Monthly Archives: February 2014

Premier League Value Bets – Week 28

Premier League Value Bets – Week 28

Premier League Value Bets Week 28

A frustrating weekend last week and having backed the draw, Chelsea’s 95th minute winner at home to Everton made the difference between profit and loss. Fulham almost rectified things for us and had they held on to their 1-0 lead at West Brom we’d have broken even. Instead it was a loss but there’ll be weeks and there have already been where these things go for us. We’re still in profit which is not easy on the premier league and the updated sheet can be found here.

Hull were our bet of the weekend and they beat Cardiff even easier than expected! The only other winner was Man Utd against Palace which was what is now an unusual routine win for United.

There are only 8 games this weekend and with it being a smaller sample it’s less likely that big prices will go our way. It hasn’t affected my thinking however and I’ve priced up as fairly as possible and I’m hoping one or two of the big prices that the sheet had selected can deliver.

In fact the value based on my percentage estimates is on the underdog for all matches except for the Liverpool v Southampton and Hull v Newcastle’s matches. The saints haven’t found it as easy against the very best in the premier league and Liverpool are certainly up there right now.

Newcastle are struggling without Cabbaye and although they found a late winner at home to Villa last Sunday I don’t expect them to start winning easily again. Remy and Tiote are their stand out players and i think the rest of the team is a bit average.

I did my best to give Tottenham a generous percentage as possible this week as Cardiff are a shambles right now. 70% is about as high as it gets for me though unless you are brushing everyone aside like City were a month or so back. So a bet on Cardiff it is…. stranger things have happened! (I think)

Good luck with all your bets this weekend.


BET OF THE WEEKEND – Norwich to beat Aston Villa at best odds of 4.0 with Betfred



Bet Butler Q and A

Bet Butler Q and A

Bet Butler Interview

Bet Butler are a revolutionary broker type betting service that allows you to bet at market leading odds from a whole host of bookmakers, all from one Bet Butler Account. This interested us a lot at Betting Tools when it was launched but there have been a lot of problems and negativity posted about their service. We decided to investigate by speaking to Bet Butler ourselves…


1) We were originally quite excited about the arrival of bet butler here at because getting the very best odds on each bet all under one account is very appealing. However, we’ve seen a lot of instances where the odds available on Oddschecker were better than those available on Bet Butler. Some of these better prices were with accounts thought to be available to you too and we have clicked through to check these prices were definitely available. Do you know why this might be?

An example of this is Newcastle at home to Sunderland at the Weekend. The best odds on Bet Butler are 1.9 but Oddschecker shows at least 10 bookmakers offering better (best price 2.0) than this.

It was never our intention to give the impression that we could always offer best odds. We compare over 60 bookmakers and the prices we offer are based on a number of factors. While we can’t offer the best odds 100 percent of the time, however, we do offer them more often than our competitors. This table, based on 319 games of football in the UK in December 2013, demonstrates this:

Bet Butler Odds Comparison


2) How does the Bet Butler business model work? Why would bookmakers want to give you their best price and let you take a cut when they can be seen as the best price on Oddschecker? What’s in it for them?

Bookmarkers don’t always want us to give us the best prices. We work in competition with them rather than with them.


3) Bet Butler want punters to win because they make commission but doesn’t this compromise your relationships with the bookmakers? If there are big winners betting with Bet Butler then the bookmakers surely won’t be very happy?

We don’t want to give away all our secrets, but as we said above, we work through bookmakers but are also in direct competition with them.


4) Some bookmakers have banned or restricted winning accounts for a reason? Why are they happy to allow them to be masked by betting via Bet Butler?

Again, we work hard to ensure that our customers bets are placed, but we can’t give every detail about how we achieve this or it will become much harder to achieve.


5) Are you able to tell us which bookmakers you currently have a deal in place with to take bets on behalf of them?

Unfortunately we can’t reveal all the details here. We have a number of bookmakers we work through and while not all are high street names I can guarantee that they are all fully licensed and established firms who will pay out to our customers when they win.


6) When you see a price on Bet Butler what is the limit likely to be? Is this likely to be different from the limits seen for the best odds on Oddschecker?

This depends on the size of the bet. We have a VIP operation and a regular operation. If the bet is big enough we’ll explore all avenues to get it placed. Mainstream bets are done automatically so there is a lower limit. In general our odds will be different to Oddschecker, but if a certain bookmaker does an offer price and imposes a limit on the bet, that’s all we can offer too.


7) Some of our readers have had bets taking a long time to be settled. Is there a reason for this and how long can punters expect to wait?

As a bet broker we place our bets through third parties and this means that we need to claim winnings from the bookmaker before they can be credited to a customer’s account. We always try to make this process as rapid as possible.


8) Several punters have expressed their frustrations with payment delays from Bet Butler. How long do payments take to be processed and what is the reason for the delays?

Due to the way we operate, we do stipulate a five working day period for payments to be processed. It is very unusual for payments to take longer than this. If there is a delay for some reason, such as the need for additional security checks, we will always let the customer know.


9) If anybody still has an outstanding payment related problem what is the best thing they can do?

