Monday 29 September 2014

Average score is not par score

I've discussed cricket stats and betting in general a few times now. I'll get round to giving proper examples of the benefits and dangers of using them in due course but first a small but annoying example of the danger of bad stats.

I wasn't going to write about this for a while but one commentator's absurd assertion during Wednesday night's Glamorgan v Hampshire Twenty 20 match that "160 is always a par score" reignited my irritation on the issue.

So it's a bit of a gripe this one but it's good to get things off your chest - and there's also an important warning here for anyone new to cricket betting.

The issue is relevant to both innings runs and match odds markets and is seemingly cropping up ever more frequently in live televised cricket.

Even Sky Sports' pundits, usually vastly better than cricket board produced cheerleader commentaries where endless excuses for poor play suggest it must be a sackable offence to actually criticise a player, make this error.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

WASP as a possible betting tool

Recently I published a detailed article about the cricket WASP giving my thoughts on the tool, how it works, and why I thought it was largely useless from a betting perspective.

Of course, it was never intended to be a betting tool, and I was delighted that WASP co-creator Dr Seamus Hogan saw fit to comment on the piece, clarify some issues - and agree he would not use it to bet either! Please do add your own thoughts to the discussion at the bottom of that piece.

While writing that article I did mention that, despite my overall reservations about WASP, there were certain limited circumstances in which I thought cricket traders could benefit from its outputs.

In this post I'll outline these circumstances, explain how I believe WASP can be used profitably, and illustrate how you can easily do this yourself.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Cricket and economics

Today I'm posting a fascinating video lecture on how economics can help cricket teams win matches. Don't let the subject scare you - it really is worth the time to watch!

Among the absorbing insights in the video are why:

* Stephen Fleming was a smarter power play batsman than Sachin Tendulkar
* If you have two bats left you are better off with 10 and 11 than a top order bat and 11
* A team not batting out its overs in limited cricket is not "the biggest sin"
* Teams play sub-optimally, both without realising it and deliberately
* Commentators and the press contribute to sub-optimal play

These are not my words and thoughts, but those of Dr Seamus Hogan, a co-creator of the cricket WASP, self-proclaimed "cricket tragic" and the man giving the lecture.

If that hasn't pulled you in a couple of screen shots from the lecture too before I post the video at the bottom of this article.

Saturday 16 August 2014

Crazy cricket tie market

My recent article on the Betfair cricket tie rule reminded me of one of the most bizarre markets in Betfair history - when a cricket tie market was 1.01 Yes and No at the same time!

I know it's hard to believe but it was such a curious case that I took a screenshot. Just click the picture for a larger image.

There's no need to rub your eyes. That tie market really is 1.01 on both sides as the market is suspended at the end of the match.

What's even more bonkers is there's more money trying to back No tie (£997)  than Yes tie (£307) - when the market was correctly settled as Yes tie.

For those wondering the match was a Twenty 20 international between India and Pakistan during the 2007 inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa. The scorecard is here.

I'm sure some of you are thinking WTF? How on earth did this happen? So let's take a quick wander down memory lane...

Saturday 2 August 2014

Betfair cricket tie rule

This issue of Betfair and the cricket tie rule never ceases to amaze me. The rule is there for a great reason. Yet when a match is tied there's usually no end of moaning from people who clearly don't understand the markets they're betting in - and want to advertise the fact!

Put simply when a one day cricket match* ends in a tie Betfair cancels all the bets struck in the Match Odds market and returns the stakes.

In the distant past Betfair used to instead settle these Match Odds bets in tied matches as a Dead Heat. This changed many years ago for very good reasons and a specific Yes / No tie market has been offered ever since.

Despite this you'd back 1.01 that each time there's a tie there will be much gnashing of teeth from people moaning about how unfair everything is and what a joke Betfair is. Of course, it isn't unfair. And the only jokers are those threatening to go running to IBAS.

So why did Betfair scrap the Dead Heat rule for ties in cricket and introduce a specific tie market instead? And why was the decision for the best?

Thursday 24 July 2014

Ground history - Basic profiling

I've discussed my cricket match betting preparation and the benefits of stats before but have received an email asking for more detail about what stats I collect, how I use them and what I mean by ground profiling.

I thought it would make an interesting blog post so will answer below. It's great to get both questions and feedback by the way so please do feel free to email, leave comments at the bottom of posts and say hi on Twitter.

Previously I've mentioned I keep my own database and focus on stats that will give me edges to beat markets rather than stats that are of more general interest to a cricket enthusiast.

I use these stats to draw up ground profiles - in which I try to identify key features and characteristics of matches at the venue I am preparing to bet on.

The stats I keep can generally be broken into two categories. There is an over lap but essentially they are those that profile a ground to help with:

1) Ante-post side market bets such as Total 6s, Multi 4s and Total boundaries.
2) In-running judgements on how teams are doing and what the result might be.

Today I'll look at the ante-post stats and how I use them. On which my starting point is always this table:

Monday 7 July 2014

Cricket WASP

There's been a lot of talk on television, twitter and cricket betting forums about the cricket prediction tool WASP recently so I thought I'd give some thoughts on the subject.

I've read far more about WASP than is probably good for me and will start by saying the guys who've developed it are smart, know way more about stats than I ever will, and have made a useful, if stepping stone, contribution to the modelling of cricket. I doff my cap at their work.

