Neural Networks And Betting

January 29, 2012

I’m not going to go too overboard in this post mainly due to the fact that I have only recently started posting again on this blog after a year or so absence.  Many of the blogs I have linked to in the past have since removed me from their own blogrolls (and rightly so) after a long period of inactivity so there’s only a few out there that still carry my link (and they too have been dormant for a good while also).  Anyway the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t think that there will be many people who actually read this post but I’m writing it nevertheless.

I’m seriously considering a change in the way I’ve been doing things and going back to something that I still consider to be a potential good thing.  There are a couple of reasons for this and they are that I have a fair bit of free time right now that needs filling plus my betting activities recently have been totally devoid of any kind of discipline/real focus/adherence to a set strategy.  I have two choices – continue as I am or get off my lazy arse and do something about it.  I’m choosing the latter.

Many years ago I completed an honours degree in Business Computing.  My final year project was entitled Neural Networks For Horserace Prediction and without wishing to blow my own trumpet I have to say it turned out way better that I could ever have dreamed it would.

It will take some work but my plan is to resurrect this project and start again from scratch.  The original floppy that contained all the training and testing information is long gone so that fact dictates that I must begin anew.  The good news this time around is that the neural network shareware that I used for the project has had 15 years to evolve and get tweaked.  That, plus the fact that the computer I have now has significantly more power than the Dell Dimension DX2 66MHz pc that I had used to complete the project the first time round.  I am almost excited at the prospect of a long drawn out period of obtaining and feeding in the thousands of pieces of data that are necessary to retrain a new network to recognise the patterns that ultimately will single out future winners.

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a couple of posts will see that I rarely venture into backing horses, preferring to stick with football matches.  There are reasons for that.  I used to make my living from backing horses and I knew a fair bit about the game and I’m not naive enough to believe the claims by those who make them that racing is all above board.  Bollocks.  As a former ‘putter onner’ for a couple of (former) high profile jockeys I can tell you that isn’t the case (at least it never used to be).  It’s quite tiresome though when you place money down in good faith on behalf of others and things don’t go the way you’ve been told they will and you soon learn that if you do your own thing then you’ve only yourself to blame when things go wrong.  Having said that I’m not saying that every race is bent…if it was the sport would soon die a death if the racing public thought that was the case and so it follows that opportunities exist to accurately predict the winners of truly run races now and in the future.

I have toyed with the idea of creating something for football as well and I have a couple of ideas but rather than go to a lot of trouble and jump feet first into a football application I’m going to stick with racing as I already know exactly what data I need and where to find it.  I just wish I was half decent at writing code as I could cut my input time exponentially by screen scraping the info and using it as my input rather than manually entering it in but my forte isn’t as a programmer so I have to go the long way round.

I’m also going to create a blog based site that I own rather than write about it on a free wordpress blog like this one.  In fact I’m going to migrate some of the previous content that is on here to the new site as I feel there are a few really good older posts on here that it would be a shame to just kill them off.

Not that I expect a deluge of comments but if anyone has anything useful to add that might be in this ballpark (neural networks used in a betting application) I’d love to hear from you.  For now though I have several things to attend to – I need to get hold of the latest version of the Neural Net simulator software, I need to start looking for and compiling a huge amount of past race data, I need to get a website up and running…there’s plenty ahead yet before this thing goes live but I promise you this – if this new network performs anything like the best performing network out of the 8 I created for my project then there’s going to be a lot of interest in my new site.

Watch this space for more news as things progress.

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Free P&L Spreadsheet

January 25, 2012

It appears that a lot of people are searching for something that enables them to record their bets as they go along.  This is a basic must do if you take your betting seriously.  Back in November 2010 I wrote a short piece about recording bets and I made available for download the spreadsheet template that I use.  Since that post is now buried in the past I’ve created a widget on the right side of the page that allows you to look at and download the same spreadsheet if you think it’ll be of any use.

Onto today’s business.  There’s a lot of games on today and the focus for most will be on the high profile games at Anfield and the Camp Nou.  I may or may not get involved depending on how things go in the interim.

