Wow, it has been a long time. Far too long. Apologies for the extended silence here at BOTW – I have had a pretty manic last few months and as a result I haven’t managed to find the time to write for the site. Hopefully you follow me on Twitter, so you haven’t missed me too much.
I am delighted to say that from now on the site will be back up and running – and hopefully with a decent level of activity. I might not have the time to post twice a week like I used to, but am hoping once a week will be more than manageable.
I owe a great deal to this site – it really has turned out to be worth its weight in gold.
I am also very aware that the site would be completely useless but for all those that have followed my selections, listened to my rants and joined in the many debates over the last couple of years. So I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to each and every one of you – particualy those that have taken the time to add comments, make suggestions or drop me emails ion the past.
I’ve got a great antepost position coming up in the next couple of days, so check back in for that. Those that enjoyed the highs and lows (and profits) of the Arizona Diamondbacks position last year in particular will enjoy it.
However, before we get back to the fun stuff I thought I should update you all on what I have been up to for the last four or five months that was so important that I had to drop the site into a self-induced coma.
I am also aware I need to post a summary of last season’s ante post positions. I’ll make that short and snappy given that it is “old news” but it does still need to be done – for completeness and because the review and post-mortem of antepost positions is just as important as the pre-position analysis.
But before all of these, let’s get these bloody Euro’s out of the way…
Super Mario – No, not that one…
Even without BOTW, everyone managed to get on Mario Mandzukic to be Croatia’s top goal scorer at the Euro’s at (an obscene) 7/1, right? What do you mean no?! Well, shame on you.
Despite missing that firecracker, hopefully everyone that has been betting has had a successful tournament. It has been a great one for the punter, with very few shocks (at the time of writing) and the vast majority of teams playing to type. Hopefully those that have been betting are sitting on some big green numbers.
Apologies for not bringing you a wealth of betting opportunities prior to the tournament last month – but you’ll be glad to know the one mentioned above was my only really juicy selection.
Personally, I lumped on France to get through the group (1.5) and I had a smaller fancy on Danny Welbeck to score a goal at any time in the competition (2.25). Although both of these turned out to be winners, having had to endure numerous games featuring either (or both of) France and England, I am a lot less sure of the level of value I actually got my hands on from those positions.
Those two teams were certainly candidates for “most underwhelming” of the tournament. At least the Dutch went out as an epic bust to the point of being entertaining.
My only other antepost loss for the tournament was a medium-sized punt on Poland to get through their group. This one also leaves a bitter taste. Normally I position myself completely on the other side of the fence – always laying into a market that over-rates home field advantage. However, I allowed the “Borussia Dortmund” factor sway me on this occasion.
Although a loser, having watched the Czech’s and the Greek’s, I feel this one might have been a better bet than both my successful Group D positions.
Anyway, that is enough about the Euro’s. From a betting perspective I don’t really have to much interest. The major competitions are only really useful as to fuel the “casual punter” market ahead of the new season.
International football, although somewhat predictable (1-1 draw anyone?), is difficult to price as there is a lack of useful data to support any analytical work. Most of my positions are based on game theory and historic patterns rather than detailed analysis. Other than Mr Mandzukic obviously.
When you put the tournament into context, it is 39 games. That’s it. You actually have more tradable games on your average weekend coupon – for which there is a whole host of data to support proper analysis.
Building up any significant betting expectation for tournaments such as this one is likely to lead to the same thing as building up your hopes for an England penalty shoot out – disappointment.
On that note, let’s move on.
My biggest gamble to date
Late last year, after quite a bit of soul searching, I decided to take a leap into the unknown and pursue a career change before it was too late. After spending more than six month saving and receiving my (small) annual bonus from work, I decided to take a leap of faith and resigned from my (lucrative, secure, well respected) corporate finance role – without another job to go to.
This wasn’t a decision I took lightly – and I certainly wasn’t short of people trying to talk me out of it at the time! Eurozone crisis, double dip recession, soaring unemployment etc etc…
However, sometimes in life you do have to take risks. As the great Wayne Gretzky once said, “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
I believed that I had considered all the options, assessed all risks and put the necessary contingencies in place. So I took a deep breath and announced myself “All In”.
