How to make money betting on English football in the 2011-12 season
Want to make money betting on English football...it's as easy as 1,2,3,4
|by This Time Next Year||August, 7th 2011||
Above: West Ham are 2nd favourites for the Championship [Pic: whufc.com]
Past readers of this column will know that my mission to get rich - while doing as little work as possible - stretches well beyond poker.
Sports betting, like Hold’em, regularly gives you opportunities to exploit positive expected value situations to generate big returns.
For me, there are several general, if unscientific, exceptions: Never bet on anything on four legs, never back anyone in a golf tournament until after the cut…and ALWAYS avoid knockout formats, whatever the sport - the variance is just too high.
In sport, as in poker, class always wins over time.
This is why ante-post, each-way football accumulators are a fantastic way to make the season a lot more interesting - and pocket a few quid.
Two years ago, I turned £180 into nearly £4,000 by backing Chelsea, West Brom and Notts County to win their respective leagues in an eash-way treble. The Baggies could only finish 2nd in the Championship behind Newcastle, so the £15k I would have made drifted away…but the each-way win still made it very worthwhile.
Last year I was too busy playing poker to have a monster acca. But this year I’m back.
A basic each-way treble is a sensible starting point: Three is enough legs to push the price of a bet up but not so many that the outcome starts to become mathematically unfeasible.
This season, based on squad supremacy/depth and management quality, Man Utd to win the Premier League, West Ham to win the Championship and Huddersfield to win League 1 seemed a very tempting treble at 103/1 with Paddy Power.
But that was too easy. I fancied an experiment.
So, after roping in a pal who can do maths and actually understands what a spreadsheet is, I developed an entirely new system to beat the bookies in the 2011-12 season.
It’s based around generating a positive expected value by placing a large number of small accumulator bets, all with extremely high odds.
How? Well, I decided to try and ‘shortlist’ the teams I felt could win the Premier League, Championship and League 1. Here’s what I came up with, after a few weeks studying last season‘s form, this season‘s squad/managers and, of course, the odds:
And, for reasons I can’t quite explain…
Then, I thought about my own golden rule about knockout competitions and decided it was bollocks.
Only three teams can possibly win Euro 2012 next summer, so far are they ahead of everybody else:
So, with this - now four fold - shortlist in place, I asked my mad mate Bill to produce a spreadsheet for me with all the possible permutations.
He did. And it came to a whopping 315 bets - covering all the possible combinations, each bet containing; one team from the Premier League, one from the Championship, one from League 1 and one from Euro 2012.
Even at my tiny planned stakes of 50p each-way, this came to a wife-naggingly significant £315.
If (and it’s a huge IF) I have correctly short listed not only the winners but the likely runners-up of all four competitions, I will be guaranteed a decent profit as, even if all four favourites (Man Utd, Leicester, Huddersfield, Spain) win at combined odds of 220-1, I would not only pick up that return - but also be collecting multiple place payouts on several of my remaining each-way bets.
So you know what…
I did it.
Cock Piss Partridge. I actually did it.
I sat down in front of my computer, rolled up my sleves, and - using a pen and a print-out of Bill’s daft spreadsheet - meticulously placed 315 bets with a leading British bookmaker, all at 50p each-way.
That was two days ago, on the eve of the English league season...
Forty-eight hours later, I’m already suffering from a) repetitive strain injury from the six hours it took me to put all the bets on and b) profound regret.
Bournemouth got trounced in the first game of the new season, as did Leeds. Birmingham, who have lost everybody but the kit man in the close season, were comfortable losers. Of course they were.
West Ham were beaten at home by Cardiff and the two stand-out sides of the opening weekend of the English league were Southampton in the Championship and Charlton in League 1, neither of whom feature anywhere in my cock-eyed selections - which already look dodgier than an octanagarian transvestite in the breast pump aisle at Mothercare.
But, my friends, we shall see.
There’s a very long way to go - and this ridiculous experiment has made the 2011-12 English football season much, much more interesting (not to mention expensive) for me.
I’ll keep you all updated with my megabet as the season progresses.
And, in May, I’ll let you know how much profit - or loss - I’ve made on my total £315 investment.
It might be a ludicrous system. I may well have made many of the wrong selections.
But you just never know. This time next year…