A solid if unremarkable month to start 2018. As you may have guessed by the small number of picks, January has been quite rough to find enough value bets. A couple of picks I was considering were discarded at the last moment because of incomplete or conflicting information regarding the health status of some key players and ultimately it was the right move. No point taking unnecessary risks.
We have had a couple of more bets from the italian Serie A2 last month and it seems we will have more coming especially after the summer and the start of the season 2018/19. Unfortunately Ferrara was a no-show against Fortitudo Bologna while Forli have practically thrown away a game they controlled from the start taking a big lead of 16 points early (28-44), then seeing the lead slowly evaporate and entering the final minutes tied when a few poor decisions cost them dearly in the end. A pity.
Not much else to report. Hopefully February will present more betting opportunities for us.
Here we are then for the 2017 review. Overall it was clearly an excellent year exceeding 2016 in all aspects.
A biggest profit made with 51,44 units to 36,31 in 2016, a better yield 25,03% to 20,23% and a highest number of picks 97 to 85, which is a step in the right direction if you ask me, but more on this subject shortly.
MAIN TAKEAWAYS FROM 2017
We had just one negative month in 2017 back in May with 5 units lost but the lack of betting opportunities due to the light schedule certainly played a part to this outcome as there were just 3 picks that month. More importantly though, looking at the profit chart in the stats tab, the biggest drawdown in our bankroll at any point during 2017 (but also if we include 2016) was a little more than 10 units while the longest losing streak was just 5 bets. Not going over those 10 units at any point during the last 2 years considering also that we are dealing mostly with longer odds is a remarkable achievement in my opinion. It is also not a fluke or at the very least not entirely. The point of being extremely selective with my picks is to secure as big a value as possible with every single one of them and have absolutely no doubt about them. The end result is that we simply have much higher probabilities of winning these bets than the odds suggest.
Having said that, we also have to be realistic. At some point in the future, maybe next month, maybe later in 2018 or perhaps next year we will go lower than that. It is inevitable, although if I prove myself wrong I wouldn't mind too much! How much lower in term of units you may ask. Tough to tell with confidence really. While I have been keeping a detailed personal record of my bets for the last several years, my strategy and selection process have changed significantly over time and were eventually refined to the point that they are today, so I'm afraid looking at past results wouldn't provide much help now.
This very small drawdown will probably have some of you wondering about the optimal staking system for this service and we will get into that part in a moment.
It cannot be denied that the bookies are sharper now than they were 5-10 years ago. They have really upped their game especially in the most famous leagues like the NBA which attract the most interest and obviously huge amounts of money. Value bets are getting really hard to find nowadays and it's not a coincidence I have posted just 13 NBA picks in the last 2 years! They still made a profit of around 5,5 units during this period despite only 4 of those landing but considering the extremely small number of bets I was wondering whether it's still worth the investment in time, studying and researching this league for bets or not. For sure I will be monitoring the situation very carefully until the end of the current season in June and dropping the NBA from the list of the competitions I am betting on for the season 2018-19 is not to be excluded at this point.
Handicap bets performance
Just a clarification really. If you notice in the statistics tab, the handicap bets seem to be underachieving and not so profitable as the other bets but this is a little misleading actually for one simple reason. The straight win bets in the same range of odds (typically around 1.70-2.15) are not included in the Asian Handicap results because they are not accounted as -0.5 handicap bets which they actually are. It's exactly the same as football if you are familiar. The straight win bet and the asian handicap -0.5 bet is practically the same thing. That creates the whole confusion.
So probably you could get a more accurate reading of the handicaps performance by looking at the odds range or stake size (2.00-3.00) statistics instead.
Staking system and alternatives for a bigger profit
Okay, time to talk about stakes. Let me just say right away that I will be keeping the same stakes for 2018 and beyond, so what I have written in my Biography tab right from the start, still stands:
'' I will be using 1 to 1,5 units most of the times when betting on odds over 3.00 and 2 to 3 units on handicaps and I would suggest sticking to these stakes especially if you are risk-averse".
There are 2 reasons for this.
