Sunday, 15 February 2009

That’s a lovely tree… but where’s the forest???

With the first weekend of SKY Super League games out of the way, it is time to reflect on missed opportunities, poor decisions and mystifying happenings. Plus, my trading performance. Which, to be honest, was dreadful.

I maintain that there is no better sport to watch, or trade on than Super League. There just isn’t. It combines end to end action with breathtaking ball skills and violent collisions. Sure, you get the odd bad game, but even bad games have their moments, much like yesterday’s game between Salford and Celtic Crusaders.

Going into the game, I could not call it and did not disagree with the Betfair odds of around 1.5 for Salford. The City Reds have a slightly better squad on paper, a coach who has shown he can succeed at this level and home advantage, which whilst usually overrated, is a factor against sides like Harlequins, Catalans and Celtic, for obvious reasons. However, I wanted to wait to watch the opening action before getting heavily involved. I maintain that whilst it is comparatively easy to rank squad’s ability, the variation in performance levels on any day is such that you can never be totally sure of how a game will begin.

That didn’t stop me however, from getting involved in the Pre-Match market, although I yet again made a mistake which is all too common. Around 6.00 PM, I had £10 green on both teams and -£150 on the draw or so. The draw was heavily available at 26, and I could have had a nice green on the draw. However, the draw had been trading as high as 36, and this was the price that I believed was accurate, although with slightly reduced liquidity (Saturday games see less money than Friday’s), there was no-one around willing to lay the draw at even a generous 30.

So, I attempted to create green on the draw via laying the two teams, which I had achieved with some success during the day, and laid Salford at 1.53, hoping to lay Celtic around the 3.1 mark, when the prices suddenly changed to around 1.5 and 3.5. With kick off approaching in around an hour, and knowing that the market can get much more volatile with team news coming through and the much larger players getting involved, I bailed out to around £1 green on either team and £30 or so on the draw, only to see Salford and Celtic go back to the original odds within around 10 minutes or so!

There is no doubt that part of the skill involved in trading is knowing when to cut losses and when to wait for the market to come back to you. My largest problem is definitely in panicking too much. Even when the market dipped, I was confident that it would come back, but I just seem to have a problem in waiting things out and panic at the prospect of things going against me, despite the fact that avoiding a Betfair crash, there was practically no chance of me even entering the game with a red book.

And this problem was equally prevalent in the second half of the game. Now, at this point, I had a double digit green, just, on all sides, and I was considering re-allocating a small portion of the green to Celtic. Now, to be honest, I could not see a way back for the Welsh outfit, but this is Rugby League, where price swings are very common, and so I allocated £2 of my green on Salford to the other results at 1.05.

With just a 14 point lead, the game was far from over even though Celtic looked like they would struggle to score three tries against no defence, but surely one piece of luck would send the City Reds out to 1.2. As it was, the Crusaders got the luck they needed and more when Jace Van Dijk, their Captain, went off injured. Now, I respect everything Van Dijk has done for the Crusaders, and the fact that he carved up defences in the lower leagues, but with the greatest respect possible, Van Dijk is not good enough for this level. Now, he can still be a part of the team, but so long as the Crusaders try to route everything through him, they will struggle.

Anyway, the Crusaders scored and they drifted out to the mid 1.1. range, which was a frankly ridiculous price. There was 10 points in the game, and the Crusaders had scored two unanswered tries and were getting on top. Yet, I traded out.

In the cold light of day, allow me to go and punch myself in the face. Repeatedly.

After everything I have said, I traded out at 1.14. For £3.60, from a £2 stake, even though I strongly disagreed with the price, even though Celtic were getting on top and even if Salford had scored next, I could have got out for no loss, and even if I had lost, it would have been £2, and less than 15% of my green at this time.

I’ve had a few comments in the past about being too harsh on myself, but when I do utterly stupid things like that, how can anyone defend that. If I can’t trust my eyes and thoughts, and can’t even stomach the thought of possibly missing out on £2 or £3, what is the point.

Anyway, Celtic did score next to get it to 20 – 16 and the market did move out to 1.45 for Salford, which whilst still a crazy price, 4 points in it and the side on the back foot was at 1.45. That just reflected the fact that the Rugby League Markets are slow to respond to comebacks. I would have priced Salford at around 1.6. They should still have been clear favourites, but when one moment of sheer luck can change the leader, no way should a team be at a lower price than they were at kick off.

As it was, Salford did run out victors 28 – 16, but not until more crazy prices appeared. My favourite being Salford available to lay at 1.01 with seven minutes to go when Celtic had a set of six inside Salford’s ten metre zone. A converted try would have put them within 6, and whilst Salford would still have been a 1.1 shot or so then, I could not resist taking advantage, and if Tony Duggan had not made a horror show of a clean break on 77 minutes, the market would have drifted out to at least 1.05, which is a 400% profit.

As it was, I ended up with a profit of just under £25 which is obviously great considering that I am earning money to watch something I would happily pay to watch, but is a massive disappointment when I consider not only what it could have been, but what it should have been. I seem to be able to set out rules and ideas which work, but I appear to be very poor at implementing them, during a game.

Maybe it was just that I was too cautious of throwing away green which would not be recoverable if Salford turned onto the 1.01 track, Maybe it is just pre-season rust, maybe it is not having enough of a feel on the competition yet, but I am worried that it is merely reflective of the reason that I set up the blog, which is that I am not only too cautious, but am ridiculously too cautious. In fact, after nights like last night, I look back and wonder how the hell I even managed to get double figure green on all teams in the first half!

Anyway, on the plus side, with nearly £100 earned this weekend, it will allow me to be slightly more adventurous on other markets (knowing that I will still be heavily green for the month even with a major disaster is a massive positive), unless I lose my nerve there!!!

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