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 @InPlayMan up next.
When did you first start betting? Can you remember your first bet?
My first bet was actually as a kid on the Grand National. My mum used to work in the provincial racing shops which eventually became Bet365 and my grandad Wilf used to love a punt on the horse.
The first one I really remember my grandad backing for me was Party Politics in the Grand National. I didn't really start betting myself on football etc though until my early 20's..
What sports or leagues do you focus and bet on?
I think you can learn to bet on anything really but I enjoy the more obscure leagues, to be honest, digging into research in leagues where nobody really looks. Belarusian Women's Premier league, Qatar Stars League, Israel Liga Alef, that's where I really like to get stuck in.
What sites or sources do you use to follow them?
I think Twitter can be used for much more than following tipsters or posting bets as a tipster. It's a cracking source of information that is generally under-utilised. You can get full match commentary on there for a Northern Ireland reserves game and line-ups for a Chinese fourth division side.
What are your favourite websites for research?
Wow, too many to list to be honest and it depends on the situation I suppose.
Twitter as I mentioned above is a great source. For general information you can't really go wrong with things like Soccerway, Soccer-Stats, Adam Choi and all of those. But if you want real information, the best place to go is to the horses mouth with things like club websites.
What stats do you consider the most important?
Form has to be the number one consideration. A team could average five goals per-game over the course of the season but if that was due to a 27-0 win on matchday one, it's not much use to you.
How a team is performing recently in their last few games I think is worth more than anything.
Are there any stats or trends you feel are irrelevant?
I think head-to-heads in youth or reserve games are particularly useless. Reserves and youth teams change pretty much their whole team every year, so knowing that the last time they met three years ago had four goals isn't of much use I don't think.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt betting?
The hardest thing to learn for any punter is discipline. Whether you're betting for fun or you take this game more seriously, learning not to chase and not to bet more than you can afford is hard work.
90% of people I've spoken to who are disciplined in their betting learned the hard way, and I'm no different. We've all chased a loss and taken it to the edge.
The important thing is learning from those mistakes.
Why is value important in betting?
It's all a game of numbers really. If a coin has a 50% chance of landing on heads and I offer you 1.80 on heads you wouldn't take it. But punters do take it, every day, without realising.
That's why I like to focus on the lower leagues really as I honestly think I know more about them than some automated trading bot that most bookies use. If you can find that edge, win or lose on that particular bet, in the long term you'll be better off.
Have you any advice for punters looking to try and find an edge?
Don't look at the odds, work them out for yourself. When you've done your research, give a specific bet a % chance of winning in your head and then build the odds based on that. If the price on offer is better than the price in your head, you've got an edge.
Also, RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH! The best edge you can have is knowing more than the person setting the odds in the first place. It takes time and patience which I suppose is why tipsters exist, because we take the hard work out of it.
What’s your biggest betting win and how do you spend it?
I don't think I've ever been a fan of get rich quick accas and that kind of stuff, well, at least I've never been good at them. I took a few grand out of Coral in a weekend before they banned me but I've never had a 500/1 winner or something like that. I'm a slow and steady wins the race kinda guy.
Do you review your bets and track your winners/losers?
I track my personal bets and if I had a paid service I would track every tip and post it publicly. But as a free tipster it takes a lot of work typing all that stuff up when I can just look at my profit / loss across the various bookmakers I use. I do think it's worthwhile though in your early days as a bettor.
Also, I'd suggest categorising your bets into “type”. That way you can learn what you're good at and what you're not so good at and adjust your game.
How do you cope with losing bets?
One of the really hard things to learn and I suppose people handle it differently. Sometimes it's best to step away, which I often do while I compose myself. On other days I'm able to dust it off and move on.
It all depends on the bet and how confident you were and also the circumstances in which it lost. Losing a bet you were really confident on thanks to a 94th minute equaliser will always take more to get over than a small punt that was worth a shot.
What’s the best thing about betting?
I imagine for most people it will be that buzz of finding a winner, but for me it's always been about the community. There's some absolutely amazing people out there.
Punters and gambling get a bad name these days as the industry has become more of a dark world that people keep hush hush. But for the vast majority of people for whom gambling provides entertainment and fun, there is a community that is second to none.
I've got some great friends both on Twitter and in real life who you can just step into conversation with about spreads, lines and stats and it's like you're talking another language together. That battle of the brains and to and fro in a betting conversation can't be found anywhere else.