Tuesday, 1 October 2013

August/September Summary

Lets be honest, September has not been a great month on the betting front, especially for someone who has returned to portfolio betting after a period doing the work myself. Given that I have made a profit of just over £800 in this two month period with Narrow Victories, it is a bit of a kick in the teeth to drop over three grand on pay services. Does this mean I am unhappy about the return to tipsters? Well no actually, the Narrow victories selections have got off to a strong start, but I don't have the confidence to raise the stakes yet as the sample size is not large enough to conclude this is not luck.

With target earnings of around £2000 per month, I would have to either majorly increase my staking on NV or up the number of games that are covered. While there is no doubt there are many other leagues that this system can be put to use, the data is not as readily available. Actually while I am writing this I am thinking, that is the way to create an edge, but beside the point. To make two grand a month I reckon on turnover of over £20k month, probably more due to the quieter summer months. For August and September I have turned over £28,450, which given that TFA didn't start until September is about right. Unfortunately the expected 10% return was a 9% loss overall so I suppose I am taking a positive that at least the turnover is on target.

As a point of comparison Narrow Victories had a turnover of just short of £5000, meaning I would need either a ROI of 40%, unlikely in the long run, or an increase in bank size by a factor of four (or I suppose decreasing the point bank size by a factor of four - a ten point bank, no thank you!).

So, happy to be diversified, just need more from the paid services!

Rank Tipster Staked (pts) P/L ROI ROC
1 SoF 39 13.4 34% 34%
2 Narrow Victories 48 8.1 17% 20%
3 FI 16 -8.26 -52% -8.26%
4 FE 11 -4.9 -45% -9.80%
5 Skeeve 48 -17.4 -36% -22%
6 TFA 145 -35.3 -24% -44%

I first published the table last week, and not surprisingly, the order is still the same. Summer of Football is still leading the way, and TFA still sits at the bottom. I have decided to rank by ROC as this is the way I rank services when I am looking at subscribing. As well as being a poor month (two months in this case), it has also been a poor week with all 5 paid services dropping points. TFA and FI took a large hit on their away selections, although I was saved by both portfolios double staking home bets, which on the whole did much better.

Skeeve lost all four double points bet, while SoF and FE lost a couple of points between them. On the plus side my own selections, NV, produced the goods with 8 out of 13 winning bets and over 4 points of profit.

The next part I am feeling slightly uneasy about. Obviously the best way to judge a tipster is by their results but that is never the be all and end all. Certainly looking at the table above, it would be a hard sell for 4 out of the 5 paid services! Over the last 2 or 3 years I have followed countless tipsters in all sports and while these five are by no means the most profitable for me, they are the ones that I have most confidence in, are most compatible with and can still get the money on with. So with no further ado, I want to introduce the monthly Sporting Value Confidence Ratings.

Sporting Value Confidence Ratings (out of 5)

Summer of Football - 3.5
James  had the misfortune of blowing his bank back in July and has obviously had a rethink on how his service selects bets. I had a long email discussion with him when this happened and was really impressed with his analysis of the situation and how he was going to take it forward. Since then, as the results above show he has been on quite a run.

I already think of this as a lesson for Narrow Victories, as he has kept the selections down to what he believes are the pure value ones. He also reintroduced some draw bets, which we also talked about as being profitable for him before. Whenever I try to expand my selections to new areas I think of SoF and try to stick to core areas.

This was a losing week but already get the feeling he has learned from it. In his email after 3 French Ligue 2 bets disappointed he commented:

"I'm a bit annoyed to have taken all 3 bets on. It was probably the first time I dropped our cautious approach but I hoped the AH would protect us sufficiently but it only saved us on one game."

In terms of compatibility, SoF is a very easy service to follow, bets usually arrive at a regular, if somewhat early time, and due to quoting Bet365, one can usually beat the price. I'll be honest and say I have had more confidence in the service, certainly in the first two thirds of 2012, when the results were consistently great, but really feel James is back on track.

I know a lot of people dropped out when the bank was blown, and I suppose I was in the fortunate position of not being a subscriber for all of that, but SoF is certainly still in profit for me having made considerably more the year before than the bank itself.

 Narrow Victories - 3
This is my own bets that are still going very well. As I mentioned in the early days of Sporting Value, I dropped portfolio investing to go it alone, and while this didn't work out for me, one area of my punting was very successful. Narrow Victories is the product of that: backing favourites to win by 1 or 2 goals.

During my 'individual' period, they had an ROI of about 20% and so far this season, they are rolling on at about 17%. Obviously sample size is still small, but growing and I do like a lot of elements of the bets. Firstly the stats seem to back the logic and secondly there is an element of going against the crowd as most punters will be expecting these teams to be winning by bigger margins.

The strapline to the site says they are a sort of anti-Asian Handicap, in the way that I struggled to win on backing -0.75 and -1 bets as the data was not showing that a lot of sides were consistently beating the handicaps and winning by considerable margins.

By my calculations there are between 10 and 20 bets a week to be had, which certainly by the end of this season should give me a fair sample size to judge it as a selection process.