The first one is that I want to maintain a consistent approach and absolute transparency so that it can easy for everyone to compare one year with another. So for example if I decided to double my stakes for this year I could have a worse year than 2016 or 2017 as far as results are concerned and still make a bigger profit and it is this kind of confusion that I want to avoid.
The second reason is that this is a relatively conservative staking system that everyone can follow without having to worry too much about losing streaks and risks.
Now having said that, if you want to maximise profit you can certainly go more aggressive with your stakes while accepting at the same time the bigger risk involved with this. How much more aggressive? If you ask me, you could easily go 50% more both on the handicap and straight win bets. So assuming you have a bankroll of 100 units, instead of 3 units/pick for the handicap bets you can use 4,5 units/pick and instead of 1-1,5 units/pick for longer odds bets, you can use 1,5-2,25 units/pick respectively. That's entirely up to you and what percentage of your betting bank you are comfortable risking during the inevitable losing streaks. So for example would losing 30 or 40 units during a bad period affect you in any way when placing your next bet? Personally I prefer to have some peace of mind and avoid any dramas despite consciously "sacrificing" some profit in the process. But as I said, it really depends on your risk profile and it's a decision you have to make for yourself ultimately.
CHANGES FOR 2018:
Number of picks
We have had 97 picks for 2017 in comparison to 85 in 2016 and my intention is to at least match that number in 2018 but preferably to go a little higher. So something around 100-120 would be ideal in my opinion. Considering there are seldom any international competitions in summer this means that we would average around 13-14 picks/month.
Make no mistake though. My betting philosophy remains the same. My selection process also. So you can rest assured that I am not going to force anything just to increase the number of picks. If there are no value bets to take, well, a resounding "no bet" from me is always a choice even if it means taking less bets than planned. Securing good value with every single pick is non-negotiable as far as I am concerned.
The reasoning behind my intention of slightly increasing the number of picks? Well, 2 reasons actually:
1. Some changes in my personal life will permit me to have more time available for researching and hopefully finding even more quality bets.
2. In theory more bets means more profit but ONLY IF we maintain the same quality of bets. So that is clearly the key here.
It remains to be seen whether reaching around 100-120 picks/year is doable or not. Time will tell I guess.
Italian Serie A2
You may remember I advised a Serie A2 pick a couple of weeks ago. Truth is I have been thinking for a while introducing the italian second division among the competitions we are betting on but the lack of time to thoroughly research the league and being somewhat concerned about the liquidity of the market, I have avoided it so far. The latest developments in the NBA that I mentioned earlier though which may force me to drop it from the competitions we are betting on, means that I could reconsider about the Serie A2.
Now let me tell you right from the start that while the stability and the limits of this market cannot obviously be compared to the NBA, it's still more liquid than what one might have expected, but let's take things from the start.
Opening odds appear just 24 hours before the games usually and while limits are low initially, they go up after a few hours. At Pinnacle on matchday (usually on Sunday) one can place almost 1000 Euros on the handicap bets and over 400 Euros on straight win bets (moneyline) even when odds are quite high like 4.00 or 5.00 for example, so I believe those limits will satisfy almost all of you.
The challenge will be finding a good compromise between placing our bets relatively early when value is usually bigger and easier to find and waiting until the market has enough liquidity to at least put 3 digit bets. Now it's a question of how volatile the market is, as I wouldn't want the odds to crash after a couple of sizable bets and that's what I will be evaluating over the next weeks. If I am convinced by what I see, you may expect some more bets from the Serie A2 very soon and then possibly introduce it full time after the summer with the start of the season 2018-19 depending also on what happens with the NBA.
That's all I guess! If you have any feedback or questions you can contact the admin at any time and I'm sure he will pass them along to me to respond.
Last but not least, a special thank you to all my subscribers! I really appreciate your trust. Those of you who have been with me right from the start have predictably made the most out of the service's profits and that's always the key. I have said it before and I will say it again. Patience and a long term approach are necessary to reap the benefits of any sports betting service and any investment in general for that matter. There is simply no substitute.
The new year is already upon us and there is no point in making any promises other than hard work and quality picks. The rest will take care of itself hopefully! Take care guys and have a great year!
