricky. This may become a bit of a problem. What I might do when necessary is simply add the figures in the morning to the post. Just want to make reporting as accurate as possible.

Have a great weekend folks. I'm off now to try and get over my trauma. Life is just so bloody unfair at times. :(

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Quick update

Not much to write about today. So, without further ado...

Today's Betting

With cancellations of meetings due to weather, really not very much going on with the racing. Northern Monkey's one runner was chinned on the line so more or less break even. No winner for The Market Examiner (0/1).

Not much luck with the sports betting. No joy overnight in the MLS for Summer Of Football (0/1), nor for Sportyy at Wimbledon today, although James Ward nearly produced the goods against the much higher rated Marty Fish. Form Lab Lite got the call rate on the goalline in the Montreal/Toronto MLS match overnight, but not calling Montreal to win, nor suggesting that Germany/Italy would be 0-0 at half time or a draw at full time.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -0.1pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Sportyy: Staked 1pt,
Form Lab Lite: Staked 2pts

Added extras.

[Apologies - Blogger seemed to have issues late last night and wouldn't let me publish. Here's yesterday's post.]

So there I am, driving to work and slowing down at the lights, minding my own business, when my eye is caught by a girl, about 20 or so, walking along the pavement. Why did she catch my eye so? Not why you think, unfortunately. No.

Something about this girl wasn't right, you see. What was wrong didn't immediately register. And then it did. She was wearing tights, but no skirt! I mean, what's that all about!?! And no, they weren't leggings. They were definitely tights. Not a good look, especially when - how should I put this?...well, she didn't exactly have the figure of a supermodel, if you know what I mean.

Perhaps she just forgot to get dressed properly in her rush to get out the house and on her way to work. I've put on a navy blue suit jacket on top of my slate grey (different suit) trousers before now. I didn't get the job I was going for and looking back, perhaps that was no great surprise. But anyway - tights and no skirt. Not a good look. No. Not good at all.

At the end of last season, Skeeve sent out a poll to all of his subscribers, asking for ratings and comments on the various bookmakers used to place the bets on his selections. The results were compiled into the latest edition of 'Skeeve's Mail', and provided not only an interesting insight into what other "serious" gamblers are doing, but also a highly useful guide to the bookmaking options available to us. Already, and as a direct result of this guide, I have opened new accounts with two bookmakers who up until this point, have not had the undoubted pleasure of having me as a client!

It was gratifying to see that the four bookmakers sitting proudly at the top end of the performance scale, when all replies had been accounted for, are the same four bookmakers that I see myself relying on more and more as time goes on. Additional comments made by Skeeve subscribers who are obviously more experienced than I, and who play to much bigger stakes, have proved to be invaluable too, opening my eyes to other options that are not needed right now, but are likely to become so in the future. It is always nice to have options. Back up plans, if you like.

I write all of this in the context of the campaign launched by Kodagira that I mentioned last week, against what are perceived to be the unfair practices adopted by many (if not all) UK and European bookmakers. As I said when I noted this campaign on the blog the other day, I very much hope that Kodagira's plans and strategies realise positive results. Certainly if gusto and determination play a part, Kodagira will go far in achieving his goals.

In the meantime however, and thinking of the situation with a "business head" on, I see no alternative other than to continually look to adapt my betting strategies and future plans so that they are based on options that I know will be presented to me, as opposed to those that I hope might be presented to me. Ultimately, there are elements to running a portfolio of betting services that are out of our control. It's making sure we do the things we can control right, that ultimately make or break us. That, and the ability to ensure that we are exploring all possible avenues that lead us to achieving what we want to achieve.

It's great that there are folks like Skeeve who are more than happy to help us on our way.

Today's Betting

Well it had to happen at some point. I knew it was coming but ultimately, I was beginning to wonder when. Profits made by the racing to compensate for losses on the football. Not that the losses were too significant on the footy. No. Quite manageable.

It was Northern Monkey who came up trumps. I think Wayne will sleep better tonight after what has been a very testing month for him. Two nicely staked winners today though made a nice dint in the losses (Lexi's Boy - Carlisle - 3/1 and Athenian - Kempton - 11/4). No winners for On The Nose (0/2), The Market Examiner (0/1) or Winning Racing Tips (0/2), but Northern Monkey ensured a nice profit on the nags today.

Just the one match played on the footy tonight. The score at half time was what Form Lab was looking for, but the result at the end of 90 minutes was not. Still, at least Spain, Form Lab's antepost bet, are through to the final. Would be quite nice if they picked a goalscorer for the match on Sunday though!

