I’ve had access to and have been playing with the Football Rating System website for the last week.

What we have here is something really rather different and I’m very keen on it indeed. It’s been created by the same team behind the ever popular and useful The Staking Machine service.

Rather than it being a tipster service or a selection system it’s a nifty little tool that allows you to create and back test your own systems for 9 of the most popular football leagues in Europe, the 4 pro leagues in England plus the usual suspects from the continent.

It’s still evolving at the moment and they have added a raft of new betting markets this week. You can now create systems and back test results over the last 3 full seasons for Win/Lose/Draw, Over/Under 2.5, Draw No Bet, Double Chance, Odd/Even Total Goals and Both To Score markets. All results can be exported to a spreadsheet for your own study and analysis.

How it works is really very simple but extremely helpful. You set your criteria, back test and fiddle until you are happy you’ve got it how you want it, then when you save your system settings it’ll search for any fixtures in the next 5 days that match up to your requirements. You can then have the selections emailed to you or you can save them to a spreadsheet for later reference. The website saves your system(s) so that when you log in, the first screen you see is a list of upcoming fixtures that match your requirements. You can even see best available price with a single click.

They have told me that they will be refining and adding to the criteria selection part of the site and do say on the site that you can make requests and that all suggestions will be considered. This is a very good idea as a few of the criteria are a little unwieldy at the moment and could do with being more flexible. There’s also been some talk of video examples being produced.

Rather than having to buy and download an actual programme, this is a subscription service that costs a very reasonable £10 a month. Although it may seem a faff to have a subscription rather than buy outright, it’s much better for this sort of thing. Firstly, I would imagine that it would be very expensive to actually buy this as there must be a lot of work involved in setting up such a piece of software.Secondly, if you did pay out a large amount of money to own it and then found that the websites that source this information were to disappear you’d be massively out of pocket. This sort of thing needs constant weekly updating throughout the season to keep it fit for purpose.

A great feature is that you can try it out for FREE, before deciding if you want to subscribe and get the full blown access, which will let you create and back test 1 system. Although you will not be able to save it, it will let you see just how much potential is in your idea and if it’s worth tinkering with.

Those are the factual bits, now for my own personal feelings and findings.

I was a intrigued by the idea of having a site like this, as I do not know of any other Football based one that provides this sort of service. There’s been several Horse Racing ones (most notably the much missed Adrian Massey database) but I’ve not found anything like this for football. My initial reaction was to be a little sceptical as the first version of this only had provision for straight Win/Draw/Lose bets and I’m not really convinced that a purely systemic approach is possible with those bets. Football is so popular and the bookie prices so tight that I think it’s next to impossible to make a system with set criteria profitable long term. For example, it’s easy to find a team that nearly always wins at home when playing a team from lower down the league, the problem is that everyone knows that including the bookie so the price is extremely low and the odd losing run will wipe out any profit. So in my opinion, that sort of market is far more suited to a form reading approach than a set criteria systemic approach.

I was much more encouraged when they added the whole raft of new betting markets to try out earlier this week. There’s definitely more juice to be had in some of those and there’s many different ways to look at the results you get from a report.

The real benefit of his service is in trying out these markets using different approaches. You can even separate Home and Away games once you have your back tested results.

The vast majority of my own betting activities revolve around trading rather than outright betting. This site can even help you with that. The approach I’m most keen on at the moment sort of turns the site’s aims on its head. I decided to try out a system to find Draws, my first attempt to find a backing system was utterly woeful and racked up a massive loss and pitiful strike rate over the last few seasons. Disaster? Hell No, a brilliant way to find a SHORTLIST of games to Lay The Draw trade. Obviously, you can’t take the exact figures that the site provided for this test as a realistic return for LTD trading as exchange prices are higher and you have to pay commission but with only 1 in 9 of my tested games ending in a draw I can attack the trade with more confidence.

That’s just one quick idea I fell into, there’s so much to play with and adjust to suit your own betting style. The owners have said that they will be making improvements as they go along, making criteria more flexible and easier to tailor to various approaches.

I put the word “Shortlist” in bold as I think that’s where this site’s treasure lays for me. I won’t be blindly following any of the selections it finds for me, no matter how good the Strike Rate and ROI it shows. But I will be happily using them as a shortlist to study in much greater detail and will be delighted to have the most boring and longwinded, time consuming part of the job done for me.

You can just log in as a demo user without needing to download or sign up to anything to try out the basic version, use most of the features including the pretty extensive HELP section at the top to get you going, all for free. But I do think that, once you’ve tried it out and can see the potential, the subscription of £10 a month is stupidly good value. This is certainly going in the APPROVED pile for me.

If you like to take a logical approach to finding your bets and can make sure you know the difference between Back Testing and Back Fitting (ie, only use filters with a sensible reason behind them rather than just putting whatever makes the bottom line look better), then this one really is a No-Brainer. Honestly think you’d be daft not to have a free play around with this, if any of the above sounds even slightly interesting.Approved2