I WAS asked by Tell Him He’s Pelé to write a weekly article about my experiences as a “pro” punter within the SFL. Rather than simply hand out tips, I reckon it will be of greater long-term benefit to you to give some insight to the thought process of how I attempt to generate an income by betting on the beautiful game.
The start of the season is always about charting the 30 SFL teams – who has improved on last season? Who has fallen away? Working with these principles, I can rate the teams and the players. Over the last few years, I’ve done this in a more informal manner, but now, I have decided to create software to help me better quantify the chances.
The program I use performs the simulation of a sequence of 10,000 matches between the teams involved. An algorithm has been designed to simulate those matches based on the ratings of the teams and players. As you might expect, the program is only as good as the data I put into it.
Setting up the team’s ratings involves going to watch them all (or as many as I can get to). I’ve already watched more than a dozen matches over the pre-season, both at pay-at-the-gate and closed door friendlies. With the Ramsdens Challenge Cup kicking off on Saturday, time is against me to have everything set up the way I want.
It goes without saying that there are certain teams I’ll be better at rating than others. For instance, when it comes to my club Partick Thistle, I’d say I’m fairly confident about the accuracy of my data. On the other hand, for various reasons, it’s sometimes easy to have blind spots. In the 2011-12 season, for example, I’d probably say that most of the Second Division teams fell into this category.
I intend to use these articles to highlight the glory and the pitfalls of gambling on the Scottish Football League, having travelled thousands of miles across the country to improve my gambling judgement. Next weeks’ entry will include a betting report from the first set of cup matches and more detail on the software I use to assist my betting decisions.
In the meantime, there are a number of factors any gambler should consider. If you’re serious about winning over the season, then it is urged you remain disciplined on these key points:
- Only bet when you know whether or not key players will play
- Do not bet on games where you have not seen both teams play with your own eyes
- Exercise caution in extreme weather ( I often reduce stakes or don’t bet at all during torrential rain, for example)
- Do not listen to someone else who is simply guessing or passing on rumours
- Only bet on quantifiable facts as much as possible
- Do not blame anyone but yourself when it all goes wrong!
- Do not get carried away with good runs
- Do not lose your bottle when it goes badly
- Be selective over what games you bet in. There is always another day to get the losses back
- Manage your bankroll with care – decide on a staking plan at the beginning of the season and stick to it
If you have any particular questions or topics you would like David to cover, contact him via Twitter at @sflpunter.