How to Profit from Betting

How to Profit from Betting

I've been analysing and betting on sports for over 30 years, started by picking out horses on the way to school and getting people to place my bets for me with the bookies, waiting outside in my school uniform for news of results, until I was legally able to enter betting shops on my own. With the online betting revolution, and the Betfair exchanges, there are far more options available to punters to make decent profits from sports betting – yet a very small percentage actually are able to do so. I've been betting professionally for over 15 years and am pleased to say that every single one of those years has been profitable, there have been some mistakes along the way, but I've learnt something from every one. Some key principals have enabled me to ‘beat the crowd' and so I thought I would share some of these insights below and what can prevent punters from making profits, some common mistakes and some rules to live by. It's important to note that you are not betting against a bookmaker but are actually betting against the millions of punters, gain an advantage over them and you will make decent profits over time. I have been running a sports advisory service for the best part of those 15 years and FormBet for over 10 years, making profits with my Best Bets advice for every single one of those years. You can get on board for the flat season and receive horse racing, golf and baseball advice via WhatsApp by signing up here for as little as £20 per month or £100 for the next 7 months till early November 2019.

RULE NUMBER 1 – SEEK THE VALUE

If you blindly back every selection you fancy, ignoring whether the odds you are getting offer any value, then you will lose over time. Harry Findlay was a big odds-on punter but he has bankrupted himself twice over his betting career, largely by betting on odds-on shots, and ignoring value. Odds-on shots can offer value but you need to be right a lot more often to show long-term profits. Conversely, if you back too many big-priced selections then you will also struggle because you will go through longer losing spells, which can destroy your confidence and decimate your bankroll – they key is balance, to back those shorter priced runners you think have a better chance of success than their current odds suggest and also by throwing in the odds mid-big priced selection that can give occassional bankroll boosts. My average strike-rate for Best Bets are just over 12% with average odds of selections being around 14/1. This means losing runs can be long but over the last 10 years they have produced +1751pts profit, equating to a 23% return on investment. You can download a full spreadsheet of all selections over those last 10 years here. This leads onto my next RULE.

RULE NUMBER 2 – PSYCHOLOGY OF BETTING

Part of the following is taken from this excellent article about Cognitive Bias in Sports Betting. When you are backing larger priced selections, you need to be patient, disciplined and not be affected by short-term results. It's vital to maintain a long-term mindset over an entire season, if not a year. Recency bias is when we give more importance to recent events when we make decisions. It’s a mental timesaver based on the idea that if something can be remembered easily, it must be important. There are multiple examples of this trap in betting. Here are a few:
  1. You make a right decision not to bet, but it wins (missed winner). So next time in the same situation you back it (even though it’s a bad bet)
  2. You make a terrible decision to bet, and it wins, so you make the same bad decision next time and back it again.
  3. When you’re on a winning streak or get a significant return, you bet more substantial amounts on more bets (instead of the correct amount on value bets) because you think when you bet, you win.
  4. You notice a specific characteristic in a recent winner, so decide that’s an important factor in picking future winners. For example, you choose to oppose every team that played a mid-week European (UCL or UEL) game because you had some success with this strategy one weekend.
  5. Increasing your volume just because you’re on a winning run.
  6. You quit your betting strategy and give up on your bankroll management because of a small losing run.
All of your betting decisions should be void of any emotion. If you trust your own selection process and staking plan then everything should be done in a very systematic and mechanical fashion and not reliant on the highs and lows of short term gains and losses. Of course this is easier said than done and a trap a majority of punters will fall into at one time or another. There are many more biases but ultimately you have to be mentally strong and have an approach you can stick to, which leads to the next rule.