We did have some issues with a backlog of security checks at the end of January and these delays have now been resolved. Alternatively our customers can contact our dedicated support team on 0333 900 2000 and we’ll do everything we can to help.


10) Why don’t Bet Butler offer best odds guaranteed when many of the bookmakers they use do?

This is due to the complication of placing and settling bets. We may for example have a bet split across four different bookmakers, in which case it’s very difficult to reconcile. Sometimes this can work against us. For example, bookmakers may have worse each-way terms than we offer, but we will always offer standard terms, which is to the customer’s advantage.


11) How does using Bet Butler for your betting compare to say using Betfair or Pinnacle Sports each time? Do you have any reliable data?

As I mentioned earlier, we aim to offer the best odds most of the time and the latest football figures bear this out. Pinnacle Sports are an excellent bookmaker, but they just don’t offer the breadth of markets that we do.


12) Why should people join Bet Butler and can they trust them?

We offer a service that we thinks sets us apart from the average bookmaker, offering tools and insight to help our customers bet and win.  We did have a few hiccups with the launch of our new platform back in October 2013, but the end result is a wider range of bets and a much more intuitive site. In January, we became a victim of our own rapid growth and some customers did experience delays, but we’re now back on track offering a rapid and reliable service to our members.


13) Are there any special offers or regular deals that might interest people thinking of joining Bet Butler?

We offer regular promotions based on big matches, racing and other topical sporting events. Most of these are available to both new and existing customers, which also sets us apart from many industry rivals.


14) Is there anything else that is unique about Bet Butler which makes it different to other bookmakers/exchanges?

We work hard to make every aspect of our service efficient and intuitive for experienced gamblers and occasional gamblers alike. We have a dedicated team of experts who offer free insight to players on what’s hot and what’s not in the betting market. In effect, we view our members as a community and we want them to make the most from the association with Bet Butler.


15) You also offer a VIP service. How does this work, what benefits are there and how much do you need to be betting to qualify for this?

The VIP service is for primarily aimed at people who stake over £25,000 per month. We offer an individual service with a personal account executive, giving much more likelihood of getting large stakes placed. There are no hard and fast rules on who we will accept for the service, so anyone with an interest is very welcome to enquire.


16) What does the future hold for Bet Butler? What are the goals for 2014?

We’re constantly developing the new platform and the next big project is our mobile site, which will offer enhanced access for our customers. We’re also looking to further enhance the bets we offer and, of course, there’s the World Cup to look forward to, which is going to be big news this year.


Thank you to Bet Butler for answering the questions and concerns of us and our readers. It certainly helps to know what we can expect from Bet Butler. The table provided in the first response does demonstrate that using Bet Butler can be very valuable indeed but the nature of the business means that patience may be when it comes to withdrawals. It’s important to remember that Pinnacle Sports only offer one withdrawal per month and this doesn’t deter the more professional minded bettors.


Premier League Value Bets – Week 27

Premier League Value Bets – Week 27

Premier League Value Bets Week 27

I actually did the percentage estimates for this weekend over a week ago because I’d forgotten there were no premier league games last week. It’s interesting to see how much the odds have changed in that time and the answer is very little. Hull have shortened a bit away at Cardiff but Aston Villa are now a bigger price away to Newcastle so it’s swings and roundabouts. The Villa price no doubt a reaction to the fact that Newcastle see the return of captain Fabricio Coloccini, top scorer Loic Remy and Cheick Tiote.

The only other notable changes were bigger prices on Stoke (Away at Man City) and Swansea (away at Liverpool). You quite often see big underdogs get bigger closer to kick off and this again shows it’s worth waiting a bit longer on these type of sections just as it’s worth taking shirt price favourites as early as possible.

It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any hangover from the disappointing champion’s league matches for Man City and Arsenal. Both have matches at home that you’d expect them to win but Sunderland are a team in form. Arsenal are set to bring Giroud back into the starting line up but young striker Sanogo definitely gave a good account of himself against Bayern.

City will be more confident having won their last 5 matches at home to Stoke but 1.2 is a tad short considering how they’ve been playing.

Hull Draw no bet to beat Cardiff at 2.0 with Paddy Power.


Odds Conversion Infographic

Odds Conversion Infographic

Click on infographic to see full size.

Odds Conversion Infographic

When you are trying to work out if the odds available on a bet are value it is helpful to know what percentage chance the odds are implying. Sometimes this is obvious e.g. in the case of 2.0 (50%) or 3.0 (33.33%) but at other prices it’s hard to know the real percentage without doing the calculations.

It’s amazing how many people will say that they think for example, that Man Utd are a value bet this weekend but then when ask them how many times they think United would win out of 100 and the figure they give is less than what the odds they thought were value are suggesting! Thus making the odds not value at all.

So here at we’ve created a handy infographic which shows what percentage each of the main decimal and fractional version of the odds equates to. The handy lookup should make it easy for you to quickly determine whether a bet is really of value to you. You can see the image above but it is also be located on our odds conversion page.

If you’d like to include our betting infographic on your website you can by copying and pasting the following code into a page of your website:


<p><strong>Please include attribution to with this graphic.</strong><br /><br /><a href=’’><img src=’’ alt=’Odds Conversion Infographic’ width=’540px’ border=’0′ /></a></p>


The infographic also contains some handy calculations to help you convert odds yourself. This includes how to convert back odds to lay odds equivalents so you can see whether laying team a is better than backing team b and vice versa.

