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 Ian Broadrick (@Brodders_BE) up next.
When did you first start betting? Can you remember your first bet?
I had an aunt and uncle who used to watch the old ITV7 back in the 70’s and I have vague memories of betting 1p and 2p on things.
Like most people, my first experiences of betting were on the Grand National. I remember picking Maori Venture out in the paper as a 15-year-old when it won the 1987 National which spiked my interest but I got into it because I had a friend at the cricket club who punted all the time and he took me under his wing.
The first bet I really remember is going to Plumpton on the 5th November 1990 (I had to look that up!) and trying to have a £1 each-way bet on the 14/1 outsider in a three-runner race. The bookie explained that it was win only so I ended up with £2 win on The Fruit who duly dotted up – I was hooked!
What sports or leagues do you focus and bet on?
Any other betting tends to revolve around specific events like the golf Majors but I’m very much a “mug” punter on those. Joe Beevers (Betting Emporium) is a very successful sports bettor. He once told me that you can’t be a good judge on everything – you just have to be a good judge of judges. I try and follow people who I know are experts in the sports I’m not.
What sites or sources do you use to follow them?
I used to specialise in European football so over the years have built up a number of sites that I trust to be accurate when it comes to things like team news and conditions. A lot of those are from the individual countries which is the best source for any info.
One of the main parts of my work would be using Google translate and then try to work out what it all meant!
What are your favourite websites for research?
There are too many to list but www.football-italia.net is excellent for Serie A news, blogs and analysis, www.record.pt is great for Portuguese football news and www.veikkausliiga.com for Finnish football.
I also have a number of tipping websites that I look at to see if there’s any info I’ve missed and to get alternative viewpoints to my own.
What stats do you consider the most important?
I’ve never really been someone that looks to stats. I have always used a more intuitive approach, trying to envisage how a match would play out with all the other factors that aren’t captured by stats such as team news, conditions and the overall tactical position of the match within the wider context of the league or cup competition.
I understand why people like Expected Goals (xG) and the various other new data points but those are still subjective and I prefer to watch as much football as I can to form my own opinions.
I like basic stats like teams that never keep clean sheets but it’s always important to delve a bit deeper to find out why. If they had a dodgy keeper who’s just been replaced then knowing that they have let in a goal a game for 20 games might give you some value on them to buck that trend which the algorithms might miss.
Are there any stats or trends you feel are irrelevant?
As I don’t really use them, then I’d say most of them!
There are certain trends or stats that are very important like home advantage but generally I’m trying to find an angle that might have been missed by the odds compilers. With 1000’s of markets on offer all the time, it’s inevitable that mistakes will be made – it’s finding them and exploiting them that’s the trick.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt betting?
Not to get emotionally involved. Betting is no different from any other kind of investing – you will have down swings as well as up swings so it’s important to never get too high and never get too low.
Other than that, the usual stuff like bankroll management is obviously very important and to never gamble money you can’t afford to lose.
Why is value important in betting?
The theory of winning in gambling is very simple – you need to work out the probability of an event happening. If the odds being offered for that event to occur are bigger than the probability of it happening and you’re right most of the time then you’re going to make money in the long run.
The simplest way of demonstrating that is with the coin toss which has a probability of 50% heads and 50% tails. If you bet either heads or tails at even money you would be betting at exactly the right odds and wouldn’t have any value so over an infinite number of tosses you’d be dead even.
If you could back heads at 11/10 an infinite number of times you would make money and that’s what you need to do with any bet you have – see it in terms of the odds being offered against the likelihood of success.
I often hear people say things like a winner is a winner without realising that they may have just had some short term positive variance.
Have you any advice for punters looking to try and find an edge?
The only way to win in the long term is to beat the market which is why I have never really bet into markets like the Premier League. So much money is bet on that globally that the markets are incredibly close to being correct most of the time.
The best way to find value is to get on in the early days of the market before it’s been knocked into shape by sharp money .
When you can get an intimate knowledge of another league then you will know more than the person setting the odds and if you combine that with doing the necessary homework in terms of researching the game then there will always be opportunities.
One other thing I would say is not to force it. We don’t have to have a bet if it’s not there. There are thousands of opportunities every single weekend and you only need to find a few good ones.
What’s your biggest betting win and how do you spend it?
I had £100 each-way on Qualify at 100/1 in the 2015 Oaks which won me £12,500. I can’t claim credit for that – Neil Channing at Betting Emporium is an incredibly successful professional horse racing punter and I followed him blind.
I can’t remember how I spent it but having a wife and two young children, I suspect I didn’t see much of it!
Do you review your bets and track your winners/losers?
Absolutely. This is vital if you want to be a long term winner. I keep spreadsheets of all bets, broken down by sport and overall and periodically review them to see if a particular type of bet is winning or losing money.
How do you cope with losing bets?
I try to not let it get to me. After you’ve been doing this long enough you know that there is going to be good and bad days – it’s the big picture that matters. As long as you’re betting what you can afford and understand the risks then it’s like any other kind of investment.
What’s the best thing about betting?