Category Archives: Betting Advice

Have your say about gambling regulation

Restrictions, bans, refusals to pay out, lies, incompetence, targeting of the vulnerable… it’s safe to say that each and every one of us has at least a couple of major gripes about current bookmaking practises.

We’re also in the relatively uncommon position of having experience of issues that the Lottery playing, fiver on the Grand National mainstream are unaware of. A mainstream that includes the vast majority of law makers.

I referred to problem gambling in the opening sentence and it is of course a hugely important issue (please do seek help if you feel like your gambling is out of control), but it’s also an issue which already receives a lot of good exposure that has helped to implement policies like the £2 maximum stake on FOBTs…

Issues like restrictions and refusals to pay out, on the other hand, are almost entirely ignored.

That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that we use our experiences of the industry to provide our input into the imminent government review of gambling.

Ideas put forward so far range from the sensible – affordability checks – to the ill-thought out – deposit limits irrespective of success, income etc. It’s things like the latter that we need to steer the uniformed away from… 

Saying that sports betting should only ever be for ‘recreational purposes’ is playing right into the bookies hands and is essentially the same as saying you shouldn’t be allowed to profit from it – if that’s the case, you may as well ban betting altogether. 

To reiterate, I am fully supportive of increased help for problem gamblers but, when only one section of society has a say, you end up with disproportionate measures being applied. 

If it becomes impossible for even the shrewdest of judges to make a meaningful income from sports betting then who exactly does that benefit aside from the illegal black market bookies that will no doubt spring up to take advantage?

So, let’s put forward our side of the story. Let’s explain how we bet, not by throwing darts or ‘listening to our gut’, but with logic and nous, and how we’re being unfairly prevented from making legitimate profits by bookmakers restricting everyone who appears to be even vaguely competent.

Maybe that way we can both protect problem gamblers AND make the industry fairer for the rest of us. 

How to provide your input

Ahead of the government review, the Gambling Commission are collecting the views of the public via an online survey…

You can access it here.

This consultation closes on February 9th, so make sure you have your say before then.

Just as with elections, you can’t justifiably not take part and then complain when things change for the worse. You’ve got a voice, so use it.

Bet Chat Diaries: New Year’s Resolutions

If you’re anything like me, you make a whole load of New Year’s resolutions that sound good at the time, but you fail miserably within a few weeks. So, in this time honoured tradition, I’m going to share some of my own related to my betting and trading, and what I hope to achieve in the year ahead. Hopefully some of them might spark a few ideas for you too!

1) Take a less is more approach

I’ve dabbled with so many courses, markets and strategies that I have certainly overtraded and bet on too many things in the past. Now, I’m at a stage where I’ve seen what works for me, what I like and what takes me the least amount of time.

Instead of exploring new angles of attack, I want to focus on making marginal gains in the things that are working best for me: value betting, market movers and a select number of strategies on football and tennis.

2) Listen to the experts

There have been times where I haven’t got on selections by people in the know, such as our very own Adam Cheng and it’s cost me dearly!

It’s good to have an opinion backed up by research in this game, but ultimately there are times to accept when there are smart people out there who know their stuff and have an opinion that can be trusted. As they say, form can be temporary, but class is permanent.

3) Testing

I’ve invested in some bots for the Betfair exchange and am testing a number of strategies. Rather than using big stakes in this most unpredictable of seasons, I’ve decided to test out a number of ideas over the next six months to see what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve adjusted my mindset to see this testing phase as an experiment. It doesn’t matter if I make a loss on small stakes and the profit is nice if it happens, but the most important thing is seeing how these strategies perform over thousands of bets, tweaking if necessary and cherry picking the best ones for next season.

4) Analysis

I’m not the best at record keeping but I try. The problem is you can collect all this data but never do anything with it. So, this year I’m going to make a conscious effort to look back over my results (however painful that can be sometimes) and actually pick out trends or patterns and where I can make improvements going forward.

5) Read more

The list of books and podcasts I want to read and watch (which I hope to cover in future articles) is ever growing, so I want to invest more time into reading a little more each week and listening to a wider range of analysis to inform my own opinions. There is so much good, free information out there that it’s costing potential profit by not exploring it.

(Editor Note: While listening to the Guardian’s Football Weekly podcast recently, I was alerted to the fact that Chelsea haven’t beaten a top 10 team in the league this season (top 10 at the time the match was played). This helped to point me towards a bet on Manchester City to beat them last Sunday at generous odds of 5/4).