Also listed is the Kelly Criterion Formula which is a renowned staking formula that works out the optimal amount of you betting bank to place on a bet based on your estimated edge. Using this formula should in theory allow you to grow your betting balance at the fastest rate. Your estimates need to be very accurate however and some people prefer to divide the percentage given by 2 or 4 to allow for some margin of error.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand or can’t follow the formula because we have a handy Kelly Criterion Calculator of our own.


Interview with the Football Analyst – Part 2

Interview with the Football Analyst – Part 2

9)      This year started off badly for you. Was it your worst run ever? Are you surprised that variance can be so big even over such a large amount of results and with such a proven edge?

In terms of a single month of results, September 2013 will always be etched in the memory of all TFA followers I suspect. The systems had suffered two very bad months before quite close together (Feb-11 and April-11) and therefore, in terms of drawdowns for the systems, Sep-13 wouldn’t be the highest drawdown on most systems. However, back then, I only had 11 systems running and therefore, any losses were spread across 11 systems. Sep-13 was a bit of a massacre with massive losses across all the UK systems and therefore, it felt much worse.

I think the other thing that is often forgotten is that the average level of stakes being used in season one is going to be much lower than in the 4th season after 3 seasons of good results and therefore, September has to go down as the worst month ever. For me personally, I lost a similar % of my betting bank as my previous worst run but the difference this season was my betting bank was 2.5 times more than when the previous run hit, so it was definitely more painful!

In terms of being surprised by variance, I’m never too surprised. I have had systems which have hit 8 winners in a row at an average odds of 3.00 and I’ve had the same system hit a losing streak of 20. Looking at it more broadly, I’ve seen runs on systems whereby they hit something like 15 winners in 18 bets and then 3 winners in the next 30 bets. 18 winners in 48 bets is probably a profit at the odds of the bets but at the end of the 48 bets, you’d be on your knees praying for the next winner!

I think the difficult thing this has season has been the results on the Established Systems. These systems have had 3 very good seasons, never came close to a losing season on any system and yet, this season, many of the systems are really struggling. This has surprised me a little but then again, with the way the results have fallen so far this season in the UK leagues, I’m not totally surprised. It hasn’t been an easy season generally.


10)      What’s the current state of play with your results this season to the end of January 2014?

Below are the results for the season to date. If you compare these with the historical results above, you will see how much more difficult this season has been for the systems.  Even so, the results aren’t quite as bad as some people are making out in my opinion. With a strong end to the season (touch wood!), most of the systems can have a profitable season and that looked impossible at the end of September!


Football Analyst Interview Image 4


11)      Are your selections price sensitive or are you picking out winners? Does it actually price up matches i.e. return odds?

This isn’t an easy question to answer as it’s a combination of both in reality. I think the first point I should make is that all my algorithms do generate a % probability of a Home/Away/Draw for every game I rate. Hence, I end up with 4 sets of prices for every game I rate in the UK and 2 sets of prices for every game in the Euro leagues. The Draw systems don’t have a value % generated as part of the algorithm as I couldn’t find value backing the draw in most games using my ratings, so value and odds play no part in the draw systems!

However, it’s not that straightforward as we have combined systems to think of too. If we take system 6. The first algorithm generates a minimum price for all bets on this system. Same story for system 21. The second algorithm generates its own prices and therefore, we can have a bet on system 6 and system 21 but both have different win probabilities and minimum odds. Sometimes, the difference can be substantial.

Let’s take last weekend and the Stoke v Man Utd game. Neither team appeared on systems 6 or 21. However, Stoke appeared on algorithm 3 and algorithm 4. Stoke had a minimum price of 5.28 on algorithm 3 (system 31) and they had a minimum price of 4.41 on algorithm 4 (system 41). At the odds of 7.27 on Thursday evening (Pinnacle), Stoke were 37.8% value and 64.8% value on each algorithm.

Obviously, the bet appears on system 31-41 too. However, I don’t give any value % for combined systems as ultimately, I couldn’t find a fair way to do it. System 31 is much better than system 41 long-term, so I tend to believe what System 31 says rather than System 41. Hence, averaging out value etc. is not a road I wanted to go down. Quite simply, none of the combined systems have minimum odds attached to them.

I guess the other question to answer is why did systems 6 and systems 21 not have Stoke as value? Well, in reality, both the first two algorithms did have Stoke as big value. However, the 5 home systems that sit behind algorithm one and the 5 home systems that sit behind algorithm two didn’t find Stoke as a bet. Hence, it didn’t appear on system 6 and system 21.

Value is only one rating factor used by my systems and this is why I believe my systems are better than just a simple rating algorithm as they are able to filter out the value bets that long-term, aren’t going to be winning enough to make it worthwhile. That’s not to say that they aren’t profitable but this game is all about maximising return on capital. Backing outsiders every week may be a profitable strategy long-term (it isn’t!) but if it was, it doesn’t mean it’s the best way to use your betting bank. My systems deliberately cut out a lot of high priced value bets as they don’t win often enough even if there may be an edge there. It varies by algorithm though and algorithm 3 and 4 find many more high odds bets than the first two algorithms as there are less restrictions on the odds in the 10 underlying systems.


