Saturday, 14 February 2009

The Greatest Game

Sorry for the lack of updates, but had a few things going on this week, and also managed what I consider to be my worst day ever on Betfair last Sunday, not results wise, but in terms of trading, which I will explain in the next blog update.

This update will primarily touch on Rugby League, which now that the season has begun, will become the central focus on the blog because, well, this is what I have done best at and hopefully will continue to do so!

Last year, through largely trading SKY games, I was able to do quite well on Rugby League. My basic strategy is to wait and see how the game starts, as you can usually tell so much early on (Individual match performance can vary so much compared to team ability), and Back the draw and lay the favourites, although that is a massive simplification!

Last Friday was a slight disappointment, when I entered the game with a massive three figure green on both Celtic and the draw, with only a slight red on Leeds. I could have traded out for a £10 equal profit before the game, but with Leeds at 1.06, I figured that they would probably rise if Celtic came out well, which I thought they would do, given it was their Super League debut and how new franchises had a history of coming out and starting competitively.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case and within 10 minutes, you could not back Leeds at all, and only a small back of Celtic on the Handicap market prevented me from starting off the season with a loss!

Anyway, with only two games played last week, and with little fanfare, it was obvious that the real start of Super League XIV was this week, and it would start with St Helens v Warrington, on SKY Sports 2.

St Helens and Warrington have produced some classic matches down the years, and some great betting opportunities, with St Helens producing some great comebacks down the year, winning 31 – 30 from 28 – 30 down with only a few minutes left, scoring three tries in the last eight minutes to win with the last touch of the game, and who can forget last year, when Warrington came from 10 – 0 down with Saints at 1.05, to lead 16-10 inside the last ten minutes, only to lose 17 – 16 despite Saints trading at double figures! This coupled with Warrington’s 2008 reputation as Flip Flop kings and Saints’ notorious slow starts, made it look like an easy game to trade and therefore, the early idea in my head was to ride Warrington down to them becoming favourites, before switching trains and riding Saints home to victory.

That said, there were some questions in my mind about how much more consistent Warrington would be under James Lowes, the possibility of St Helens being a 1.01 train, as they have been in the past, and more importantly, the price on Betfair. Put simply, I had Saints as 1.3, whereas Betfair had them as 1.4. Maybe this was a reaction to the likely flow of the match, but equally maybe I was missing something, and the price on Warrington just did not look appealing enough to back from the start.

However, some good Pre Match trading allowed me to enter the game with £150 green on the Draw. If there is one rule in Rugby League trading in my mind, it is that the Draw is your friend, and who can forget the 100/1 draw between Salford and Celtic and the mysterious draw layer from last year.

That said, despite Warrington rising to 4.8 as Ade Gardner had a first half effort disallowed, I largely missed the first half ride on Warrington. I am always very cautious of backing any team prior to the first try but the fact that it took 30 minutes for the first try, meant that I largely missed the downswing and the fact that Warrington’s try came in relatively bizarre circumstances (Surely Louis Anderson illegally impeded at the Play The Ball) meant that before I knew it Warrington were trading at 2.0, although again, thanks to trading the draw and some other momentum swings, I had £300 green on the Draw, which seemed too large, with bets still being matched at over 20.

The second half was where things began to improve for me, as despite taking minimal risks, by opposing Warrington at 1.3 and using the extensive green on the draw, I was able to ride St Helens to victory, and pick up over £70 after commission.

Looking back on the game now, the one thing that sticks out to me was that like St Helens, I was very rusty. I made several errors, missed out on swings and was generally too conservative and spent too much time watching the market as opposed to the game. (Watching it back this morning, I spotted several “clues” which I did not pick up on during the game.)

The fact is, despite these errors and being too cautious, I still managed to achieve £70 profit so maybe I am being too harsh on myself, or maybe I am getting over-confident in my ability. After all, Saints v Warrington is an easy game to predict, but equally I failed in the Leeds v Celtic game, and for the first time ever, I have no opinion on tonight’s game, with two new Super League teams and with very limited data available, preventing me from reading the game. However, I would tend to agree with the current prices on Betfair, although anything could happen in Rugby League, which is why I’m delighted to see it back.

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