Thursday, 18 June 2009

Looking ahead to the weekend.

Decent game in the Northern Rail Cup tonight with Featherstone very unlucky to lose at Barrow. Aided by some fortuitous refereeing decisions, Barrow were able to establish an 8 – 0 lead early in the game against a Featherstone who were at this point down to 12 men with Stuart Dickens in the Sin Bin.

Featherstone then showed tremendous resiliency to battle back and actually take the lead at 8 - 10, only for Barrow to score with less than three minutes on the clock, a late penalty goal taking the final score to 16 – 10.

As for my trading, I backed the draw before the game at odds of 34 and 36 and would go onto lay from just before kick off at 29, at 26 in the first half, between 21 and 17 at Half Time, and then spent the second half trading small stakes between peaks and troughs. I ended up with just over £30 which is a pretty reasonable result. I could have taken close to £50 just after the Featherstone try, but held out for the draw, keeping between £150 and £300 on the draw, in case Barrow received a kickable penalty which would tie the game up.

I think this game displayed perfectly my new approach to trading, in so far as I held a red position for extended periods of time, and was less hasty in greening up. I feel I am at the point now where consistency should be replaced by perceived value. I am not dealing in massive amounts, more on that later, but I am still carrying red far more than I previously would, in the belief that my bank can tolerate less successful periods to allow me to capitalise more on the very large opportunities that my trading style can offer.

One thing that I have noticed recently is a very large decrease in liquidity on the RL markets. Thursday night games have become almost impossible to actively trade in play with prices disappearing on attacks and re-appearing when the game is temporarily stationary, and even then with large margins in built. The Varsity match at the start of the year attracted more than £70,000 in bets whilst tonight’s match I think was around the £35,000 to £40,000 mark. I don’t know where the in play betters have gone, but the market is definitely a worse place without them.

Even Super League matches have seen reduced liquidity. Not to the extent of the Thursday night games, but there never seems to be as much money around these days. It is very easy to spot the welcoming arrival of Lumpy, but betting before and during matches definitely seems to be smaller and smaller. At the start of the year, it was usual for four figures to be matched on a game the night before. Now, it is sometimes as low as three figures.(Sometimes the market will display a large amount, but that often seems to have been placed, shall we say, curiously.) More recently, the starting draw price also appears lower and lower, although this may just be a reaction to the Hull KR v Warrington draw.

I cannot understand why there has been such a decrease. RL remains a good sport to trade, and I haven’t spotted decreased liquidity in any other markets.

Anyway, before I ramble on too much about life’s woes, I’ll turn my attention back to the point of this blog entry which was to look ahead to this weekend’s games. Now, I don’t want to appear to be “tipping” or recommending anything, just more to get my thoughts down on paper for others to comment on although obviously I will be expressing opinions! I just commonly can change my opinions and obviously team news can always be a big factor, but I am sure any readers will see some common but unusual themes running through, such as a disregard for form, a favouritism for underdogs and a leaning to the away side. The middle probably being sandwiched by the other two.

A strange fact about my general tipping performance so far this year. At the moment, I believe I am top of the Super League tipping competition on the Betfair RL forum whilst in another competition I enter, I am languishing close to the bottom. The difference between the competitions is that the former awards points in line with bookmakers’ odds, the latter awards points solely based upon the team you think will win and the respective margin. I dare say you need not be a genius to possibly recognise a strength here.

I have always had major problem in betting on non televised matches. Aside from my general theory that it can be too hard to predict such games as you cannot watch the early stages and get a feeling for what sides have turned up, in play liquidity is practically nil, at least until the closing stages. For a trader like me, that is close to hell. Still, it is becoming apparent that this may be an area in which I could potentially perform reasonably well in, and it may be something worth looking into.

So onto this weekend’s games. Recently, I have had difficulty in attempting to guess bookmakers’ opening prices, and rather than view this as a disadvantage for early trading, it may be a positive in so far as when I attempt to calculate prices, if there is a large difference, then might there be scope for profit. Possibly.

