Author Archives: Peter Webb

When the sun sets, the Moonee rises in Australia

At this time of the year on Friday evenings, or Friday mornings depending upon which parts of the world you’re in. We enter a new period in the racing calendar. At Moonee Valley in Australia they start scheduled Friday evening meetings and we open with a bang with a Group one race and various other group racing this Friday. 

For me it marks the end of one Betfair trading season and the beginning of another. 

A setting sun

In the UK since May I’ve been going all guns blazing to do my best on the UK racing and we’ve also been spoiled with a lot of high profile quality racing and the evening racing. But as we go through September all of the flat turf courses begin to cease of the all weather courses begin to come online. And we sink into the winter. 

I realise that some people like flat racing, some people like jumps racing. People like different markets for a variety of reasons and for different markets there are different people and strategies. After all, a betting exchange is a diverse place full of opportunities to find. But the sheer quantity of markets that we have available to us in the summer means that this is the time of peak earning potential for me. 

The very first time I went through this cycle, Winter seemed to like a bitter disappointment. There was less racing smaller fields lower prise money fewer peaks and it just appeared to me that my earnings were going to drop. Which is exactly what they did. 

However, on the discovery of Australian racing, I began to realise that the end of September marked the opening of another peak period. It was similar to the UK summer racing. Apart from it was right around the other side of the world in the land of the great barrier reef. So the evening racing starting at Moonee Valley allows me to head towards a new peak, but just in a different geographic location!

Moonee Valley rising

We’ve already had some group racing taking place in Australia, but as we head into October some of the big racing really begins to start. The signal for me is when we get the Group One racing at Moonee Valley on a Friday evening. We still have races like the ‘Everest’ to come. But also, and more importantly, the Melbourne Cup which takes place traditionally at the beginning of November. 

Of course this is logical, because while we begin to suffer poor weather and cold temperatures in the UK things are just beginning to warm up in Australia. This can act as a nice supplement to my trading when the UK begins to turn down somewhat. Of course, one of the big problems that you have is Australian racing takes place overnight. 

There is no easy way to get around that particular problem because, obviously, it’s in a completely different time zone in a completely different part of the world. But there are a number of mitigating factors. 

Australian racing schedule

Most of the racing that takes place during the week isn’t particularly strong. You find that the Australian racing peaks on a Saturday, like most sports in the UK and the rest of the world. But there is also a minor peak Wednesday when better quality racing makes its way onto the card. But it’s seasonal as well. 

We have a nice uplift o activity on the run-in to December and then things die off a bit before returning again in February. That more or less sees us through to the start of the flat turf season in the UK. So it makes for a nice supplement to the UK racing even if the time with the racing takes place isn’t particularly helpful.

Trading Australian racing

Over the many years that I’ve been actively trading on Australian racing I’ve been able to take forward basic strategies that I’ve used in the UK use them in Australia, but that has also allowed me to transplant that knowledge and capability to automation.

Lots of the Australian racing takes place just after midnight and goes on into the early hours of the morning UK time and you can usually catch the tail end of the card just as we are beginning to wake in the UK. 

Where I don’t feel the urge to get up in the middle of the night to actively trade, I can just let automation do it for me. That’s one of the huge benefits of automation, the ability for it to be active in markets that you can’t be active in, or perhaps on this occasion don’t want to be active in. Trading software like Bet Angel, of course, is full of these features and has made it easy for me to translate ideas into fully automated trading strategies that I use in Australia.

However on a Friday nights from now until March you will also catch some racing taking place at Moonee Valley and perhaps a couple of other courses scattered around. So that does give you an opportunity to get a taste for Australian racing. Even if you’re working on UK time. 

It’s important to note however that Australian racing does trade differently to UK racing so it’s worth familiarizing yourself with that until you decide to commit to actively trading it seriously. Overall volumes are much lower than the UK, so rate at which the market matches bets is also different. But that’s fine, you just have to adjust your trading style.

Summary

I’ve been successively trading in Australia for a number of years and I find it a very useful supplement to my lesser activity in UK markets during the winter. I pulled out some very good results from Moonee Valley in the past and from Australian racing in general. But it very much depends upon the nature of the card, the quality of the racing and the types of races.

