IN a brand new series at WLB, we're getting inside the minds of some of the betting industry's smartest minds by asking the experts to reveal their favourite resources, valuable insight and biggest wins in the game, with Alex Vella (@AlexVella_) from Trademate Sports up next.
When did you first start betting? Can you remember your first bet?
It was a couple weeks after I turned 18. Australia vs Argentina in the Rugby Championship. Argentina were at 3/1 or something and me and my mate thought they were half a chance, so we had a huge $10 on them. From memory they led for a big chunk of the game but eventually were beaten by four points. Devastating stuff.
What sports or leagues do you focus and bet on?
Literally everything. Football, rugby, MMA, esports, baseball, NFL, basketball, ice hockey etc. Wherever Trademate tells me there is an edge – I bet. I don’t watch 99% of the games I bet on – I follow the numbers.
What sites or sources do you use to follow them?
For the games that I actually watch, which is normally only the teams I support, I stream them like anyone else does. In terms of the latest news I just use Twitter and a bit of Facebook.
What are your favourite websites for research?
Because I don’t really bet based on stats, I don’t research 95% of my bets. The only times I don’t use Trademate is for MMA betting or sometimes on the NRL. For those I listen to podcasts like Ariel Helwani’s MMA podcast or for the latest news on the NRL I look at nrl.com and foxsports.com.au.
What stats you do consider the most important?
I’m probably becoming a broken record, but considering my approach I’m not the man to ask about this!
What I would say though, from my experience talking to various great minds on the Trademate podcast, I would be favouring stats like Expected Goals (xG) over actual goals.
Also, if you’re betting MMA, every fight is different, so don’t look at a fighters record or past few wins and think they’ll win based on that. Look at what styles of fighters they’ve won/lost against and see how that compares to their next opponent.
Are there any stats or trends you feel are irrelevant?
Again, from the people I’ve talked to, Head-to-Head records are irrelevant. And I guess for MMA it’s the opposite of what I just said. An undefeated record is irrelevant if they haven’t fought anyone decent and it’s all been against styles which are favourable to theirs.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt betting?
Very hard to narrow it down to one, but it would have to be understanding the process of everything that goes into a bookmaker giving you odds on a game.
Firstly, the people that produce these odds do it for a living, there’s a reason why they get paid to do this. When you’re just starting betting, thinking you’re smarter than a compiler is like thinking you’re smarter than a doctor. You’re just being arrogant or most likely uneducated – I was like this!
Secondly, bookies take a margin on top of that, so not only do you have to beat a compiler, you essentially have to beat a head-start.
And thirdly, even if you are smarter than a compiler and beat the margin-free closing line 50 times in a row, you could still lose every single bet. It’s about probabilities over a long period of time, not your opinion.
Why is value important in betting?
Because if you’re not taking value from the bookmaker over a large number of bets you won’t be profitable. If you consistently get 11/10 in odds when the true odds are evens, play that scenario out thousands of times and statistics say you will be a winning sports bettor.
If you consistently get 9/10 in odds when the true odds are evens, play that scenario out thousands of times and statistics say you will be a losing sports bettor.
Have you any advice for punters looking to try and find an edge?
Look for value, try and beat Pinnacle’s closing line consistently. It’s bloody hard, but if you do, you will be profitable long term. If you can’t do this on your own, which you most likely won’t be able to do because 99% of people can’t, you should start a free trial with Trademate Sports.
You will consistently beat closing lines there and you don’t have to know much about betting. Or go and try matched betting or arbing. You won’t be able to do that for very long and make as much money as with value betting but at least you’re guaranteed to make money if you do it correctly.
What’s your biggest win (either odds or cash winnings) and how do you spend it?
Probably back in the day when I was a gambler! But it wasn’t anything too crazy, probably like $300 or something. And I probably gave it all back to the bookmaker or the bottle shop haha!
Do you review your bets and track your winners/losers?
Yes I do, but Trademate does it all for me. Because it’s embedded in me, the first thing I check is whether it won or lost, but that is completely irrelevant if you’re a value bettor. The second thing I check, which should be the first, is whether I beat Pinnacles closing line and made a +EV bet.
How do you cope with losing bets?
I’m going to sound like a real degenerate here, but I just keep placing more. This is a numbers game for me. The more value bets I place, the greater my chances are of being profitable. Sure I get a bit down if I go on a losing streak, but my physical reaction is always the same, keep placing value bets.
What’s the best thing about betting?
Making money whilst sitting on your backside watching a game of sports! It’s even better when it’s your own team winning and you found value!