Friday 30 September 2016

unofficial pick & preview for October 1

Hi everybody,

As announced, here's the unofficial pick for tomorrow - I'll be taking the bet for one point, so for as much as I take the outsider bets for during the 2nd half of the season. Here's the full staking list:

advised bank: 60 points

unofficial long-term bets: 1 point
unofficial asian handicap bets*: 1 point (*such as this one)
unofficial outsider bets: 0.25 point

official asian handicap bets (Oct-Dec): 2 points
official outsider bets (Oct-Dec): 0.5 point
official asian handicap bets (Jan-May): 4 points
official outsider bets (Jan-May): 1 point


1 October 2016

National League: (0) DAG & RED - Tranmere (min. odds: 1.65) 1 point;2;0.00;0

No, not every bet I take and advise this season will be on John Still's Daggers, but if you ask me, they're significantly underrated by the bookmakers ahead of their home clash with fellow promotion hopefuls Tranmere. Daggers are the second best home team in the league with five wins (and a one-off 0:2 defeat to Boreham Wood earlier this month) in six home games so far (only Aldershot have a better home record at the moment with five wins and a draw), they've scored as many as eleven and conceded only two goals in these six home games and, as they've conceded both goals in the same game, each one of their five home wins was also coupled with a clean sheet (3:0 vs Southport, 1:0 vs Lincoln, 3:0 vs Wrexham, 2:0 vs Dover, 2:0 vs North Ferriby), they've won both home games against top-nine teams so far (1:0 vs 5th Lincoln in mid-August, 2:0 vs 8th Dover in mid-September) and also all four games since that shock 0:2 home defeat to Boreham Wood (5:2 at Solihull, 2:0 vs Dover, 2:0 vs North Ferriby, 3:1 at Bromley). I've written quite a lot about them in the unofficial long-term bet preview. I don't think Still is going to mess with the winning team, which means we'll probably see Justham between the sticks; Widdowson, Doe, Staunton and Raymond at the back; Robinson and Boucaud in the middle of the park and an excellent trio of Maguire-Drew, Whitely and Okenabirhie behind the league's top scorer Hawkins (ten goals so far) who's scored at least once (and up to three) in each of the last four games, with the likes of Benson, Howell and Assombalonga waiting for their respective chance from the bench. That's a very good team and, let's not forget, a great manager in legendary John Still who's proved many times so far he knows what he's doing - especially at this level.

Tranmere are currently managed by caretaker boss Carden and the new manager most probably won't be in charge of the team even if he is announced before-kick off (which is very unlikely). Carden's won his only game in charge so far (3:1 at home vs Woking) using a new formation (442 instead of the 433 which was what Brabin prefered), but the away game at Dag & Red should prove to be a much tougher task than the home game with Woking. Tranmere have only won two away games so far (2:0 at 20th Bromley on the opening day of the season, 1:0 at 10th Boreham Wood ten days after that, so a month and a half ago), they're now without a win in their last four away games (1:1 at Southport, 1:3 at Aldershot, 0:0 at York, 0:1 at Sutton), failed to score in the last two, they actually have one of the worst away attacks in the league at the moment with only five goals scored in six away games so far, they've lost their only away game played at a top-nine team so far (1:3 at 7th Aldershot earlier this month) and will be missing three key players (striker Connor Jennings who was Wrexham's top scorer last season and midfielder Harris who's only missed a few games since joining last summer are both still injured, while versatile midfielder/left-back Hughes is still suspended) and a couple of very important wingers, Mekki and Kirby, who are both still out injured as well (of these five players, only Kirby has a chance of making it). They did sign midfielder Osborne on loan from Fleetwood earlier today and that's still an excellent team for this level of football (Carden will most probably go with last weekend's winning team, so Davies between the sticks; Sutton, McNulty, Ihiekwe and Ridehalgh at the back; Steve Jennings and Maynard in the middle of the park; new signings Tollitt and Almond on the flanks; Cook and Norwood up front), especially in the final third, but Tranmere did fail to score in three consecutive games prior to the Woking home win, two of which were on the road, and those unavailable players, three of which are key first-choice players, will definitely be missed. All things considered, anything better than 1.65 for this draw-no-bet (we get our money back in case of a draw) looks great to me.