Football Investor - 3.5
Not the best start but very early days for Stewboss this season. Have really appreciated his help in setting up my portfolio. I did have one slight gripe in that notification of bets was via Twitter rather than email but have now set up a twitter alert on my phone which is just as effective. Unfortunately FI and TFA bets due seem to arrive during kids bedtime so not always there on the dot, but prices seem to be there or thereabouts.

Football Elite - 3
This is a tricky one for me because I love most things about this service, particularly the leagues he plays in, his analysis (when given), set times for bet delivery and am really enjoying the Weekend Punting Pack. While I find I agree with nearly all of his selections, at the moment they are just not coming in. There is obviously disquiet around (Daily25 and Green All Over), but I am still giving Matt the benefit of the doubt. His email communications at the start of the season were full of vigour and optimism, giving the impression of someone fighting for their reputation and career.

I am undecided on how to play the Vulnerable Home Favourites as the matches it throws up closely mirror my Narrow Victories selections, so watching brief. He is also about to introduce Football League bets which could be interesting, but again, watching brief.

Skeeve - 2.5
Very slow start to the season, which seems to be mirroring last season. Can the second half rescue him again? I must admit to slight worries, mainly because it has always been a service I have ummed and aahed over nearly every time I have subscribed. Skeeve is the most expensive service I subscribe to and in the past it has driven me to uncomfortable levels of staking to justify it. This is no longer an issue but I still have reservations.

I know the headline figures are fantastic, and given I have subscribed I have to believe he can repeat these numbers, but the service is now so slimmed down the ROI has to be quite spectacular to give the ROC I am expecting (certainly of other services). I know away asians are his most profitable area, but his expertise in all things Conference, I wonder if there are more opportunities available to him.

The Football Analyst - 4
Given Graeme's service has dumped 44% of its bank in roughly 3 weeks, I am still very confident in his offerings. I suppose this is a reflection of the incredible amount of work that goes into TFA. I must admit I did subscribe last year but, foolishly, tried to go it myself by designing my own way of playing his different systems. I am sure that I would still have given up following tipsters last year if I had allowed Graeme to create one of his tailored products but I probably would have thought about it for much longer if I had.

Am I convinced by the tailored portfolio, not completely. Graeme has already shared his doubts about the draw selections, especially when clashing with other - usually - away selections. I am also a bit nervous with the 11 point home bets, which each are 9% of the bank.

I am also concerned that while the bank size is well balanced in the portfolio, its turnover so far is considerably higher than the others - at present, it is 41%, almost double its proportion of overall betting bank. But I am confident it is a well crafted and thought out portfolio that is backed up with sufficient data for me to be looking forward in good heart.

I mentioned at the start that I was slightly uneasy giving out these ratings, it is probably the last vestiges of being an ex-Maths teacher. Writing reports, and at the same time reporting on myself, almost Ofsted style, were never my favourite parts of the job. I suppose these scales are arbitrary, unless qualified. From my point of view, 4.5+ would be indicating that I should be upping stakes/bank size and 2 or less would imply start to think about dropping it.

At present no one is in either region, and neither should they be at the start of a season, so lets hope we see some more 4s over time.

Portfolio musings

The triggers for calling it a day back in October last year were many, but top of the list was the endless restrictions and the effort it was taking to get bets on. Horse racing was particularly bad, and more niche services, but it was a big hit on Skeeve and Summer of Football that was the icing on the cake.

Thinking back on that time my portfolio was in total flux and the effort in getting bets on with multiple bookie were not only placing a strain on me, but on the record keeping. Every task became much more complex. As more services became unplayable the portfolio became unbalanced and a lot of time was spent looking for replacements. I can't remember where I read it but one of the most time consuming parts of following a portfolio of tipsters is the constant desire to find the next best thing.

I have tried this season to stick to what I have, but the most addictive part of this portfolio investing does seem to be this desire to add to it. I think that the unbalanced feel due to TFA's high turnover has had this effect, much to my chagrin.

I am already a subscriber to Football Form Labs Black, replacing lite with black when the offer was on, as it is a great help in researching Narrow Victories. With their, all over my twitter feed, promotions in the last few months I have found myself drawn back into their daily reports. When I first followed as part of FFL SBC Lite, I did not enjoy it. There is no announcement of timing and being a lite product the price has often gone as it went to main subscribers first. I know it is probably their most profitable area, but I do not like ante-post betting and there is a lot of it on their daily reports.

So what has pulled me back? Well they seem to have a strong record on O/U goals bets and Asian Handicaps, 2 areas where I struggled. Am I going to add it to my portfolio, I don't know. At present I am following at £50 a pop just to see if I can get the prices and actually remember to check when bets are up.

Just as a bit of self-advertising, yesterday I published the second post on Narrow Victories, highlighting potential plays in Serie A, to go with last weeks analysis of the Premier League. Not sure why I am advertising as no intention of going public as a tipster. These types of bets have very little chance of working as a tip due to the dutching nature, but it keeps me honest and builds up a bank of research for me to refer to.

I hope that other portfolios haven't gone as badly as this in September, but I am sure things are about to head in an upward direction. Good Luck.

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