12)      What is your take on staking? What is advised for your bets?

My view on staking is that simple is best. All my system bets are 1pt level stakes and all bets are proofed to this staking plan.

In reality, all subscribers play their own staking plan and I do the same with my portfolio of bets. I tend to vary stakes myself by system and by Home/Away bets but nothing too drastic!


13)      I run a couple of systems myself. One prices up the premier league based on my % estimations and the other looks at shots data. Both have been moderately successful this season. How are your system bets produced and what factors are most important?

All of my rating algorithms are based on shots on goal data and shots on target data. I basically use 16 factors on each algorithm and I cover most of the common rating factors used by football models. Every factor is given an optimal weighting which is back solved using a GLM regression method in SAS based on the historical data I’ve used.

The actual rating algorithm isn’t my USP I suspect, the USP is what I do with the ratings and the system building. Everything is based around being able to filter the bets to achieve the best results and I think looking at my systems and the returns, you can see this is what separates my results from others in this game.


14)      Your systems produce a lot of bets. Which systems do you follow and why? What type of bettor is TFA suited to?

This is another good question!

In reality, every member plays things differently and I’ve seen many people take my systems and come up with really original ways of following the bets and make better profits than I can. Likewise, I’ve seen people take my systems, come up with original ways to follow the systems and make a right hash of things and make a loss. The best example was 2 years ago when every UK system made a profit and yet, one member lost money by following a subset of bets in the systems.

I think one point I make crystal clear to followers of TFA is that the overall P&L they make from the systems is their responsibility. Obviously, it is easier to make a profit if every single system of the 52 systems live makes a profit but that’s not always going to be the case every season.

I’ve shown the results for the first 3 seasons by system earlier but in summary, 100% of systems made a profit in season one, 95% of systems made a profit in season two and 80% of systems made a profit in year three.   This season has been tougher so far and only 67% of the systems are in profit at the end of January.

Based on these results, it’s easy to understand why TFA has been heralded as the number one football ratings service for the last few years by The Secret Betting Club and the service has won numerous awards in the Tipster awards that the SBC members vote on every year.

In terms of how I use the systems, I use the same strategy every season and it’s partly why I have so many systems nowadays! I like to diversify my risk by spreading my stakes across as many algorithms, leagues and types of bets as possible and therefore, I always follow a well-diversified portfolio. I play a staking plan that optimises the profits of my portfolio historically and every season so far, I have added more systems to my portfolio, this creating more diversity and increasing my potential leverage.

I always build my portfolio just before the season kicks off as I always give up a bit of time every summer to help other members build portfolios in Excel that they want to follow. Hence, a member writes to me to say that they want to follow System 6-21, 31, STOZ, D1-D6 and E2-E7 and I pull together all these historical bets into a portfolio spreadsheet I’ve developed, show the P&L split down by season, month, league, Homes/Aways and look at drawdowns etc. based on the staking plan they suggest.

The advantage of building my portfolio last is that I’ve already spent hours and hours playing with the data, looking at staking plans, correlation of systems and so on and therefore, I always feel confident that when I start the season, I have a portfolio that is well thought out and gives me the best chance of maximising my profits whilst controlling my risk to some degree.

I’ve been very vocal about the need for diversification and the concerns I have with correlation and ultimately, I think a full diversified portfolio is the key to making TFA work long-term. That’s not to say it’s the only way to make a profit. Looking at the first 3 systems, you could have just followed one system and ultimately, managed to make a profit quite easily every season. Same idea for this season as with 2/3 of the systems in profit, if you randomly selected a system to follow, the odds are in your favour.

However, the beauty of TFA is the ability to really make your betting bank work for you and if done properly, you can achieve a very high ROC (return on capital) without having to take too many risks. Of course, for this to work, you need the systems to play ball and make a profit and this season, that’s been more difficult than the last 3 seasons!

If we imagine a portfolio of 1 system. You might need a 50pt bank to make it work based on average odds and historical drawdowns. It generates 250 bets a season and makes 10% ROI. This gives 25pts profit which against a 50pt bank, gives you a ROC of 50%.

250 bets a season is roughly 6 bets a week and it’s not exactly making the most of your betting bank if the other 44pts in your betting bank aren’t being used every week.

So, you can add a second system to the portfolio, with the same number of bets and the same ROI. It achieves 25pts profit against a 50pt bank.

However, if you combine the results of system 1 and 2, you may find that you only need a betting bank of 60pts based on historical results and drawdowns and therefore, you have generated a profit of 50pts against a bank of 60pts. A ROC of 83%.

Hence, by adding another system to your portfolio and thus reducing your risk (all your eggs aren’t in one basket now!), you have increased the ROC to 83% from 50%.

This principle is what TFA is built on and as I say, when it works, it can really work well but if used incorrectly (building highly correlated portfolios as an example), if a drawdown hits, it can wipe out your betting bank if you are leveraged too much.