current best odds:

1.82 with Marathon...
1.80 with Coral (dnb)...
1.75 with Betfair (dnb), Sportingbet (dnb)...
1.73 with Pinnacle, Bet365, Ladbrokes (dnb), Skybet (dnb), Unibet, Will Hill (dnb)...

Thursday 29 September 2016

another unofficial pick coming soon

As things stand, I'll most probably have an unofficial pick for one of the upcoming weekend games, so tune back in before the Saturday 3 PM kick-off if you're interested.

I've mentioned less mistakes in the PA National League data reports lately. Scratch that. I've now analyzed all weekend (and one midweek) games and there's plenty of subs and yellow cards missing - again. They've even sent off the wrong guy - it wasn't Jones who was sent off for Woking away at Tranmere in injury time on Saturday. Jones was only yellow carded early in the opening half, which naturally isn't mentioned in the PA data report at all, while Ralph's the one who was sent off (after which Poke saved Norwood's penalty). The report on Woking's official website says so. The report on Tranmere's official website says so. The FA list of National League suspensions says so. You can even watch the challenge and the subsequent (saved) penalty on YouTube. I don't know that much about the Press Association, but surely they'd prefer to have the correct data in their reports, wouldn't they?

Monday 26 September 2016

the good guys

One of my all-time favorite bloggers Cassini is back after a short break.

I hope there were many of us who took the bet on Dag & Red to be promoted when they were @6.00 with Marathon and @5.50 with Bet365. To quote Cassini, "the best available now is 4.0 with Betway or BetVictor who may let you have 50p on if you're lucky".

Although according to some sources, well maybe one source, I run a global betting empire and am behind multiple web sites, I actually have no business relationship with Skeeve so when I say that he has a stellar record over ten years, and that I have no concerns about his integrity, that is my unbiased and honest assessment. 

If you're somehow not familiar with Cassini, you're probably not interested in betting or trading, but you should know that he's one of the good guys in this chaotic betting world, along with the likes of Joseph Buchdahl, Peter Ling, Rowan Day, Greg Gordon and Stewboss, to mention some of the very few. As you can see, he also has a fine sense of humor, which is probably much more important to yours truly than to your average gambler, but I'm not your average gambler - and neither is Cassini if I may try and observe. Anyway, thanks for the mention, Cassini, and welcome back from the Granddad duty!

Speaking of Joseph Buchdahl, I've recently stumbled upon a horrifying Betting Advice forum thread dedicated to a certain (so-called) verification service which was exposed thanks to Joseph and a few other guys. If you ask me, there's definitely a need for a trusted, publicly available verification service (you have to be subscribed to the SBC to receive their profit reports and other publications) since Joseph decided to hang up his boots, but those who I trust the most are already busy with other projects, so I guess we'll have to do with the good old SBC for now and possibly the likes of BetRush who I plan to take a closer look at in the next few days.

Btw I've noticed significantly less mistakes in the PA data reports lately (even though I'm yet to analyze most of this weekend's games). Long may it continue.

Last but not least, there were no unofficial picks last week, but we'll most probably have one (or more) later this week, so stay tuned.

