Latest Cases - December 2014

The dance the donkey died to...

9th December 2014

Good afternoon, friends,

In this issue of Punters’ Verdict….

  • The dance the donkey died to….
  • On the Grapevine….

The dance the donkey died to….

A couple of weeks ago I reported on the results I experienced when testing Templegate’s daily tips in the Sun. You can review my comments here. The selections produced a profit of 14 points. A profit of 13p per tip isn’t exactly good reason to break into a summersault but it’s better than a smack in the mouth I suppose.

It’s certainly better than what readers of the Daily Telegraph were served up by that newspaper’s tipster, Marlborough, between 16th September and 22nd November. That’s the period over which I reviewed 104 selections provided on the racing page of the paper’s website. 

You get a couple of selections per day – a nap and a next best. And you can expect to be backing a lot of favourites. 51% of the selections were sent off at the top of the market. You are not working here with a guy engaged in seeking out value or looking to trump the market. The average SP of Marlborough’s selections amounted to 2.18/1. Just 10 of the 104 selections I saw went off at 7s or bigger.

If there’s one thing you’d expect a guy to do when’s he’s picking out horses in that kind of price band, it is to find winners and plenty of them. And the strike rate was pretty good with 37 winners producing a 35.5% winner to runner ratio over the period. An additional 19 selections went close and finished 2nd. Had just half of those runner-ups gone one place better, Marlborough would have been operating at a strike rate of something like 45%.

The problem for Marlborough is that he probably has to be operating at that kind of stratospheric level on a consistent basis to produce any kind of meaningful profit. As it was the strike rate of 35.5% I experienced only produced profits of 3.8 points – or a shade over 3p per selection – making the exercise of backing the selections barely worthwhile.

Of course, even 100 tips only serves as a snapshot of what any service will deliver over the long-term. But the likelihood is that a service with this kind of profile – selections generally at the top end of the market – is never going to produce sufficient returns to pull away much beyond a neutral bottom line. It’s case of the dance the donkey died to – one step forward followed by one step back and so on. If you like running on the spot then Marlborough’s free service is one you will learn to appreciate. But if you’re looking to get ahead you need to look elsewhere.

Verdict: Disappointing. Free services are all well and good but if they don’t produce profit then they are worth no more than what you pay for them.

On the Grapevine…. 

What we hear and what we see in the betting industry this week…. 

  • A 30 point loss over 3 weeks – Last week I reported my minimal experience with the recently released Simon Patton Racing service. Verdict reader DY adds his own experience: ‘Since launch Simon's service had one spectacular day where all 3 tips won at middle to big prices. Other than that it’s been a struggle. I’d say 50% of advised prices are gone within minutes of emails arriving. To prices I've managed to get, the service stands at a 30 point loss after 3 weeks. That’s not entirely encouraging, especially as the tips are based on Simon's ratings. A 10.2% strike rate is not conducive to a winning system even with Simon's average odds.’
  • Only bet on football matches in the best leagues – that’s if you want to be sure you’re betting on a straight game. That’s the advice offered by convicted football match-fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal. He feels that leagues in Eastern Europe and Asia are particularly vulnerable to being rigged – and he should know. ‘In order to stay afloat, some clubs and some players are still involved in match fixing,’ he told journalists in Hungary last week. He’s in Budapestto be key witness for the prosecution in a match-fixing trial involving 12 defendants, including Tan Seet Eng, a Singaporean also known as Dan Tan, the alleged head of a crime syndicate suspected of rigging matches around the world.
  • We think the bookmakers have a role to play in curbing corruption in football –it is their insistence on producing markets for Mickey Mouse games and leagues around the world that creates the climate where match-riggers, corrupt players, coaches and officials can thrive. Revisit our thinking on this subject here, here and here.
  • Football is not the only sport with corruption issues to solvecheck out the latest scandal in the world of tennis where, Morgan Lamri, an obscure 22-year-old French tennis player and official has been banned from the sport for life for match-fixing and gambling. The stiff penalty handed down will act as a deterrent to some. But where financially strapped players and temptation exist in the same readily-accessible environment there is always going to be someone prepared to cheat for a quick profit. You can’t fight human nature.
  • Getting most bang for your buck – I am quick to slate bookmakers when they are out of order. So it’s only fair to highlight instances where they get it right or do it well. Such was the case with Skybet on Saturday. Not only did they offer enhanced place terms of ¼ 1-2-3-4-5 on the Becher Chase at Aintree. They also returned win stakes to punters whose selections finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th. Using that double concession it was entirely possible to back a horse, see it place 5th, get paid out on the enhanced place terms and get back the win part of your stake. There was no better bang for your buck available in the marketplace. I am not one to sing the bookmaking industry’s praises lightly. But right now a Skybet account is clearly a must-have betting tool.
  • How bookmakers work (part 523)– Bookies are a persistent breed. If they like the way you lose money (i.e. hand over fist) they will hound you for more business – whatever your circumstances. Disgraced accountant, David Bradford, was sent to prison for fraud after becoming addicted to on-line gambling. His family went through his email box and found that 8000+ of the 11,000 emails in there had been sent by bookmakers encouraging him to bet. Talk about over-friendly. And even when he got sent down he wasn’t free of their seductions. Whilst in prison he received 45 texts from bookmakers inciting him to resume betting. In such circumstances it must be nice to know you haven’t been forgotten.  
  • Good news & bad news – first the good news. Word reaches us that Victor Chandler, a rather wooden and unconvincing thespian, will no longer be starring in TV ads for his betting company. The bad news is that Mark Lawrenson (what a charmed life he does lead) and Sven Goran Eriksson (how much money does this guy need?) have been signed up to take his place opposite Paul Kaye. It’s a case of two for the price of six (Sven doesn’t come cheap). Sounds like a good time to get rid of the TV.

I’ll be back with the Verdict next week.

The Judge

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