That said it’s probably something you should explore. Especially around the peak races and peak season.

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Betting and trading the Ryder Cup Golf

Why the Ryder Cup is different

The Ryder Cup is very different from other golf betting tournaments right from the opening ceremony through to the way it’s played and how.

Qualifying for the Ryder Cup Europe team has become an aim for any top PGA tour player and the captains will probably not need to motivate the players much, even if you are a seasoned major winner. People like, wildcard Ian Poulter, will require little motivation!

Stroke play versus match play

The key golf majors are stroke play tournaments, which means that over the course of four days, the players have to get around the course in the fewest number of strokes possible.

This means your trading strategy has to be different for something like the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup is a match play tournament where each individual game that takes place you’re battling to win a hole, rather than get a low score.

How do you win a hole? Say there is par 5, you’re trying to win that hole against your opponent by trying to complete that individual hole in fewer shots than your opponent and if you do, you get awarded a point. However, if you both end up getting the same score then the hole is halved. At the end of the round or when you have won enough holes you win the match and the point goes to either team. You can also halve the match and share half a point.

When you’re playing stroke play golf, you’re playing over the course of 18 holes, on a major, over four days. You’re trying to get the lowest score possible over those four days, but when you’re playing match play golf it’s all about getting the lowest score on one individual hole and adding those up to win the round.

On the Ryder Cup points are allocated to, or between, European players and American players and then the winner gets a point added to the team score at the end of each round.

The Cricket T20 of Golf: Incentive to Score

 In The Ryder Cup, the style of play is very different, the best way for me to paraphrase this is it’s a Cricket T20 for golf. It makes a bit more exciting because you have to go for the shots. You must win the hole on some occasions, so the player or group will go for it.

Think of normal golf as the Test match equivalent of cricket. You’re defending most of the time and you’re playing defensively whereas in the Ryder Cup and in match play tournaments there’s a huge incentive to go for a shot. If a player is a hole down at some point and there are not many holes left, then they’re going to try a few of those trickier shots in order to try and pick up a point or two.

Match-play Formats at The Ryder Cup

In traditional match play tournaments, it will be one on one, player against player, going off to try and win their individual match by winning as many holes as they can against their opponent.

However, in the Ryder Cup, you have different formats mixed up and there are two teams (Euro Vs. the USA). It may be that an individual player doesn’t play in the first part of the tournament (effectively they’re benched) but then will play in the singles a bit later on.

There are a variety of different formats within The Ryder Cup.

Ryder Cup - Foursomes vs Four-ball
The Ryder cup has many playing formats including Foursomes Vs Four Balls

Foursomes:

This is where two players from each team (the American team and the European team) go together in a group of four (hence the name). They hit alternative shots, one player will go up and tee off and then, on the fairway, the other player will play the next shot. That happens on both teams, they alternate, so if your colleague gets you in trouble and finds one of the water hazards, you’re going to have to dig yourself out of that trouble and vice versa. The players end up playing alternate shots throughout the rest of that particular match.

Fourball Matches:

There are four players in each Ryder Cup Team in this format. However, the player now has their own individual ball to play for a hole and then the player that gets the best score is the one that goes up against the opposing team score. It’s a slightly more forgiving format, so you don’t know specifically what’s going to happen.

Both of those formats are very different from what you would see in traditional golf and it makes it a bit more exciting and a bit more variable as well.

The Singles 

This happens on the last day and it is where the players play against each other and the captains or vice-captain of each team will strategically select players to go against players on the other side. On that last day of the singles, is often where the overall tournament is won or lost. But it can also throw up some unusual things.

In short, you get three different formats of match play in the Ryder Cup, all throwing off different trading characteristics on Betfair.

What type of trade?

If you are going to trade on Betfair, just how does the market trade overall?

Overall, I would expect the volume for it to be around £10-15m across all the markets, it has been higher but I feel that’s about what to expect. Around two-thirds of that will go on the outright winner market.

