Past performance isn’t indicative of future results is the standard disclaimer for most services. Nothing is guaranteed in betting and it’s important to remember this, however, the stats provided in relation to previous results are always going to be the primary selling point for any tipster.
Given this it’s easy to understand why stats are often presented in a misleading way. This is a short article discussing how to interpret stats to identify whether a service is suitable for you, and some of the methods that are used to conceal actual performance.
Sample Size –
If you call heads on 100 coin flips you may win 70% of the attempts. This doesn’t make you a good tipster, it shows that variance has been kind to you. Do the same over 10,000 attempts and this won’t be the case.
A tipster with limited data may post exceptional ROI, pounds profit and points profit figures. Always consider that until several hundred bets have been recorded, ideally over 500, you could just be looking at positive variance rather than tipping ability. If you only have 100 results to analyse then look to see if other areas give you confidence, such as value obtained or knowledge shared. Always stake conservatively until you have enough data to support quality tipping over short term variance. The higher the average odds the bigger the sample size needed.
Twitter is littered with posts saying ‘9 out of our last 10 are winners, get involved!’. It sounds great but in reality it means very little, 10-20% ROI over our last 500 bets is the post you want to keep an eye out for.
Often used to mislead potential customers. 100 points profit on average per month sells, but how has the service achieved this figure? Always check the average number of points staked, if 30 points have been made but each bet is worth 2 points then you’re looking at a 15 point service. If the stakes are usually 5 or 10 points per bet then divide the results by 5 as well. Don’t be fooled by inflated points.
Strike Rate/Variance –
A 20% strike rate tells us that we should expect 4 out of every 5 bets to lose. Even tipsters with a long term ROI of 20%, betting at average odds of 5.0 (4/1) can expect a maximum drawdown of approximately 36 points. Before joining it’s important to set out a separate betting bank and stake in a systematic way. This information is in the data but it isn’t something that many tipsters will make potential customers aware of as highlighting it can deter people from joining. Ensure the expected yield, average odds and strike rate are compatible with the level of risk you are comfortable with.
The most important figure to consider once enough data is available. If a tipster has achieved a high ROI over a large number of tips they are worth further investigation. Don’t be swayed by weekly or daily ROI summaries, they don’t help in assessing the long term prospects of a service.
Some tipsters will scan Oddschecker, pick out the highest price from a BOG bookmaker and send that out as the advised odds. Often these stand out prices are arbitrage/no loss opportunities with the price being a few ticks higher or matching that on the exchange. The price will get cut instantly and the majority of followers will only get the available odds sitting below advised. Don’t be tempted to match the tipsters odds in these cases, you will get your account flagged. Tipping to standout/unachievable odds is done purely to enhance the profit figures of a service, assess the historical profit figures and decide if there is a significant enough buffer to allow for these inflated points to be absorbed.
Obscure Markets –
Similar advice applies to tipping services that focus on obscure markets. Bookmakers will price in line with the exchange and factor their edge in. When no exchange price is available they are more susceptible to sharp punters taking value. If the tipster you follow regularly tips on Romanian basketball for example, there is a high chance you’ll be limited even at short odds and will immediately draw attention to your account.
If this type of market is preferred by the tipster then check the line on Pinnacle. You’ll often see the bet has been tipped several ticks above the Pinnacle line and it will be only be available for a short period before being corrected by the bookmaker. This is a pricing error and not a tip, be wary of it when looking through results and P/L figures.
P/L History –
All of the above is contingent on the service being able to provide you with profit and loss figures and supporting data. Always ask for as much information as possible, if they are unable/reluctant to provide this then move on.
Most of the above sounds very critical but it’s necessary to spend time looking at how relevant and accurate the stats provided are. Competition is high amongst tipsters and therefore the standard should be too.
Author: Portfolio Punter (click for his Twitter)