RULE NUMBER 3 – BANKROLL AND CONSISTENCY

When betting, you HAVE to be consistent with your betting, staking, approach and maintain your bankroll. Recording of results is vital, if you do not do this, and analyse your betting patterns then you cannot fix any mistakes and do not have an idea of where your strengths lie. Every bet you place should be recorded in an Excel spreadsheet, you must know your strike-rate, return on investment and be able to analyse where your best results occur. For example, I know that backing horses shorter than 2/1 is very difficult to maintain long-term profitability, even if you are getting 2/1 about what you believe should be a shorter price, because you cannot always be right in your assessment and need some ‘wiggle room' – it's also vital to look back and recognise that even your losers were not a ‘wrong' bet but that your analysis was spot-on and you just didn't get lucky on that occassion. Finding the correct staking plan for you is always a balancing act between making sure you don’t over bet and risk going broke, but also betting enough to ensure you maximise your profits. Risk of Ruin is a concept used in gambling and finance relating to the likelihood of losing one’s bankroll to the point that it cannot be recovered and is worth reading up about before you get started. You must also maintain a bankroll and be consistent, not just with your analysis and approach, but with your staking. For example, when betting for value on bigger-priced selections, you should ideally be risking no more than 1%-2% of your total bankroll on any single wager. If you have a £1000 bank then each stake should be £10-£20 maximum – this ensures you can handle losing streaks, stakes will increase in-line with the bank increasing and decrease when your bankroll reduces. You also need to eliminate ‘hunch' or ‘fun' bets and always be professional in your outlook, treat it like an investment.

RULE NUMBER 4 – DIVERSIFICATION & SPECIALISATION

It's really useful to diversify with your investments and to not focus solely on one sport. However, you should always look to specialise in one particular sport and get to know as much about it as possible. I have been studying horses since I was 14 years old at the back of the newspapers, in the days before the internet, yes I am that old. I know the pattern race schedule, know the trainers, jockeys and sports inside-out. This enables me to really have a deep knowledge about horse racing and to constantly be looking for new up-and-coming trainers, jockeys, sires etc and to be constantly looking to build on that knowledge. However, I discovered many years ago the importance of diversifying into other sports, adding PGA golf betting into my armoury, which means a lower strike-rate but winners at often huge odds up to 100/1 – which again requires discipline and a long-term mindset. More recently, I have added in Major League Baseball into my betting armoury, learning as much as I can about the sport, not only betting on outright games, but branching out into Daily Fantasy Sports where you only need to be better than a few other players to show profits, even if the team you fancy loses. Don't take this too far and bet on everything, you need to maintain a certain amount of space and time for analysis and not spread your betting bank too thinly. Pick 2-3 sports and learn as much about them as possible. I also do spread betting on the financial markets, very much with a longer-term mindset as opposed to day trading, spending only an hour or so each day looking for new stock opportunities or to close out existing positions. I personally focus on Class 1/2/3 Handicaps and Group races, especially on the flat but that also applies to jump racing. This helps narrow the focus and allows for only a few bets midweek and a few more at weekends and the big meetings, you will learn how to look for the profile of a certain winner for a certain race and get to know the group of horses better. When betting for value you should largely avoid those races that tend to go to shorter-priced runners, like maiden races on the flat, novice hurdle and chases for example. All successful businesses specialise and betting should be no exception. By specialising you will understand better and research more ably your particular chosen field. Fewer, more focused wagers based on sound statistics and research is a much better way of investing hard earned money than employing a scatter-gun approach. Look closely at your betting patterns and see which area is ripe for specialisation.

RULE NUMBER 5 – USE SOFTWARE AND RESOURCES

One of the keys is to use software and resources to improve your analysis, both pre and post betting. There are a number of excellent racing software packages out there, many vary in price and you need to factor in these costs into your betting bankroll. For example, you could shell out an absolute fortune for the likes of Timeform, Proform or Raceform – however, these are all at high-end prices and most just have more ‘flashing lights', bells and whistles and are like taking a sledgehammer to a small nail, overkill. I developed my own ratings software many years ago and offered it a value price but the admin actually got in the way of my own betting and impacted on the time I could spend analysing selections. When I discovered GeeGeez Gold, built by my friend Matt Bisogno, it was a godsend. It can do everything all the more expensive packages can do and offers value, you can get on board for just £1 a month to trial it and the costs are significantly lower than the competitors without sacrificing anything in terms of resources and functionality. For golf, there are plenty of resources at PGATour.com and for Baseball both MLB.com and the excellent website Rotogrinders.com for all Fantasy Sports needs. You can create a spreadsheet and use Macros and Web Queries to download data that you require and perform your own analysis and build your own ratings models at the likes of FantasyLabs.com which can be invaluable to your analysis – you need to be keen and curious and research and study everything you can, but at the same time not invest too much time that takes you away from the actual betting and some spare time to create space in your life – the key is balance.

