Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Chelsea captain's undercrackers.

Around the New Year, I read a number of annual reviews of performance prepared by some of the services I follow. Generally speaking they amounted to an exercise in self-analysis, identifying areas where there had been success and profits made and also areas of weakness that had perhaps provided losses, or maybe a level of profit that lay below the desired mark. These reviews got me thinking, and an email that I received last night, along with all other subscribers of Football Elite, made me think some more.

Football Elite is to undergo some change and those changes are going to take place with immediate effect. In essence, there are to be more bets and a bank doubled in size from 25 points to 50. One of Matt's hopes for this move is that it should, over time, reduce the exposure to particularly high levels of variance over the course of a season. The problem with Football Elite is that when a season may see only 100 bets being struck, variance can take a pretty devastating thwack at the results over the nine months or so of betting. It is an issue that I believe The Football Analyst 7-22 system has had to face this season too, as have services such as The Sportsman and On The Oche in the past - it's the nature of the beast for any service or system that provides a relatively low turnover of bets. The lower turnover means that poor runs tend to last longer in terms of actual time elapsed from the start of the bad spell than do the poor performing periods of higher turnover services. In other words, it can take longer for the edge enjoyed by a low turnover service to show itself.

As far as Football Elite itself is concerned, I have no doubt at all that Matt will have given the proposed change to his service a lot of very deep and serious thought. He has earnt my faith in such matters by his track record with On The Oche, essentially rejuvenating the darts service by finding new ways to exploit the edge that Rich, the tipster, has in the sport. I remember saying on this blog that I had noticed a marked difference when I rejoined On The Oche to the service I joined and then left prior to Matt being involved. What I'm trying to say is that if anyone has proven an ability to make changes to a service and by doing so improve it, then it is Matt.

I was relieved to read that Matt isn't changing his selection strategy for the Football Elite picks. He obviously has 100% belief in the strategy he uses and that it is fundamentally successful. Sticking to the same selection criteria therefore makes sense. From my point of view, it is the strategy that I originally bought into and which is proven in the long term, if not performing as well as we would like more recently. All that Matt plans to do is to avoid filtering out profitable bets which he feels is a trap that he has fallen into. He believes that this filtering process has resulted in him being too selective as to what does and does not qualify as an official selection. Matt has discovered from his analysis that over time, the bets he has filtered out have ultimately been as profitable as those that have gone onto the account. I can understand why Matt went the way he did. Apparently, the results between 2006 and 2009 suggested strongly that the policy of filtering potential qualifiers was absolutely the right thing to do, but since 2010, the stats show that in fact filtering out the bets was not the right move to make. My interpretation of this is that if the sample of bets is looked at as one whole chunk of data, and not as two distinct parts, then the performance of the bets which Matt filtered out was actually pretty good. Hence by reinstating these selections that up until this point we members had not been receiving, the number of selections rise, poor runs which are the result of natural variance will be shorter, and extra profits made. That's the theory anyway. Of course, the proof of any pudding is always in the eating and let's hope that this pudding is the delicious apple crumble and custard type and not the sort made from rhinoceros dung and the essence of John Terry's soiled undies.

Which brings me back to the thoughts I mentioned had been going through my head when reading the annual reviews of various services a few weeks back. The questions I asked myself then are these: why is John Terry in the habit of soiling his undies? are tipsters in danger of eroding their edge by looking a bit too deeply into their stats? Are they at risk of overcomplicating things by seeing that they haven't made a profit for a while in a certain area and then deciding to cut out recommending bets in that area? I guess it all comes down to sample sizes. I have no idea how large a sample of bets needs to be to allow reasonably sound conclusions to be drawn from it (and if anyone would like to proffer an opinion on this then please do leave a comment - I would be genuinely interested). I do wonder if, motivated by the very best of intentions, tipsters are sometimes guilty of talking themselves out of delivering increased levels of profit by analysing samples that are possibly not quite big enough. And that's not to say that tipsters shouldn't analyse their figures as an exercise in self-improvement. I'm just wondering out loud if there is a possibility that sometimes the trap of talking oneself out of profits is a very difficult one for a tipster, any tipster, to avoid.

Of course it could very well be said, and justifiably so, that I haven't a clue what I'm talking about (and believe you me, that is an accusation that has been levelled at me so many times in my life that it can't be a coincidence) which is why I am not making any sort of assertion here. It's just a few thoughts.

What do you reckon?

Wednesday 6th February

A small profit yesterday, coming courtesy of Sportyy, whose single selection (Nieminen to bt Davydenko at 2.64) came in. The only other bet was a loser for Winning Racing Tips.

Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.7pts, -0.7pts.

Sportyy: Staked 1.5pts, +2.467pts.

I have the makings of a cold. Bollocks.

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