Over the first 2 seasons, I achieved ROC’s of 100%+ each season and last season was spectacular for me with an ROC of over 200%. This season, I’m only slightly better than break-even at the moment on my TFA bets although I have lost nearly 50% of my betting bank twice this season during two very bad drawdowns for my portfolio. Thankfully, I’ve won it back twice!

TFA isn’t for everyone and ideally, it suits people who have some Excel skills, understand how portfolio betting works, aren’t afraid of hard work and don’t mind spending a few hours a week placing bets and recording results.

Of course, if anyone wants to join and just pick a system to follow and look for a small return on their betting bank every season, that’s OK too but if the system underperforms or if the market conditions are difficult over a season, there is a higher chance they will make a loss than someone following a well-diversified portfolio.


15)      Do you advise one bookmaker or several? Which bookmaker would you say is the best for football betting in general?

In terms of the prices quoted by me for the proofed results and the value calculations in the modelling, I either use a Pinnacle price or a general price as long as it’s quoted by a number of leading bookmakers. The service has been applauded by members and The Secret Betting Club for the fairness of the odds quoting. I am heavily restricted with a large number of UK bookmakers now and place over 70% of my bets with Pinnacle and I achieve around 99% of my quoted prices. Bear in mind my average stake is higher than the average stake for the service I expect and therefore, it’s not a bad figure for me. If you look around Twitter and various blogs, you will see members are able to achieve 99%-101% of my quoted odds.

In terms of me personally, as I mentioned above, Pinnacle is the main bookmaker I use. It’s amazing how quickly bookmaker accounts are closed if you’re taking prices on a Thursday evening for football matches that kick-off on a Saturday and generally, with the edge my systems have, I’m backing at higher prices than available at kick-off.

For season one, I didn’t even have a Pinnacle account which shows how much my betting patterns have changed. Of course, I didn’t have the betting bank I have now back then and therefore, I don’t think my accounts would have lasted as long as they did if I was playing the stakes I’m playing this season!

In terms of my other bookmakers, Ladbrokes take second place and around 10% of my bets are with them. I generally place my bets on a Saturday morning now which means I usually suffer from slightly lower odds but the liquidity is better with the bookmakers and Ladbrokes in particular seem quite happy to lay me some chunky bets on my teams at standout prices, so I use them when Pinnacle don’t offer a better price. The other bookies all account for 1% or 2% of my betting activity and most have restrictions in place regarding stake size or how much I can win on certain games.

The advantage of having the Euro bets these days is that the liquidity is much better and given how competitive Pinnacle are, nearly all my betting for the European bets in my portfolio is done with Pinnacle.


16)      Thanks for the interview. As a last question, what does the future hold for your own betting portfolio and the service in general?

I think the easy answer is more of the same.

I really enjoying following a football betting portfolio given I work full-time and therefore, I don’t see me changing too many things in the next 3-5 years. Hopefully as my profits continue to grow, my betting bank will continue to grow and with Pinnacle (and the option of potentially using Betdaq or Matchbook or even going back to Betfair), I don’t see too many issues with getting on the bets at the stakes I play now or even slightly larger stakes.

This season is the first season where I have added another football tipster’s systems to my portfolio and so far, it has worked well as the results from these systems have been better than my own so far!  I don’t see me adding too many other systems to my overall portfolio although I do have my eye on the Fink Tank ratings and I may well look to add some bets using these ratings to my own betting portfolio in the future.

In terms of the TFA service, I hope the results take a turn for the better in the near future or I may not have too many happy members at the end of the season! Beyond this season, I do have some ideas for the service (not surprisingly, it may involve another set of systems!) but I think the big change is probably going to be around a tiered approach to subscriptions.

At the moment, everyone pays a flat subscription fee and receives access to all 52 system’s bets every week. However, as I mentioned above, I do give up a bit of my time to help some people with building portfolios etc. and this is basically something I do free of charge even though it is very time consuming. Of course, I’ve got other members who just do their own thing, never ask me for help and therefore, I’m not sure it’s fair that they pay the same price as those who I give a lot of help to.

In addition, if this season has shown me anything, it’s that some people are better off if I just supply them with a portfolio of bets to follow with a simple staking plan and that way, they don’t need to torture themselves by seeing the bets on all 52 systems each weekend and seeing what could have happened if they had followed different systems etc. This is something I’ve been pondering for a wee while now and seeing the mess some people have got themselves into this season by following badly constructed and heavily correlated portfolios, I think there is a demand for me to just supply a list of bets to follow each week. This would also allow me to open up the service to more members who maybe aren’t interested in following a fully diversified portfolio of TFA systems every weekend!

If I can promise you one thing, it would be that I will never standstill at this game and I’m always working on the next set of ratings, the next set of systems or the next way to find another edge on football betting.


Interview with the Football Analyst – Part 1

Interview with the Football Analyst – Part 1

Graeme aka ‘The Football Analyst’ is the owner of several very profitable football betting systems. His systems have been proofed by the Secret Betting Club from whom he has received a number of awards.

We wanted to find out more about him and his systems and why there are so many! We tried to get him to give short and concise answers but readers of his blog will know that he does get carried away! Nevertheless, it’s an informative and insightful read so thanks Graeme.