My day started badly with a poorly timed lay.  Galatasaray went a goal up after around 4 minutes so I rooted out a feed to see if I could get a feel for how up for it they were.  Lots of effort convinced me that they were looking for a second but as I prepared to lay the 1-0  HT score the suspend sign came up.  My feed showed the ball out for a throw in.  The HT market cleared and resettled to reflect a 2-0 scoreline but my feed was still yet to show the goal.  Eventually it came and I decided to lay the 2-0 HT score as Gala looked to still have their minds focussed on another goal.  It never came so I start my day with a reversal.  Moving on…

I’ve got two bets on currently.  I’ve pretty much dutched the 3-0 and 3-1 scorelines in the Luton v Mansfield match.  Luton have been immense at home while Mansfield have struggled away.  The stats point to a Luton victory but I’m not fond of backing teams outright especially at 6/4 on hence the reason why I’ve gone for a correct score bet.  A quick check of the HT market shows there’s still no score so I’m covering the two bets I already have with a lay of 0-0 HT…there, it’s done.  Now all I need is a goal before HT, hopefully to Luton and things start to look up a bit.  Back with an update later.

UPDATE>>>>>>>>> Ugh.  A vile first half played in a stadium with less atmosphere than there is on the Moon.  Mansfield had a penalty shout turned down but the replay shows a clear handball in the Luton box.  At the other end Luton hit the bar but overall a very disappointing first half with very little creativity and lots of messy ball control.  It was more of the same in the second half with misplaced passes galore.  Any chances that either side got either finished in row Z if you were Mansfield or tamely passed to the keeper if you were Luton.  All in all a dire display of toothless headless chicken  school playground stuff…give me a 0-0 Copa Lib fix anyday over this…at least the Copa fans make up for the shoddy on pitch rubbish.

Todays disastrous results so far have now triggered chase mode.  Next bet is Any Unquoted in the Brazilian game between Paulista & Commercial SP.  Back later.

UPDATE>>>>>>>>>  Well chase mode isn’t serving me very well.  The Paulista mob could only manage 3-0 so no payout there.  In desperation after watching the Paulista game’s first half I squandered a tenner late on in the Barca match..it too got left behind.

My account is seriously depleted now so it’s Mickey Mouse betting time for a bit…either that or just bung the lot on some event or other happening.  I have a fancy for a Red Card in the Internacional v Once Caldas match later on.  The ref is extremely fond of producing the card and if the stats I’ve found are correct he’s dished out at least one red in 14 of his last 20 games.  Let’s hope tonights match produces another. Back later.

UPDATE>>>>>>>>>  OMFG.  The match looked promising red card wise as three yellows were produced before the first half was only 27 minutes old but two of those players were substituted and only one further yellow was awarded halfway into the second half so a very tame affair for a Copa Lib match.  Very disappointed.

The account stats are horrendous and will take a miracle to bounce back…it’s either that or a reload but I don’t want to do that.  I have been toying with an idea that won’t benefit me in the slightest financially but will demonstrate that it’s possible to earn some decent coin from football betting.  I’ve long complained about small betting banks being a total waste of time UNLESS betting is an out and out hobby for you.  If you do it for reasons other than to make money then a small bank is fine.  If you’re seriously trying to make money you need a big start bank, no question.  Anyway, my thoughts are for sleeping on for now…here’s the details for today

Start Bank       :    134.55
End Bank         :      5.00
Profit / Loss    :   -129.55 (After Commission)


£100 to …. £???

January 24, 2012

Dumped a ton into my account earlier today as income from working is a tad lean due to it being ‘that time of year’, which is another way of saying I don’t do much in the winter months.  So, in the time honoured tradition of a thousand Betfair challenge threads let’s see how I do with this reload.

I wanted to get this out before the start of my day but that didn’t happen so I’ll have to aftertime the first bet and then go from there.

First bet of the day was a lay of 0-1 HT score in the Anderlecht v Gent match.  Originally I planned on laying the 0-0 HT score but got carried away doing something else and missed the first goal.  Thankfully it went in early  and to the away side to boot giving me confidence that chances were good of another coming before the break.  As I type it’s currently 2-1 to the home side so this one is done and dusted.

