Thursday, 2 July 2009

Looking ahead to the weekend (again!).

Another decent Thursday night in a large part thanks to Toulouse’s opening try of the game not long after I had laid Barrow. Of course, I had greened out before Toulouse scored their second try, and that is becoming a recurring pattern and something that I will need to correct going forward.

Anyway, in addition to other trades in the first half, and my approach to the draw, I ended up winning £35 after commission, which is a good result for a Thursday night game where the liquidity seems to get worse every week. The result could have been different but I did not really trade the second half; with BetTrader seeming to suffer from heavy lagging, and my own inability to get a grip on the game.

I had intended to post last night on how I study games before I ran through this weekend’s games tonight. Sadly, thanks to the incompetence of National Rail, that didn’t get completed, but hopefully I will find the time to post it despite I head off to Wales next week for the first Ashes test. (Although if National Rail continue with their incompetence… I was delayed by almost an hour tonight! The trains seemingly cope as well with sun as they do with snow.)

Looking ahead to Friday’s games, the non televised game sees Saints play Salford at The Willows, and I can’t really see any potential opening. I had expected Saints to be lower, which would have offered a small bet on Salford, but that just goes to show that I can’t predict the bookmakers’ prices!

The other game is the televised game, and this is the type of game which I dislike for reasons which might sound bizarre at first. Basically, I strongly disagree with the bookmakers’ price to the extent that I want to get into a big fight with them! Now, when I have felt this strongly before this season, it has worked out pretty well, but as I was planning to outline last night, Rugby League is fundamentally a game that can turn on a large number of factors, some of which are essentially random, and the more I disagree with the price, the more likely I am to eventually get one wrong, big time. After all, I always figure that there must be a reason for the price, and what am I missing?

I could not help myself from piling into Harlequins last night at a price which, whilst representing value, will only increase to kick off. This leaves me in a pickle of whether to trust my instinct or to reduce the red that I have on Wigan, and thereby reduce the odds that I effectively hold on Harlequins.

The other problem that comes with having backed the Quins is that if Wigan get off to a very quick start, it restricts my ability to jump on even better value. Favourites in RL matches nearly always get pushed down to an absurd level when they start a match well (The Lumpy Effect) but if you already have a very large red on them, then piling on them again won’t reduce the average odds by a substantial amount, whilst it offers much larger potential for a big mistake, if you actually find yourself on a 1.01 express. Have you tried jumping from a moving train recently?

As regular readers will know, I have the ability to talk myself out of anything, so before I do this, let me outline in brief why I disagree with the price strongly.

After 20 minutes of the Wigan v Hull KR game, the Warriors were a club in crisis. They need a new coach for next year given that Brian Noble is almost certain to leave, and have had a big player, Gareth Hock, provisionally suspended for drug use. They have not performed to expectations, and whilst the news that Sam Tomkins will play is a big boost, Wigan are no longer the force they were.

Meanwhile, Harlequins have had a fantastic year. They are a well coached, disciplined outfit who have excelled on their travels this year. They play as a team, and their young kids have really stepped up this year.

Put simply, there is no way that Harlequins are as poor a side to accurately represent the odds and that is how I perceive the game (Super League itself is a much more level playing competition now). I am bound to get one wrong eventually, but taking a long term look at how the teams have performed this year and their respective skill levels the price cannot be justified in my view.

However, and here is where I begin to doubt my gut feeling, Wigan did come back against Hull KR, showing tremendous spirit, and Sam Tomkins played a huge role in that, and he will play the full 80 on Friday. Meanwhile, Harlequins are without the inspirational Rob Purdham and the danger of Luke Dorn.

But, add in the fact that I always disagree with the extent that odds display home advantage and the fact that I nearly always disagree with the way favourites get shortened, and I think I have to stick with my gut instinct.

One final point that I would contend is that even if Wigan go onto win easily, this would not necessarily mean that my initial thoughts were incorrect. Put simply, I am interested in general value and therefore playing a match once, with a large number of random variables, does not allow you to accurately determine whether I got it wrong. Indeed, it is these random events, such as a penalty, or a knock on (which, depending on field position can by themselves create massive opportunities out of sync with the flow of the game) which probably explain why underdogs can seem to do so well generally.

So, ultimately, whilst this bet has a relatively high percentage chance of being wrong, the potential reward far outweighs the ultimate risk, but only if you ultimately stay with your initial conviction! If like me, you trade out too soon, then you will struggle with such a relatively long term trade!

Moving onto Saturday’s game, and I have no strong opinion on the Leeds v Hull game. Hull are a solid side, who really struggle going forward. It will be hard to see this being turned around against the best defence in Super League, and with this game being on TV, it is one that I initially want to watch.

Celtic v Warrington is another game which is hard to find an opening into. Tony Smith has removed some of Warrington’s inconsistencies, and they should have enough to ease past the Welsh outfit in terms of talent.

Catalans v Hull KR is a difficult game because my initial instinct is to lay Catalans. Again, I consider Hull KR to be overpriced. The visitors are coming off a difficult loss, and their awful June has ended, whilst Catalans are coming off a win, which leads to the French outfit being overpriced.

The relative disruption that travelling to France causes does mean that Catalans normally receive a slight home advantage, but should they be such clear favourites? I think not, but again, this is a value call more than anything.

Sunday’s games fall into exactly the same situation, although I would say that my strength of conviction is less here. Whilst I positively identified the two above games as being wrong, I disagree less strongly with the two Sunday games, but believe that value does lie with the underdogs. Backing Bradford has been fairly profitable this year, but again, at 1/3, they are underrated against a Castleford side who need to start winning to get back into the playoffs, and will be very motivated for this game (I would have wanted 1.6 and above to consider Bradford as value, and less than 1.5 to consider Cas). I also would have expected Huddersfield to be 1.5, and not 1.4, for their clash against Wakefield, who always appear to play better than expected, unless they don’t show up and get thrashed!

So, there are my brief thoughts on the weekend’s action. Four games have been identified as creating possible value, and if two of them come in, then given the odds, you would be in a nice position! However, I keep looking at games and thinking that even if they are value, they will all eventually lose one week! Just hopefully not this week, and hopefully not Harlequins!

No comments:

Post a Comment