Today I am talking with UFT Member Tony who is a full time sports trader/sports investor who makes a very high 4 figure profit every month.
I wish I could take credit for that but the twist is that he doesn’t watch any sports, doesn’t follow any sports and doesn’t even seem to like any sports.
He does it all by the DATA!
I always love talking with sports traders who manage to make this work without having an interest in sports and this talk was very enjoyable indeed.
And as part of the STL tradition here is Tony’s cartoon face!
Grab a cup of tea, coffee or a nice cold beer and lets get into it!
Hey Tony. Many thanks for sitting down for this interview for the Sports Trading Life readers
So today you are a full time sports trader and we will get into all that shortly, but from the sounds of it your previous work set you up nicely for the sports trading world, tell me a bit more about that?
Hi Ben Thanks for talking with me!
So, my background is in Information Technology work, mainly building solutions in the pharmaceuticals industry. And this meant I was driven by procedures and factual data.
Doing this made me a very analytical and process orientated person which has helped in very big way to get me where I am today.
I started trading on the stock market with FTSE 150 & 250/350 companies.
By following a set of parameters, I set myself up a database (Excel sheet). I had collected data on the companies I wanted to invest in and started to make myself a good amount of money. I look for trends and data that led me to filter down a list of say 20 companies which I then picked 5 to go ahead with and invest in.
One of my biggest money “spinners” was investing in a small Canadian company called E-one who specialised in film & television distribution and I had spotted they happened to pick up the global license for a little kiddies character called Peppa Pig . I knew it would take off and since then they have never looked back and neither have I and that was really what got me hooked on trading.
With this knowledge in mind I came across Betfair and noticed it allowed me to back things to happen and also bet against things happening.
This piqued my interest immediately as this was a concept I really understood since I used to short stock as well as buy it.
For example, I remember talking with a friend in my local pub about a Rugby game that was happening and I said I wish I could bet that Australia will not win this game (Yep Rugby World Cup Final) and we all know what happened that.
So I looked into it a little bit more and saw that it was primarily based on sports which was alien to me at this stage as I only really follow Rugby Union but it did cover non-sporting events as well which fascinated me and led me to dig further.
And so you mentioned you are not a sports fan? Is that right?
Yes that’s right I really don’t enjoy watching sports, and I have pretty much no idea about football or any other sport really apart from Rugby. I would rather be out and about enjoying myself doing other things especially as my family were growing up. I have 2 boys and a girl, but it does now help pay for my lifestyle and now my sons have grown up it’s a Xmas / New years tradition to go to the Harlequins big game at Twickenham every year (This year I think won’t happen for obvious reasons).
But I realised over time that sports is full of stats and numbers, probabilities, Strike rates (SR) and Return on Investments (ROI) and so I thought why couldn’t I just collect masses of data and use that to help me make decisions on any investment I wish to make on Horses and Greyhounds. Similar to if I were going to invest in a business but with quicker results.
I started collecting anything I could on Horse racing and Greyhounds and overtime got to understanding the bet types I could make using a betting exchange like Betfair.
So with all the data I had collected I built numerous databases to help me make decisions on what I wanted to bet or trade on.
I have been full-time now for 2.5 years
Along the way, I came across your Ultimate Football trading and thought I will buy that and learn football trading. To my shock I started to think I had to watch football now so I put the course quickly on the shelf for a while, I guess it is the same with tennis? Sorry Ben!
At the same time, I also invested in a football system which proved to me clearly that odds are important and today I have started doing more football but with the same approach I usually take.
Watching a football match ain’t so bad Tony! ?
Anyway, just to clarify, which sports do you make the most from at the moment?
I currently make most of my money on Horses and Greyhounds both here and in Australia.
On the horses I use my data to show me where I can win on Back To Lay in-running trades (B2L) and also Lay to Back (L2B), Or to Dutch a number of horses and even lay them. This data is very powerful and gives me a fantastic edge.
I am only now starting to make good money on football and I was on tennis before everything came to a grinding halt but horses are the main way I make my living.
It sounds like you are living the dream with an almost passive sports investing approach. Tell me a bit about a typical working day/week at the moment?
A typical day for me is that I am up around 6:30AM
- I start by downloading my P/L from betfair and recording all my data and making sure I record them properly into my sheets (I am a stickler for this as this is what I use to do by trading/betting) so that I can analyse the data at a later date to ensure I am on track.
- I then start my bots off to go and collect the data I need for the days racing and football
- I analyse all of my data by sport and set out my day of what I want to bet & trade on.