Nothing looks good for a bet this weekend in the remaining schedule of 2017, so it appears Trento's pick was also the last bet of the year.
December was clearly a month of streaks. First, 4 straight winning picks which extended into November marked a 7 game winning streak, followed then by 5 consecutive lost bets and finally one win to put us in a small profit for the month. Nothing spectacular but obviously it's not possible to have double digit profit every month.
Maccabi's game was by far the most disappointing of December not for the manner of the loss but simply because there were really all the prerequisites for a surprise result here. In the end, Panathinaikos played arguably their best game of the season without their MVP Calathes at the helm and undoubtedly their most consistent one, dominating from start to finish a Maccabi team that frankly were nowhere to be found in this match. Annoyingly they went on to comfortably beat high-flying Fenerbahce just two later later and to make things worse, Panathinaikos returned to their usual inconsistent performances right away, barely grabbing victory against a poor Crvena Zvezda team and losing to a depleted by injuries Valencia who were on a 10 game losing streak! But that's sports betting...
Don't forget my 2017 review coming up next week (on Wednesday in all probability) and Happy New Year everybody!
In the end November was great for us with over 10 units of profit and it was like a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs with so many games decided literally in the last moments. Some went our way (Turkey, Rosa Radom, Milano's and Torino's handicaps) some others didn't (Trikala, Varese, Bologna) but in the end it was enough for another green month. A real pity both Bologna and Cremona played their worst games by far this season just when we decided to back them.
Instead of going over last month's action in more detail allow me to just copy and paste what I was writing back in September in my Eurobasket review:
'' Fortunately not everything was bad. The big wins of Hungary and Russia against Czech Republic and Croatia respectively, allowed us to stay afloat and avoid any losses. And that's the biggest win for us. I know it may not look this way now but trust me. If in times like these when all the small details seem to be going against us we avoid going in red, rest assured we have nothing to fear going forward. As long as we keep taking good value with our bets and have the probabilities in our favour, it's not a question of if but when the results will start going our way.
The new season starts soon with some Super Cup matches in Spain and Italy in about a week and beginning from October all of the competitions we are involved in get underway. Both October and November have always been very profitable to me probably because the bookmakers are still a step back in terms of proper evaluation of the teams' capabilities. ''
I am no prophet obviously and I most certainly cannot predict the future! I simply have been around the world of sports betting long enough to know that these cycles are inevitable. Good luck will follow after a period of bad luck, a winning streak will come after a losing streak and so on. No way around it. It's just a matter of picking the right bets and remaining calm and composed regardless of the results. In the long run patience always pays off.
December is already here and needless to say I am going to be trying my best to end the year with another green month. Come January, I will obviously have the December review and finally a few days later the whole 2017 review with considerations, thoughts, conclusions as well as plans and changes for the year 2018. So stay tuned guys!
October was a bittersweet month for us. On one hand a month with over 12 units of profit cannot be described as anything less than excellent. On the other hand if I'm being totally honest I feel we could and should have earned more.
It wasn't just the suicidal attitude of Banvit against Venezia during the last few seconds in an incredible game that was decided after 3 overtimes! After missing the free throw that would have sealed the victory, Banvit failed to foul Venezia early and send them for 2 free throws and instead chose to risk (why???) and let them take a 3 pointer that eventually sent the game to overtime!
But the most frustrating part of the month was actually the two lost bets in which Reggiana was involved. After finishing October winless in the Italian league with a disappointing 0-5 record and an alarming lack of identity and cohesion, Reggiana managed to somehow pull two miraculous performances and wins in the Eurocup against arguably the strongest opponents they have faced all season (Galatasaray and Lietkabelis)!! Very poor timing indeed for us but absolutely no regrets for taking these bets, although I was left wondering where did these performances actually came from...
On a positive note the highlights of October have to be the Limoges and Partizan victories both on the road against Bilbao. Especially for Partizan I really hope you managed to take an even bigger price than the one advised (8.00), as odds were comfortably over 10.00 at several bookies.
A takeaway from October? It all just goes to show how unpredictable sports betting can be in the short term if a remainder was ever needed.
Now let's see if can keep up the momentum for November. Take care guys!