You can bet or trade Europe, USA or Tie. Think of the Tie like the draw in a football match, if one team starts to pull away from the other then obviously the price is going to drift but if it gets very tight and maybe you’ll see the price of the tie (the draw) start to come in a little. Whether you buy or sell risk in this market, you could consider the outright winner market a long-term type of trade.

Those are the three key trading options and that’s quite a big trading market. Below that, you get the match odds market, which will be the Four Balls, the Foursomes or The Singles where you have Group A against Group B and the Tie or a Hole to be Halved and those generate a fair amount of liquidity.

Overall these trading markets will generate £4-5m over the course of the tournament. If you look at all of the other small markets, they account for loads of little bits here and there, but not much overall. Therefore it will be the outright winner market and the individual match markets that account for the bulk of the liquidity.

Trading Individual Markets

If we look at the individual sections you know you’ve got the foursomes the four balls and the singles. Interestingly enough (although maybe not surprisingly) they all trade similar amounts of money.

At the last couple of Ryder Cup, you were looking at about £1.5m per individual groupings, so despite the fact that there are more players per group in the four balls and the foursomes, they overall trade about the same in total. So what that’s telling you is that in the individual singles matches will be slightly lower liquidity than the four balls and the foursomes. You probably want to narrow your focus to good position trading and short term trades in the individual markets.

If you look at the four balls that tend to be the most varied. I went through all the Ryder Cups since 2004 and looked for occasions where more than two selections traded below odds on. What that means is when a team gets into the lead it probably makes sense to lay them at fairly low odds in the anticipation that the other team will come back into the match at some point that works particularly well on four balls.

If we look at the foursomes that’s a little bit lower because the structure of the foursomes is different and they have different incentives to score. At the bottom of the list, we get to the singles on the last day, because we’re talking about the group effort of singles we’re not talking about a strategic play here. They’re just trying to win, so as a consequence about two-thirds of those will trade odds on and still go on to lose. However, the price at which that occurs will be a little bit lower.

There’s a gradual sliding scale in terms of the chance of players or matches trading odds on and the price at which they reach because the outcome is going to be more or less certain. The incentive to score or to try and go for an amazing shot varies across individual markets and individual groupings.

When you look at the singles, if a player is desperately in trouble and he could lose the hole, he may just go for a wild shot. If he’s got nothing to lose and he’s about to lose the hole why not to go for it.

However, when you look at, for example, the four balls you may find that there’s a little bit of co-operation in terms of the way the players are likely to play, given how they’ve played their first couple of shots. Overall, what you tend to find, is the match odds markets produce some great trading opportunities, they’ve got reasonable amounts of liquidity and you’ll very often see some quite variable outcomes on those individual matches.

There are lots to get stuck into, so I hope you enjoy the Ryder cup, where you are watching, betting or trading!

The post Betting and trading the Ryder Cup Golf appeared first on Betfair trading blog | Expert advice from Professional Betfair trade.

How to import your betting and trading selections

There are quite a few components to successful betting or trading.

Everybody wants a winning strategy, but part of your process should be to select a suitable market and a suitable selection within that market.

Bet Angel can import your data

Before version 1.56 of Bet Angel, the only way you could bring data into the software was to push that data into Excel and then bring that data into Bet Angel via a stored value. But now you can bring your selections directly into Bet Angel from a CSV file.

This means you can use third-party software or your own code to populate a text file which Bet Angel can then read and act on with its advanced automation. The data is pulled in via the automation into the ‘stored values’. These are basically variables that you can use elsewhere within the software.

What can you do with your data?

Once the data has been pulled into Bet Angel. You can use it to display information on your favoured trading interface, use that data to perform calculations or bet on information contained in that data.

Looking at things simplistically you can use the source data to just place a simple bet or trade on a selection contained in that file. But at the other end of the scale, the sky is the limit.

The best use of this feature that we have seen, so far. Is the ability to pull a whole range of data from a popular football statistics site. Bet Angel then takes this data, displays it and allows you to act on a whole range of statistics. If you want to use this, check out the thread on the forum. It is a slightly more advanced use of this feature, so you will need to do a couple of things to make it work: –

https://forum.betangel.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=22924

How to pull in data

To pull data into Bet Angel, you simply request it via an Automation rule type. This rule is ‘Set stored values using a file’. To select the file you wish to use, simple move to the ‘Parameters’ tab and select the file.