RULE NUMBER 6 – NEVER CHASE LOSSES

It's the easiest thing in the world to look for other bets if your initial selections go against you on any on any one day, it's important to master this and wait for another day, there will always be other days, don't rush yourself into chasing losses. If events are unfolding against you there is always a temptation to pour more money into the bet to try and force a profit. This tactic only increases the chances that you will lose more. Likewise, adopting the strategy after a loss that you must recoup your losses by betting more on the next event is also a recipe for disaster. Again this comes down to mastering your own Psychology, recognising biases and plugging ‘leaks'

RULE NUMBER 7 – GET THE BEST ODDS

Most bookmakers nowadays close winning account, you can minimise this by opening accounts with as many bookmakers and exchanges as possible and always betting with the one that offers the best odds on your selections. Using Best Odds Guaranteed is also vital to ensure you can profit from drifters and maximise your returns. Using a resouce such as Oddschecker is vital in this regard. Also look for bookmaker offers, enhanced place terms and bonuses as these can help significantly. A number of bookmakers such as Bet365 and Betfair can offer you a FREE bet in another race if you select a winner at certain odds in specific races each day. SUMMARY If you follow the above rules, then you will succeed as a punter, ignoring any one of them will significantly decrease your chances of long-term profits. You need to master ALL of the above to achieve long-term profits with your betting investments, and view them as investments and not ‘fun' bets or take them lightly. Most punters lose because they ignore one or all of the above, work and study hard, have fun with it and always be curious and analyse each and every bet you place, both before and after the event to ensure you are not falling into any of the above pitfalls. Signup to the FormBet Tipster Service (FTS) to get selections based on all of the above, with detailed analysis provided via WhatsApp. Take out a subscription to GeeGeez Gold and build your own strategy and approach alongside the service selections and you will transform your own betting.        

 

MLB Preview 23rd April

MLB Preview 23rd April

The Baseball model is coming along nicely and should be ready next week. It's primarily designed to find strong Fantasy players but it can give indications to good bets. Below is a snapshot of the Pitcher and Batter ratings and I'm using some of these new ratings to determine some bets on today's main slate. So, these are “Team and Pitcher” ratings. As we can see HOUSTON (-134) are once again the top-rated team on the slate with WADE MILEY the 9th-highest rated pitcher, but they are up against the 5th best offence in Minessota and have a run advantage of +0.56. They are forecast to hit 5.03 runs and are up against Minnesota pitcher Michael Pineda who is only 19th on the Pitcher ratings.
Houston Bats – ALEX BREGMAN (3b) is the 5th highest rated batter on the slate and can do well against Pineda who struggles against right-handed hitters. He is a good backup option for 3rd base. JOSE ALTUVE (2b) is also a high-rated right-handed hitter who can get results against Pineda. I'd also throw in catcher ROBINSON CHIRINOS for a nice Houston stack. OAKLAND (-143) at home against Texas with a value-priced pitcher in FRANKIE MONTAS are worth a bet here. Montas has won 3 of his 4 outings this term for an average 19.02 Draftkings points and at £7600 he looks a value option for the secondary pitcher, despite only being ranked 13th. I won't go for any Oakland bats as they are up against the 2nd-highest rated pitcher on the slate in Lance Lynn but Texas may struggle for runs. WASHINGTON (-110) are away at Coors Field and have the 4th best picher on the slate in PATRICK CORBIN but he still looks a good option and is one of the best value pitchers on the slate. He has a Draftkings points average of 25.25 which is the best on the slate. Colorado are only 21st in offence and have a poor pitcher drafted in from Triple-A so they hold the edge here and the bats are worth a look. However, Colorado right-handers are worth a bet on Corbin's weaker side given the park factor.
Washington Bats – ANTONY RENDON (3B) is the highest rated bat on the slate and is a must for 3B position if fully recovered from being hit on the elbow on Saturday night. TREA TURNER (SS) is one of the best value bats on the slate and is always worth putting in at short-stop because of his ability to steal lots of bases.
Colorado Bats – TREVOR STORY (SS) is the 9th best bat on the slate and NOLAN ARENADO (3B) is the 14th best so both can get some hits tonight if Corbin mis-fires. NEW YORK YANKEES (-105)  CHRIS STRATTON is one of the lowest rated pitchers but he is up against an equally poor pitcher in Jonathan Loasiga, it's the Yankees offence that looks strong here and is the best stack on the slate just ahead of Houston.
New York Yankees Bats – LUKE VOIT (1B), AARON JUDGE (OF) and GLEYBER TORRES (2B) are worth noting here in good matchups and are highly rated.   I'd recommend 3 trebles and the accumulator that pays 8.55/1 with Skybet
HOUSTON
OAKLAND
WASHINGTON
NY YANKEES

