As I’m no expert on sports spreadbetting, I asked Matt Nesbitt at Oxon Press’ Sports Statistician (which I read regularly), to give us all an introduction. Over to you Matt… Some people are a little bit afraid of Spread Betting. Whether it’s the jargon, the horror stories about big losses, or just the thought of having to put a bit of effort into understanding it – something scares people off. What a shame! Because there’s nothing complicated about sports spread betting and with access to the right information it can prove VERY lucrative.
The fact is, Spread Betting is based around the same basic principals as regular Fixed Odds betting.
• The Event
• The Bookmaker
• The Bookmakers’ prediction (or, Spread)
• And you
It works like this: The Bookmaker will choose the event, make a prediction of what he thinks will happen, then you (the bettor) will decide whether you think his prediction is too high or too low. And that’s it, in a nutshell. Well, there’s a bit more to it. But not much.
You are simply betting against the prediction of The Bookmaker. But whereas with a Fixed Odds bet you know exactly how much you stand to win or lose – i.e. a 3/1 bet means you stand to win 3 if you get it right, or lose 1 if you get it wrong.
With a Spread Bet you still have to get your selection right. But your actual winnings (or losses) depend on the actual score, or result of the event. The more right you are, the more you win. And the more wrong you are, the more you lose. With me, so far? Great.
Let’s look at a football example and all will be come clear. In last month’s Premier League clash of the titans, leaders Arsenal hosted champions Manchester United. In one of the 100+ markets available – yes, there were over 100 betting markets for that match alone – Spread Betting companies offered a prediction on the total number of Corners the match would produce. It looked like this:
Total Goals Spread Option
Arsenal v Man United 9.5 – 10.5 SELL – BUY You’ll notice the prediction covers a range, from 9.5 to 10.5 – this is the ‘Spread’. (Of course, you can’t have 0.5 of a Corner – this is simply to work in a margin for the Bookie). And this Spread predicts there will be 10 Corners in the match. So, now it’s over to you…
Bettors are offered the option to SELL, or to BUY. All this means is, bet lower (SELL) or higher (BUY) than the Bookies prediction/Spread. If you think the match will produce less than 10 Corners, you would SELL at the lower price (9.5).
But if you think the match will produce more than 10 Corners, you would BUY at the higher price (10.5).
How to calculate your winnings…
Your winnings (or losses) are determined by the difference between the figure you decided to BUY or SELL at and the actual result. Multiplied by the amount you staked. The Arsenal v Manchester United match actually produced 7 Corners. So, if you Sold (bet low) at 9.5, for (let’s say) £10 – your outcome would be: (SELL price) 9.5 minus (Result) 7 = 2.5 multiplied by (your stake) £10 Winnings = £25 Choosing your stake Naturally, with your potential winnings (and losses) being more dependent on the actual score/ result, staking sensibly is all-important. As mentioned previously, with Fixed Odds your risk (or liability) is limited – if you stake £10, you can only lose £10. But with Spread Betting, your stake is a unit of your potential profit/loss margin. For example, had the above match produced just 2 Corners – a SELL at 9.5 would have generated a massive £75 profit: (SELL price) 9.5 minus (result) 2 = 7.5 multiplied by (stake) £10 Winnings = £75
However, if the match had produced 15 Corners – you’d be looking at losses of £55: (SELL price) 9.5 minus (Result) 15 = -5.5 multiplied by (stake) £10 Losses = £55 Thanks Matt! OK, so its potential unlimited downside that scares people. But there is help at hand. I am VERY happy to give my highest recommendation to The Sports Statistcian. It’s a monthly paper newsletter and weekly email service that provides essential stats and data in football betting categories, i.e. Goals, Corners, Bookings, forll five English divisions, plus the Premier divisions in Scotland, Spain, Germany and Italy. Providing over 100 specific bits of betting advice every issue – for Fixed Odds and Spread Bets – in a clear and concise format. Perfect for the novice and seasoned spread bettor!
Not only does this make it easy to get more bets right more often. The service also provides advice on staking advice, as well as highlighting performance trends team by team. I have no hesitation in recommending from a value for money and quality perspective. For more details go to
As promised, I’ve been trying to add new football services to my roster in order to give them a trial and I thought I would update you with the services I am tracking and give a little synopsis. I must add that it is not fair to judge these services less than half way through a domestic season so I will update in January’s newsletter after a few more games. Domestically, teams have only played some 13 games.
Run by Ian Erskine, this service is currently being used by reader Arthur (and my thanks must go to him for his regular updates). Arthur has availed himself of the “Elite Club” where he receives tips in 3 categories – the traditional FTS Income category, System 3, and The 15 Minute System.