6) Write more

I haven’t been nearly as active as I had hoped when it comes to writing articles. It’s something I enjoy and hopefully something of use to you. This year I’ll be writing up more content on a more regular basis that I hope will spark up interesting conversations, debates and more profit for all of us all round!

7) Study more

I’m currently studying a Masters’ degree in Computer Science to help boost my skills in making predictive models and coding. This might improve my betting and trading but at the very least it might help me get a different kind of job if this all goes down the pan!

In line with the less is more approach, I want to spend less time trading but with higher stakes so I can free my brain up for some more learning.

8) Not beat myself up

I probably won’t achieve some of these, but I’ll try my best to make an effort. In times like this, that’s all you can do. Lockdown has given us all the opportunity to free up some time for other pursuits but sometimes it’s ok to switch off and have a lazy day or do something relaxing that doesn’t take up too much energy.

I love what I do but I’ve only had one day off since July. I’m going to make sure I take some time to recover and, if I’m not feeling it that day, just take a break.

Over to you

So, those are my main resolutions for this year. What about you?

Is there anything in your betting you want to look at this year? Anything you were proud of last year that you want to continue?

You can email use your thoughts at clients@thebetchat.com

“This game has triggered me”

Reporting from Bet Chat HQ, north London…

For me back in the day it was Football Manager. For Bet Chat Bec it’s a game called Animal Crossing on her new Nintendo Switch. We all have ideas, challenges, passions etc that we become semi-obsessed by.

Today I’m in your inbox to say this… embrace it!

Now, the dream is obviously to do a job that you love – to do something that you are semi-obsessed by – but sadly, that isn’t always possible.

However, what you can do is harness your love of sport and/or betting and/or investing…

Because here’s a stone cold fact for you: the more work you put into sports betting (or indeed any other investment), the more profit you will make.

Figure out the work that doesn’t feel like work

The great thing about sports betting is that there are plenty of different angles into long-term profitability, so the first thing to do is to figure out what you especially enjoy and what you are mentally well suited to.

Do you enjoy figuring the puzzle out for yourself or would you rather find a portfolio of good tipsters?

Do you prefer fewer winners at big odds or more winners at small odds?

Do you like ‘systems’ with set rules or do you prefer form study?

By figuring out what really floats your boat and purely focusing on strategies that align themselves to that, you’ll find that your enjoyment of betting will increase as – almost certainly – will your profits.

Better than Football Manager and Animal Crossing combined

That’s where I’ll leave it for today as we’re off out for a pre-Tier 3 meal this evening and the in-house pre drinks are calling.

Bar and food critic… Now that’s a line of work I could get FULLY-obsessed by!

“It was an ordeal”

Reporting from Bet Chat HQ, north London…

Last night, Bet Chat Bec spent three hours building a set of drawers. It’s fair to say that they weren’t the best three hours of her life…

At this point I want to make it clear that the three hour ordeal was no fault of her own, but the fault of shoddy instructions and, on a Friday afternoon, that’s more than good enough a tale for me to turn into a vaguely betting related email.

Was it your fault?

When following a tipster or betting strategy it can be pretty easy to point the figure when things go wrong, but before walking off in a huff ask yourself: whose fault is it really?

A surprisingly large amount of the time the issues are caused by something entirely avoidable – not reading the instructions properly.

Did you fail to put the recommended betting bank in place?

Did you fail to follow the recommended stakes?

Did you fail to take best prices to such an extent that you were leaving big chunks of profit behind?

Did you simply read a tip/system step wrong and bet on the wrong things?

Did you not read the instructions at all and try to wing it?

Before having a go at the tipster/system creator and/or giving up on the strategy, make sure that the answer to those questions isn’t yes…

User guides and the like are there for a reason so, if you want to get the best from any service, read ‘em!

Was it their fault?

Of course, as with Bet Chat Bec, it may actually be that it was the tipster/system creator’s fault…

Are the instructions confusing or contradictory?

Is the tipster failing to stick to their own strategy?

Do the selections not make logical sense/is the tipster unable to justify them?

Do you suspect the past results (or display product when it comes to our DIY metaphor) were artificially and unrealistically tarted up?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, and if the tipster/system creator can’t give you a good answer to your questions (and do always ask if you’re unsure – they can’t help you if you don’t ask), then yes, I imagine it is their fault and you should probably move on.

A live example

We’ll finish today with a live example…

Bet Chat Fantasy Football winners not contacting me to claim their prizes!

For the following duo, this is your last chance to collect your November rewards:

Jack Palmer

Jon Wilson

If one of those people is you, just email clients@thebetchat.com to cash in.

