We had six great articles with six very different trading styles last year and you can find links to those at the end of this article but more excitingly, today the tricks of the trade series is back with a bang! Karl is becoming a more dominant figure on Football Index Twitter predominantly through his excellent data analysis surrounding dividends and performance scores. We discuss their uses, and more below.
First a bit of background, you’re a fellow student, right? How did you end up on Football Index and how’s it been so far?
Karl: I began my Football Index journey just before I began my 2nd year of university, just after the World Cup of 2018. Previously, I was into matched betting for a year or so and think I came across Football Index from website advertisement (possibly WhoScored.com). I began with a £40 deposit and played around with it and gradually added small amounts of £10/£20 or so as I began to really enjoy it. I made my first substantial deposit in January and never looked back! I’ve learnt a lot since joining, and I have enjoyed it far more than I could have imagined when first signing up. I’ll always recommend Football Index to friends who claim to love football and everything about it.
How would you describe your strategy for picking players and how important is data in your decision making?
Karl: My strategy has changed from time to time throughout my Football Index journey. Now I like to pick my players based on 2 main criteria points. The first being that I believe they are genuinely good footballers. The reason behind this is because as they continuously begin to impress others, they will also want to make a bet with that player. The second point is to bet on players with genuine intrinsic value in my opinion. As this product grows and becomes closer to a zero sum game, the stress of buying and selling on peaks and troughs will be much less knowing my bets are capable of returning large proportions of their price I paid for them. The second reason is also why I spend time analysing players and elements of the market.
How varied do you find scores to be over different game days and positions and what do you think is key to identifying someone who'll perform well under the current matrix?
Karl: Previously I have looked into which positions score the majority of their Performance Buzz points in which areas. This is something I shall update at the end of the season. However, I have included the average winning scores for each position and each game day for you to see. Keeping an eye on my Twitter account (@FI_KBrown) will always keep you up to date with when I bring out new analysis in the form of threads or YouTube videos.
But back to the question what is most important in identifying potential dividend winners. My answer would be to try and find players that play key roles within teams. This can be found from looking through stats etc, but also watching the player on the TV will also help you see what sort of an attitude they have for demanding the ball and what they wish to achieve once on the ball.
I’d highly recommend your content around this subject to anyone looking to understand the scoring matrix and how different elements play into producing dividend winning scores, I think it’s great, but what got you into the content-producing side of things?
Karl: I never intended to actually start producing content. However, I have always been a bit of a number cruncher and the OCD in me will always wish for the data to be pleasing to look at too. Therefore, I found it straight-forward to create some small threads to start with, showing the community what I have discovered. The community responded really well to my first larger blog-post style of analysis and from then on have continued to specialise in the Performance Buzz Winners of Football Index.
With the transfer window just around the corner and in the forefront of a lot of people’s minds at the moment, are there any players you’re hoping to get a move to improve their performance scores? Are there any particular teams that you think are best to move to or perhaps to get away from to improve scoring?
Karl: I am a firm believer that when the top 4 or 6 teams from each league play against a relegation side, it will result in the higher Performance Buzz scores, giving them a great opportunity in winning dividends.
More specifically, sides that are organised to sit back and soak up pressure and allow the opposition to be on the ball. This season, Newcastle and West Ham have been a great example of this. Therefore, playing these teams can be very rewarding but players moving to these teams will often see a reduction in their Performance Buzz scores.
Moving to a stronger side will allow a player to again be on the ball more often. However, you have to consider the role they will play within this new side, and will they have any positional competition within the same team.
A statement often thrown around twitter is “past performance doesn’t guarantee future performance” what do you think about that?
Karl: In a lot of ways, this is correct. If you are also referring to past and future dividends this also applies.
The way in which I see it is that a player’s statistics can be replicated or remain consistent if the vast majority of factors remain the same. Therefore, if a key player within a strong team remains to be a key player within the same team and they remain successful, it is likely they will have some consistency within their performance and Performance Buzz scores. What makes this extremely difficult to do is predict what factors will change, when they will change and how will they change. Transfers at times can be hard to predict. Managerial changes can also come at surprising times that affect styles of teams and have different player preferences.