The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.1pts, -0.6pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 5pts, +8.389pts.

Form Lab: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Sorry. No time to dwell tonight.

Today's Betting

Poor day. No winners anywhere.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.

Sportyy: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts.

Proper blog tomorrow. Hopefully.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Same old...

Well, that was all a little predictable last night, wasn't it? It certainly was for Form Lab Lite who suggested bets on a 0-0 scoreline at half time, a draw/draw half time/full time double result, and a draw after 90 minutes. After the full time whistle, I quite wanted England to win!

I thought Terry had a decent game, although he did get caught criminally out of position twice in the first half that presented Balotelli with a couple of opportunities. Overall though, I'd suggest he was England's MOM, not that the competition for such an accolade was too intense.

One last thing on the Euros just for the bland and boring is Alan Shearer as a pundit. Just what exactly does he add to the viewer experience? Answers on a postcard, please.

Right, hardly any time tonight...

Today's Betting

Just the one bet for Northern Monkey today and a tiny profit as the selection placed. No success for On The Nose (0/1) or The Market Examiner (0/2).

Quiet on the sports front too, with just Sportyy in action, finding one winner (Rufin to bt Darcis) from two for a smallish profit.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, +0.112pts.
On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.

Sportyy: Staked 3pts, +0.975pts.

Sunday 24th

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 6pts, +0.299pts.
Form Lab Lite: Staked 4pts, +1.535pts.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Saturday 23rd

Northern Monkey: Staked 3.91pts, -3.002pts.
On The Nose: Staked 4pts, -1.6pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.5pts, +0.375pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, +3.824pts.

Summer of Football: Staked 2pts, +0.02pts.
Form Lab Lite: Staked 1pt, +0.375pts.

Friday, 22 June 2012

I know, I'm weird.

When it comes to the cricket team (and I mean the proper test playing cricket team, not the one that plays the easily forgettable one day stuff), I am very much an England supporter. The same with the rugby union team. I'll never forget Wilkinson's drop goal to win the World Cup a few years ago or Flintoff's Ashes series back in 2005 (or, come to think of it, Botham's Ashes when I was a mere eight years old and present at Old Trafford for one of his spectacular hundreds that summer!) - sporting moments that will live forever in the memory.

When it comes to football though, you know, I really don't care that much about England. Sure, I want them to win. But I have never bought into them. The fervour for the national team that many demonstrate, I just have no desire to join in with. Weird, eh?

I was lightly taken to task for this in the 'Comments' section last night. The view of the commentor being that with my having backed Spain pre-tournament and thus expressing a preference for them to win should they play England in the final, that some things were more important than money. Well, that's certainly true. But the trouble is, for me anyway, the England football team isn't one of them.

That got me thinking, and the distinction between club and international football suddenly became crystal clear to me. There have been the odd occasion when I have backed against my team, Arsenal. I did so on the advice of the tipster, whose expertise I have paid for. I have no trouble at all in drawing a very clear line between business (making money) and pleasure angst involved in supporting your football team. On each occasion Arsenal actually won. I was delighted, but poorer. In other words, my feelings for Arsenal are stronger than those associated with winning an individual bet.

Compare that to England. If I've backed Spain to win the tournament and they happen to play England in the final, my bet is more important to me. And there is the difference between my support for my team, and my support for England.

Why I can get so emotionally attached to the England cricket and rugby teams and not to the football team, I have no real idea. It's probably linked to so much of international football being an inconvenience. You know how it is. In non-tournament years you're starved of football throughout the summer, the league then starts and after getting into it again and having played two or three matches, suddenly there's a big break for internationals that usually amount to a friendly against Norway followed by a qualifier in Azbekhistan or somewhere. Both games tend to be incredibly tedious affairs that England win 1-0 and which are stupendously underwhelming.

Perhaps the lack of passion is brought about by other things. I don't know. But there we have it and whether or not England are successful in the Euros or the World Cup, I have to say, I don't really give a fuc fig. Given the choice of England winning the Euros final or Arsenal taking three points in their opening league match in a few weeks time, then there's only one choice I could make, I'm afraid.

Sad. I know.

Today's Betting

Today's racing action was blighted rather by no fewer than four non-runners. The ones that did go needn't have bothered!

No luck for On The Nose (0/2), Northern Monkey (0/2), or The Market Examiner (0/1).