As for everyone else, have a marvellous, hopefully flat-pack free, weekend!

“Why don’t you write a bonus guide?”

Reporting from Bet Chat HQ, north London…

Recently I’ve been writing a lot about my new accumulator service, the reasoning behind it and the results so far. You may very well have signed up and already profited from it. If so, great! 

If not, you can click here to find out more and join the club.

Ever the slave driver, Bet Chat Bec thought that a good partner to the service would be a free bonus guide on what makes a great accumulator bet and, to be fair to her, I agree, so here goes…

What makes a great football accumulator bet?

The first thing to say is that my methodology is most definitely not system based. There are no hard and fast rules but there are certain dos and don’ts which, if followed, will significantly improve your chances of making a long term profit.

DO only bet if all individual selections offer value

As a standard rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t place a bet as a single, don’t include it in an acca. So don’t blindly add a team like Celtic or Barcelona just to bump up the odds.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t add the shortest priced teams, just that you need to think about it. If a full strength Celtic are playing an amateur highlands league team then odds of 1/5, while short, are still great value. Not so much if they’re in ropey form and are playing a top flight team.

DON’T be greedy

The closest thing I have to a set rule is that I’ll select a rough maximum of six teams if I’m covering league matches and 10 teams if I’m covering European or international matches (the average numbers will of course be lower).

Obviously the more teams you select, the less chance you have of winning the bet but the bigger the profit if you do win, so it’s a case of finding a balance… 

Realistically, if you place 1000/1, 20+ team accas, it probably doesn’t matter if the odds are value, because there’s every chance you’ll never actually win one.

At the same time, if the odds are value then it makes sense to include as many as are realistic.

As for my higher number of teams allowed in European/international matches, that’s purely because the gaps in quality are larger… 

Liverpool will almost never fail to beat say, the Cypriot champions, but there’s always at least a semi-realistic chance they will fail to beat a team near the bottom of the Premier League.

DO avoid teams who are typically over-bet

The best example of this is England who are almost never value odds. 

Just the other day I backed Belgium to beat them at odds of around 11/8-6/4. Belgium were at home and are the number one ranked team in the world. England had just lost to Denmark and scraped past Iceland. Crazy price.

Other teams that are regularly (but not always) over-bet and therefore poor value include Man City, Man Utd, Celtic, Rangers, Barcelona and Real Madrid. 

This does change of course depending on form. A couple of years ago Man City were value at almost any price. Much less so this season.

DON’T be afraid to add in a bigger price or two

Picking a good acca – or even one with the best chance of winning – is not about picking all the shortest priced selections. A lot of my best accas have one larger price (like Belgium at 11/8) anchoring the bet. This is because there’s more room for value in the slightly bigger prices…

It also means that you need fewer selections in total to hit good overall odds, and fewer matches means less change of a freak result costing you the bet.

Again though, this is all about finding a balance. I wouldn’t have a five team accumulator including a 5/1 shot, as that will more than likely let you down. Better placing that bet as a separate single.

Generally speaking, 2/1 would be the maximum price for a team in an acca and you don’t want more than two or three above 11/10.

Do take advantage of bonuses/best prices

Bookies generally like accumulator players because most people are terrible at them, so there are loads of bonuses on offer.

BetBull, for example, give out 10-50% odds boosts on almost every bet. The likes of Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Bet Victor offer insurance if a selection lets you down.

Even if you can’t use a bookie offering a bonus, there is absolutely no excuse for not taking the best odds you possibly can…

The betting exchange, Smarkets, allows bets on accas and doesn’t ban or restrict people. By using them you could easily get 28/1 on a bet which is only 22/1 elsewhere.

DON’T avoid bets based on daft superstitions

The most common of these is people not betting on early kick-offs because they don’t want their bet to be over before the majority of games kick-off…

In a ‘fun’ sense I suppose that’s understandable, but we’re in it to make money (which is the most fun thing of all!), and avoiding value bets purely because of the kick-off time is just plain daft.

Last but not least…

My final piece of advice today is perhaps the most important, and it’s as follows:

It’s not about the teams you pick. It’s about the teams you leave out.

Typically when I’m choosing an acca, I’ll start by picking all the teams that I strongly suspect will win their matches. That takes 5 minutes tops and I do it largely without thinking…

That’s also where most people stop and place the bet, and that’s why most people lose.

The crucial part of the puzzle is in delving deeper into each team you’ve long-listed and finding reasons to remove them from the bet based, of course, on their odds – you would allow more leeway for an 11/10 shot than a 4/7 shot.