Batters to Watch

Below are my batter ratings, still a bit of work to do but they can help identify value players. CATCHERS – YASMIN GRANDAL (MIL) $4400 and ROBINSON CHIRINOS (HOU) $3800
1st BASE – PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT (STL) $4800, CODY BELLINGER (LAD) $5700 and LUKE VOIT (NYY) $4200
2nd BASE – WHIT MERRIFIELD (KC) $4600, JOSE ALTUVE (HOU) $5000 and GLEYBER TORRES (NYY) $3900
3rd Base – ANTHONY RENDON (WAS) $5600, ALEX BREGMAN (HOU) $4800, MATT CARPENTER (STL) $4000 are all noteworthy in positive matchups.
SHORT STOP – TREA TURNER (WAS) $4600, TREVOR STORY (COL) $5200, PAUL DEJONG (STL) $4900
OUTFIELDERS – MIKE TROUT (LAA) $5500, CHRISTIAN YELICH (MIL) ($5800), AARON JUDGE (NYY) $5100, AUSTIN MEADOWS (TB) $4900 and TOMMY PHAM (TB) $4800 Top Value Plays – TREA TURNER , GREGORY POLANCO, ERIC SOGARD, MITCH GARVER

MLB Preview Sunday 21st April

MLB Preview Sunday 21st April

HOUSTON ASTROS (-185) with COLLIN MCHUGH pitching are strongly fancied tonight. CM is a solid fantasy play tonight, has 4 wins from 4 games, has a 29.1% K% rate against left-handed batters and 35.8% against righties, with an average of 6 innings pitched and 24.2 Draftkings Fantasy Points. They are up against Texas who have Shelby Miller pitching, who is close to the bottom of my pitcher rankings so the Astros batters could have a field day with a +1.4 run advantage so they look a great stack.
Houston Bats – ALEX BREGMAN (3B), JOSE ALTUVE (2B), ROBINSON CHIRINOS (C), GEORGE SPRINGER (OF) & YULI GURRIEL (1B/3B)

TAMPA BAY RAYS (-115) and the excellent TYLER GLASNOW takes the mound. He hss a 3.01 ERA at home and although Boston have a lot of power, they could struggle here.
Houston Bat – AUSTIN MEADOWS (OF)

NEW YORK YANKEES (-230) are the strongest favourites on the board with the excellent JAMES PAXTON piching at Yankee stadium against Kansas City. He has the highest K9 rate of 14.73 on the slate with a strike-rate of 34.8% and a 2.98 ERA at home. Even with Judge out, they can take this win. Jorge Lopez really struggles against lefties and again have stack potential.
Yankees Bats – MIKE TAUCHMAN (OF) and BRETT GARDNER (OF)