If you are using Bet Angel version 1.56 or higher the file format you need is stored in the templates area of the Bet Angel installation. You will also find in there an example file pre-populated with some examples so that you can get up an running in no time at all!

Enjoy!

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How a bookmaker makes money!

Everybody likes a little bit of a flutter now and again, a bet on their favourite sporting event.

When we look at horse racing, it could be the colours of the jockey silks or maybe it’s the name of the horse? Having a bet on it adds a little bit of interest to that underlying sport and events like the continue to draw interest from punters of all walks of life.

But as we all know, bookmakers win in the long term, but why is that? Read this article or watch the video to learn how!

So do you want to be a mug or do you want to be amongst the clever people?

Bookmakers are great at getting you to place another bet with the anticipation of a big win. Now, the big question is how do bookmakers make money from your average punter?

I’ve got five coins here and these are going to represent a betting market.

These coins are like having five selections within the market. Tossing a coin is random and as everybody knows if we toss a coin or spin a coin, it will land heads or tails.

So what we’re going to say is if we get three heads, then we will win this particular bet. However, if we get three tails, then the bookmaker will win.

If we go into a market, or in our case, we randomised the coins by shaking them within the cup.

You can see here on this occasion, the bookmaker wins because they’ve got more tails than heads.

What we’re trying to do here is just randomise a situation, but we’re also trying to represent the market’s different selections. So we’re saying there are five selections within a market and we just need to pick a winning bet out of this.

Maybe if you do a strategy that involves backing more than one runner, but what we’re just trying to simulate is a market where there is a winner and a loser within a certain number of selections in that market.

So on this occasion, you can see it’s mainly tails meaning the bookmaker wins. However, if we repeat this process enough then over time it will all balance out, there will be an equal number of winners and losers.

Sometimes we will win and sometimes the bookmaker will win

If we work this into a spreadsheet and repeat this over many thousands of experiments, we will find that we win 50% of the time and the bookmaker wins 50% of the time. This is what we would call a fair market

Bookmakers present fair markets because obviously they have a market of maybe five selections and they offer odds on all of those selections.

Again, you would expect in a fair market that you would win an equal number of times that the bookmaker wins and therefore everything balances out.

So how do bookmakers make money?

Well, what we’re going to do here is do this again, but we’re going to change one thing and run it over a number of experiments.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Animated-GIF-downsized_large.gif

The longer we repeat the experiment the bigger that gap is getting between the punter and the bookmaker. In my experiment, the punters won five times, but the bookmaker won 11 times.

So can you see over time, the more and more we encourage the punters to play, the bigger the margin is for the bookmaker?

You must be thinking, well, hold on a second here. You’ve got five coins here which are completely random, and yet the bookmaker seems to be winning these bets more frequently than you could possibly imagine.

So why is that? Well, if I turn over these coins, you’ll begin to understand how that was possible.

You can see that this time when I was conducting this experiment that one of the coins has tails on both sides. This is more or less how a bookmaker makes money.

Let’s examine this in more detail.

The bookmakers false market

Now you understand how a bookmaker makes money, you can almost view this as the bookmaker creating a false market. How can you spot, as a punter, whether you are actually betting into a fair market?

Well, it’s actually quite simple!

If you use a betting exchange on the top of the screen you will see a figure represented as a percentage. This is what they call the over-round. If the round is low, then you’re betting into a fair market. However, if the open round is high then you’re betting into an unfair market.

Over round circled

Be smart – know your over rounds

So an over-round is very similar to what we looked at with the coins.

If we look at a football match, for example, you have three selections within the football match. The home team could win, the away team could win or the match could end in a draw. One of those three things is going to happen and therefore there is a 100% chance of a home win and away win and a draw.

Therefore the over round should equal 100%. The closer the round is to 100%, the fairer the market.

If you use a betting exchange, you will find the over round prominently displayed on the screen. If it’s not there, you can actually switch it on if you’ve accidentally switched it off.

So where can you find the overall round on a bookmaker or on a sportsbook? Well, the simple answer is you can’t, they hide it!