The progress of his systems is documented on Graeme’s blog


1)      Tell us more about The Football Analyst. Who is he and who does he support?!

I’m a 32 year old guy, living in Scotland and I finally got married to my childhood sweetheart a couple of years go. I wouldn’t class myself as a massive football fan although I was more of an avid football fan when I was younger. I support my local team Dundee FC (that’s not the horrible ‘United’ who play across the road in tangerine tops!) and we are currently joint top of the Championship. Dundee were relegated from the SPL last season although since I have been going to the games from an early age, we’ve spent more time in division one (now the Championship) than the top league, so I’m used to seeing us challenging (and failing!) for promotion most seasons!


2)      You indicate on your blog that betting is not your full time job. What is the day job?

I work in the insurance industry for a large insurer and I manage a team of pricing/actuarial analysts. It’s always difficult to explain what I do on a day to day basis but my whole working life is now carried out in Excel or other analytical software packages. I’m very fortunate in the sense I love my job and I couldn’t see myself doing anything different from what I do now. I started off in the team as an assistant analyst in 2004 when I graduated with a first class honours in financial economics from university. I’ve quickly worked my way up and hopefully I can continue to progress my career into the future.


3)      How long have you been betting and how did you first become interested in it?

I’ll try to keep this short as every time I answer this question, it usually takes about 1,000 words!

Like so many, I was educated at this game by my Grandfather. He was betting every day on the racing and I was a bit of a child prodigy when it came to numbers. I used to count up horseracing multiple bets by way of homework at the age of 5! By the age of 6-7, I was able to add, subtract, multiply and divide any large numbers and therefore, I was always working on a Maths curriculum far in advance of my years at primary school.

My Grandad used to give me 50p every day to bet – thinking back, I was quite creative with my multiple bets! – and therefore, I was hit with the racing bug very young. I was placing bets in the local bookmakers by the age of 14 and everyone in the bookmakers knew me by my first name. My 50p soon graduated to £1 and then £2 and I was basically betting every day when I was growing up.  Came close once to a massive win but we can keep that story for another day!

When I went to university, money was always on the tight side and if it wasn’t for a few nice wins betting, I would have been eating baked beans on toast more often than I was!

When my then girlfriend (now wife) and I started our careers, we purchased a big 4 bedroom house which really stretched us financially (everyone said it was a great investment!) and it was at the start of 2008 that I opened my first online bookmaking account, a Betfair account. Before then, although I was still betting on the racing at weekends and was always a massive fan of Cheltenham etc. I wasn’t realty much of a gambler though and since I had grown up around bookmakers, placing bets online had never really been a consideration.

I placed my first online bet (was meant to be a trade!) in March 2008 and I’m coming up for my 6th year online betting anniversary soon.


4)      Are there any other sports other than football you like to bet on? Do you have an edge in these?

Not surprisingly, my first 18 months or so betting and trading online was centred around horseracing and I would say I had created myself a little niche using my knowledge of reading form to gain an edge from trading pre-race and leaving IR lays on Betfair. However, time was a major issue for me and with working full-time, trading on Betfair was never going to work long-term. The introduction of the first premium charge was the final nail for me really and I turned my attention to trying to use my skills I have developed in my career to develop an edge on the football markets.


5)      Do you do any form of trading?

I stopped using Betfair as a result of the first premium charge hitting me and although I’ve done the odd IR trade on a few of my football bets over the last 4 years, I don’t use Betfair as a serious betting option now at all. 70% of my betting is done through Pinnacle now who are the number one footballing bookmaker and aren’t afraid to take a bet and don’t restrict me for winning.


6)      How long have you run your football analyst tipping service?

The service started as a subscription service for the season 2010/11 although all bets for the first season were also posted in advance on my blog. The service is now into its 4th season and has grown season on season. I capped membership places at 100 for the season past and the service was fully subscribed in the early summer. If I had kept the service open until the season started, going by the number of people I turned away, I could have filled 200-300 places easily.


7)      Why do you have so many different systems and why are they named the way they are named?

This is a question that is posed to me every season!

If I go back to the very beginning, my idea was to develop one football system. It’s hard to believe now but when I downloaded the data for historical seasons in January 2010, the intention was to build one algorithm whereby, I would back every team thrown up as value whereby my odds were different from the bookmaker’s odds.  It was meant to be simple!

As you will know yourself Brian, building a ratings algorithm isn’t easy and therefore, I encountered lots of issues and my thinking changed lots over the first few months. I read lots on ways to build algorithms, which factors to use, how to use Poisson distributions and so on. After a few months playing with data, I had my first ratings algorithm built.

I then decided that having an algorithm which threw up different prices than bookmakers for all games wasn’t as useful as I thought it would be. For a start, it would mean I would be betting on nearly every game in every league every week! That’s a lot of bets.

My thinking then changed and I went down the route of using my rating factors to develop systems based on set criteria. I built 10 systems from algorithm one based on set rules and odds bandings (e.g. no home bets less than 1.80).

So, I had 10 systems (5 Home, 5 Away) built from my first algorithm. Did I stop there? Errr….no.