I'll also say from the outset though that I more or less ignore it and would expect any competent cricket trader to profit handsomely if allowed to bet against its predictions.

I don't use the tool as the basis for any bets and will go as far as saying I wouldn't use WASP to place bets with your money, let alone mine - unless I was self-matching your bets!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. And being more than a little unfair. Let's take a proper look at WASP.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Cricket stats - The benefits

I've already discussed in general terms why I use cricket stats when it comes to betting on cricket. Now it's time to look at a specific example and see how stats can make us money.

Below is something I suspect very few people would have ever seen. Though is no doubt something their intuition would have led them to believe.

It is a graph showing the average number of runs scored in each over of completed T20 first innings. All Twenty20 matches and grounds in my database are included in the filters.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Cricket stats and betting

Stats play an important role in betting on cricket. They form a key part of my match betting preparation and a good grasp of them can be the difference between profit or loss.

Cricket is awash with stats so it is important to focus in on the ones that are important. I break them down into useful or useless from a betting perspective.

I like to know stats that might help give me an edge in a market being offered by a bookmaker rather than something that is of more general interest to a cricket enthusiast.

Useful stats for me are things like knowing a Twenty 20 ground is in the top 5 six hitting venues in the world, or the lowest Multi 4s ground in the world, or an ODI venue having a huge bat first win percentage in day / night games. I don't really care about what the highest 3rd wicket partnership at a venue is.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

My stats: Info and disclaimer

I'll discuss elsewhere general information on cricket stats as well as giving examples of both good and bad stats and the benefits and dangers of using them.

This post is more about a warning, explanation and disclaimer of the stats I'll be giving on CricTrade in due course. It's to avoid any doubt or confusion about any cricket statistics I might mention.

Most the stats I'll give will be from my own database. It has several thousand games in it across all formats, covering more than 175 venues and over 100 teams.

The reports it produces are tailored to betting markets with the aim of being useful tools to find edges rather than of a general interest to cricket enthusiasts. There are far more comprehensive cricket databases out there.

When creating reports during match betting preparation I filter the results to what I feel are relevant games. This generally means:

Thursday 12 June 2014

Cricket betting - Match preparation

I suspect it's going to become a recurring theme through the blog but for me preparation is everything when it comes to betting on a cricket match.

By preparation I mean research. Understanding the issues that will effect the match I'm about to speculate in,  trying to ensure I don't lose money as a result of missing something stupid, and hunting for edges that will give me an advantage over the markets.

So how do I go about doing this?

Saturday 7 June 2014

Why bet on cricket?

I've bet on a number of sports over the years but ended up specialising in cricket to the extent that it now makes up a vast percentage of my overall betting profit.

When starting out as a punter it became obvious fairly quickly that specialising in particular areas would prove more profitable than a random scattergun approach with little research into bets or understanding of the markets they were being placed into.

It has its faults but Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers: The Story of Success helps explain the principle at stake here. Essentially the more you do something the better at it you can become. Gladwell famously refers to the Anders Ericsson's 10,000 hour rule arguing that the key to success in any field is a matter of practising the task a lot. He argues 10,000 hours is the key milestone.

After deciding to specialise on betting in a particular area it follows that it makes sense to concentrate on something it is possible to make a decent profit on. For example I could be the world's best informed, best bankrolled punter on the annual Oxford v Cambridge boat race. But with one race a year and relatively small betting markets if I was relying on it to make my living I would be a pauper.

So when choosing a sport to concentrate betting on what is needed is one that is:

Wednesday 4 June 2014

About Me

Why cricket
Cricket can be bet on year round, Asian money means markets are liquid, and with so many variables making up the in running prices it is hard to model accurately meaning value can be found. I like watching it too. A fuller explanation is here.

Are you full time
Yes. I have other interests but it's not unrealistic to expect to trade more than 250 cricket matches a year.

How much have you won
I live comfortably but am no whale. Under 7 figures.

Do you keep your own cricket stats
Yes. My database has several thousand games in across all formats. Mainly 20, 40 and 50 over matches.

Do you work alone or as part of a team
I have done both. No, I've never been part of Tony Bloom's cricket betting outfit.

Where do you bet
Depends where the best place to put the bet on is. I've used Indian cricket markets, betting exchanges, bookmakers and spread betting firms.

Do you ever go to cricket matches
I've been to games both in the UK and abroad. I watch the vast majority of games I trade from home.

Any betting cliches to pass on
Go on then. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Hello world

Hello indeed. Welcome to the notepad for my thoughts on cricket betting.

Truth be told I doubt I'll be a prolific blogger. But I hope to be an interesting one.

I've been betting on cricket for the best part of a decade now. Over that time I've learned a lot. I hope to give some insight into what I do, how I do it, and why.

I'm sure I'll also comment on any current issues that effect cricket betting itself. And no doubt also use the space to have a moan about any gripes that bug me.

I don't intend to give tip after tip. Though I might discuss some. I suspect I'll be more interested in trading ideas and themes, examining the stats behind cricket betting, and the behaviour of various betting markets.

If I manage to generate some discussion or correspondence along the way then all the better.

I think that's nearly it for now. There's just one thing left to say.