Friday, 29 February 2008

Here we go again - another Italian banned for betting

Federico Luzzi has joined the list of Italian tennis players suspended for betting on matches. One of the sacrilegous bets he placed was apparently three euro on himself to win!

This continuing story is mostly bizarre because it's the only Italians being caught and punished - there have got to be more.

Read the Foxsports article here

another rogue trader reminds the market that financial trading is just another form of gambling

And people thought betting on motor racing was dull - I'd much sooner bet on that than the price of wheat! £71m down the drain by a rogue trader

The only difference between this and a problem gambler is that he was using someone else's money. The financial markets are just another form of gambling - they just have a much higher reputation because blokes in suits choose that form rather than Walthamstow dogs....

WTA finding appeal with on-site punters

Just a couple of weeks ago, WTA officials in Antwerp ejected three spectators betting on their laptops. Now in Dubai, they've gone another step and removed a spectator who was giving commentary by phone to a colleague who was obviously trying to take advantage of the broadcast delays on Eurosport.

Read the article here

Kudos to the WTA for doing something about it. At least there are actions behind their words in their vow to keep the sport clean from match-fixing. Whilst there are no allegations that the punter was doing anything illegal, apart from possibly aiding it from Dubai where it would be banned outright, trying to discourage betting on-site is admirable. Not to mention having a spectator in a fairly quiet stadium giving a running commentary throughout the entire match would be distracting to the players themselves.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Cheltenham getting closer

Now's the time to compare bookies for special offers, particularly non-runner, no bet. Offers differ between firms, so look closely for the best deal!

Friday, 22 February 2008

racing at Nad Al Sheba

Watch out for this horse in future - Sun Classique. Scintillating win at Nad Al Sheba (Dubai) tonight. Was in all sorts of trouble down the straight, blocked in, had to check and come out wide to get a clear run, took a few strides to get going then really motored home to get up on the post. Brilliant win in a solid race, only very good horses can overcome that amount of interference and win. Amazing turn of foot (acceleration at key moment).

She's a 5yo mare trained by Mike de Kock of South Africa, watch for her chasing international prize races. De Kock won this race a few years ago with Irridescence who went on to win in Hong Kong and also race in Europe.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

another Italian tennis player banned for betting

Oh dear, the ATP have decided to use a sledgehammer to smash a peanut yet again because another Italian tennis player has placed legal bets with legal and licensed bookmakers on tennis matches. A $35k fine and a 100 day suspension on a player who has done sweet FA for a long time.... and the point of this is??

Betting on matches is naughty, and especially if their own match is involved. And these bets stopped back in 2006. Obviously Italian culture involves a lot of betting, particularly on tennis - that's three of them now. But if the ATP can't dig up any evidence to convict the likes of Davydenko or Kafelnikov, then this stinks of a smokescreen and nothing more.

Galimberti won THREE matches last year, all at challenger or futures level. His career is over. What a lot of chest-beating about nothing.

Official ATP release

Sunday, 17 February 2008

smart advice from an American sportsbetting writer

Covers.com is a great website if North American sports are your go. Proper stats and previews for the gambler rather than the bland stuff in the papers where pundits aren't gauged on their results.

Tonight's the Daytona 500. It's the big one in NASCAR and I'll be trading the Betfair market trying to lay them all low and watch for big prices with a chance back in the pack.

Australian state government policy is harming society

A damning article in the Melbourne newspaper The Age, reporting on the damage caused by poker machines (also known as slots in the US and fruit machines in the UK). These machines are totally pointless and do not have "any real civilised justification for (poker machines) other than a means of indirectly taxing the people who are too stupid to work out what they are doing".

Come on governments of Australia - you look down on some societies for their 'problems', well this is yours and it is endemic. You're all too gutless to ban them, so start restricting their numbers and the places they can be operated. Putting them in regions of high unemployment and welfare reliance is simply stealing from the poor.