On the sports side of the portfolio, Sportyy had a winner (Seppi to beat Kohlschreiber) although the small portion of the bet I placed with William Hill was regarded as void as Kohlschreiber retired a set down and a break down in the second set. Fortunately the majority of the stake was placed with Pinncale which pays out on the player leading at the time of retirement.

Finally Form Lab Lite continued the pattern of having a winner (Germany to win at half time and full time) and a loser on the goalline on a match in Ireland.

On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1.75pts, -1.75pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Sportyy: Staked 1.5pts, +1.44pts.
Form Lab Lite: Staked 2pts, -0.09pts.

See you Monday.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Game (Not) On!

Ladbrokes are the latest to close my account. No real surprise, I suppose. Pain in the arse, though. Six months ago, I'd say my "go to" accounts were Bet 365, Ladbrokes, and Hills. Of that trio, only Hills is left standing.

This blog has already travelled down the road of wailing and gnashing of teeth. I have no wish to revisit all of that now. But, it is an apt time to draw attention to someone who instead of moaning and whinging, is actually going to try to bring the pathetic stance made by so many of the UK/European bookmakers to the attention of a wider audience.

Step forward Kodagira.

You may remember Kodagira's excellent blog. Since wrapping that up he's been proofing his football trades to the SBC and is setting/has set up a very promising service on the back of it. If that wasn't enough to fill his waking hours, he's now stepping forward to challenge the complacency, misrepresentative advertising and general git-like behaviour so prevalent amongst the high street and online (non)-bookmaking fraternity. I believe a website is in the offing, and in the bits and pieces I've picked up from the relevant thread in the Secret Betting Club's forum, Kodagira has some fresh ideas as to how to wage this particular war.

I sincerely wish Kodagira the very best of British in this fight. Can't help thinking he's much more the 'Punter's Friend' than the likes of Victor Chandler, Paddy Power or Fred Done will ever be.

For any non-SBC members who read the blog, I'll keep you posted.

Today's Betting

For the second day running Winning Racing Tips produced a tiny profit by getting their one selection to place (Opinion Poll - Royal Ascot - 11/2 and 5/1).

A decent winner for On The Nose (Fast Or Free - Royal Ascot - 8/1) but a small profit after five other horses were unsuccessful.

Northern Monkey had just the one today (Piri Wango - Royal Ascot - 20/1) which finished fifth. Now Wayne suggested backing this with one of the bookies paying out on five places but my days of being able to choose my bookmakers to use to place a bet are long gone. So as it happened I came out dead even as two thirds of my stake were placed with a bookie paying only four places, and a third that did pay the fifth.

Finally, a very nice winner for The Market Examiner (Venetian Lad - Fontwell - 6.8/1) to produce a profit after three other losers.

Summer Of Football got one right and one wrong in the MLS overnight to essentially break even. Form Lab Lite had a loser in the same league, but later had winners in Sweden and in the Portugal/Czech Republic match this evening - Portugal to win and Ronaldo to score anytime. Quite a sweet moment when The Posing One thumped his header home!

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, level.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.7pts, +0.091pts.
On The Nose: Staked 4pts, +0.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 4pts, +3.8pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 2pts, -0.05pts.
Form Lab Lite: Staked 3pts, +0.819pts.

Will be just a quick one tomorrow. Got to drop my lad off for Cub Scout camp he's off on for the weekend. It's pissing it down right now. The forecast is for it to continue through until Monday. Rather him than me.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Rational debate

It seems whenever I write about football, I provoke comments that are not truly thought out or rational.

After yesterday's England match, I expressed the opinion that John Terry had a poor game and suggested he is a weak link in this England team. This was based on factual evidence:

1. For the "goal that wasn't", he was criminally caught under the flight of the ball. If Terry's strength is the reading of the game which has through his career compensated for his relative lack of pace, then he didn't read that situation at all well. Lescott did, as he stood slightly deeper aware of the threat of a ball over the top. Terry didn't, and was badly caught.

2. Terry was then simply outpaced, as he had been by Ibrahimovic in a race for the ball in the Sweden match. Now Ibra is known for many things, but blistering pace is not one of them. Whilst he's never been quick, Terry is noticeably slowing.

3. He didn't make a heroic goalline clearance because very simply, he did not prevent the ball from crossing the line. Were it not for the incompetence of the official standing in line, five yards away, it would have been a goal, and the goal would have been entirely Terry's fault. Fact.

Now, the very best make errors. Of course they do. If this were a one off, I'd forgive Terry, no problem. He has undoubtedly been a fine defender in his time, and the exact sort of player that my team, Arsenal, have lacked since Tony Adams retired. But the thing is, these errors are becoming more and more commonplace in Terry's game now. I think back to the 5-2 defeat of Chelsea by Arsenal last season when Terry was almost comically inept. Liverpool fans might remember the game at Anfield towards the end of the season when Terry had an absolute shocker. And now this.

