How to win with 10+ odds, who is reliable on twitter, what mistakes a newcomer should avoid – interview with top Irish tipster
My name is Neil Macdonald, I’m Irish and 35 years old. I got into betting as soon as I turned the legal age of 18. I turned my attention immediately to trading markets on the Betfair Exchange (Tennis and Soccer) but quickly realised I didn’t have the discipline I needed to be a successful bettor.
Although I was good at “paper trading” (Not using real money but tracking bets), I found that things were a lot more different in reality. Controlling my emotions during losing spells ruined my plan of becoming a professional sports bettor.
Shortly after learning the hard way (I lost a big chunk of my savings) I started to work for Paddypower.com where I learned almost everything I know. I worked in various roles within the company and met some bright minds who set me on a course to understand how bookies profit and how to gain an edge in betting.
In 2013 I created Bookie Insiders with some colleagues, and we started tipping Sports for free on Twitter. After building up a loyal following, we switched to a paid subscription which meant I could do this full time and focus all my time on improving my process.
You sell football, golf, tennis and racing tips. Also, you write about cycling in your blog. How do you manage to keep track of so many sports? Do you have staff?
We run Football, Tennis, Golf, and Racing services. Anything else posted on the site is usually a guest post (like the tour de France preview)
At the moment there is just myself and Ian.
I look after Football and Tennis, Ian looks after Racing and Golf.
For myself I feel I have adequate time to research bets, I bet low volume on Football and only cover the ATP Men’s circuit on Tennis.
My colleague Ian who is a form odds compiler has been refining his betting models over the years so it’s not that time consuming thankfully. (most is automated)
Comparing betting by yourself and selling tips – how profitable it is in percentage terms?
I would say I earn 70% from my business and 30% from Sports Betting. Making money from sports betting is a grind, it’s not as glamorous as Hollywood can sometimes make out. As I don’t have a huge betting bank (around $20,000) relying on betting alone would not be realistic for me.
Betting is more of an intellectual past-time for me. I find real joy in beating the market and helping others grind a profit.
There is a general problem in selling tips – if you have many subscribers, not all of them are able to catch value odds before bookies change them. Especially, when we talk about small markets where the biggest value is. What do you think about it and what’s the solution?
I fully understand this complaint, That is why I focus on markets with higher liquidity like the 1×2, Asian Handicap, Team Totals, Total Goals, and Both teams to score. I also focus on competitions that have a lot more liquidity (EPL, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, LaLiga, Serie A, and International matches)
Some Tipsters like to tip a selection that might only be available with one small bookmaker and expect all the followers to reach that price. These types of tipsters are not worth your time in my opinion.
As for odds movement after I send a tip to subscribers, unfortunately, smart money does move markets. This doesn’t always happen but sometimes it’s a case of first come, first served.
How much a sharp bettor in GB or the US can make?
How long is a piece of string? It’s impossible to say how many pro’s and syndicates are making over here.
As for obtaining accounts, I think we’ve all been there. We set up accounts in family members names and get as much use out of them as possible.
From my experience, serious bettors and syndicates will use the Asian Books, Brokers, or the exchanges to get real money down. Betting professionally using soft bookmakers like Bet365/Betfair/Unibet etc is not sustainable if you’re a winning player.
If you bet yourself, can you compare how much time it takes to find value and to coordinate fake accounts, payment systems and other technical moments?
For researching my football bets I would say it might take me 90 mins to two hours. As for placing bets, I do most of my betting through a broker or through one of my crypto betting accounts. I tend to leave a healthy balance in these accounts so it never takes too long to execute my bets
We know nothing about golf. Can you break a golf tip down for our audience as an example?
Without giving too much away, our Golf modeller Ian has a unique player rating system that he uses to evaluate which players have been mispriced.
The current model we use is for the ‘Top 20 finish’ market. This means we need our selections to finish inside the Top 20 of the leaderboard to be paid. We can have anywhere from 15-40 selections a week but because we target higher odds (average 11.00) we only need a few to place for a profitable week
Is it possible to be a profitable bettor without at least basic knowledge of probability theory relying just on the exceptional understating of particular sports?
In reality, you need to have both. I have met people that are extremely knowledgeable about sports and don’t have the analytical mind to understand if their bet is valuable and others who are purely stats based. Neither by itself will turn you into a winning bettor.
Some sports like Rugby and Cricket require a large degree of Sports knowledge. Others not so much
Can you explain how to beat the line for dummies?
From a sample size of 397,935 football matches offered by Pinnaclesports.com, there was a high correlation between the closing odds and the perceived probabilities.
In other words, Pinnacle’s odds accurately predicted the real outcome 99.7% of the time. Meaning that their odds are extremely efficient. If you can beat the closing line more often than not you will likely be a successful sports bettor. NB: This does not apply to niche markets. These markets are too easily influenced by small bets
In terms of how to beat the closing line, that’s the hard question and where all of my efforts are focused.
What are the basic mistakes in betting you can warn newcomers against?
- Don’t bet on multiples (combining selections) You are essentially giving the house “Bookie” a bigger edge
- Not tacking your results -You need to see what’s working and what’s not
- Not having a staking strategy with a defined betting bank. Personally, I bet between 1-3% of my bankroll per bet.
- Not availing of all the bookie bonuses you can (this is essentially free money that you get once)
Books or sites about sports betting to start with?
These aren’t all necessarily betting books but they have helped my betting
- Sharper by Poker Joe
- The logic of Sports betting by Ed Miller
- Football Hackers by Christoph Biermann (
- Thinking in bets by Anne Duke
- Soccermatics by David Sumpter
- Conquering Risk by Elihu Feustel
For sites, I would recommend beginners look at OLBG.com, I learned a lot on the forums back in the day.
What do you think about xG-based betting strategies?
xG by itself won’t turn you into a profitable gambler but it can help you assess teams a lot better
In my opinion, I do think that xG is a more predictive measurement than goals scored but you have to care which xG model you are looking at. None are perfect and some, in my opinion, don’t do a good enough job at calculating chance quality.
Because of this, I like to use the “eye test” when assessing teams chances. Wyscout and Instat football are great for this type of analysis. As you can quickly navigate matches and chances and watch the relevant video clips.
What is your betting strategy? What tools/sites do you use?
My strategy is simple, I assess the % probability of selections and if the bookmaker is offering a bigger % I take the bet. Generally, the implied edge would have to be bigger than 3% so for example if Barcelona were 1.73 to beat Atletico Madrid but I had their chances lined at 1.65 I would bet.
My favourite sites for researching bets
- Football form labs
- Wyscout/Instat Football
- Twitter (If you follow the right people you can get info before it hits the mainstream)
- Local news sites are great too, You’ll often need to use to Google translate button but it’s worth it)
3 best punters you know and 3 of the world’s best bookies? Why?
Best 3 punters (There are a lot, but these are three I respect from Twitter)
3 Best Bookies
- Pinnacle Sports (Because of limits and winners welcome policy)
- SportMarket (Broker)
- Sportsbet.io or Stake.com are the best Crytpo has to offer right now but the space is ever-evolving.
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