They do not display the over round and that is because they do not want you to know that you’re getting into an unfair market. An important thing to understand with the over-round is the more uncertain the event and the bigger the number of selections it generally gives the bigger over round.

That is why the Grand National is a key target for bookmakers and sportsbooks every year. There are 40 runners and it’s a very competitive handicap race.

So all of that uncertainty and a very large field size leads to very large over rounds. In other words, the bookmakers in theory have a massive edge against you.

What we did was we went and had a look at the Grand National to compare how big this number was. If you actually look at the data, you’ll find that on betting exchanges, the over-round was 1% or less.

In comparison bookmakers over rounds ranged from 26% to 50%. The amount of margin that was being lost (or you can say the number of unfair coins in the game) was absolutely huge on the Grand National.

As a consequence, this is why there’s so much focus on trying to get you to have a bet on the Grand National simply because the bookmakers cannot lose with over rounds on that scale.

That is why the bookmaker market is so unfair, you could actually place all five bets and completely go broke with no hope of return. The more you bet in an unfair game, then the more money you will lose over the long term.

That’s more or less how bookmakers make their money!

For bookmakers and sportsbooks, having a bet with them is not an intellectual exercise, it’s just a business transaction for some entertainment. Like most businesses that want to charge for that, and they do that through the over-round.

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Betfair charts are broken – Here is the solution!

If you are Betfair trading, then it’s important to have a look at the Betfair charts. While some sports don’t suit charting, they are especially useful if you are trading pre-off horse racing markets.

However, there is a problem with Betfair charts.

The big issue is that they cannot correctly plot an accurate price history. It’s been a problem right from the day the Betfair betting exchange came into being and even with updates and changes it seems the charts have become more broken!

This blog post is going to explore why this is the case and I’ll provide a solution to these broken charts.

Why can Betfair charts be unrepresentative?

To begin, we need to look at how the Betfair charts record their data.

Firstly it is important to note that a Betfair chart is actually generated over many hours. So what you’re actually seeing is deeply compressed information.

If something from the market open starts to get shorter and shorter over a very long period of time, a normal graph would show a nice gentle slope as money comes for that particular runner.

However, when you look at a Betfair chart, the moves are a lot more exaggerated. Hours of movement appears on the left quarter of the chart and the right half is just minutes.

Betfair’s failed attempt to fix the broken charts

A couple of years ago Betfair tried to fix this, however, another problem occurred which completely broke the charts! The charts sometimes decided they would display the wrong information and in some cases, the charts even decided to go backwards.

It seems the most common issue was that when a large bet appeared, these new charts showed prices that would erratically jump from one price to another resulting in the time scale along the bottom being completely wrong.

It’s no surprise that all these strange things have resulted in nobody being able to trust them. So be careful if you’re using the standard Betfair charts only because they are broken. Betfair indicated that they are going to fix it, but I’m not completely sure when that’s going to happen, if or how.

So my advice to you…

Use advanced charts because they’re just so much better!

You can delve into so much more detail, creating a customised chart for your style of trading which can give you a unique view of the market.

Bet Angel advanced charting: the smart way to use charts

One of the first things we ever did in Bet Angel was to introduce our own chanting and it is something we continue to upgrade and enhance. Advanced charting allows you to overcome all these issues and significantly improve your trading by display tons of customisable information right in front of you.

The advanced charts give you a true plot of all of the price activity and you can scroll forwards, backwards and zoom and pan. This makes it possible to be able to see everything that’s going on with the market in the correct time frames.

Even better than that, on version 1.55 or higher, you can create and plot your own data on a chart using automation to store calculated data. This gives you the ultimate control over other charting options! It seems like a no brainer to pick the detailed and advanced charts over the basic, broken Betfair charts when trading.

Charting is such an important tool when trading, especially pre-off horse racing. I would recommend that you become familiar with the workings of advanced charting and remember not to rely solely upon Betfair’s charts.

But also, use them to create your own, unique view of the market. Something that only you are familiar with. Doing this will help you get an edge in the market.

If you want to learn about advanced charting in more depth, check out this video.

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