I then thought it would be good to see what happens to the performance of teams that appear on 2, 3, 4 and all 5 systems. Interestingly, the more the teams appeared, the higher the ROI was for these bets. Hence, I then developed System 1 which was all the teams that appeared once on one of the 10 systems. System 2 then became teams that appeared twice and so on. Hence, System 5 was all teams that appeared 5 times.

I finally went down the route of testing out results and doing some basic statistical tests on the 5 systems and unfortunately, I decided that I’d probably back fitted the systems to the extreme and therefore, the systems would all be flawed. I took the decision to ditch these 5 systems before they even had a live bet!

I then set out developing a new algorithm (now called algorithm one) and followed the exact same procedure outlined above to come up with 5 systems.  These systems were systems 6,7,8,9 and 10. System 6 being all teams that appeared at least once on the 10 systems based on the ratings. System 10 being teams at appeared the maximum 5 times on the base systems.

When I was very happy with systems 6-10, I had my first systems built. I then decided that since I had got the bug for building algorithms, I would have another go and build another set of systems from a second algorithm. These systems became systems 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25.

The obvious thing to look at next was what happened when teams appeared on system 6 and 21 or 6 and 22 and so on. Hence, I looked at all the returns of the combined systems from each algorithm.

One other thing I should point out here is that systems 9, 10, 23, 24 and 25 were all dropped as they didn’t produce enough bets. I think system 10 was producing less than 10 bets a season if I remember.

So, for go live in 2010/11, I had systems 6, 7, 8, 21, 22 and the combined systems 6-21, 6-22, 7-21, 7-22, 8-21 and 8-22. These 11 systems became known as the Established Systems.

After a very successful first season, I decided I wanted even more systems and I developed a 3rd algorithm which threw up systems 31, 32 and 33.  I also decided it would be good to have a little batch of systems (called Miscellaneous Systems) which became systems 21-31, 6-21-31 and 6-32. I also developed 3 systems using a different approach to my other ratings and these became systems TOX, STOY and STOZ.  Hence, I now had 6 miscellaneous systems. I also developed 2 other systems this summer, an Under 2.5 goal system and an Over 2.5 goal system.

Hopefully everyone is still following!

After another very successful second season, I developed a 4th algorithm which threw up systems 41 and 42.  I then did what I did with the Established Systems and cross referred the bets on 31, 32, 33 with 41 and 42. Hence, I ended up with another 6 systems. 31-41, 31-42, 32-41, 32-42, 33-41, 33-42.  These 11 systems became known as the New Systems.

That Summer, I also decided to tip my toes into the European Leagues for the first time and developed a set of 11 systems (using the exact same methodology as the UK leagues) and developed systems E1, E2, E3, E6 and E7 and the 6 combined systems, E1-E6, E1-E7, E2-E6, E2-E7, E3-E6 and E3-E7.  These are known as the Euro Systems.

Apart from the Euro Systems, it was a very successful season last season again.

In the Summer past, I decided to try my hand at developing draw systems for the UK leagues and I now have 11 draw systems, which are called D1, D2, D3, D6, D7 and D1-D6, D1-D7, D2-D6, D2-D7, D3-D6 and D3-D7.

Sum all these systems up and you get 52 live systems that I’m running this season. Phew…..


8)      Can you give an overview of the returns by system and by season if that’s possible?

Well, the first live season was season 2010/11 and I had the 11 Established Systems in operation. The systems started the season off well but the second half of the season was much tougher. Even so, the overall results at the end of the season were pretty good.


Football Analyst Interview 1


For the 2011/12 season, I had 22 live systems in total. In many ways, this season in my opinion was the most successful season as many systems made a profit in every single month which isn’t easy to do. Here are the results by system:


Football Analyst Interview Image 2


For the 2012/13 season, I had 41 live systems with the additional New Systems and the introduction of the Euro Systems. Here are the results by System:


Football Analyst Interview Image 3


Up to the start of the 2013/14 season, I had proofed 18,372 UK system bets over 3 seasons which had produced a profit of 1,675pts for an ROI of 9.1%. I had also proofed the 2,880 Euro bets for a loss of 127.7pts.

Continue to part 2…



Premier League Value Bets – Week 26

Premier League Value Bets – Week 26

Premier League Value Bets Week 26

Almost completely forgot about the mid-week prem matches this week and apologies that this is a short entry. No profit from the weekend with just the 2 winners – Palace at home and West Ham away.

Norwich had chances to beat City and certainly held their own and Fulham’s almost pulled off the bus parking of the century but fell short by 10 minutes or so. Their late equaliser must have emptied a few banks however!

Both teams Manchester teams failed to win though and I feel justified in opposing. Had one of those lost it would have been another week of mega profit and the difference week to week is very small, we just have to keep backing value.

I actually thought Man Utd played pretty well. It’s extremely difficult when a team sets up like that against you unless you’ve got an Andy Carroll type aerial threat. United look more impressive than Arsenal do at the minute who conceded 5 at Liverpool and they look to be the best value bet in this round of matches.