Almost anything is good in moderation - putting them in every pub in every suburb is like giving every citizen free syringes and a bottomless heroin supply. These machines cause far more devastation to society than people smoking.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Betfair monthly newsletter

A very handy newsletter from Betfair, full of interesting and educational material.

Betfair InPlay newsletter

Oh and did I mention that I help compile it? :)

Friday, 15 February 2008

Media pundit declared bankrupt

Not the first one and certainly won't be the last one.

BBC article

Too many 'experts' in the media might be great tipsters, but as money managers they are completely undisciplined. The guy I thought was the best judge on Melbourne racing used to act like a desperate in PubTABs (betting agencies inside a pub) on a Friday afternoon, traditionally some of the worst quality racing in Australia. It made it very hard to take his advice seriously even though you knew his judgement calls were well researched.

95+% of punters lose overall, the ones doing it for a living in the media generally aren't the guys who are winning - otherwise why would they need a job?

have WillHill abused their duty of care?

Big story this week in the UK press is of a leading greyhound trainer suing bookmaker William Hill for £2m, after the punter had self-excluded himself.

Daily Mail article

Gambling unfortunately attracts people with addictive personalities and people who simply can't stop betting, despite what their bank balance tells them. Stories from casinos in particular where gamblers simply bet their lives away hurt the entire industry which works hard to keep itself above the seedy reputation earned by a tiny minority of establishments. Companies in the better-regulated jurisdictions all have responsible gambling policies, where problem gamblers can stop themselves from betting with a company via self-exclusion measures.

The punter here alleges he started gambling again just weeks after he sought self-exclusion with Hills, and they agreed to it. Then he proceeded to lose £2m fairly quickly. It's easy to blame the punter for his lack of self-discipline, but if William Hill have committed to stopping a punter needing serious help, then they should be severely penalised for their irresponsible behaviour.

William Hill are apparently the easiest bookmaker to open multiple accounts with to take advantage of free bets or if you've been closed down for winning too much. That's pretty ordinary for such a 'professional' organisation.

This will be a landmark case for the industry as will the Australian case against Crown Casino.

Ninemsn article

Gambling firms do have a duty of care and cowboys who think they can exploit confessed problem gamblers should be kicked out of the industry.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

ESPN investigation into tennis match-fixing

The ESPN sports network has spent months investigating match-fixing on the ATP Tour, and particularly the infamous Davydenko match from last year. It probably won't be broadcast in the UK, but here's a link to article and some of the footage, click here

key betting events to avoid

I'm all for the notion of every sporting event or betting market offered becomes an opportunity for profit. Do your homework better than anyone else and you can be rewarded well. And the satisfaction for doing that is often worth more than the money. But there are certain events and signals which should tell you to steer well clear of getting involved.

1. Betting on your own team - bookies love punters who will fanatically back their own team or country. When betting with the heart rather than the head, any concept of value or proper analysis of the betting goes out the window. UK bookmakers make millions every year because England teams across most sports are incredibly over-rated. When was the last time England won anything of note in football? 1966. The cricket team won the Ashes in a tight contest in 2005, and since then have been flogged regularly. The overnight result against NZ was embarrassing. England rugby fares better, but they only bother to turn up at the World Cup apparently. With a comfortable lead last week over Wales, they simply capitulated.

2. Betting on events where all contestants aren't trying. Let's get one thing straight - arranged results do happen in sport but the majority of them aren't because of betting. Italian football matches from March onwards start looking a little suspicious as teams with nothing to play for start letting other clubs who are desperate for points to stave off relegation get convenient results. Draws in football should never be shorter than 3, but it is common to see some Serie A & B games have the draw odds-on. It's usually the bookies though who know first, so there's no dramatic price plunge. But, they're not always right - sometimes people put two and two together and get five. In the African Cup of Nations just last week, two teams would have both reached the next round if they played out a draw, knocking out Nigeria in the process. The draw on Betfair was matched ridiculously short, well below evens... and the game ended up 3-0.

