World Cup 2018, The England Semi-Final

I wasn’t far out with my analysis yesterday of the France v Belgium semi-final. The bit I did get wrong was the team that came through. I predicted 0-1 to Belgium and we ended up with 1-0 to France. Given that I rarely do a match winner bet (and yesterday was no exception) this had no impact on me of course. I did trade the game some in the end although, once again, not in the “traditional” ASP sense. And that is a good time to make a very important point (not for the first time). ASP is not, has never been a strict, step 1, step 2, step 3 process that has to be followed without exception. It allows for some imagination, scope and flexibility.

If you want a loose explanation of how it works then it is simple enough. Subject to odds and (here’s the bit people forget) also subject to your analysis of what is most likely in the game based on any available data, the plan is to use both extreme ends of the correct score market to make a profit on any outcome. This means, generally, laying AO at appropriate (acceptable) odds and 0-0 at appropriate (acceptable) odds. The “acceptable” aspect can only be interpreted by the user. One user is happy to risk several hundreds, whilst others are happy to lose a few pounds/euros. The whole thing, in play, is then very largely dependent on your initial reading of the game and your ability to act and move towards profit as the game develops.

During my testing period back in 2010/2011 I often layed for £200 or even £300 so that I could seriously stress test the market liquidity and so on. I often lost quite large amounts but, more often, won nice chunky sums. For our public tests (which can still be viewed today of course) we had Geoff running with stakes that we felt most people would use and that test ran for the best part of two years.

People often accuse system designers of “back testing” and manipulation. Our testing was live, real and happening day to day. I mention these facts because often people forget the long term nature of ASP as a profit producing program and the amount of work that went into it. Yes, it’s simple, but it absolutely works. Not on every game and, like most good things, it will have periods when it bites you and you can get frustrated but if you keep the faith, it will look after you if you don’t do crazy things.

So back to “ASP is not, has never been a strict, step 1, step 2, step 3 process”. Yesterday I watched a match that was developing into a table tennis game, attack after attack. The pressure on both goal mouths (especially the French goal mouth in the first half), was immense. A goal seemed as inevitable as a goal can ever seem. At half time I decided that, although it was still 0-0, that a 0-0 lay seemed as safe as houses but I didn’t want to make the lay until I could get under 4. A £30 (roughly) liability was acceptable for a £10 profit on any other result.

Very shortly after the game kicked off for the second half, I got my wish and layed for £11 at odds of 3.9. The luck of the brave maybe? Or was it simply good planning and good reading? It didn’t feel like luck. It never does when you have a plan and simply follow it through. Either way, I had to wait no more than 5 minutes for the only goal of the game. Much to my annoyance and, to be fair to Belgium, against the flow of the play (Belgium at this stage had 60% of the possession compared to France at 40%) it was France who scored (slight evidence there that the last man to make contact before it went in was Belgium’s Fellaini).

Being true to my fear/assumption that it could be a one goal decides all result. I didn’t contemplate laying 1-0 and sat back to enjoy the rest of the game, taking a nice £10.45 profit in the end. Not strictly ASP? Well, we’re about laying extreme ends of the market to get a profit elsewhere. That was achieved. There was no way on earth I was ever getting an AO lay in. The starting odds on the AOHW were 28 in the end and from there, they just got huge. So I very much still see this as a bit of ASP trading. If you aren’t looking for the opportunities you are never going to see them and, yes, you do need to take some risks. The elusive zero risk football system still hasn’t been discovered. That said, I do have something very close I’ve been quietly working on – on and off-  for the last couple of years (that’s another story for another time).

Now, as I move on to the Croatia v England game today I think you can probably guess what I am about to say. Yes, that’s right, pub time again! If I wasn’t going to the pub to enjoy it, I wouldn’t trade this anyway. The market is screaming 0-0 and there is no attractive trading opportunity I can see here. I have a feeling (is it optimism?) that England could score a couple against Croatia. I don’t think the Croatian defence is brilliant and I do believe we have more potential strike power.

Here’s hoping for an England World Cup Final for the first time in 52 years!

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  1. Neal
    10 months ago

    Great write up.
    Roll on next season where I am going to commit to cracking this 🙂