Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Choosing new services. Science? Art? Bit of both?

Last week, Shane left the following comment on the blog:

Hello Rowan, this doesn't relate to the above piece but I have wanted to ask to you perhaps write a short blog on what you look for when selecting a new portfolio service? Do you solely rely on sources such as the Secret Betting Club appraisals before signing up, or do you work on the basis of other word of mouth?

Have found managing portfolio more suitable then making your own personal betting selections, or is this a time factor where you don't have time to do your analysis? It something I have always wondered,

And finally, could you take a look at this website www.soccerwidow.com it a porfolio site that makes selections soley on price value and not on form, through their statistical models. Price to join seems crazy but thought it be interesting to hear your opinions.

You know I have wasted written many words on this blog on the subject of judging when to evict services from the portfolio, but I haven't ever dedicated any posts to the subject of choosing which services to put into the portfolio and how I make those decisions. Over the next day or three, I'll try to address this topic. As ever, I can only give you a subjective opinion. Other people will have different methodologies I'm sure, different parameters upon which to judge the suitability of a service for themselves.

I will also take a look at the Soccer Widows website and give an opinion. A cursory glance has told me that I need to spend a bit of time on it before expressing my thoughts though, as there is a lot of information on the site to get through.

OK, the first thing I will say when it comes to choosing services is that I have learnt a huge amount through experience. I'm not embarrassed to admit that when I first started to construct my portfolio (and I use the word 'construct' very loosely here), I adopted a rather haphazard approach to the task. If a service looked good in terms of bottom line profit figures, in I'd wade like an over-enthusiastic duckling keen to impress it's parents first time in the big pond. Not surprisingly, many mistakes were made. I'd join services where I could never hope to make a profit because my stake value per point was far too low, so that even if a decent number of points profit was made, it would barely cover the cost of subscription fees. I joined services that I was simply not psychologically suited to - for someone who is naturally risk averse, having a portfolio of six services which had four services that played at long odds and for which lengthy losing runs were the norm wasn't very bright. I joined services that released their tips at what were for me, highly inconvenient times. And so on and so on. My approach had to change.

What I was obviously lacking was a clearly defined strategy. To have a strategy, you have to have an end game, a target. Figure out what your target is, and you can work backwards to work out the steps you need to take to hit it. Unfortunately it took me many months of joining and then leaving services before this realisation dawned on me. The day I did finally learn this lesson was the day I stopped making so many mistakes. Now, I think (and hope) that I can see exactly what a new service can bring to the portfolio before I jump in to subscribe. I can evaluate a service's potential strengths and weaknesses in the context of what it is I'm trying to achieve.

Having said that, for all the research that you can do, and for all the reviews you can read, sometimes you just have to follow your gut instinct. I believe in mine, and whenever I've had a particularly strong feeling about a service, I have just waded in. Perhaps the more experienced you get, the more signals you can subconsciously pick up and in fact what you put down as being your gut instinct is in fact the output from a brain that has absorbed certain details, processed them, and then spat out the results...ie. you should give this service a go. The last time this happened to me, I joined Summer Of Football. You could argue that if I was doing everything by the book, I was acting a little prematurely, but I've not had cause to regret my decision.

Other times, I've been fortunate enough to see something develop and have got to know the brains behind the scenes. Regular readers will know that this was the case with The Football Analyst. I got to know Graeme, could see what he was doing when in the process of developing his football systems, recognised that he has great analytical skills and came to the conclusion that if anyone was going to make a success of building a series of systems derived from ratings, it was him. It was a bit like going to a very impressive doctor - I knew I could put my faith in him. Hence I jumped straight in from Day 1 of TFA bets being released. No live proofing to fall back on. No incisive SBC report to read. Bang - straight in - and thank Dennis Bergkamp for that! Had I hesitated, I'd have missed out on a whole lot of profits.

The point I'm trying to make here is that thorough research, proofing, SBC reports etc are all incredibly important (in fact I'd go further than that and say that actually they are necessary if you want to get it right more times than you get it wrong), and that the ability to research and draw accurate conclusions from such material is a vitally important skill to possess when constructing a portfolio, at the end of it all, good old gut feel mixed with common sense can reap rich rewards. Sometimes, selecting the right services for you is as much art as science.

Tomorrow I'll talk about the role the SBC play, and other sources of information I use to identify services that I may want to watch with a view to subscribing at some point in the future.

But, as Bugs Bunny often said - for tonight at least - that's all folks.


Monday's Betting

£1.36 profit. Heh!

Quiet day.

A winner for The Sportsman Racing (Stand Of Glory - Thirsk - 8/13). You know I've heard it said that you can't find value in odds on shots, but if you back a horse at 8/13 that goes off at 4/11, I'd say value has been well and truly found!

The poor run that Winning Racing Tips (0/1) are currently enduring continued with their one (admittedly lightly staked) bet went down. No joy either for The Market Examiner (0/2).

Only Sportyy in action for the Sports portfolio, suffering a very small loss with one winner from three (Andujar to bt Matosevic - 2.08/1).

Month to date figures:

Northern Monkey: Staked 24pts, -8.918pts, roi -37.15%
On The Nose: Staked 21.75pts, -6.025pts, roi -27.7%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 1.5pts, -0.692pts, roi -46.16%
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 3.7pts, -1.741pts, roi -47.07%
The Market Examiner: Staked 14pts, -7.8pts, roi -55.71%
Total roi -37.01%

Summer Of Football: Staked 13pts, +6.204pts, roi 47.72%, ROC 31.02%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.3pts, -0.013pts, roi -4.33%, ROC -0.21%
Form Lab Lite: Staked 14.5pts, -1.145pts, roi -7.89%, ROC -2.29%
Sportyy: Staked 14pts, +6.21pts, roi 44.35%, ROC 7.76%
Service X: Staked 119pts, +5.797pts, roi 4.87%, ROC 5.79%
Total roi 15.08%

Grand Total roi -1.24%

Back tomorrow.


  1. Thanks for the interesting and informative blog! I've just joined TFA this summer, having seen the referral from SBC. The systems look excellent and I guess the consistent results really do speak for themselves.

    I'm starting with a realtively meagre bank and hope I'm not too aggressive, although I intend to use a fairly risky 1% bank compound staking plan which increases to the high point and doesn't decrease.

    I pray to DB10 that this is a good season! Keep up the good work :-)


  2. Hi Chris,

    I'll be very surprised if you ever regret joining TFA. Top analyst running that show.

    Have you got which systems you're going to follow sorted out? Funnily enough, that is something I've been working on this week and had intended to do a proper post on it next week.

    Ah...sounds like you're a Gooner. You're welcome here any time. :)