Any tournament which has group or round-robin stages is prone to players or teams not caring about results, particularly once they know they have already qualified, or can no longer qualify. Snooker this week has been in the headlines for the Malta Cup, a round-robin event with no ranking points. Bookies bet on it, but there's not a great deal up for grabs for the players except prizemoney and a week away from cold Britain. Consequently some of them have been known to turn up and get on the piss all week. Allegations are rife that Stephen Maguire was out every night, drinking heavily and in no state to play the tournament. So a few people noticed, told a few others and suddenly Maguire's opponents were being backed as if they couldn't lose. Joe Swail's last match saw heavy betting on his opponent as Swail had lost all his other games, couldn't qualify and obviously didn't care a great deal. The money for Lee for heavy and consistent. Was it a fix? I doubt it, but it was evident that Swail wasn't too bothered about winning.

The ATP tried round-robin events briefly in 2007 but we were slated by all and sundry about how it would only encourage dead rubbers, contrived results and players not caring. And wisely, they scrapped the idea just a few months later. A key time in tennis and golf especially not to get too confident is the week before a major tournament - players will be more concerned about being fully fit and in form for the big money and ranking points available next week, not the small fry for winning the minor event. So don't expect them to be busting a gut.

It's only human that professional athletes will become complacent at times. The Australian cricket team has been embarrassed by rare losses to Bangladesh and Zimbabwe when they let their guard down. The big names have their minds on bigger challenges, yet the opponents have their day in the spotlight and absolutely nothing to lose. The modern mindset of tabloid media and losing punters is that it always must be a 'fix' - but genuine upsets have always occurred - 100/1 shots do win horse races every week, win golf tournaments every few weeks, and even two or three runner contests occasionally too.

Monday, 4 February 2008

bookmaking - is there a science to it?

The latest Journal of Prediction Markets features an article looking at ' Does Sportsbook.com Set Pointspreads to Maximize Profits? Tests of the Levitt Model of Sportsbook Behavior'

Looks like an interesting read but can't see myself paying $40 for the privilege.

Amongst their findings:

Abstract:
The Levitt (2004) model of sportsbook behavior is tested using actual percentages of dollars bet on NFL games from the internet sportsbook, Sportsbook.com. Simple regression results suggest that Sportsbook.com sets pointspreads (prices) to maximize profits, as the Levitt model assumes, not to balance the betting dollars, as the traditional model of sportsbook behavior assumes. Sportsbook.com is found to accept significantly more wagering dollars on road favorites, larger favorites, and on the over for the highest totals in the over/under betting market. Bettor liquidity constraints and sportsbook betting limits may help explain this result.



All sounds pretty logical to me - if there's ever a time you want to take on a favourite, it's when they are away from home. On stronger (larger) favourites, then the risk is far less anyway and mug punters love the overs so the smarties are generally on the unders. Not rocket science, but worth learning how and where bookies try to make money from punters.

Here's the link

no such thing as a certainty

A great weekend of sport and more evidence that there is no such thing as a certainty in sports betting.

The Superbowl - New England were undefeated all season, going for history trying to emulate the 1972 Dolphins etc, and were strong 12.5pt favourites. The Pats took the lead inside the last two minutes and looked set to win by just a few points... and then along came Eli Manning who threw the Giants to a shock victory.

Six Nations rugby - England, supposedly the second best team in the world after losing in the final of the World Cup last October, were strong favourites against Wales, and led 19-3 early in the second half. Tens of thousands were wagered on them at the lowest Betfair price possible, 1.01 (risking £100 to win a single pound), but it was the punters laying that price who were celebrating. A remarkable Welsh comeback saw them triumph 26-19 and the England backers (1.24 before the start of the match) feeling very sick.

Tottenham v Man Utd - with the last kick of the match, Man Utd got out of jail, claiming the late equaliser. Spurs were matched for plenty at 1.01 and 1.02 again, money-buyers trying to win a penny for every pound and getting burnt big time!

No sympathy for people taking such stupid prices - there is no such thing as a certainty, and the time you really need that one to win, no matter how far ahead they seem to be, it will turn around and bite you!