Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Danger! Erosion!

You know there are times when I am a right dozy git! The sharper eyed of you will know what it is I am referring to. Those needing metaphorical contact lenses and missed it? Too bad. I'm moving on. Swiftly.

I have read in many different places warnings of how it is inevitable that a tipster that has a proven edge on the book will, over time, have that edge eroded.

How and why is this so?

I can see why it might become harder to maintain a certain level of profit when following a certain tipping service and that over time a subscriber might go from recording a 15% roi figure to say, 12% or lower (arbitrary figures). As a service increases in popularity as a result of receiving more and more recognition from blogs, independent review bodies and the like (bloody bloggers!), more people stake more money on the service's selections, forcing prices to contract quickly after bet release. Hence, the long time follower may find that he is securing an average price on his bets that is marginally but significantly lower than the average odds he was securing when the service was not so well known, especially if he can't get on the bet as soon as it hits his inbox. The size of the edge gained from following that service is therefore reduced. I get that.

What about services though that don't attract such an immediate pressure on price through sheer weight of money coming from subscribers? Or those that play in highly liquid markets that can absorb more money before layers are forced into cutting the prices they offer? I have read in more than one place that any tipster/service is threatened by an erosion of the edge that they have carved out for themselves that can be seen over time, simply because the market "adjusts". What I have never read is an explanation as to why this might be so.

The whys and wherefores are one thing. A different thing entirely is the tipster's ability to adjust their style and methods to counter this seemingly inevitable erosion of their edge. This is surely reliant upon the tipster's ability to conduct some insightful self-analysis. I remember mentioning how impressed I had been by Skeeve's end of season review, and how it drew conclusions as to the best way forward for his service. I know Matt of Football Elite and On The Oche does similar, Paul of Winning Racing Tips too. I mention these services specifically, as they represent the longest serving tipsters in my portfolio.

It is interesting though that the methods that these guys use to find their bets remain fundamentally unaltered. And at the risk of me sounding as if I'm downplaying their talent (because I'm really not - I don't pretend for one second that I could do what they do), those methods are fairly basic. And yet over a period of years, they have each maintained an roi of 12%+ against a market that is placing constant pressure on their ability to stay ahead of the game.

More on this tomorrow.

Monday's Betting

Horses have an ability to make you look foolish that is second to nothing else that I know of. Five minutes after I posted yesterday's blog post, in which I spoke optimistically about how the On The Nose selections were generally running much better than they had been, we had the one On The Nose bet of the day running at Ripon. I say run. More stumble, jog on the spot a bit, do a few warm up stretches, before sighing resignedly and trotting off in the direction of the other nags whose arses were fast disappearing into the distance. You have to laugh.

No luck for the one The Market Examiner selection either.

In fact, yesterday wasn't the greatest. Three Sportyy bets and not one winner. One thoroughly beaten, another losing a third set tie break, and the other losing having won the first set 6-1.

I guess it just wasn't my day.


  1. It's an interesting topic. Can an edge erode over time? Absolutely. Is that erosion speeded up if you go public with that edge in the form of a tipster service? Almost certainly.

    However that only applies to a specific, definable tactic/strategy/system IMO. For most services the edge comes from the tipster himself and his ability to find himself a gap in the market and evolve over time.

    A parallel I think would be a successful football manager. Would Fergie be successful nowadays if he was still using the same approach he was at Aberdeen in the 80's? Almost certainly not he has had to evolve his approach over time. His "edge" is himself, not a specific tactic, formation or man-management style. That and a continued fresh supply of new refs every few years!

  2. Yeah, that backs up what I was saying in the post, Matt, that the tipsters that can adapt successfully are the ones that retain their edge. Must be difficult though because it kinda counters the adage about not trying to fix something that isn't broken. It can't be easy to see something that has brought good profits and then think that things need to be tinkered with, even if only slightly.

    Like the analogy!