NRL Mid Season Review: How has the Gambling Manifesto Performed?
My pre season NRL gambling manifesto delivered two key recommendations
- To make above average returns, back the big outsiders
- Away teams paying 3.80 or more
- Home teams paying 2.95 or more
- Back outsiders early in the season, before the bookies have an accurate read on the form, and later in the season once performance becomes more predictable, look more towards the favourites
These conclusions were based entirely on data from the 2011 season. So, have they held up after 13 rounds in 2012? Did I steer the punters right, or has the manifesto sent its loyal disciples broke?
First let’s examine point 2 – the trends in returns over time. From 2011, we saw that
- Total Winning returns declined over the year
- Return from backing all underdogs declined over the year
- Returns from backing all favourites increased over the year
Each of these trends indicates that bookies ability to frame the markets accurately improves over the year, so that there are less upsets, less return from backing underdogs, and less returns on offer in general. It does also mean though that there is money to be made from backing favourites later on in the year.
Each of these trends has again been witnessed in 2012. The best opportunity to make money still appears to be by backing outsiders early in the year.
The above charts show that in each of the first 5 rounds of the year, you would have made money overall in each week had you backed the outsider in every match. In the last 8 rounds, only once would backing all outsiders have left you ahead for the week. On the other side of the equation, backing all favourites would have made you money in 5 of the last 8 weeks and none of the first 5 weeks.
So point 2 of the manifesto has been proven correct so far in 2012 – back outsiders early and favourites later in the season.
Onto the first point – has backing the big outsiders made money so far this year?
Partially. As the table below shows, backing the home teams that were big underdogs has turned a huge profit of 122%. There have been 6 matches so far in which home teams were paying 2.95 or more, and in four of these matches the big outsider won.
The victorious outsiders were
- Eels at 3.25 over Sea Eagles
- Sharks at 3.40 over Storm
- Panthers at 3.40 over Dragons
- Panthers at 3.05 over Sea Eagles
Plenty of joy there for loyal Panthers fans!
On two other occasions the big home outsider was beaten
- Titans at 3.15 lost to the Tigers (in golden point!)
- Panthers at 4.90 lost to the Storm
However, backing the big away outsiders would not have yielded a profit. Out of the 6 matches in which an away team was paying more than 3.80, only once did the outsider salute, and that was when the Titans defeated the Sea Eagles at Brookvale paying 4.10.
Overall, if you had backed the large home and away outsiders, the returns would have been 45%, so the manifesto has been proven correct on that point as well. The caveat is that you would’ve been even better off if you’d only backed the big home outsiders, and steered clear of the Away outsiders.
So far the experience of 2011 has held true into 2012. The implication then for the rest of the season is that as the season wears on, the returns from backing favourites will improve and there will be less value from the underdogs. Once again though, it seems that to make serious returns from NRL, you are best to wait till the start of 2013 and go hard at the rank outsiders who are consistently proving good value in this very even competition.