IN the third 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, with Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) up next.
When did you first start betting? Can you remember your first bet?
Growing up I always watched the Grand National with my family, so I’d tell my parents who to have the £1 each-way bet on. The earliest winner I can remember picking out was Ballabriggs in 2011.
Since I was 18, I’ve placed accas on the football and either trixies or Lucky 15s on racing.
What sports or leagues do you focus and bet on?
I tend to focus on football, horse racing and darts.
Football is generally a European focus with an eye on the MLS, especially to see how Orlando are getting on.
What sites or sources do you use to follow them?
There are plenty of handy sites out there from Soccerway, SofaScore and SoccerBase that give you fixtures, results and some statistical data. Of the betting sites, Bet365 is my go-to for streams and in-play alerts.
What are your favourite websites for research?
WhoScored is an excellent resource to break down statistical data and helps paint a picture of tactical analysis. That’s one of my first ports of call.
I use the Stats Zone app frequently. I subscribe to that and get plenty of use out of it to track data in-play or to review previous matches for players and teams. It has the data around positions, where tackles are made, passes and shots registered, so I find that as one of the stronger places to go.
There are a vast number of sites on top of those two I tend to use for research:
- Corners/Booking Points/BTTS – Adam Choi
- FootyStats gives an overview match by match with some good stats, especially around goal times etc
- Referee data from SoccerBase
- Referee appointments from the Premier League/EFL/RateTheRef
- Player records against certain opposition on Transfermarkt
- Expected Goals data from Infogol and Understat
What stats do you consider the most important?
There’s a wealth of data at our fingertips, so use it to the full. Try to use as much as possible. I try to start with a fresh mind and a blank canvas rather than let the previous weeks games dictate where to go. It’s those fresh eyes that help to spot an interesting angle that others, or the bookies, have missed.
Sometimes, I do take a quick look through the markets first and see what player prop bars have been set. That means you can identify potential angles early on, so there’s always a lot of scouring of the betting apps and stats websites.
The available team news and manager press conferences are generally a good starting point before building in the form, player stats and the officials.
Are there any stats or trends you feel are irrelevant?
In terms of betting on outcomes, possession can be irrelevant. However, I tend to keep possession in mind when betting on certain markets, especially player passes. It’s worth being open-minded with all stats and not being blinkered to early during the research of bets.
I don’t tend to read much into head to heads. Managers change, players move on and games could have been decided due to a poor decision. Sometimes there are anomalies, but I try not to get caught up with them.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt betting?
Don’t get too down – continue your research methods – and know when to step away to review habits/trends and take a break when necessary.
Why is value important in betting?
Everyone’s perception of value is different, but the key to it is finding an angle then shopping around. Bookies do tend to have different prices on the player props markets specifically.
Have you any advice for punters looking to try and find an edge?
Look at tactics. Different formations and systems could see players thrive, while you can also pick out key areas/battles, which can help finding angles – whether that’s around tackles/cards or other markets.
Then once you’ve identified those areas, it’s worth shopping around for the best odds.
What’s your biggest betting win and how do you spend it?
When I was writing a weekly piece for Picks from the Paddock, it used to be three selections. I had to get the write-up done earlier than I usually would, as I was off to watch Stoke in the League Cup at Craven Cottage (long journey), but all three won.
Scrutinise (7/4) and Divine Call (20/1) both won at Goodwood and it was topped off at Kempton by Eton Rambler (6/1).
A few years ago at the Cheltenham Festival, I landed a nice double with Dodging Bullets winning the Champion Chase and Moon Racer in the Champion Bumper. That helped the student life!
Do you review your bets and track your winners/losers?
I used to quite forensically but in recent months I just haven’t had the time to keep an up to date spreadsheet. However, I keep a monthly bankroll for betting and can see if I am up at the end of every month which I have been 5/7 months since the start of the season.
I’d recommend to anyone to have a bankroll specifically for betting and not to bet more than you can afford to lose.
How do you cope with losing bets?
I try to reflect on them and see if there is anything I can take away from that loss. Sometimes they’re frustrating near-misses, but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say ‘I’ve got that one wrong’ – but it’s a case of never beating yourself up.
Take something away from it and stick to your guns with research and staking plans.
What’s the best thing about betting?
I suppose it’s the vindication of beating the bookies and being able to share that with others. There’s a strong betting community where you can justify your opinions and analyse of a game/race, but listening to those with a differing opinion is also key.
But overall it has to be about adding something extra to the occasion whether that’s a Super Sunday game or a race at Southwell. Yes, it’s mostly a fun hobby, but there are moments it can be excruciating when you’re close to a winner and it’s out of your hands.