Terry's lack of pace is without a shadow of a doubt, a weak link in this England team. Hodgson must be terrified of opposition teams getting in behind the defence, because anyone quick who does so, will not be caught. Hence, the defence have to defend deep, and they need to be protected by two central midfield players who similarly have to drop deep to prevent too much space arising between the defensive line and the midfield line. This invites pressure and limits the ability of the midfield to link with the attack when in possession. Gerrard, to his immense credit, is managing to have a positive impact further forward despite this hindrance.

Look, Terry is/has been a fine defender. This isn't a club thing. This is a factual thing. He's still great at putting his head in, making strong tackles, etc. But I bet I know what the managers of the teams who might oppose England in this tournament will be thinking is a weakness to be exploited.

Now, you may not agree with this analysis. No problem with that, and I'll always publish a well thought out contradiction to anything I say. But to leave a comment: "JT was emmense (sic). Enough said", is not good enough. It's a bit like a barrister defending someone on a murder charge by going into court and saying, "M'lud. The accused didn't do it, init. 'Nuff said".

Interaction and debate is great, and encouraged. But please, a bit more constructive, eh?

Just one more thing about the Euros...

The egotistical prat that is Niklas Bendtner fined £80k by UEFA for showing his Paddy Power sponsored pants.

Croatian FA fined £64k for the racist chanting of some of the nation's supporters.

Shows some pretty mixed up priorities, doesn't it?

A question for you. Do you always check your winning bets after they should have been settled?

It's a tiresome task alright, especially when you have a lot of football bets being placed left, right and centre. It's a habit I've got into though, and I'm pleased I did. It is not a frequent occurence that the bookmaker omits to pay out, but it does happen. 888Sport didn't initially pay me on today's winning Sportyy bet. According to my account, the bet had been settled, but had been marked down as a loser. A quick email sorted the issue out, but if I hadn't checked, I'd have been none the wiser. Don't need to be giving money away.

Just as well to check, I reckon.

Today's Betting

If my portfolio was topically split into Eurozone countries, the racing would be an amalgam of Greece/Spain/Ireland/Italy, whilst bailing them out were the Germany (and the IMF) represented by the sports services. The trend continued today.

This imbalance is either the portfolio doing it's job, balancing out the losses with gains to prevent disaster, or is depressing and agonsisngly vulnerable to a quick downturn in fortunes on the sports side of the business. I guess it depends on whether you're a glass half empty or full kinda chap.

A very, very small return from today's Winning Racing Tips selection that managed to finish in the frame (Geneva Geyser - Worcester - a mix of 6/1 and 7/1).

Just a couple of the races at Royal Ascot dabbled in by On The Nose, which went in fairly big each way on Aljamaaheer (5/1) which subsequently ran into third. The other bet was a loser.

Another bad day at the office for Northern Monkey, with four selections, three of which were unplaced. The one that did place (Ginger Jack - Hamilton - mix of 11/2 and 5/1) was a fast finishing second.

No success from The Market Examiner's one selection.

Another winner for Sportyy today (Harrison beating Lu - 1.83), although 888Sport seemed reluctant to ackonwledge the success!

Three matches played by Form Lab Lite and two winners found, one in Finland and the other in Sweden. Not going to name the teams - can't spell them!

Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.6pts, +0.083pts
On The Nose: Staked 2.5pts, -0.708pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Northern Monkey: Staked 3.5pts, -2.471pts.

Sportyy: Staked 2pts, +0.831pts
Form Lab Lite: Staked 3pts, +1.35pts.

So, a small profit on the day. I console myself with the thought that each day of racing losses is one closer to the day of significant profits. Got to happen. Tomorrow would be splendid.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


Well, well, well. England top the group, eh.

To be completely honest with you, I've never been patriotic when it comes to football. Couldn't care two shakes of a rat's tail about Eng-er-land but tonight I felt as patriotic as Winston Churchill. Shallow I know, but it was simply due to the fact I'd backed them.

Watching the match though, it struck me that despite his undoubted "leadership" qualities (which include shagging your teammate's bird, of course!), "JT" is becoming an increasing liability. Sure, he puts his head in where it hurts and can make a good tackle, but as one Tweeter put it, "HEROIC DEFENDING FROM JOHN TERRY who was caught under the high ball, outpaced and then failed to stop it going over the line".

