Sunday, 12 April 2009

A mixed bag.

2 days, 4 games of Rugby League on the TV. It should be great. It wasn’t.

Things started well enough. Too well possibly, if such a thing exists. I had managed to lay Sheffield for £50 at an average of 1.2 before kick off, and in the minutes before hand, I got a £10 back of Doncaster at 7.2 matched. Doncaster score in the first two minutes, and I halve my liability, trading out at just over 4. Doncaster score again, and I green up equal on both sides at 2.2. I knew I would likely be busy for the rest of the match, and a £25 profit for less than 10 minutes work and over 100% ROI can’t be grumbled at.

A Doncaster penalty then made it 14-0 and they slipped further to 1.8. I know National League 1 games can be erratic, the last two have seen the draw trade in single figures, so I threw some cheeky backs out, and they got matched. After that however, no-one was interested in the draw market, and I was forced to keep more green on the draw than I would like. (I had next to no green on the teams, and whilst I had mentioned the need to be more aggressive, eliminating all green would have just been reckless.)

However, that worked out well in the end as the draw price traded in the mid 3s before a late Doncaster drop goal pushed it out. I ended up making close to £90 as I traded out in instalments. Sure, it could have been more, but it could have been less, and for a game which I only had half an eye on, it was pretty impressive. Especially considering my initial stake was just £20!

So, on a high, I settle down to watch Wigan v Saints. Pre match, I thought Wigan would show up well. They have always done so in the past when their backs are up against the wall, and the opening sequence showed this. However, what happened next was one of my biggest mistakes in trading sport. Basically, I was so desperate to get on Wigan that I accepted too low a price just before their first try, in fact I went in so low that even after Wigan’s try, the market shot up! (The liquidity was pretty poor early on, and pretty much missing in team attacks.)

At this point, I’m slightly nervous at the huge (by my standards) liability I have on St Helens, when they get the ball back from the kick off and score. All of a sudden, I am in a hole. A massive hole. Now, I have only ever had one big loss on Rugby League, and that was when I let a draw bet run in Leeds v Wigan this year.

I start to panic and make a series of ridiculous trades, which sees me accept a red screen of over £60 at Half Time. I then allocate some onto the draw, even though the price was lower than I would have liked, to at least have some green on my screen.

Anyway, during the second half, I get my screen back to around £30 red after regaining some composure, when Wigan begin to pressure Saints’ line with less than 10 minutes to go. I can’t remember the exact number of consecutive sets of six, but the Saints price rose to 1.5, and I went in pretty deep on them, thinking that even if Wigan scored, they would need a conversion to draw, and I know Saints usually finish strong.

Thankfully, Saints hold out and I can green out, although my mistakes aren’t over as I double back Wigan, leaving my green on Saints as £2. By this time, no-one wants to back Wigan and so I left my screen, still amazed at having got to an all green screen.

Looking back, I have to say that I really reacted poorly to my initial mistake. I never chased losses. However, I never thought through the subsequent bets. If I had stayed calm, I would have been in a better position, and I also really did not like the way I reacted to the events. At the end of the day, I was down £60. If I can’t handle losing £60, I should just give up now. So much for accepting more risk!

Onto Friday, and I was £20 up on the teams with a larger green on the draw at Half Time of the Hull derby. At 18-4, I was getting progressively greener on the draw, and I also decided to lay Hull KR at 1.1, for a measly £10.

Now, this is where I have the most difficulty in betting on RL markets. At 45 minutes gone or so, no team should be 1.1. I don’t care how the match is going so far, it is a crazy price for a sport which can be so heavily influenced by a piece of luck, or a mystifying referee decision. However, I equally know that if I lay the price, and I get it “wrong”, then all the profit that I have gained up to now, will go. Over time, I know that laying the price would be profitable; however, I am still reluctant to lose profit on that particular market. (Plus, the two instances where I have done this have been two of the only times that the price has never rebounded!)

Anyway, my heavy green on the draw allowed me to increase my green up to £45 on Hull KR, £55 on Hull and still have a large three figure green on the draw, although Hull’s comeback just fell short, at the last possible moment when a huge win was a distinct possibility.

Onto Bradford v Leeds and I got caught out before the game, turning a pre-game profit into a pre-game loss, as my lays of Leeds from 1.33 downwards kept getting matched! At the start of any Super League game, I will equalise to red or level between teams no matter the price, with at least £500 green on the draw.

And when Leeds scored first against a butter knife like attacking Bradford, it looked like a wise decision, although once Leeds appeared at 1.11, I started to lay them, convinced that Bradford would come back, although I was more interested in adding to my green at the equally wrong price of around 55.

Bradford equalised, and at Half Time, I was looking pretty decent. I had been conservative but I had a pretty good green on the draw. However, then the API system went completely nuts, and the game became untradable through the API, so I traded out to almost level green and watched the game, keeping slightly more green on the draw, although had the API been working properly, I am convinced my profit would have been far more than the £30 I managed.

Just a quick word on the game and the controversial decisions, I am sure that Leeds’ late two tries were indeed no tries, but I also felt that Bradford’s second score should not have been given. The ball from the kick appeared to change direction twice. I feel there was a very slight forward touch from the Bradford player, before the Leeds player re-directed the ball. It is only obvious when the incident is super slowed down, but I do feel Bradford got lucky with this decision, although their overall commitment probably justified the win.

All in all, I earned £208 profit this week as against my weekly target of £250. Overall, the £208 was pretty pleasing, although yet again, I feel that I did leave a lot of profit behind again. Especially when considering my near £1,000 profit in the Betfair Tipping Competition this week as against £100 stakes on Bookmakers’ best prices (I was successful on tipping Wakefield, Salford and Catalans in the non TV games. I tipped Celtic on the Handicap incorrectly, and also tipped Hull KR, Bradford and Wigan). Obviously, I would never risk £100 in any non televised game, but the concept of value is something that I should look into more. I do seem to be able to correctly predict as many underdog victories as I do incorrectly, and given that the odds of these are usually higher than 2.0, perhaps there is an edge there to be exploited. Perhaps, I’m just lucky, but I am doing very well in tipping competitions, despite this including several handicap markets which I am historically much poorer on.

More food for thought and maybe something I will look into more after tomorrow’s games. For anyone who is interested, I find the Warrington price to be ludicrous, (I think they should win, but I have no idea why Castleford are as high as 2.8), whilst I also think that Bradford are perhaps very slightly longer than they should be, the same with Huddersfield and I also would not be shocked if Hull defeat Saints. Certainly, at 8/1 or greater, they would be decent value.

Just to emphasize, in all four games, I agree the favourites should win. I just think the favourites are shorter than they should be. I don’t really have any opinion on Catalans v Wigan, but I’m sure I will be able to find one during the game!

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