Not much to report since the end of the Eurobasket. Just one game we got involved in for the Champions League and rightfully so as the odds were completely wrong there, but unfortunately we lost the win bet by just a basket. After a poor first part, Orlandina recovered well in the second half and even had the ball in their hands to take the win in the last seconds but a cheap turnover condemned them in the end. A pity really as this would have meant a good profit but at least the handicap bet landed and we squeezed a unit of profit for the month. Not good enough of course but considering all the unfortunate and peculiar circumstances that got in our way, I'm still glad we avoided going in red.
We should have plenty of opportunities starting from October so let's see if results will start going in our favour again.
Despite breaking even for the Eurobasket in terms of units balance and avoiding any losses, I can't help but feel a bitter taste in my mouth noticing just how unfortunate circumstances penalised us repeatedly during the tournament. This is a quick recap of our losing bets:
Serbia-Latvia 92-82 (Latvia +7.5)
An entirely misleading final score considering it was a very contested game and Latvia was actually leading 73-75 entering the final 3 minutes! So what happened? An improbable sequence of events in those last seconds lead to Latvia "managing" to lose by a 10-point deficit. Hard to believe but true.
Russia-Belgium 76-67 (Belgium Win and +8.5)
While Russia had control of the situation for most of the match, Belgium remained competitive throughout, keeping the deficit in single digits for the entire game. In fact the final +9 for Russia was also the biggest lead they had ever had and was the result of a pointless foul by Tabu when the game was already lost for Belgium. Frustrating.
Lithuania-Greece 64-77 (Lithuania -4,5)
I reckon nobody could have predicted this kind of dominant performance by Greece considering how poor they had played throughout the tournament. It was also by far their best performance in this Eurobasket. Simply a really bad timing for us. The Lithuanians seemed like hypnotized for most of the game as they probably thought it was enough to simply show up to claim victory.
Slovenia-Latvia 103-97 (Latvia Win)
I think it's safe to say no one expected Slovenia to outgun Latvia in this encounter. Despite being one of the worst teams in 3 point shooting, Slovenia shot an improbable 11/28 from the arc (almost 40%) and that was the key to their victory.
Doncic's three pointer almost at the buzzer in a really crucial phase of the game pretty much sums up the kind of night it has been for Slovenia.
Fortunately not everything was bad. The big wins of Hungary and Russia against Czech Republic and Croatia respectively, allowed us to stay afloat and avoid any losses. And that's the biggest win for us. I know it may not look this way now but trust me. If in times like these when all the small details seem to be going against us we avoid going in red, rest assured we have nothing to fear going forward. As long as we keep taking good value with our bets and have the probabilities in our favour, it's not a question of if but when the results will start going our way.
The new season starts soon with some Super Cup matches in Spain and Italy in a few days and beginning from October all of the competitions we are involved in get underway. Both October and November have always been very profitable to me probably because the bookmakers are still a step back in terms of proper evaluation of the teams' capabilities. This is a high risk-high reward kind of period as the margin of error is bigger from both parts (punters and bookmakers) with small or no sample of official games yet and no statistical database. One thing is certain though. One has to tread very carefully as this can become a double-edged sword in some cases. Hopefully we will be able to start the season with some profit.
Putting the betting aspect aside, Slovenia completed one of the biggest recent surprises to win the Eurobasket 2017 for the first time in their history. Although I had tipped them to fight for a medal, I simply considered their lack of consistent 3-point shooting and frontcourt depth were going to be exposed sooner or later but they proved me wrong. Incredibly they shot an almost unnatural 25/53 (47%) from the arc in the quarterfinal and semifinal games including 4 shots that went in off the glass(!), proving that besides skills you simply need some luck as well to achieve greatness. In any case, hats off to Slovenia!
I will talk to you guys soon!
For the second time the Eurobasket will be held in four different countries. Finland, Israel, Romania and Turkey will host the Group Phase consisting of 4 groups (6 teams each, 16 in total qualify for the Final Phase, the best 4 from each group) before moving to Istanbul, Turkey at the Sinan Erdem Dome for the Final Phase of the Eurobasket.