My main interest for the day is a dutch of 3-0 and 3-1 in the Torquay v Dagenham game at 15.5 and 13 respectively.  As there’s not much in the account to begin with stakes aren’t huge but will be a nice earner if one or the other comes off and if there are goals, especially in the home sides favour, then an easy trade out should present itself somewhere along the lines in the event of there being any other final score.  I would normally cover my correct score bets with a lay of the 0-0 HT score but Betfair neglected to offer the HT score market in play until I phoned them up to ask about it…that may explain the terrible liquidity in that market…just £813 matched as  I write.  Anyway, that’s it for now.  Will be back with an update later on and may well be backing ESPANYOL outright later on.

UPDATE>>>>>>>>>  Well so far no good.  The Torquay match turned out to be a dud with only the one goal going in so no chance to trade and money down the pan.  I heard it was all Dagenham in the second half and noticed some dramatic moves as either Torquay layers stepped in or Torquay backers removed their offers.  I opted to lay the 1-0 in the correct score market to try and finish with some green but no more goals meant a little more given away.

Onto the Espanyol match…I really expected Espanyol to show up to this match but they were seriously tested by their lower league opposition in the first half.  I expected at least one goal so layed the 0-0 HT score…money down the pan.  As I type the score is currently 1-1 so I’ve thrown caution to the wind and backed Espanyol to win with more than I should have…if they lose or draw then my account is seriously in trouble on day 1.  Oh dear, how sad, never mind.  Back after the conclusion of the match.

UPDATE>>>>>>>>>  Amazing scenes as little Mirandes hoof Espanyol out of the Spanish cup and it was well deserved from what I saw.  Long time readers of this blog (if there are any left – it’s been a while since I updated) will know how I do business.  I usually say what I intend to do before I do it however there are many occasions where I make moves that I don’t publish until afterwards.  I know it sounds dumb and some will say what’s the use of that but ALL of my bets are recorded religiously on a spreadsheet that I post up at the end of each betting day.  By simply looking at my records you can see what I made or lost and how I did it.

As far as the Espanyol match goes I placed two further bets when it became more or less one way traffic in the second half.  I backed Mirandes to win at 7.0 and as soon as the suspended banner disappeared after they went up 2-1 I layed them to ensure at least £50 regardless of the result.  The account currently stands at +17% in profit and as there are two more matches yet to go in play I haven’t decided whether to call it a day or not.  My next post will either be of the spready detailing the days bets or further bets on the remaining games.

UPDATE>>>>>>>>>  OK, in the Copa Lib match between Arsenal and Sport Huancayo I have two bets on the go.  First one is over 2.5 goals, all of which should come from the home side given that the away side are gash.  The second bet is a cheeky tenner on the ref producing a Red Card in this match.  He dished out 6 in the last Arsenal match he reffed, 5 of which went to Arsenal.  Looking at this refs record he’s not afraid to produce the red and he’s about due for another one. Tonights match looks a pretty quiet affair so far but hopefully someone will do something dumb and I’ll get paid out.  Back in a bit.

UPDATE>>>>>>>>>  Well that was pleasing.  It’s nice when one prediction comes in let alone two AND in the same match.  The ref gave Carbonero (Arsenal) his marching orders  in the second half but it didn’t stop them scoring a third goal late on to run out comfortable 3-0 winners.  I did trade out of my overs bet after the market settled down at 2-0.  Some say ride your winnings and take a chance but I’m a big advocate of trying not to lose money…green is good.

All in all I’m quite pleased with today.  I was half tempted to back another goal in the match that’s currently being played between El Nacional and Libertad but I’ll be kicking myself if it stays 1-0 so nothing more for me tonight.  Here’s the figures…

Start Bank  :    100.00
End Bank    :    134.55
Profit / Loss    :   + 34.55 (After Commission)


Banned From Betfair Forum…..AGAIN

January 23, 2012

Well if ever there was something that I feel strongly enough about to warrant reviving this blog it’s the shambolic way the BF forums are handled and moderated.