Quite, although I'm sure many will disagree. Perhaps he'll have a stormer against Italy.

Ashley Cole on the other class.

Wayne of Northern Monkey sent his first Royal Ascot email out last night. As is his style, Wayne's opening paragraph made reference to the performance of the tips issued that had run that day.

Yesterday evening's opening paragraph made an apology to subscribers for recent poor performance. It made me realise just how quickly fortunes can change for a tipster and how easily good winning runs or painful losing runs can be forgotten. Wayne felt the need to apologise (although I have to say I haven't personally felt that one was necessary) despite the fact that it was only last month that he enjoyed what I believe was his best ever singular month's results. Sure, 2012 has not been a vintage year so far for Northern Monkey, but 2011 was strong and an overall performance in and around the 20% roi mark can only be labelled as outstanding.

As I alluded to yesterday, On The Nose are struggling too. Again, looking at the overall stats for the service (17% roi), we can see that all logic states that this is merely a fallow period that is an inevitable part of gambling. I think I'm long enough in the tooth now to realise this, and to keep ploughing away until it's the time to harvest and make hay whilst the sun shines, as it surely will again. (That's enough farming analogy for one day, I think!). If we get to the point where a drawdown for any service reaches the size of the bank allocated to it, then it could well be time to review and change course, but we're a long way from that yet with any of the services I follow. Until then, onwards and hopefully not before too long, upwards.

Today's Betting

Well, perhaps the first step on that upwards curve was taken today by On The Nose who found a very nice winner (Most Improved - Royal Ascot - 9/1). Nice one, Dean. :) (And you can't help but smile at the irony in the name of the winner.)

No joy for Northern Monkey (0/2) or The Market Examiner (0/2). Winning Racing Tips found one to place and followed that up with a loser, unfortunately.

Sportyy back in action today and although staked conservatively, found a cracking winner (Matosevic to beat Gasquet - 4/1). Can't say I'd ever seen Matosevic before, and to knock the No.1 seed out after losing the first set 1-6 was quite the performance!

Two bets this evening for Form Lab Lite. The aforesaid Eng-er-land to win bet, but over 2.5 goals in the France match.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, +4.625pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.8pts, -0.924pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.

Sportyy: Staked 0.5pts, +2pts.
Form Lab Lite: Staked 2pts, +0.235pts.

So no Euros tomorrow. Not sure what I'm going to do with myself.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Weekend Round Up

Uninspiring, is the word I would use to describe the weekend just gone. It's been the Klass-Jan Huntelaar of weekends - underwhelming and giving the impression it should have been better.

Horse Racing

I've got to admit, I'm beginning to worry a bit about the racing. Not on a longer term basis - my services retain my absolute faith - but in terms of dragging this month's performance down it is more Spain than Ireland, if you know what I mean. This month has been a shocker so far.

I do need to qualify my disappointment a little. I know I missed a good WRT winner when I was on holiday, but even had I backed that, I'd still be way, way down. On The Nose appear to be able to do little right and really upset the gambling gods. Watching Area Fifty One (York - 11/1) go ahead inside the final furlong on Saturday (apparently hitting 1.01 on Betfair as it did so), I thought that things were on the turn. Alas not as AFO appeared to be outbattled in the finish and returned only the place part of the each way bet. I'm on a drawdown with On The Nose that currently stands at just short of half the bank allotted, a drawdown that began at the start of 2012. Just get the feeling a couple of big priced winners to arrest the decline would see normal service being resumed. And let's not forget that for 2011 (and before that, only I wasn't a member), "normal service" was bloody good!

Northern Monkey are going through the mill this month too. No joy from two on Saturday before yesterday's tip (Gunner Lindley - Cork - 7/2) ran well to finish third. Still, another small loss on the bet though and Wayne will be keeping his fingers, toes, eyes and knadgers crossed for an antepost bet he has running at Royal Ascot tomorrow. Naturally I want it to win, but if it does, I won't make as much as others will as the original tip was issued, yes you guessed it, when I was on holiday. Bah - who needs holidays anyway!?! Not having one next year.

A quiet weekend for The Market Examiner (0/1) and it's been a quiet couple of weeks for Winning Racing Tips, who also had a loser yesterday.

Football Betting

It's all very well backing teams in Brazil, but I'm a simple soul and overnight kick offs confuse my daily record-keeping!

Summer Of Football essentially broke even from eleven bets, and Form Lab Lite dropped a shade under two points.