Friday 16 September 2016

unofficial long-term pick

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE to be promoted  (min. odds: 4.00) 1 point

The Daggers have been doing great lately considering all of their injury woes. They're still without a couple of important, but injury prone players - first-choice right-back Williams (hamstring) and first-choice midfielder Guttridge (knee) - but now that the first-choice defensive midfielder Boucaud, first-choice centre-back Robson (who's failed a fitness test on Tuesday, but should be back in the team for either tomorrow's or next weekend's game) and versatile midfielder Howell are all back from their respective injuries, Dagenham & Redbridge shouldn't be @6.00 to bounce back to League Two straight away. Even with first-choice right-back Williams and first-choice centre-back Robson both sidelined (along with midfielder Guttridge), Dagenham managed to thrash Solihull 5:2 away from home on Saturday and then score twice and keep a clean sheet at home against a very solid Dover outfit who had just beaten bookies' favorites Forest Green a few days earlier. Versatile defender/midfielder Staunton who had started three consecutive games following Williams' injury at right-back moved to centre-back, first-choice left-back Widdowson moved to right-back, central midfielder Raymond moved to left-back and there you have a completely unexpected, but very organized back four that even keeps a clean sheet against Dover (btw it was Justham's fifth clean sheet in ten games so far) who had scored at least once (and up to four - on two occasions) in each game since the opening day. Anyway, with first-choice centre-back Robson back from his injury, Staunton will probably return to right-back and Widdowson will probably return to left-back, but it's good to know the Daggers can improvise very well when defensive injuries kick in, even when they find themselves with only one of the four defenders playing in his usual position like in the last couple of games, both wins (update: Daggers have now also signed versatile full-back/midfielder Ling until New Year, just in case). Then we have the two defensive midfielders, Robinson (who Still signed from Luton, which was the club he managed before his return to Dagenham) and Boucaud, who have both been excellent at anchoring the midfield so far this season, with Howell and Raymond ready to fill in if necessary. And finally, behind the league's top scorer Hawkins (eight goals in nine games he's played so far, including two hattricks), we have an excellent trio of Maguire-Drew (on loan from Brighton & Hove at least until January) who's already scored four goals this season, Whitely (who's only recently signed from Ishtmian Premier outfit Enfield where he scored 57 goals in 144 games) and Okenabirhie (who's already scored thrice after joining from Harrow Borough in the summer), with the likes of veteran striker Benson (who's scored 70 goals during his previous spell with the Daggers) and versatile forward Assombalonga waiting for their respective chance from the bench. And, last but not least, you have a legendary manager in John Still, who's already won this league with Maidstone (1989), the very same Dagenham & Redbridge (2007) and Luton (2014). He's also won more than a couple of lower-league promotions, made more than a couple of League Two play-offs (twice with Barnet and once with the Daggers) and holds the record for most games in all competitions (more than 1700) managed by an Englishman. He got his first managerial job more than 40 years ago. If there wasn't for the neverending takeover saga (Dave Bennett has now stepped down as Chairman as he's involved with one of the consortiums bidding to invest in the club), this bet would look even better (the min. odds would be even shorter), but even though the likes of Forest Green, Tranmere, Lincoln and Eastleigh all look like excellent teams this season, these odds are simply too big - anything better than 4.00 for the Daggers to bounce back to League Two straight away, either by winning the league or through play-offs, looks great to me.

current odds:

6.00 with Marathon...
5.50 with Bet365, Betway...
5.00 with 188bet, Skybet...
4.50 with BetVictor, Coral...

Thursday 15 September 2016

more PA mistakes + unofficial pick coming soon

I'm not sure if it's the PA (provider's) mistake or the BBC (client's) mistake, but right after I wrote my latest blog post, I've discovered an absolute champion as far as wrong National League data reports are concerned. I'm talking about a match day eight game between York and Solihull, which turned out to be a very comfortable 4:0 home win. According to the PA data report over at the BBC, the game finished 1:0, there were no substitutions and no yellow cards for York players. In reality, York did score four goals and kept a clean sheet, all six substitutions were made and there were two yellow yards for York players (along with the two yellow cards for Solihull players). You can take a look at the correct data report here. All things considered, please be careful with the PA data reports as far as the National League is concerned.

In other news, we should have an unofficial National League pick very soon and, as I announced, I'll be publishing all unofficial picks in the next five weeks on this blog.