Best bet – Man Utd to beat Arsenal at 3.75 with Bet365


Premier League Preview – Week 25

Premier League Preview – Week 25

Premier League Preview - Week 25

A dream start to last week with 5 wins from 7 on the Saturday at some pretty amazing prizes capped off with Stoke’s win at home to Man Utd. That was all it was to be however after drawing blanks on Sunday and Monday but a return on investment of 86.5% for the weekend was very pleasing. I still felt I was on the right side on West Brom against Liverpool and they did fail to win. Arsenal also found it tough against Palace and at 0-0 half time I’m was happy with that one. Update sheet here.

City on Monday I was less happy with. Stats wise City were a good bet but team news went against me but I also think I failed to foresee that Chelsea were the more motivated team and in hindsight the value was on Chelsea and my percentage estimate on City was too high. It’s very rare I feel that I am on the wrong side even when I’ve lost but I think I will learn from this one.

After last week there is now very little between the returns to level stakes with both over 8% and that of Kelly stakes and it goes to prove that level stakes are very difficult to beat. It’s weeks like this week Kelly staking might prove its worth with lots of short priced favourites. I’m not expecting Chelsea, Man Utd or Man City to lose if I’m honest but the value is in opposing them. Some weeks these big favourites will be beaten and we’ll make a big profit but the value on opposing them is less than on some of the other matches and the stakes smaller. Therefore losses on these 3 games will affect the overall profit and loss much less with Kelly Stakes.

I think there is very good value in backing Arsenal at 3.5 in the lunchtime kick off tomorrow. I can see why Liverpool are favourites especially being at home but the Gunners are unbeaten in their last 8 league games and I think they’re the better team defensively.

West Ham repaid the faith I showed in them after being written off following some hefty losses with a 2-0 win at Swansea last week. It’s now 7 points out of 12 including a draw against Chelsea and I think they have the beating of Aston Villa tomorrow even without the suspended Andy Carroll.

Chelsea are looking very good and with Newcastle mourning the loss of Cabaye it’s going to be very tough for them at Stamford Bridge this weekend. Odds of 1.25 on Chelsea are a bit of an insult to a capable Newcastle however and the Magpies have to be the value play. As mentioned previously it’s the same story for me in the Man City v Norwich and Man UtdFulham matches.

Crystal Palace continued their good defensive work in the first half against Arsenal and although they were eventually broken down I fancy their chances against West Brom tomorrow. The odds aren’t as juicy as I was hoping but still worth a bet with West Brom without a win in 3 and Palace gaining 13 points from a possible 18 at Selhurst Park under Pulis.

Southampton look to be back on track with some easier fixtures coming in but let’s not get too carried away with a 3-0 win at Fulham. 1.57 is too short against Stoke who proved they are more than capable after last weeks win against Man United. The Potters are not as impressive away from home but even still, 7.75 is a big price.

Sunderland are one of the form teams at the moment with 3 wins in their last 4. The market knows they’ll most likely beat Hull on Saturday. The value is slightly on Sunderland but it’s so small it’s almost a no bet match for me.

The South Wales derby at Swansea could go either way for me but Cardiff have the greater team spirit evident in their match against Norwich last week and have more of a goal threat now with new signing Kenwyne Jones. The Blues won the reverse fixture and can do the double over manager-less Swansea tomorrow.

Finally, Spurs v Everton on Sunday is an interesting one with 5th playing 6th. Both teams have a lot of quality and are looking for a top four place but I think this a good match up for Everton. The Toffees generally seem to find it sticky against more defensive teams and I’m backing them at 3.75 in this one.


BET OF THE WEEKEND – Cardiff Draw No Bet at 3.5 with SkyBet





New Betfair Analysis Tool

New Betfair Analysis Tool

Betfair Analysis Tool


Many of us will have had those horrific trading matches where we’ve turned a bad position into an even worse one or chased a bet when we shouldn’t have. On many occasions I’ve heard people say that they reckon they would make a profit if they staked sensibly or had ‘discipline’. Well, would you really? Is it your staking that’s letting you down and do you actually have an edge?

I have developed a new tool to find out exactly that. It will take your downloaded betting history (betting history not profit and loss) from Betfair and analyse it, working out your profit and loss to level stakes and showing whether your bets are value on average. Generally if your % return is better to level stakes than your actual return % which the tool also shows you, you’d be better of reverting to level staking.

The level stakes are calculated using £100 for each bet. Don’t compare your actual profit amount and loss with the level staking profit and loss because it will be an unfair comparison and it’s the return % that we are interested in.

The Betfair Analysis Tool will also tell you what your returns are for back bets are compared with lay bets. This might help you settle the age old debate of whether trading out is benefiting you or not. It also shows profit/loss at odds on compared with your profit/loss betting at odds of evens and above.

The tool lists every bet individually too so you can see and check the workings of each bet if you want to. Here is a summary of the things it will tell you:


1) How much your back bets made compared to lay bets so you can see which served you best

2) How much profit/loss you made both backing and laying at odds on

3) How much profit/loss you made both backing and laying at odds of evens and above

4) Compares your actual return % to what it would have been betting the same amount on each bet

5) Further level stake based analysis


The tool has shown some interesting findings particularly for my lay bets which was actually quite unexpected and something that wouldn’t have been evident to me otherwise.

I hope you find this tool useful and if you have any questions or ideas for improvement then please let me know by replying to this post. It would be great to get some feedback!