I resigned from my job in November last year, knowing that I would be working my three month notice through to February. After six good years, I was leaving my employer on great terms. I had built up some great relationships with the senior people within my team and they were all understanding of my position – which in itself relieved some of the pressure.
In fact, I will always be very grateful that, to a man/woman, all of my previous bosses offered to try to use their networks and contacts to help me find that I was looking for.
The first part of my plan had actually been put in place during the summer of 2011. If everything went to plan, I knew I was going to be working my three month notice through to February 2012 – as a result I registered to sit the CFA Level 1 exam at the start of December.
Aided by the additional flexibility of being on my notice, I set about a five week revision/work binge leading up to the exam day. It had been a couple of years since I had studied for an exam, and it is surprising what you miss when it is not there. I actually really enjoyed both the learning process and the content of the CFA exam, and I would recommend it to anyone from a finance/economics background that wants to add an extra string to their bow.
It won’t get you a job on its own, but my view is it certainly can’t help – particularly if you have shown the commitment to study in your own time whilst working.
Regular readers will have noticed, this was the point at which activity here at BOTW really died down. Sadly it was just one too many things to try to juggle and I made the decision to out the site on the backburner.
When results day came around in January, it was a real relief to receive the email confirming I had passed the exam. Being two weeks away from unemployment and falling at the first hurdle would have been a real blow!
I subsequently left my job in February, and set about looking for this mystical new role that would both satisfy and remunerate me in equal measures.
After a couple of weeks of schmoozing important people, meeting friends and mentors for advice, and enduring recruitment consultants I was already starting to worry a little that there wasn’t a single career in finance that I would enjoy. I may qualified and experienced enough to secure a role, but I couldn’t help but feel I was just from one uninspiring industry straight into another – but with even worse work/life balance and a terrible people culture.
My mind would regularly wander to the insightful thoughts of one of my long-time favourite authors, Michael Lewis, from his Bloomberg column a few years ago. I first read that piece as a 25 year-old, newly qualified chartered accountant. A despondent 25 year-old, newly qualified chartered accountant with no passion or interest in accountancy and a very sceptical view of the global financial system.
After a couple of thoroughly dissatisfying “interviews” for roles within the hedge fund/distressed investment space, my mind was made up.
I was going to take a shot at finding a career I would enjoy, rather than one based predominantly on what would pay me the most, and see where the world takes me.
It’s what you know AND who you know, you know
If you like a happy ending, you are in for a treat. After a whirlwind few months, I am writing this post from my desk at Sporting Index HQ in London, where I have managed to secure/blag/sweet talk a fantastic role, combining my corporate finance experience with my passion for (And hopefully knowledge of) sports trading.
I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity and so far things are going really well.
Now, I’ll not going to try to claim all of the credit and say that I was headhunted for this opportunity by BOTW readers who couldn’t wait to sign up the markets hottest sports bettor. As that would be complete bollocks.
Ultimately, I got an introduction to the business through a good friend’s father – who himself was friends with a former Sporting Index director. I will always be eternally grateful to my friend for having the consideration to set me up with the initial introduction. Hopefully one day I will get to return the favour in some way shape or form.
A couple of email steps further down the chain led me to a a few beers with one of the current directors at Sporting index. Thankfully we got on well, and I obviously made a decent impression.
All of this, I would point out, was back in 2010. It was a slow burner, but I made sure I always kept in touch. Over twelve months after we were introduced, it turns out an opportunity arose within a different team within Sporting Index – one that it was thought I might be a good fit for.
I was soon headed off for another round of beers and fat chewing with a different member of the Sporting Index management team – who it turns out, after being passed my CV had taken the time to read some of my old BOTW articles.
This gave us a great deal to chat about and we got on like a house on fire. About six pints of continental lager later, it was clear that we both looked at the sports betting industry from the same angle. Well, as clear as things can be after six pints anyway!
I offered to do six weeks of project work for nothing more than expenses to get my foot in the door.
The project went well. And as the saying goes, the rest, is history…