On Friday night (three days ago) I was catching up on the days events in the Footy forum and all hell was breaking loose.  A couple of forumites had previously decided to set up an alternative site (http://www.elitebetting.proboards.com) to provide tips and info as a result of being ‘hounded off’ the Footy forum (so I understand from reading through a myriad of posts).

Then it turns out that the guys who set the site up get accused of all sorts of chicanery after the site unexpectedly gets taken down.  More threads are created and amongst them a thread was started that suggested that I was one of the people who had paid money to be a part of the site that was no longer available.  For the record I have never even spoken directly, either electronically or otherwise, to the site’s creators about the site nor have I parted with any money to become involved on a membership basis.

Anyway, moving on, the creator of the thread associating me with elitebetting is one of a handful of forumites with whom I regularly exchange insults and general pisstakery and it’s all done in fun and in the spirit of having a laugh when things are quiet (or so I thought).

The thread finally died a death around 4.30AM.  My gf had just arrived home from work so I made my excuses and departed the thread.  The following morning (Saturday) I had to re login to BF as a Windows update had forced a restart of my pc.  I opened up a Forum window and discovered my account had been ‘suspended or banned’.  A quick check of Outlook revealed an email from forum@betfair.com informing me of a ban following a comment that I made on the thread the night before. Wording of the email suggests it is a lifer ban.

You’re probably wondering (if you actually find this post) what heinous words were deemed so offensive to warrant a straight red.  Here’s the post (but I warn you not to let your children or pets see this in case they end up in shock or some other such unfortunate state)…

Poster (actually the thread starter):    “I’m off to the gym”

Me:    “Heading to the gym ? Is that some kind of euphemism for I’m off for a bit of batty boy back door action down Bondi beach ?”

…there, I told you it was bad.

Now, at the time of writing this I’m still waiting to see if the ban was as a result of direct forum moderation or someone reporting the post.  I would like to think it was the former but given the time of day (night) I strongly suspect the latter.  Several threads have appeared since news of the ban got out, one being created by the poster who the comment above was aimed at where he states that he was the one responsible.  I sincerely hope that’s not the case, I really do, as that would change things dramatically for that poster going forward.  He goes on to say that it was a revenge job for another very prolific poster who was banned a couple of weeks ago.  Again I’ll go on record here and state categorically that I had nothing to do with his removal.  In fact i was one of the first to voice my disgust at his being reported and ultimately banned.

You might wonder why I’ve gone to all the trouble to create this post.  It’s a mixture of things really…boredom, because I can, but mostly because of the shambles that TSE Global have made of the forums.  Because they can’t be arsed to actively police the forums they rely heavily on the Report feature that gives the babies backstabbers and sensitive types the power to have anyone and everyone removed from the forum just because they deem a certain post (or poster) to be in contravention of forum T&C’s.

I could easily pick 50 forumites in the space of an hour and report them for contravening T&C’s but I’m not that small.  As a result of the way the forum is governed we now have posters creating accounts with bogus details purely for posting purposes to circumvent a previous, and in some cases, unwarranted ban.  Some are creating several identities a day, and in one case recently several per hour!  This is what it’s come to.  The mods are run ragged chasing the serial account creators all over the fora…it’s laughable.

Then you have the issue of double standards.  What’s OK for one guy to post is unacceptable for another.  There’s also the case where previously banned posters come back with a new name and everyone knows who they used to be yet the mods do nothing UNLESS someone reports them.  There are those on the forums who are clearly not there to make the forums a nicer place and they should be weeded out and removed but as things stand a new username is only a few minutes typing away.  I’m sure this will be addressed in future releases of the code that governs how users are created, what IP address they come from, what other accounts may be tied to one person etc etc but for now chaos reigns.

I’m really torn right now between rising above all this and just moving on or simply going against all I’ve said before and becoming a snake in the grass and targeting certain posters looking for something that clearly contravenes TSE’s terms and conditions.   Why not? it appears to very fashionable right now and as I said earlier it would be a piece of piss to do.  Time will tell.  A lot hinges on what TSE say if they ever get off their lazy arses and reply to my email.

For now I’ll content myself with just reading as opposed to actually posting though that may change.  For all the grassers out there and all the ones out to cause an upset your cards are well and truly marked.  Have a great day.

 

 

 


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