Northern Monkey: Staked 3.25pts, -2.4pts.
On The Nose: Staked 3pts, -1pt.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 11pts, -0.016pts.
Form Lab Lite: Staked 5.25pts, -1.94pts.

Today's Betting

No luck again for Northern Monkey (0/1), but The Market Examiner had a very good winner (Watts Up Son - Calisle - 8/1).

Two Form Lab Lite bets tonight; a loser with there being not enough goals in the Spain/Croatia match, and a winner with the relative lack of goals (ie.under 2.5) in the Italy/Ireland game.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, +7pts.

Form Lab Lite: Staked 2pts, +0.26pts.

Friday, 15 June 2012

England? Pah.

Really quick one tonight. Knackered.

Today's Betting

Still no profits with the horses. Northern Monkey produced a small profit with a good each way bet that finished second (Esprit De Midas - York - 20/1), but On The Nose finished 0/3 and The Market Examiner (0/1).

Winner on the football for Summer Of Football who had France to beat the Ukraine, but then Form Lab Lite went for Under 2.5 goals in the England match. Daft buggers!

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.85pts, +0.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, +1.1pts.
Form Lab: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Form Lab

Not at all sure what to make of Tottenham and Harry Redknapp. Obviously I don't support them so I don't know enough about what is going on there to form any proper, informed opinion. On the face of it though, sacking Redknapp seems a very strange move.

Harry took the club over when they were in the relegation zone, if I remember rightly, about ten games into the season. He immediately took them well clear of that precarious position, and in subsequent seasons got Spurs into the Champions League for the first time (and did well in the competition), then finished a highly respectable fifth, and then back into the CL places in the season just finished. Were it not for Chelsea somehow managing to win the thing, Spurs would be in the qualifying rounds for next season's competition. All this was done on the back of genuinely exciting football played by some proper, top class players (Modric, Bale, Van der Vaart). And now he's been sacked. I don't get it, but like I say, perhaps there are reasons we're unaware of that Tottenham supporters have some insight into that would provide an explanation.

Whatever, Levy better have some confidence in being able to make some grand vision become a reality. Otherwise, he may just have knocked Spurs back about five years. Will be interesting finding out.

I received a query about Football Form Lab the day before yesterday, so I thought perhaps I should write a few blatherings on it.

The first thing I'd say is that by simply following the bet recommendations in the Daily Reports, I am not utilising the software to anywhere like it's maximum potential. I wish I could, but as ever, lack of time is a deadly enemy. There is a wealth of information to negotiate though, and if I had the time to do so, I'm sure other profitable angles could be found.

So why am I following? Three reasons...

1. 10% roi over 1,000+ bets;
2. Provides turnover during the summer months; and
3. It is a relatively high turnover service through the year, and as regular readers will know, this is something I have been moving towards attaining for the portfolio.

The only issue really is that Form Lab Lite is relatively expensive. This in itself puts it under a pressure to perform that perhaps other, cheaper services, can avoid. I don't care who you are, you are more likely to be more patient with a service charging less than you are with one that is underperforming AND hitting you that bit harder in the pocket when subs come up for renewal. Something to be aware of, I think.

Anyway, there we go. If anyone has any further questions, stick a comment in the relevant box.

Today's Betting

The pattern of winning with the footie and losing on the nags continued today. Fortunately over the last couple of days more has been made than lost. Let's hope that carries on.

No winners again on the horses, but one of Northern Monkey's bets found the frame to return stakes, and the one On The Nose tip also placed for a small profit. No luck for The Market Examiner (0/2).

Profit though from Form Lab Lite. Two bets in the Italy/Croatia match. 75% stake on both teams to score, and 25% stake on the 1-1 correct scoreline. Nice.

The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, +0.565pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 2.5pts, -1.5pts.

Form Lab: Staked 1pt, +2.18pts.

The Spanish don't look too shabby, do they?

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Lighten Up, Goddammit!!!

It was a refreshing, exciting game of football wasn't it, that Poland vs Russia game last night? End to end football, technically adept players, chances being created, goalkeepers stretched and making good saves. The home crowd, the passion in their support for their team fuelled by the historical significance of the fixture, were fervent and noisy and created an atmosphere that fair crackled and which, unusually, could be detected despite the consistently inane television commentary.

In the second half Poland equalised after an exhilerating counter attack, the captain cutting inside and unleashing a power bolt of a shot that hit the top corner of the net in the blink of an eye. The crowd went wild, the Polish President and other dignitaries were far from dignified, up on their feet, punching the air and generally going bonkers. THIS, is what football is all about - the sheer joy of it. And there, sitting next to the Polish VIPs, was the Head of European Football, arguably it's most powerful man, Michel Platini, sitting impassive, not even applauding, looking sober and controlled.

