Friday, 21 August 2009

Emulating Usain Bolt

No, this post isn’t about my dash from the near end of Platform 1 at Manchester Piccadilly to the far end of Platform 14 (which I made by jumping down the last 5 steps as the whistle went for the train to depart…) but rather Bolt’s insistence on playing down his tremendous achievements. If you listen to the man after he finishes a race, you would believe that he has finished outside the medals despite the fact that he has just smashed a world record.

Now, I am far away from achieving any world records, but if you listened to me after any game, you would expect me to have made a massive loss and never to have won anything although this is more a case of my never ending quest for perfection and refusal to accept satisfaction!

However, believe me when I say that last night’s National League game was my worst trading performance.

Being off work to watch the deciding Ashes test provides me with the opportunity of having my Netbook tuned into Betfair to monitor prices all day and for most of the season, the price on the favourite in the National League game has crashed down during the day of the game.

However, I failed to get onto this as the price seemed so low to begin with and my attempts to trade the match in the hour before the match to get some green on the draw went very wrong as the market sensed Batley were too low and pushed the price up. Mr Lumpy did appear briefly, but I refused to bail and even threw more money at the game and then as Lumpy disappeared, I was looking at a substantial red before kick off. However, being sure of a Halifax win, I moved all my red onto Batley but kept some green on the draw thinking that if Batley were to keep it close, the draw price would save me.

Now, at this time, I also made the mistake of not fully concentrating on the market and getting distracted by a conversation and to complete the vicious circle, I then got so annoyed at myself for having been needlessly distracted, that I approached the game in the wrong frame of mind. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to get pumped up and exercise before trading a match, but I find it is a good idea to spend 10 – 15 minutes looking at the market and thinking about the match and possible early events and the price swings that would mirror the events; getting yourself in tune with the match so to speak.

So, not only did I approach the game wrongly, I missed the first ten minutes and found myself joining a match in which Batley had scored first and had a 6-0 lead. And then there was the slope. Now, for those of you who don’t follow rugby league, Batley’s home ground is subject to a large slope which tends to produce vastly different performance levels and with Batley having the slope in the first half, I was effectively opposing a runaway train. So, I turned myself on, and backed Batley some as they continued to crash down, before believing that Halifax were too large, I backed Halifax and for once, my luck was in, as Halifax then scored through a 50/50 Video Referee decision although fearing the worst, I had actually traded some out waiting for the decision.

However, I still had the chance to get out for almost no loss, when Batley scooped up on a loose ball and scored. However, if the above decision was 50/50, this one should have been 0/100 as the Halifax player was blatantly tripped only for the Video Referee to ignore this and give the try. It’s hard to argue with increasing calls to remove the Video Referee when you see such blatant decisions be wrong. A couple of weeks ago, Blackpool winger Damian Munro was sent off and suspended for one match after an identical trip. Consistency, where art thou?

So, at Half Time, Batley were in the 1.1s and I had a significant red on the Bulldogs. What do I do next? Obviously, I lay Batley and back the draw. Going against the slope and with a 22 point lead, Batley were too low and the draw price was absurd at the high 40s. Halifax are in a rut, but they can score points, and a 22 point gap against an inferior side, going with the slope, is very little and the market eventually realised, pushing Batley upto 1.24 and the draw coming into the 30s so much so that I could get out for no loss and I did due to an error. When Halifax were awarded a penalty at the start of the second half, I thought it had been given to Dewsbury and looked to largely lay off before realising my error, and keeping some money on Halifax.

Anyway, Halifax scored four consecutive scores to level the game up at 28 all with ten t go and give me a green screen of £100. Don’t be fooled however by the nice green, that was pathetic. I had identified a dream trading opportunity, and had largely bailed too soon and most of the £100 profit had come from my draw trading, which I had given away too much in the 10s and 20s when the draw eventually crashed down into middle single figures. Now, I advocate backing the draw quite strongly and have done pretty well in this regard despite only 3 TV games ending up as a draw and part of this is due to my draw trading which regularly sees me take a few ticks on a £10 stake and keep the profit on the draw. Whilst that is nice, too often I am giving away value which is only going to hurt in the long run.

Anyway, my evening wasn’t over yet as Batley scored to take the lead and I ended up getting amounts matched on Halifax at 8 and 16 and on the Draw at 40. Of course, at this time, I didn’t really trade out and they didn’t come in, leaving me with around £200 on Halifax and £300 on the Draw at the full time whistle and whilst £115 was a nice eventual return from the game, the fact is that my net scoreboard suffered a massive red due to my worst performance of the year by some distance.

And speaking of rubbish ideas, before I briefly get onto looking at this weekend’s games, allow me to explain my latest strategy, which is probably as ridiculous as it sounds.

Now, with the RL season approaching its conclusion, I don’t really have any solid ideas to fall back on, especially with the F1 season also nearing the end of its European season.