These 3 systems are focussed predominantly on football trading using www.betfair.com. Readers of my blog will no doubt be aware of my trading tips such as: “I will trade under 2.5 goals and look to get out in the first half as I believe this will be a tight affair”.
Roughly translated, the above means that I have taken the position that there will be no early goals in I will back under 2.5 goals. The betting markets for the match will turn in-running. The longer this game goes on without a goal, the shorter the under 2.5 goal odds will be. As we know, the more likely an outcome, the shorter the price will be. If the game is 0-0 at half time, I can lay off my original back bet at odds lower than I “bought” and create a risk free profit.
This is exactly the kind of tip given at www.ftsincome.co.uk. The first bets (the fts income bets) are concerned with laying the draw and backing the draw again after a goal is scored. The 15 Minute System bets are again specific to in running trading and seek to exploit price movements at a particular time in a game.
Meanwhile, System 3 tips focus specifically on laying a certain outcome. Arthur himself is happy with the services provided by Ian Erskine who is, again, a man to trust. As long as Arthur continues to update me, I can continue to monitor. The emphasis with this service is on the long term and the mathematical probability that the methods employed by Ian will produce a profit over time.
Having pestered the webmasters here for a trial I find that the tips are now free for the above site. My first email from them was an apology for “Black Saturday”. As you can appreciate, the confidence, erm, coarsed through my veins!
Sign up for free if you like – the price is right – however, I suspect this is a clever ruse to get email addresses for future marketing purposes, so bear this in mind. This service falls into the category of “I could do that and I wouldn’t have to charge myself £100 for the privilege”.
This service claims you can make thousands for an initial 10p stake. The staking plan involves doubling up until the result we seek occurs and then reverting back to 10p stakes. Well, hold on to your hats, my stake for the next game involving Reading is a whopping £409.60! If this match fails to produce the desired result, my next stake will be £819.20, then £1,638.40 then (gulp) £3,276.80!
As you can see, doubling up really is a reckless method of betting. We cannot predict the future nor can we stop anomalous streaks happening. What happens if Reading’s next 5 matches don’t go as we intended? Well my stake would be £13,107.20! All other teams stakes are manageable and results have gone as we would have wanted. It remains to be seen whether these guys will be vindicated but to give the impression that 10p was all you needed to return £12K in one season is highly misleading.
I always like to look away from the heavily advertised sites to the quiet backwaters of the internet and the sites I come across by chance. And so it was I came across this on eBay of all places! This site is run by Michelle Khang and her brother and offers tips specifically in the area of laying, and not just laying in the match odds market, but also in the under/over 2.5 goals market. The service is based on Michelle’s contention that:
“Our betting strategy is built on the simple observation that traditional bookmakers are still in business after years of operation. This must mean that they are doing something right, so what is it that they are doing? Bookmakers make their money by ‘laying’, which is to bet against an outcome occurring. By taking punters’ bets on the outcomes of games, the bookmakers are betting that the outcome will not happen. Since bookmakers are obviously profitable, it makes sense that we can also be profitable if we were to follow the bookmakers’ strategy. It used to be difficult to do this without actually being a bookmaker but, thankfully, with the advent of betting exchanges like Betfair, anyone can now be like a bookmaker because the exchanges allow laying. For example, where a punter might normally bet that Arsenal will win a particular game, he can now also bet that Arsenal will not win.”
This is far too a simplistic view on bookmaking which doesn’t account for the fact bookmaker’s lay ALL outcomes in all events and rely on the ‘overround’ to make their profits, along with a few jollies biting the dust!
Having just signed up at the beginning of November I can provide my initial impressions. The accompanying material is clear and well thought out. The staking plan bases itself around a betting cycle of 50 bets and setting bet size by fixing liability rather than stake as a proportion of betting bank. What do I mean? Let’s say that our money to risk on the next bet is a nominal £50. This £50 would not be the backer’s stake to be entered in the lay side of the bet, rather we will have to alter the backer’s stake until this £50 is shown as LIABILITY.
The advantages? We know in advance how much we can lose. Disadvantages? This will limit potential returns. The higher the price, the lower the returns. Michelle has been meticulous in covering every eventuality. There are a high volume of bets given and this is a numbers game. I have high hopes for this service from initial contact and sampling of the results and will update intermittently via the WRWM eletter. A £12.50 1 month trial is a good sign. At least you can get a taste for the service, see if it meets your criteria or suits your lifestyle. I do like services that aren’t afraid to offer trials. If football laying is your thing, this service may be worthy of investigation.
This is not a tipping service but is Lawrence Taylor’s Laying To Win ebook. Results are available
for inspection at www.topbettingsystems.com/sss_ar/results2007ar.pdf and take on a different approach to the manual. All qualifying bets are included with this service, even including 2 bets on one game and results have been calculated to £100 level stakes. A note of caution: one of the lay bets is laying the 0-0, and the liability produced from £100 level stakes will make your eyes water. £100 level stakes is the backer’s stakes when used in this laying context, meaning that you would have to put a lot more money at risk as potential liability payout. This must be borne in mind when interpreting level stakes in a laying environment.
