IN the first of a brand new series, we get inside the minds of some of WLB's brightest stars with their favourite resources, valuable insight and greatest memories of betting shared, starting with Jack Lambden (@_JackL_).
When did you first start betting? Can you remember your first bet?
I started when I turned 18, placing the odd accumulator here or there. I don't remember my first ever bet I placed myself but family members certainly put a few pounds on my behalf on both the horses and the football for a while.
What sports or leagues do you focus and bet on?
I really only bet on football now as that's where my knowledge is but have covered a broad range of leagues from Australia to America via the UK!
What sites or sources do you use to follow them?
What are your favourite websites for research?
My favourite website for research is also WhoScored which, for select leagues (including all of those I mentioned above), contains a lot of statistical information regarding individual teams, players and referees – the areas where I tend to focus most of my attention.
To research on form, I will usually use Soccerway. It lists all fixtures in a selected date across the world and therefore makes it a lot easier to go down the card and narrow down my potential selections than having to look in different places for this information.
To research on individual markets, I will use the following websites:
- Corners – StatsDontLie
- Head to Head Record – SofaScore
- Home/Away Form Variance and Goal Times – SoccerStats
- Referee Appointments – Premier League/EFL websites
What stats do you consider the most important?
It depends on the angle you're looking at so for my most popular markets I would say:
- Player/Team Tackles – Tackles per game, fouls per game, interceptions per game
- Player/Team Shots – Shots per game, shots on target per game, opponents shots conceded per game
- Player Team Cards – Referee cards per game, Opposing player fouled per game (player), Team cards in recent home/away games
- Free-Kicks – Team fouls conceded/awarded per game, referee fouls awarded per game, pitch dimension size
- Goals – BTTS recent record, Over/Under goals recent record, Goal timing across the season, Expected Goals (xG)
- Goalscorer – Recent overall record, record against opponents, key pass/assist stats of teammates, opponents shots conceded per game
- Outrights – Head to head records, recent form, recent winning/losing margins (Asian Handicap)
Are there any stats or trends you feel are irrelevant?
Whilst I think possession stats have some value in betting terms, I'm not a huge fan of people quoting it as a measure of success in football. Sure, teams like Man City and Liverpool and dominant with the ball and overall in terms of results, but increased possession does not automatically lead to increased success.
When Barcelona travelled to Celtic in 2012, they had over 83% of the ball but ended up losing the game 2-1. At the end of the day, it's all about putting the ball in the back of the net.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt betting?
Know when to step away. Don't just back something for the sake of it – if there's no value on offer on a particular game or day then leave it and just enjoy a watching brief.
Why is value important in betting?
Over the long-term, I think it's the only way you're really going to make money. The bookies will price up markets based on their information but if you calculate different odds – take advantage of it. It won't always end up in a positive result but over time, given the right knowledge and research behind your convictions, you should come out on top more often than not.
It's important to shop around for your odds too. The price variance between some bookies on selections can be massive so use an odds comparison tool or have a look about for yourself to get the best odds available and hopefully win yourself more money.
Have you any advice for punters looking to try and find an edge?
It's a cliché, but try and think outside the box. We can all get deep into the stats and it certainly helps, but think about the context that your selection is operating in and the positive/negative impact that it might have. Some examples are below:
- A referee's record when officiating a certain team/opposition
- Is the game being played behind closed doors?
- Team news – is a player going to be playing out of position?
- Change in management – could this lift the players/dampen their spirits and could the formation/style change?
- Weather – Wet and windy conditions may lead to less goals and/or suit certain teams better than others
This is where you are likely to find an edge over the bookies. They have access to the same stats we all do (if not more) so will, the majority of the time, price up near the mark and therefore the above list is the type of things they may not traditionally think of.
I'd also suggest taking advantage of betbuilder type features. Most major bookies now offer them on a wide array of games and it's an opportunity to eek out some more value in a match, particular if the outright odds are so one-sided.
What’s your biggest betting win and how do you spend it?
I won about £1,400 on an accumulator when I was 19. I put some of it towards a new car and some in the bank for a rainy day. Plus a beer or two, of course!
Do you review your bets and track your winners/losers?
I've tracked my bets for a couple of years now and since I've done so, I've been a lot more successful. It allows you to analyse the trends of what is working for you and what isn't and then adjust your stakes/where you're placing your bets as such. It takes a couple of minutes to set-up so would recommend that anyone that is serious about making money from gambling does it.
I also try and keep an inventory of my betting account balances up-to-date so that, if I need to withdraw some funds for whatever reason, I know where my money is sitting.
How do you cope with losing bets?
We've all had losing runs but it's important that you don't lose your head at the same time and just stick to researching thoroughly and not moving away from your staking plan. If you're in a bad run, I think it's best to take a break for a few days to focus on something else. That tends to clear my mind and come back to it with a fresh perspective.
What’s the best thing about betting?
The buzz you get from tracking a bet you've researched all the way through to it (hopefully) winning is hard to beat. Personally speaking, I love the feeling of tipping something up and seeing it land in the knowledge that a fair few people will have benefitted from it too.
I'd also say that there's a decent online betting community which has built up now through Social Media so there is plenty of people to bounce ideas off and share knowledge.