Monday 12 September 2016

the Press Association and the National League


I suppose some of you know that the Press Association stopped providing shots on/off target data for the National League (Conference). As Joseph Buchdahl recently quoted on twitter, "PA has amended its collection agreement with the National League this season to a live goals, cards, corners and subs service. We are not collecting other match stats". In Joseph's one words, "Opta don't collect the data so that's the end of the match stats from the National League".

To those who don't know what Opta is, you can always check them out on Wikipedia, Google or whatever you use these days to check something out and go from there. In a few words, they analyze, store and distribute live sports data - for over 60,000 fixtures across 30 sports in 70 countries according to Wikipedia. Opta appointed the Press Association as the sole UK re-seller of rights to official soccer data from the English and Scottish leagues back in 2013 and, now that the original three-year agreement has come to an end, even though a new deal has been signed as soon as last summer, the things have obviously changed as far as non-league football is concerned.

Anyway, many clients have asked if the whole thing affects my work in any way. The truth is that it doesn't - as I'm focused on the National League only, I'm manually analyzing every single game myself. I've got nothing against publicly available numbers if they're the right ones, but I strongly believe that my edge comes from the data not visible at the first glance. A weak shot on target which would never in a million years fool the keeper simply can't be as important as a wonderful shot that goes inches away from the post, let alone more important.

I've noticed many mistakes in the PA National League data over the last few years and, even though they aren't providing shots on/off target data anymore, they're still making plenty of mistakes with their other National League data. The beginning of the season proved to be particularly challenging as there were mistakes in at least six of the twelve opening round data reports and, even though there were match days with a bit less mistakes, there's still way too many. Let's take match day six game between Macclesfield and Lincoln, for example. Macclesfield centre-back Byrne replaced fellow defender McCombe at half-time. Not mentioned in the PA report. There were actually three yellow cards for Macclesfield players and two for Lincoln players. Not a single yellow card according to the PA report. That happens from time to time unfortunately - the PA data report simply ignoring all yellow cards. Sometimes, though, it ignores some of the yellow cards and reports others, like in match day seven game between Wrexham and York. The PA reported no Wrexham cards and two yellow cards for York players. In reality, there were as many as six yellow cards - two for Wrexham players and four for York players - and one substitution has been ignored as well (McDonagh for Harrad in 86th minute).

If you're still looking for the shots on/off target data for the National League, you can always try and trust The Non-League Paper (which you'd have to subscribe to or buy to access the data), but I've noticed plenty of wrong numbers there as well - and they don't cover the midweek games as far as shots on/off target data is concerned, so you're back where you've started if you're looking for a consistent data source and not just an occasional one, for weekend games only. Also, there are some teams for which you can find shots on/off target data on a regular basis, midweek games included, but if you can get all the numbers for York and only some, recorded by The Non-League Paper reporter, for Braintree, you're once again right back where you've started - forced to either drop the National League from your betting/trading portfolio or quit your job(s) and focus on the National League only.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

is blogging still a thing?

Hi everybody!

It doesn't feel like it's been more than a year and a half since my last blog post, to be honest. I guess time just goes by more quickly as you're getting older. Not fair, but I'm afraid there's not much I can do about it, can I?

What I am going to do is get back to blogging. As I won't be advising official picks before October 22, this blog seems like a perfect place for a few unofficial picks I plan to advise in the next month and a half, some of which might be ante-post bets and those, as far as the National League (Conference) is concerned, unfortunately aren't available with the likes of Pinnacle and SBO - and also for some articles on betting. I can't promise these will be constructive or even interesting, but I can promise I'll do my best.

The first article will be about the Press Association decision to stop collecting some of the National League match data - they're still providing some data, but in a much lesser format (for instance, they're not providing the shots on/off target data anymore), which is why services based on the number of shots will/have probably have/had to drop National League altogether. I think it's an interesting subject and I'll try and get some of my colleagues to join the conversation. The post should be online in a couple of days.

So is blogging still a thing? I'm not sure. Either way, It's good to be back.