The choice of lay bet categories for this ebook ensures that a high strike rate can be, hopefully, maintained (anomalous results not withstanding) and this looks a system to follow season upon season.
Another service I have negotiated a trial with, this is run by The Oracle (Oohh!-Aaaahh! Gasps of wonderment!) who is:“Being currently employed as a soccer consultant for a major betting organisation, The Oracle is understandably a little sensitive about his current employers finding out about his growing reputation as a private advisor.” Of course I can’t confirm this, and wouldn’t care as long as profits accrue! Luckily results are available on the website and tally with information given to me recently. In fact a run of 9 straight losses shows some semblance of transparency. I’ll give you a taster of the types of analysis received via email: “2pts Watford to beat West Brom in the Championship 11/10 Hills (if you miss the price it will still be available on the shop coupon). It’s not often that you can get odds against for a team who are six points clear at the top of their league and at home, playing against a side who have won just one of six away games, but that is the case here. Watford have won five on the bounce and have not conceded in their last three games. Strikers King and Henderson have fifteen goals between them and they also have Nathan Ellington in reserve. West Brom had the heart of their team ripped out in the summer when they lost their three best players Curtis Davies, Jason Koumas and Diomansy Kamara. They are also missing Neil Clement to a long-term injury. Watford should be no bigger than 4/5 in my opinion.”
Yes, that word ‘opinion’ again. I hate to hammer the point home, but you could do your own tips and make up your own opinion with resources such as www.soccerstats.com and www.betdevil.com and The Racing Post and Racing and Football Outlook.
So what are the ingredients for personal success in football betting?
1. Selectivity of matches
2. Knowing in advance your strategy. Are you a layer, backer, or in running trader? If the latter, which specific market will you be focussing on?
3. Having a staking plan thought up in advance. If you are a layer, you must account for the liability issue. Create a staking plan, paper trade, focus on a specific betting area or a specific team or league.
4. Do your research – the resources mentioned above are free, and specialist publications such as The Sports Statistician can point you in the right direction. www.soccerstats.com can give you information on latest form, previous results and trends all for free. www.racingpost.co.uk ‘s sports section can help persuade or dissuade you.
It’s simple really. This is by the by. The Oracle has just included me on his roster this past week so I can update on www.whatreallywinsmoney.com and via eletter. The Oracle’s fees are £30 per month. (an introductory offer I believe).
I couldn’t leave you without paying homage toStephen of the EBrOOKeS and this free service. It’sfree so is, again, priced correctly, and is anotherservice to enable collection of email addresses forfuture communication with the greatest ebook writerthis world has ever seen! (Hint: this is irony!). Bearthis in mind if you submit your email address – youare effectively opening yourself up to the weird andwonderful world of the EBrOOKeS ebook gauntlet.This service could give you some ideas as to howto approach certain bet situations. Eg 2 teams at 1.25and 1.3 could be coupled together to enhance theodds?
There is no staking information with the service, and a lot of the bets are bleedin’ obvious, but some readers have found the information of use.
And one to avoid
A typically ebullient marketer shouts: “HOW I SLAMMED £37,257 INTO MY BANK USING MY FOOTBALL BETTING SYSTEM!” He’s more likely to have slammed that amount into his account through his highly persuasive marketing skills. Remember his Select Few Tipping Service I mentioned some time ago, and I must admit it did exactly as promised – it produced “select few” winners! It was truly appalling. I tend to leave Richard Mark products alone having been suckered in by the marketing copy on numerous occasions. I suggest you don’t make the same mistake and avoid!
I hope I have selected those services which don’t resort to hype, have a degree of transparency and whose strategies are logical, well thought out, and importantly emphasise the long term. Being a seasonal event, I can’t give definite marks for football performance based on 13 matches played (just over one third of the season) which is where my eletter and website will come in handy! So what are the positives regarding most of these sites? Again they display their results online, which I can check against the advices received independently via email.
If anything you can learn one thing from this round up: each service in its turn focuses on one element of the betting market and has, in place, a predetermined staking plan to follow. Football is opinion led (horse racing, they’d have to believe, is insider info led) and there is nothing stopping you formulating your own opinion based on your personal base of knowledge (e.g: team supported, leagues most closely followed).
From the above list, The Simplex Trading’s doubling up is the most worrisome – where will it end? How much more money do we stake until the result we seek arrives?
Michelle Khang’s package has, for me, the best potential of the newbies, but I must stress that it’s early days, and a proper update should be undertaken at least half way through this domestic season.