Οne thing that has characterized the days leading to the start of the tournament has been the high number of star players who for various reasons will not be able to partecipate in this Eurobasket. Antetokounmpo, Teodosic, Jokic, Batum, Gobert, Galinari, Vesely, Llull, Mirotic, Ibaka, Ilyasova and Gortat are just some of the biggest names missing who under normal circumstances would have been fundamental to their respective teams success.
But let's try taking a closer look at all the partecipants based on their strength and aspirations for the tournament and in the end I will have a few betting considerations as well. Keep in mind that the following list is obviously subjective and most of the times in this kind of tournaments there will probably be a couple of surprises as well as a few disappointments but more on that later on. Let's get started.
Spain: Perennial contenders these last 15 years with a seemingly endless pool of talent. NBAers Ibaka and Mirotic will miss the Eurobasket along with Llull who has had a phenomenal season with Real Madrid establishing himself arguably as the top European player outside the NBA. Despite Spain's depth these absences create somewhat of a conundrum for coach Scariolo on how to cover the shooting guard and power forward spots considering how indispensable Llull and Mirotic are for this team.
Serbia: Coming from the silver medal in last year's Olympic Games, Serbia would have been the team to beat if they could count on Bjelica, Markovic and especially Jokic and Teodosic. Unfortunately that is not the case, however a team with a backcourt consisting of Nedovic, Bogdanovic, Jovic and the giant Marjanovic patrolling the paint, has to be considered amongst the favourites.
France: Post Parker era for France and the first signs are not very encouraging. Absences (Gobert, Batum), chemistry issues, injuries (Diot, Seraphin) along with alleged signs of discontent from Westermann over his role don't bode well. Still, impossible to dismiss a team that can count on players like De Colo, Fournier, Heurtel, Seraphin, Diaw just to name a few. They have also dominated their last few preparation games if that counts for anything.
Lithuania: Dependability and consistency is what comes to mind when talking about Lithuania as they usually end up close or into the medals zone (two silvers, one bronze in the last 5 Eurobasket tournaments). The lack of backcourt talent is a little alarming though considering Kalnietis' bad season and injuries.
Greece: Losing Giannis Antetokounmpo a few days before the start of the tournament comes as a massive shock to the Greeks. More worryingly they didn't appear ready at all in their last preparation games. A lack of consistent 3p-shooting and post defense seem like serious issues while the late appointment of Missas as coach certainly raised a few eyebrows as well. Possibly one of the disappointments of this Eurobasket?
Croatia: The supremely talented trio of Bogdanovic, Saric, Simon and perhaps a somewhat improved supporting cast compared to last season although still lacking a true quality point guard. But can anyone really underestimate this team after last year's strong showing in the Olympics?
Slovenia: Undoubtedly the biggest european talent at his age Doncic, Miami's Dragic and now Real Madrid's Randolph constitute a force to be reckoned with, despite the lack of quality replacements at their frontcourt which might force coach Kokoskov to often play small ball.
Italy: They seem to constantly underachieve considering the NBA talent they could count on these last few tears but coach Messina's presence along with players like Bellinelli, Datome and Melli guarantee they will be dangerous. Losing Galinari to injury is a big blow but will also lower pressure and expectations.
Latvia: They have everything in place to be the big surprise of this tournament. A good coach in Bagatskis, a blossoming NBA star in Porzingis and quite a few established role players around him. Arguably the best shooting team in the tournament. Watch out!
Turkey: Playing at home will provide a huge boost but losing their best player Ilyasova with no obvious replacement for him at the power forward position is enough to raise some doubts on them as medalist candidates but let's wait and see whether promising coach Sarica has some tricks up his sleeve...
RESPECTABLE BUT CAN THEY GO A STEP FURTHER?
Montenegro: A really talented roster guided by the respected Tanjevic but with some chemistry issues as many are wondering whether star big men Vucevic and Dubljevic can actually play together. Paradoxically though Rice's performance might prove to be even more critical for this team.
Belgium: Methodical, well coached and tricky team to face even if veterans Van Rossom and Hervelle are past their best now. A pity Panathinaikos' Lojeski couldn't make it to join the national team due to injury.