LOS ANGELES DODGERS (-117) CLAYTON KERSHAW can nail the win here against Milwaukee. His 2.23 SIERA is the best on the slate and he should have the measure of the Brewers bats here.
Dodgers Bats – CODY BELLINGER (1B/OF), MAX MUNCY (1B/3B), JOC PEDERSON(OF)

4 x TREBLES and 1 ACCUMULATOR pays 8.25/1 with Paddy Power

HOUSTON
TAMPA BAY
NEW YORK
LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Fantasy Batters To Watch – All of the Bats above +

JORGE POLANCO (SS) Minnesota
NELSON CRUZ (OF) Minnesota
HOWIE KENDRICK (2B) Washington
ANTHONY RENDON (3B) Washington

MLB Preview Fri 19th April

MLB Preview Fri 19th April

The biggest slate of the MLB season so far tonight, sees 14 games, with only the Arizona v Cubs game on earlier in the day. I'm on track to get some baseball ratings from my model ready for the start of May, very exciting. JUSTIN VERLANDER ( HOU -190) is the obvious class pitcher with the Astros a very strong -190 favourites at Texas. Verlander is effective away from home with a 2.3 ERA on the road with a 32% K% rate. He has nothing really to fear from this Texan team, apart from perhaps Shin-Soo Choo, and is as effective against Lefties as he is against right-handed batters. The Astros have a 1.4 Run advantage against Texas and look a solid banker bet. GERMAN MARQUEZ (COL -120) is pitching at Coors Field, which is generally a hitter-friendly park. However, he is up against a fair few right-handed hitters tonight, and he has a huge 35% K% against right-handed hitters with a 2.85 ERA. He struggles a little more against left-handed batters so Bryce Harper could give him most trouble but not enough to prevent the win I feel, especially as opposing pitcher Vince Velasquez struggles against left-handed batters and with CHARLIE BLACKMON, David Dahl and the returning Ryan McMahon (2 HR's on return last night) – he will really struggle I feel. Jose Berrios (MIN -175) and Anibal Sanches (WAS -110) are high on my pitcher ratings but I feel face tougher matchups away against Baltimore and Miami respectively. ADAM WAINRIGHT (STL -140) has an easier time of things at home against the Mets. He does much better against right-handed batters, so only really has Michael Conforto to worry about who is swinging well but his 1.76 ERA against Lefties. Opposing pitcher Jason Vargas is one of the ones to swerve on this slate and you could even stack STL batters against him, with the likes of PAUL DEJONG in particular as well as Ozuna, Carpenter and Goldschmidt. Their 0.7 run advantage is conservative I feel. ROSS STRIPLING (LAD -109) in what looks a tighter matchup on paper, may not quite be as so. Ross Stripling is a solid pitcher, much better against lefties so he may have the measure of Yelich, Shaw and Moustakas here. He can land the win though because his opponent Jhoulys Chacin struggles, especially so against left-handed hitters and he faces the red-hot CODY BELLINGER, Joc Pederson and Max Muncy. They can land the win.

Suggested Bets – Accumulator and 4 Trebles – Pays 7.08 on Betfair -:

HOUSTON ASTROS
COLORADO ROCKIES
ST LOUIS CARDINALS
LOS ANGELES DODGERS

 

Batters To Watch in DFS

These are players that I believe are facing a good matchup against weaker pitchers and could be used in Daily Fantasy Sports -: St Louis Cardinals Stack – PAUL DEJONG (SS), MATT CARPENTER (3B), MARCEL OZUNA (OF)
Chicago White Sox – YOAN MONCADO (3B)
Houston Stack – JOSE ALTUVE (2B), ALEX BREGMAN (3B), YULI GURRIEL (1B/3B)
Toronto – JUSTIN SMOAK (1B)
Colorado – CHARLIE BLACKMON (OF), DAVID DAHL (OF)
Los Angeles Dodgers Stack – CODY BELLINGER (OF/1B), JOC PEDERSON (OF), MAX MUNCY (1B/3B)