There’s been a lot of talk around the performance scoring matrix this season and its possible “flaws.” As a man who’s analysed it more than most, how do you feel about it? Have you identified any key areas that you think are over or under-rewarded?
Karl: The Performance Buzz matrix certainly isn’t perfect. However, I do believe it should be given more credit than it receives. In the majority of cases, the star man on each match day will be the Man-of-the-Match in that particular match. Previously there was a stigma about how full-backs won more Performance Buzz dividends than centre-backs. This season the distribution is currently 45% CB’s & 55% FB’s within Defenders. Another was that wingers would win more also due to base scorers being greater. This was also not the case, as 56% of Forward Performance Buzz winners are strikers (9’s), and just 44% are wingers. This is due to the importance of goals within the matrix and clearly strikers score more goals than wingers.
The element that causes a lot of debate is the cross element and how players have been known to win Performance Buzz dividends with large amounts of them, and more in particular unsuccessful ones. Below I have inserted a table to display the frequency of unsuccessful crosses within Performance Buzz Winners.
From this we can see that less than 10% of winners have attempted 10 or more crosses and almost a third haven’t attempted any at all. Of the 59 Performance Buzz Winners with 10 or more attempted crosses, 22 of these also scored at least one goal, suggesting they could have earned their dividends in other ways within the match. Due to this I believe there are very few Performance Buzz Winners that earn their dividends from unsuccessful/attempted crosses stacking up and personally, I am happy with the matrix despite it not being perfect. I am also yet to come across something in which would work better.
Where does Football Index fit into your quarantine routine? How much is the lack of football impacting the amount of time you’re spending on it and has this break allowed you to spend more time on any other analysis you wouldn’t usually get the chance to do?
Karl: Personally, it hasn’t really affected my Football Index routine, other than actually watching the football that would usually be on. Where I would usually gather the data I have just been analysing some old stuff. Being a university student with a dissertation to write (player performance and its relationship with player contract length), I still have my fair share of work to be getting on with.
Quickfire questions: (just a couple of words answer, no explanations necessary)
Largest hold? Jadon Sancho
A player you think the market is sleeping on? Mason Greenwood
The best player (under 30) who’s real-life ability is the furthest away from their football index value? Roberto Firmino (£1.74) or Fabinho (£0.85) - LFC Bias haha!
The player who’s football index value exceeds their actual ability/ potential ability the most in your eyes? Jack Grealish - Good but not 11th best in the world good!
One thing you wish was included in the performance scoring matrix that isn’t? Penalty won - Often a player makes a great dribble and isn’t rewarded for practically an assist.
What’s the thing you’re most excited about on Football Index in the next twelve months?Order Books!
Who’s the next £10 player? Trent Alexander-Arnold
When will we see a £15 player? August 1st 2020 - But would love it to be sooner!
Any closing remarks Karl?
Karl: I have really enjoyed answering these set of questions, and more than happy to do so for anyone that has any further questions they would like to ask me. If you wish to do so you can find me on Twitter or Slack (Index Gain), my handle is @FI_KBrown
You can now also find me on YouTube, in which I am creating videos about Football Index, with the majority of my content being heavily supported by data and statistics. I appreciate everyone that has supported that since I have started, and hope it continues!
Good luck trading and don’t be a stranger within the community, it’s a friendly crowd!
Some data in this article was taken from Football Index Edge or compiled using their downloadable data section. You can get a 14 day free trial to check it out yourself here!
If you're new to Football Index and want to continue to learn the ropes, check out my free guide here!
Check out previous Tricks of the trade editions below:
Edition No.1 with Big Don who owns over 1500 players
Edition No.2 with Stamford who's a renowned buzz man Edition No.3 with Pierre who buys on Sunday and sells on Friday Edition No.4 with Ryan Pearce talking transfer trading Edition No.5 with Buzzing Paul with great data insight Edition No.6 with Andrew Allen Discussing IPO trading