Now the football has started again, here is an insight into how I approach the whole season.
During off season I am most active on research and new information for the next season. I gather a huge amount of data during the season and during the off-season I analyse it to take ideas forward to the next season. Same story this year.
I started analysing football matches in the 80’s, so I tend to focus on very specific problems now outside of what price should something be. It’s a question of how deep down the rabbit hole do you want to go. I can accurately describe how matches stitch together, but the big problem you have with football is the large variability. It’s possible to be accurate, but only to +/- quite wide ranges only. I can pin values on items that account for around 90% of the variability between teams. But most of my research now is quite esoteric in its nature. I want to explore unexplored areas.
I did some work quite a few years ago to predict where I think teams will finish in the divisions at the end of the season. I do this each year to draw up a provisional view of how I think the league will finish. This will allow me to bet for or against teams in the relegation markets. It also gives me some perspective on how things are playing out. The markets tend to do a pretty good job of pricing nowadays. So it’s often worth snap-shotting the market before the season starts to do the same thing.
Transfer news and managerial news shapes and moves markets pre-season so I’ll often take a view on that and start trading these markets before a ball has even been kicked.
It’s difficult to get an accurate assessment of a teams true potential early in the season and whether they are realistically playing above or below expectations. It’s not uncommon for a team that gets off to a good start to fade later so the early part of the season is a question of divergence to forecast and reversion to mean. I run a spreadsheet which I can the ‘lucky league’ which measures teams performance versus their actual points. This can pin-point teams that are playing ahead or behind of their true potential.
There can be a lot of variability in early results that don’t really mean much. So I’m always more focused on the long term. You usually also get a promoted team who gets off to a good start and carries some momentum and an established team that gets into trouble or establishes a ‘crisis pattern’.
Things start to settle into a much more defined pattern at this point as teams play out to their strengths and weaknesses. This is the easiest time to deploy straight- forward strategies and achieve consistency.
I’ve always found the close season the least reliable in terms of expectations, but that it itself can present some opportunities. As we approach the end of the season this is when my accumulated positions on the promotion and relegation markets really begin to payoff. As the season reaches a peak the incentive to perform is at it’s highest and this can be a good time to pick up some unusual payoffs.
And that’s the season in a nutshell, let the fun and games commence!