Season 5 - Week 6

As Hannibal said "Don't you love it when a plan comes together?"  And as Gibbo says "don't you love it even more when someone else's plan falls apart horribly?". Sorry Paul Kinsella but we don't like winners in this country and we like it even less when someone is trouncing us in their first season.  Paul's strategy looked foolproof on paper, pick some outrageous long-shots, develop a big lead and then pick bankers for the rest of the season to secure the title, except it's not that easy to pick bankers, especially when Chelsea are shorn of Drogba and Lampard.  Okay you're still riding high (and considerably higher than me) but I offer no apologies for taking enjoyment out of the wheels coming firmly off your wagon.

David Rosser on the other hand, has all four wheels firmly attached to his wagon (with bolts, nuts, superglue and double sided sticky tape) and has stormed into the lead with an outrageous Bristol City away pick.  I guess the top 5 would all view themselves as 'in with a chance', but I think an all-time record performance will be required to win the league.  It should be noted that of the top 5 only Nick Kelly is not a risk taker. The other four have all got there with a combination of away wins and draws.

At the other end, don't we all love a valiant loser and poor old Tony seems to go from bad to worse, he's tried picking long-shots, he's tried picking mid-shots (which I define as 1.8-2.2 range) and this week he also tried picking bankers (I mean Liverpool were nailed on to win, weren't they?) - but all to no avail and his stay in top-flight predicting looks to be coming to an end.

The Pele League £13,569

Success 7/10

An admirable effort to win money was surprisingly undone by three bankers, the failures of Chelsea, Liverpool and Hartlepool were disappointing in a week when everything else went the way of the Premier League Pickers.  Nick Kelly's inexorable march towards the title (he is the only person left with a 100 percent record) is only being challenged by Matt Gibbons and latterly Tim Lines' return to form.  Tony Southworth is now £3+ adrift at the bottom and needs a miracle return to form, the demise of this ever-present top-flight predictor is sad for both fans and foes alike.  Good wins though for Paul Drury and Matt Haywood have dragged almost everyone else into a relegation battle, a mere £1.31 separates Nick Lines in 4th from a relegation spot, and there are a plethora of top flight luminaries who may yet join Tony in the walk of shame into the Maradona league.

The Maradona League £159,492

Success 7/10

An even more impressive effort to win an epic £159k was this time let down by some more adventurous picking, Gurd's home banker can be counted as unlucky and you can see the logic behind the Tottenham Arsenal draw and backing Everton's home form against Man U, but ultimately this league paid for it's aggressive picking strategy.  Impressive picks by David Rosser and Richard Ingham were wasted by the profligacy of the other pickers.  Those two are rewarded though with a promotion buffer, ahead of the impressive but ultimately unlucky (to be in the same league as Rosser and Ingham) Ben Gould.

Wrigley, Gurd and Cornwall suffer for their poor-picking and they now make up the bottom three.  Strikingly similar to the Premier League though there is one poor sap well adrift at the bottom (poor old Cornwall last week it was sinking, now it is adrift) and a number of others caught in a relegation battle.  Good wins for Holland and Dunk has given them (limited) breathing space.

The Gary Lineker League £27,954

Success 3/10

It would appear that the Leadership of this league comes with a curse, whoever is leading picks a loser the next week.  Currently Shakespeare heads the way, taking advantage of slips from Reeve, Lewis and Virdi.  Pilkington's win takes him back into contention for promotion, and Gibbons and Clare can't be sure of whether to look up (less that £1.50 from promotion) or down (less than £2.50 from relegation).  A good win for Rodgers pulls Ross Jones back into a relegation dogfight.  Continuing the theme from the top two leagues, there is one chap who has only picked one winner and Nik Simms looks to be in Dire Straits (money worth nothing and picks are twee)

The Paul Dickov League £129,163

Success 6/10

Another bold attempt to win big money (£129k) comes unstuck due to home bankers not coming in and a smattering of 'value betting'.  We'll revisit the idea of value betting in a second, but firstly first is occupied by the yo-yo that is Andrew Wickett, by picking more  aggressively he ensures that when he wins he wins big, but of course this strategy can sometimes lead to a string of losers, but for now he proudly resides in top spot and looks well set for promotion (as he did last year of course).  Hickey's slip (unluckily Huddersfield at home did look a sure thing) allows Tim Hughes (who managed to avoid the multiple home banker slip-ups) to close the gap.  Positive figures all the way down to 7th makes this an open and exciting league.

Matt Britcliffe remains close to the relegation zone following a value bet.  This is a concept stolen from poker, and can be spectacularly successful.  By picking Blackburn away at Chelsea he presumably did not think that they would win it more often than not, but simply that they would win it more often than 1 time in 8 (thus over the course of a predicting career representing value).  Now I'm not adverse to value bets per se, I certainly think that often the 2.30 bet will come in more than half as often as the 1.65 bet (thus gaining over time).  I do however, think that this may be a step too far - for two reasons.

Firstly we play 10 week seasons, and any bet above 5.00 will statistically come in once a season and thus would not be enough to repay prior losses, the chances of not picking a winner and getting relegated exceed the chances of a glory season.  Secondly we are playing to win money (lest we forget) and 7 weeks in 8 you are scuppering your leagues chances.  This is not a 'dig' at Matt Britcliffe as many people have adopted this strategy, but barring the last week of the season I personally think that the strategy is not a sound one.

The Jason 'pineapple' Lee League £1,111

Success 2/8

Well after that lengthy diatribe I have little to say about this poor performance.  There were seven bets of under 2.00 and only one came in.  This allowed Daniel Lewis to fly up to second and Ben Drury to pull out of the relegation zone.  Tim Cutler remains firmly entrenched at the bottom, but as he is only £3.41 off promotion, there still remains everything to play for.  Julia Ingham is sadly heading in the opposite direction to Richard Ingham and the gloating must surely soon become intolerable! 

Finally a mention to Simon Callan in the holding league who picked his first winner, well done.


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