Georgia: A respectable starting five but a paper thin bench depth, while the emblematic Zaza Pachulia still remains in doubt for the tournament because of injury.
Poland: A quality pair of wingmen in Ponitka and Waczynski but somewhat lacking in the paint. Will probably battle it out with the hosts Finland for the last qualification ticket in the group.
Russia: The golden era of coach Blatt is long gone and while this is a competent team with enough quality to make some noise, it is also inconsistent and capable for the best and the worst. Really tough to gauge their true potential.
Finland: Not a surprise anymore but this Finland team is always an insidious opponent. Perhaps over-reliant on their 3-p shots. The physical conditions of Barcelona star Koponen who missed all the preparation games is a serious cause of concern though.
Germany: Post Nowitzki era for Germany who will rely on Atlanta's ace Schröder for leadership. Should compete with most teams in a wide open group but is missing a true quality guard playing alongside Schröder.
Israel: A team loaded with savvy veterans in what may be the last Eurobasket competition for at least a couple of them. They have usually underachieved but are now playing at home and anything less than a round-of-16 qualification will be considered a failure.
Great Britain: An athletic but limited in quality and international experience roster. Last place in their group seems inevitable but will try to remain as competitive as possible throughout the tournament.
Czech Republic: The Czechs normally don't belong in this group of teams but the absences of at least 3 starters (Vesely, Balvin, Schilb) and critical role players (Jelinek, Benda, Pumprla) means they must rely on Satoransky to do almost everything. A pity.
Hungary: The name of Adam Hanga is immediately recognizable but Vojvoda and Allen will also provide a big help in their effort to secure the 4th and last ticket in their group and qualify at the expense of the Czechs.
Ukraine: Another team decimated by absences. Ukraine will be missing Fesenko, Len, Gladyr and Jeter and with them probably any chance of advancing to the next round.
Romania: Possibly the weakest team of this Eurobasket that as one of the hosts have automatically secured their partecipation. Moldoveanu remains the uncontested leader and the only Romanian with extensive european experience.
Iceland: A combative but also atypical team as their only true big man is Valencia talent Hilnason while the only other player exceeding 2 meters is Ermolinskij! Most of the roster competes in not very competitive leagues and their experience is limited. It's going to be tough avoiding last place in their group.
A FEW BETTING CONSIDERATIONS
There are certain aspects in this kind of tournaments that one should be aware of. To begin with we have no form guides. All of the teams arrive at their first official match after a series of 5-10 preparation games most of which are simply not indicative of the teams' true strength with everyone testing players and tactics. Spain losing by 18 at home to Belgium or Greece's 32 point loss to Serbia are just a couple of examples.
Then reaching the Final Phase there are only knockout matches which means you have a bad night and you're out, even you have won all previous games. Probably unfair but that's the format and is valid for everyone. This alone will inevitably create some surprises.
Finally there is the busy schedule one has to consider. The two finalists will have played 9 matches in 17-18 days, so basically a game every other day which will obviously challenge the teams short on depth.
Betting wise I am not a big fan of outright bets especially those that are settled after several months. The Eurobasket is obviously much shorter on duration (18 days) which makes it somewhat more predictable as there will be no players added to the rosters after the start of the tournament, no coaches fired and certainly fewer injuries. That said, it remains difficult judging the teams on rosters and tradition alone without a sample of official games in hand. It's easy to predict that Spain will be amongst the serious candidates for the gold medal. For years now they maintain a stable nucleus of players, the same coach as well as an established style of game with well defined roles but it becomes a lot harder giving a verdict on teams like Russia, Israel or Latvia for the exact same reasons.
But a little patience. Soon enough a lot of questions will be answered when the Eurobasket 2017 gets underway in just a few days.
Hi guys! Just an update. It seems there won't be any more picks for this season after all. The games of the finals are priced quite right so it makes no sense getting involved. As I mentioned in my previous post, there are no further matches until August 31st when the Eurobasket 2017 begins. So our appointment is renewed to this date although I will post a Eurobasket preview late in August so stay tuned.
Thank you for your support and I wish you all a relaxing summer!