So, my latest idea is to back 0-0 in every Premier League game to earn £50 increasing the stake sufficiently to cover previous losses. One thing that my RL trading has allowed me to accumulate is a large bank and whilst 0-0s are a rare score, they (hopefully) occur often enough to make a profit.

As for a losing run, a bank of £500 would cover 27 games and a bank of £1,000 36 games and if that happens, then I would walk away, admitting that this idea has failed.

Obviously this idea should be ignored unless you have a very large bank, but as the saying goes, money makes money. Of course, there are significantly easier ways to make money, but the idea is to earn money with little work.

There are also two other advantages with this approach. The first is that at the moment I am a trader and strongly averse to gambling. Hopefully this strategy will allow me to develop the ability to let good trades run longer and become more accustomed with having money at risk. It didn’t start well as I couldn’t follow Wednesday’s games due to the 0-0 on the Birmingham v Portsmouth game but hopefully it will improve and whilst my natural instinct would have been to trade out, at 1.15, the price seemed to large for a game with only 2 minutes of injury time left.

Secondly, is the Premium Charge. Obviously, this approach will see me lose lots of money before I win money and whilst I will end up in profit, the hope is that the money turned over will be sufficient to placate the Premium Charge and possibly build up a nice enough sanctuary for the start of the 2010 RL season and if not, I trust myself to cut my losses and move on.

So, looking ahead to this weekend’s RL tips and I would like to re-iterate that I accept no liability for typing errors or just getting it plain wrong! These are my thoughts and useful for me to run through. By all means, feel free to use them, but if they go against you, you probably won’t be able to cut and run as quickly as I can.

Anyone who is familiar with my posts on the Betfair forum will be familiar with my thoughts on Hull v Harlequins. I would initially have Harlequins as the team more likely to win. Can Hull win? Of course, and with my tip, they probably will, but the 9/4 that was available with Bookmakers was absurd and something that went quickly. I have kept monies in Bookmakers who I have taken free bet offers up on with the possibility of taking prices if they so appealed and this was my first chance to do so, although I am obviously wishing that I had placed more than the £37.50 I did!

Why do I like Harlequins? If you look at the form, you see they have won 1 from 9 whilst Hull have won 2 from 12 but whilst Hull appear to have no creativity, Harlequins will have Danny Orr, Luke Dorn, Chad Randall and Rob Purdham. Quins also have a more desperate mentality needing to win for the playoffs, and their best form has come away from home. Of course, Hull will be playing for pride and with the pressure off, they could surprise, but 9/4 was a ridiculous price. Still, we have seen this season that a ridiculous price does not always equal a victory.

Unfortunately, the Friday SKY game looks like being a damp squib with Huddersfield sending out their reserves. Hopefully people will recognise this and come together on the handicap market, but it is doubtful. I just hope that Huddersfield get the same stick that Saints have received for performing similar antics before, which the records actually show can disjoint the team and gives Warrington the edge in the final for now in my opinion.

Speaking of Warrington, they need to win to maintain playoff hopes against Wakefield on Friday and they have a reasonably strong squad. Without Danny Brough Wakefield may lack creativity and the market on Betfair currently looks appropriate as both teams have question marks. That said, I think the current value lies slightly with Wakefield although I feel more comfortable having backed Wakefield at 4 on Betfair overnight than I would if I backed them now at 3.5.

The other Friday game sees Salford play Hull KR. As I mentioned last week, I am uncomfortable backing against a Salford side that have shown they can beat anyone. However, whilst I have a dislike for odds on shots, Hull KR in the high 1.4s seems another case of home bias as Hull KR have a chance of 3rd place and will be on a maintainable high after last week’s victory over St Helens.

I will be in Larndarn for the 5th test over the weekend so I haven’t analysed the Sunday games that much. As for the Saturday game, my only comment would be that whilst a crisis usually draws a team together, having 6 players deported will probably mean that whatever their spirit, Celtic have no chance against Leeds. My only surprise is that someone is willing to lay Leeds at 1.03.

Bradford v Catalans sees another case of home bias. Whilst Bradford are in good form, and Catalans can struggle away, I think the current prices are more favourable to Catalans, although I think it is more a case of slight home bias rather than outstanding value.

As for the other Sunday game, it is a tough one. The market has displayed a huge love for Wigan this year, and they have been one of the most unprofitable teams to back. However, Castleford have struggled at home this year and the home side bias could ensure that Wigan are priced favourably. Ultimately, this is a game however where the best opportunities will come in running, and as this is a game that I will be unable to follow, I will probably blind back the draw and hope for the best.

Still, all of this will pale into insignificance in comparison to the real sporting event this weekend. The decider at the Oval. Unfortunately, James Anderson’s streak without a duck has gone, but hopefully England will be able to retain the Ashes although the odds don’t look too good at the moment. Still, come on England.

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