I understand the guy needs to appear impartial, but for Chrissakes, why not stand up and celebrate every team's goal if you want to look unbiased!?! Get into the spirit of football for a change. To me, Platini's (non)reaction spoke volumes and explains so much of what is wrong with modern is too easy to forget that at the end of it all, when played well by two good teams in a match that matters, it is pure theatre. Pure excitement. Pure joy.

Let your hair down, man!

Now, whilst I'm on the subject of football (when am I ever that far away from it?), I've been reading The Football Analyst's recent blog posts, following the development of his European systems. I imagine most of you have been doing the same, but if you haven't I strongly recommend doing so. It is not often you get the opportunity to watch as systems come together, and I know from previous experience, if you do then it makes following them much easier mentally when they go live. Seeing what has gone into their development makes enduring the losing runs that are always going to occur that bit easier. Similarly, the profits are that much more enjoyable when they come too. I guess it's a bit like relishing your food that little bit more if you've gone out and caught it or cooked it yourself, if that makes sense.

I posed Graeme a question in his comments section the other evening, relating to following the Euro systems next season or not. Graeme's promised to provide his opinion after he's developed things a little further (which is fair enough - I knew when I asked the question I was being more premature than an overly enthusiastic 16 year old who is fumbling away with his girlfriend on the back row of the cinema). My own plans were to always just watch next season, and then plunge in the season after when the inevitable has been confirmed and profits are obviously there for the taking. Now, I'm not so sure. I could be tempted to follow financially this coming season.

Why so? Well, bottom line, Graeme's blog posts so far show figures demonstrating strong potential; indeed, the figures are very similar to those that Graeme found when his now proven UK systems were in a similarly developmental stage. But that's not the only reason. There are issues of liquidity to consider, and of increased amounts of money I would anticipate going on to TFA's picks next season from subscribers.

The following paragraphs from The Football Analyst blog really struck a nerve:

I’m sure the time will come when bookmakers realise I’m the one cherry picking them off when they quote standout prices for teams that are then followed by others later in the week, so I expect it won’t get easier for me to make money betting on my own selections. I’ll continue reinvesting my profits from each season and sooner or later, I’ll be playing all my betting with the big Asian bookmakers who won’t restrict me from winning but it will erode part of the edge my systems have. That’s a fact but it’s one I can live with though.

Having more leagues to play in means I can continue to spread the stakes around and of course, it is a great way for me to diversify the risk. If I can create another selection of systems that produce similar levels of returns to the UK systems, then over a season, it may be the case that the UK systems could struggle but the European systems could bail me out. The reverse may also be true!

Secondly, a large part of this game for me is to allow others to follow my work and make money along with me. I know some people struggle at the moment getting on in the UK leagues and as time goes on, if the UK systems continue winning, this will only get harder. People will be reinvesting their profits, average stakes will be going up, I’ll have more people following and all of a sudden, when system 7-22 has a bet, it is getting smashed in from the bookies as they don’t want the liabilities on these teams. This erodes the edge on the system, people start chasing prices, and before we know it, the edge is basically gone on the system or more likely, reduced to such an extent that people decide it’s not worth following.

These paragraphs prompted me to ask Graeme the question I did (allied to other factors such as the similarities with the UK systems I have already referred to). It is this ability to think ahead, to plot and plan viable contingency plans, that I'm realising that anybody who is serious about their betting and who wishes to bet long term, must be able to demonstrate.

Today's Betting

It's a rough old time on the racing front at the moment, and winners are very few and far between. Northern Monkey are suffering at the moment and today's two selections provided no returns. The Market Examiner were unsuccessful today too (0/3). If June is to be amonth that produces a positive return, the racing needs to start producing some returns. The football is keeping losses under control at the moment, but we could do with the horses lightening the burden and doing so soon.

Just Form Lab Lite with bets on the footie today, and fortunately three winners. First there was a aplit stake in the Portugal/Denmark match - Portugal to win and over 2.5 goals. Then this evening was Over 2.5 goals in the Holland/Germany game.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.7pts, -1.7pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.

Form Lab Lite: Staked 2pts, +2.21pts.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Mind the gap.

No, that's not a gentle dig at any Tottenham supporters who happen to drop by. More a description of what I'm trying to do with the portfolio over the summer months to compensate for the lack of football betting now the main European leagues have finished.