If you focus more on reasons not to back a team than reasons to back them, you’re far more likely to get rid of those who are over-bet and poor value.

One thing that I enjoy almost as much as winning an acca, is leaving out an odds on shot that goes on to draw or lose – that’s where the skill really lies. 

This has been a long email, so here’s something easy…

I do hope this little guide was of some use to you and helps in your own betting (the tips can equally be applied to lots of other sports and also betting on singles in a lot of cases).

Then again, maybe you just can’t be arsed and would rather somebody does the hard work for you.

If that’s the case, you can receive all of my accumulators (and only pay for the winners) by clicking here now.

Obviously current members need not apply!

Bet Chat Diaries: You’re not allowed to profit

I’ve just gone through a bad break up. A relationship that lasted many years but has sadly come to a bitter end.

It all started off so well. We were both happy. I was generous and happy to spend my money on her. She didn’t object. Occasionally she rewarded me with free treats and goodies. She was there for me 24/7, whenever I needed her.

But for a big part of the relationship, she wore the trousers. She had all the power. At some point, my eyes began to wander. The grass was sometimes greener on the other side and I got more attention from the others. I didn’t want to keep spending any more money on her. In fact, it got to a point where she owed me money!

She didn’t like that one bit and she started seeing me less and less. Until one day, she refused to take my calls and it was made clear to me she no longer wanted to see me.

Her name was bet365.

During Safer Gambling Week, I wanted to share my experience with the behemoth that is bet365 and their utterly bizarre handling of my account…

Now, I am not one of those people who hates the bookies with a passion. They are a business and, if all their customers were fleecing them dry, they wouldn’t be around for long. It is more the manner that they do this.

You see, my account had been restricted some time ago, but I had found ways to generate some small profits each month…

I bet on corners markets late in big games and had a little robot that would churn over small bets across the day. Things were good for a while and I thought I might have a long run at this.

Alas, their responsible gambling team suspended my account and I had to schedule a phone call. The phone call itself was a bizarre experience where I was asked about all manner of my gambling habits.

They said they were concerned about my gambling and I asked why? I hadn’t put a timer on my bot, so the bets were running for 23 hours a day. She asked when I slept and so I said I had a program that bet for me. She asked why my activity was so excessive and I told her it was because I was restricted to such small stakes it was the only way to make a profit out of the account.

What troubled me the most about this exchange is that the bot was running for 3 weeks for 24 hours a day before they actually looked into this. If someone who genuinely had a gambling problem and was losing hand over fist was doing this, I am quite skeptical that this action would have been taken.

I was asked to schedule another call with their responsible gambling team which never arrived despite leaving two different numbers and calling multiple times.

I gave up and revisited it this week. Finally, I got a second call, where a rather blunt Italian gentleman rattled off bet365’s self-exclusion policies and asked me whether I wanted to self-exclude.

Did I want to self-exclude? Well…no, so without actually explaining the alternative choices, a decision was made for my account to be permanently closed.

In an exchange back and forth, I asked why I should have to self-exclude and, once again, I was told my gambling was an issue to them. Why? Because in my previous phone call I had mentioned that I use gambling as a form of income and ‘this is not allowed.’

Yes, you heard that right, and he reiterated:

“it is not allowed to profit. Our services are for leisure only”.

I was getting nowhere with this and eventually gave up, but his comment astonished me. I would have accepted my account being closed if they gave an honest reason, but this was frankly ridiculous.

Exactly how is an activity leisurely and fun when you are shut down the moment you can make a modest profit from it? I wasn’t staking huge money and my overall profit was only a few grand at most. A small chunk of change for a company that big.

The genuine intentions of something like Safer Gambling Week are important and we must support people who genuinely have issues with their gambling. However, it must be said that the vast majority of people reading this will be in full control of their gambling habits and comfortable with what they are spending on it…

In many cases, some of you will have found ways to profit and are smart with your bets. You may have many restrictions on accounts yourself.

The bookmakers seem to be hiding behind this new responsible gambling legislation to find new excuses to ban players, and it is hard to stomach their promotion of healthy gambling controls when there are stories of customers losing thousands and being lured in by more free bets, when players who have won a few hundred quid are banned for life.

There are other ways to run bookmakers, as the Pinnacle model shows. You don’t have to restrict all the winners and there is enough to go around to at least give bettors a fighting chance.

In the meantime, if you’ve found an edge, maximise it as long as you can because you never know when you’re going to be shut down.