 

MLB Tuesday 9th April

MLB Tuesday 9th April

NEW YORK METS are -220 favourites and rightly so with the elite JACOB DE GROM pitching. He has started the year with 13 shutout innings and 24 strike-outs and is the best pitcher by far on the slate tonight. The Minnesota Twins lineup strike-out a lot and so the NYM can justify strong favouritism here with backup from hitters like BRANDON NIMMO and MICHAEL CONFORTO. SAN DIEGO PADRES -110 face little opposition from a poor San Francisco lineup here. JOEY LUCCHESI is the pitcher for the Padres and a good alternative for those wishing to save a bit of cash on De Grom in Fantasy contests.  The Padres have hitters like TATIS JR, MANNY MACHADO, WIL MYERS and HUNTER RENFROE who are all capable of taking advantage of Derek Holland.  AARON NOLA pitches for PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES -133 tonight against Washington Nationals. BRYCE HARPER and RHYS HOSKINS are hitting well at the moment and have back up from th elikes of ANDREW MCCUTCHEN and JT REALMUTO. Rendon and Turner are the batters for the Nationals who could give him something to think about but he does well against right-handed hitters with a 26% K% rate. HOUSTON ASTROS -175 are favourites with the consistent GERRIT COLE taking the mound against a New York Yankees team who may not field their strongest lineup. The Astros have strength in their lineup with BREGMAN, BRANTLEY and SPRINGER of interest while ALTUVE can also swing a mean bat. ATLANTA BRAVES are 123 underdogs against Colorado at Coors Field but I fancy them to win this with ground-ball pitcher MAX FRIED on the plate who can get a number of strike-outs, especially against a team that strike-out a lot. There is a high runs total in this game but I fancy the bulk of them to come from Atlanta so we get a value option for a 5th leg here.   The accumulator pays 12.49 with Coral, worth throwing in 5 x 4-folds as well in case one team lets us down.  In the next few weeks I will be posting ratings/model projections and a regular Fantasy column/video and start tracking the points based results for all games.  

 

MLB Saturday 6th April

MLB Saturday 6th April

3/4 results right yesterday with only the St Louis Cardinals letting us down and promising rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. producing the decisive play for the Padres. Again, an indication of some of the early-season form taking time to settle down. It may be better then to produce a trixie bet so that doubles and trebles result in a profit if one team let us down. Betfair will also refund stakes if one team lets us down so could be the best option for these bets. The CLEVELAND INDIANS are strong -180 favourites at home to the Toronto Blue Jays with Carlos Carrasco a solid pitching option. A lot depends on the hot bats of FRANCISCO LINDOR and JOSE RAMIREZ but other players like CARLOS SANTANA and HANLEY RAMIREZ have shown early promise and they notched a win over the Blue Jays yesterday. Back with home field advantage they can prove a decent first leg. CODY BELLINGER has started the season swinging a hot bat and hit a 3-run homer as the LOS ANGELES DODGERS beat Colorado 10-6 yesterday. WALKER BUEHLER is one of the best pitchers on the slate and with the other batters MAX MUNCY and RUSSELL MARTIN also playing well, they can get another win as -123 favourites in this hitter-friendly ballpark. The WASHINGTON NATIONALS -110 welcome PATRICK CORBIN to the mound who ranks in my Top-5 pitchers on the slate and with ANTHONY RENDON and TREA TURNER swinging well, they can win against an average New York Mets team. For the final leg I look to the NEW YORK YANKEES -165 favourites against the Baltimore Orioles. Veteran J.A. HAPP takes the mound and will get plenty of support from a strong offence. DIDI GREGORIOS is interesting if he gets the start ahead of GLEYBER TORRES but with the likes of AARON HICK, AARON JUDGE, LUKE VOIT and GIANCARLO STANTON in the lineup, Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy could struggle against so much power.   

The Accumulator pays 6.33/1 with Skybet but I'd recommend a Trixie bet with them, just in case one team lets us down on the night.