Huddersfield v Castleford is an encounter that I’ve already seen twice this season, and on both occasions the games have been very close in the opening half, before Huddersfield secured victory late on. In the first game, at Castleford, I believe Huddersfield drifted to as far as 3 on Betfair pre game as Castleford had enjoyed a successful start, and whilst I can’t recall the starting price of their most recent game in the Cup, Huddersfield were clear favourites and did start well before Castleford came back to look set for victory before collapsing late on.

Words cannot express my shock then when I saw that bookmakers had Castleford as long as 10/3 this afternoon. I had considered Castleford to be a decent 2/1 shot! Such differences often cause me to re-think my opinion, but on this one I’m stumped. There appears to be no obvious injury news and this price seems to be too good to be true. With this game being on SKY as well, then I will also consider a trading price and not just a betting price, in so far as if I see two teams as being close, then I will take lower odds because even if they don’t win, I expect them to offer the opportunity for an in play trade.

My only concerns would be that the prices are so different, but that hasn’t stopped me being successful in the past (See Saints v Bradford and Warrington v Catalans), the fact that my draw trading automatically needs the underdog to perform well, and therefore in effect any bet on Castleford is in effect a double bet against Huddersfield, and the fact that obviously I agree that Huddersfield should be favourites, showing that I am likely to lose in a straight bet, although if perceived value is now to be ranked higher than consistency, that should not be a factor.

Obviously, I also usually like to watch the game early on, before committing myself to a bet which may also dissuade me from getting on board, but it is certainly something that will occupy my mind whilst at work tomorrow.

The Saturday night TV game sees Harlequins host Leeds. It is interesting to note that these two teams met at the same time as Saints played Bradford earlier on in the year, and that an accumulator bet on the successful underdogs could have paid out over 100/1. No such luck this time, but my initial thoughts are that again Harlequins are too large.

I initially thought Leeds should be in the 1.6 to 1.8 range, but given the Quins less than great home performances this year and after re-consideration, I think that Leeds might be as low as 1.5 and that this is a game where the opening 10 minutes could be crucial, although in the event Leeds drop below 1.4, that could convince me otherwise.

The other games on Saturday also see me disagree with the prices listed. Hull KR appear generous at anything over 1.3 away at Celtic, but I view the game differently to most; I would take the opinion that Hull KR must win in June at some point. (Hull KR have never won in the Super League in June) whilst I think Celtic will still be on a high from last week’s success and therefore unable to rise to the occasion again. Still, backing such a short favourite with no opportunity to trade out is not something that appeals to me and therefore I can’t see me betting on this.

Catalans v Warrington is a different kettle of fish. I initially thought this would be the most difficult game to call. Both teams will want to put on a performance after last week, add in that the game is to be played at a neutral venue and it is a tough one (I usually afford Catalans, Celtic and Harlequins some home credit due to the distance that needs to be travelled). I honestly believe however, that Warrington are a very large price, in what should be an almost level game in my mind. Warrington have stabilised a lot under Tony Smith, last week’s display can be attributed to the fact that he was in France for most of the week in my view, but Warrington are without Lee Briers, and their recent performances have shown that he is the battery that makes them tick. They are no longer the one man side that they once were, but without his controlling influence, they are not half the side they should be, and that is a huge question mark. Therefore, I will probably only decide on a bet once the teams are actually announced.

You may have noticed that I have not commented on Hull v Salford and Bradford v Saints and that is because I largely agree with the bookmakers’ prices. I do think that at 11/4 and 4/11, the better bet is Bradford, but I would not think that is a great price, whilst Hull v Salford is a genuinely tough game to call. I did comment that I thought Salford would beat Hull in the cup, when Hull could be laid in the mid 1.1s, but in the 1.4s I am not convinced. Put simply, I don’t believe that Hull will carry on playing as badly as they have been for much longer, although again, if I had to choose what the better value was, I would probably say Salford at 3s.

So that is a brief window into my mind’s thinking on this week’s rugby. It wouldn’t surprise me now if I got all the games wrong! But we shall see, and if anyone has any thoughts, comments would be great.

No comments:

Post a Comment