Before I went on holiday I mentioned that I want to start thinking and planning my betting as a professional gambler would do. I want to elevate my operation (fancy word for it, I know) to a level that provides an alternative income to my PAYE earnings. I found that once I started to think like this, I fundamentally changed my outlook in terms of what I was trying to achieve and how I was going to achieve it. It forced me to look at the whole portfolio as a portfolio, as opposed to constantly analysing it's individual constituent parts (which remains important, of course), and I can't emphasise enough how different this feels. I guess what I'm trying to say is that instead of attempting to maximise the performance of each service I subscribe to, I'm now trying to maximise the performance of the portfolio as a whole, and that brings about a whole lot of different considerations. To a large extent, this subtle but significant shift in outlook was forced on me rather by those bastard bookmakers who refuse to take a bet. You know, I wouldn't be surprised if I don't look back in the future and see that the likes of Ladbrokes (who are the latest to close me down), Bet365 and the rest have actually done me a big favour. Their actions have forced me into thinking differently and I have a strong feeling that that is no bad thing. In fact, I think it is going to make me a much better and more effective gambler. Time will tell.

The fact that the bookmakers suddenly playing hard ball with me has more or less coincided with the end of Football Season 2011/12, a time that naturally lends itself to taking stock and planning for the future, has been a stroke of luck. There is breathing space, a calming of the storm that is created by placing a large number of bets on various football teams each week, that can be used for reflection. But we're looking at things from a different perspective now though, and it is apparent that this downtime actually represents a problem to be solved. In this quiet place that is conducive to contemplation, lies the first big issue that I feel the need to address; the gap that the title to this post refers to.

Skeeve usually kicks off the football betting season, August often seeing a good few non-league bets being placed (although I seem to remember the wiser and more experienced Skeeve leaving the opening fixtures alone now, but I may be wrong) that are followed by one or two Football Elite wagers. It is not until September though that the season gets into full swing, the chaos lasting until about mid-April when the action begins to slow and grows a little less frantic. From May through to those Skeeve-filled weeks of August though, we're relying on horse racing for our turnover, and as we know, I've had to cut back my involvement in the Sport of Kings quite drastically. This means that my profit-making (how's that for confidence!?!) is rather concentrated into nine months. Three months of the year are rendered relatively redundant - not entirely of course, as hopefully the racing boys will produce the goods, but turnover is obviously significantly reduced. Until now.

So Step 1 in Operation Portfolio, was to fill the summer shaped gap that was being previously minded. Hence my subscription to Summer Of Football, a high turnover service with high involvement in the summer leagues, although you'd never have guessed from it's name. Furthermore, two more services introduced on a summer trial basis - Form Lab Lite and Sportyy. Form Lab Lite was quite literally on a trial basis - a month's free go at it via the SBC. What a profitable month it was too, despite my cautious introductory staking levels, good profits being secured through May and into June, simply by following the advice in the service's 'Daily Reports'. It is this advice that I will be reporting on the blog, for the moment anyway.

Sportyy? Well any SBC members will be familiar with this spanish-based tennis expert (plus Spanish footy in the winter, too). A good, lengthy track record and very healthy returns plus the diversity offered by involvement in a different sport ticks a lot of portfolio boxes. I've signed up for an initial three months, really to test out practicality issues, odds attainment, etc. I'll keep you posted naturally, although ironically bearing in mind the subject matter of this post, he's currently on a week's break! Not to worry.

Suddenly, my summer does not seem so restive. I'm putting more bets on again and turnover is up. Interestingly, roughly 75% of the bets I'm now placing are with one of 188bet, 12bet, Pinnacle or SBO. I feel as if things are beginning to take shape in the way I want them to. Now all we need are some winners.

Today's Betting

Frustrating day.

Hardly any racing action, just one Northern Monkey bet which was a loser.

It was the football that was frustrating. Two bets returned stakes on the Asian Handicap lines and two losers.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, N/A.
Form Lab: Staked 3pts, -2pts.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Back again.

Why does it feel like I've never been away? The weeks that fly by the fastest each year are undoubtedly the ones you spend on holiday. Pfft.

Now I know this is rather remiss of me, but I simply haven't the time to blog properly. There's quite a bit going on at the moment too and many subjects I want to go into, but that will all have to wait.

So without further ado, today's results...

Today's Betting

On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, -0.5pts.
Form Lab Lite (yep, I know, I haven't gone into this yet): Staked 2pts, -1.04pts.

Stay tuned - when time allows, I'll be going into things like any half decent blogger should. Laters.