- I would then take an hour and a half off to do what I want to do. Living right next to the River Thames I do enjoy a nice stroll out with my wife and Beagle
- I will then load all of my Routine bets into Betfair as I have 7 standard things I just leave running every single day that just continuously bring me in money without me doing anything.
- Then I load up Bet Angel with all the trades and bets I have scheduled for the day, (I have all of my stuff automated.)
With all that done I would spend the next 2 hours going through my master databases and analysing for any angles I can find and once a month I will evaluate my standard systems I mentioned earlier and see if anything needs adjusting. Or just go out for the day ?.
Really does sound like living the dream mate. So for those who are not clued about databases and things like that. How does it work for you? Anything more you can tell us?
OK databases…. I have ONE main database (Excel Spreadsheet I don’t make it too complicated) for each sport as I wish to collect different data.
So I will have 1 for Horses (1UK & 1 AUS), Greyhounds (1 UK & 1 AUS), Football (12 Leagues)… from this main database I create “Methods” that then become separate databases.
ALL data I collect is all freely available.
For the horse racing I will use the Racing Post and go through my set processes and collect the data I want like horse names, jockeys, race meeting information like race type, place, distance, time and when I collect the results it will be things like Betfair Starting prices, In-play odds and who won. So like on football I will collect the Match odds Starting price, and the Correct score O/U 0.5, 1.5 etc Starting Odds and HT odds.
Now with all my data sheets I will organise the data in a way so that I can immediately select and filter by say team/horse/dog and immediately see statistical data.
Below is an example for my Greyhound UK information
This immediately shows me what I want to see. How many points up/down for my selection.
Strike Rate, ROI, Probability expected odds so this will help me make a sensible decision (Green is back Pink Is lay)
So lets look at these numbers.
Based on the selection criteria, Lets say I chose Perry Barr as the track and the grade of A5 (This is purely an example) look at the data above I can see a couple of things that stick out, as they are highlighted in green, 1. Over the period of the data (This is for 2020) 1. If I had backed the dog in trap 4 I would have made 50.89 points to date ..
But the ROI is only .92 so not really that good and the Strike rate is 17.17% so again a little low so this would not be a method I would follow, the “expected odds” should be 5.82 for the dog. Looking at the ROI that’s not very good and the SR is pretty poor, conversely if I look over to the right I can see something much more interesting.
Now looking at the information I get some good results. Now dog 1 would have given me 31.10 pts return and the ROI & SR are much more to my liking .. The probability is that of dog 1 winning so 24% on backing is pretty good.
If I had Layed the Dog on trap 5 (The numbers in Pink I would be up 253.88 pts but the ROI looks a little low but the SR is pretty good so I would dig deeper to see what is affecting the ROI.. it maybe I need to do a little more filtering, like Grades, and see if there is anything that is showing negative results.
Now If I decided That I Like the results of the above data I would now turn this into a documented method and record the results into a sperate sheet and monitor it over the next 10 -14 days and if the results are still showing as positive I would then allocate a bank and staking plan to run something like Bet Angel and monitor its progress over 30 days day. If it is still progressing as planned then it will stay as a permanent method for daily use, all my methods are reviewed on a monthly basis and if it is not returning to my set targets it is removed.
This is a chart showing a method I introduced into my portfolio at the beginning of this year, I still review each method while the are running and as you can see I had a big dip not so long ago but as I have the method documented it is not deviated from and it also met my review criteria it stayed and has now recovered. (Yes there was a nice big win that brought it back)
Now I will find around 2 new methods daily and scrap new ones quite quickly, I must have created at least 100 for horse racing but now only regularly run with 15 everyday, with Greyhounds I have currently about 6 and football currently 5 but as I get more and more into it this will continue to grow
Here is and example of some data I have been collection for football which I will soon turn into a database of my own for analysis.
It has never been easier to make money with so much information around but the average person will still keep making mistakes. No Plan = No Profit. You must be organised and adopt the right Mindset, add discipline to what you do and be Patient and realistic about returns.
I see a lot of talk on the FB group saying greyhound racing isn’t profitable.
Now I have 1 method that is very simple and I just let it run via Bet Angel every day It is based laying against the Tipster , yep the so called experts huh!?
Based on trap 5 losing at selected distances and tracks these are the results this year up to September 2020.
Look at the return 76.94pts and a 78% SR, so you can see 1 method brings this in is pretty good.
If you could find say 5 methods bringing this in then you would be doing really well every year.
That can then be duplicated on horses and even football.
This is all amazing detail Tony, the readers probably don’t realise how lucky they are to get this much insight into your processes for free!
So if someone reading wanted to build their own database or model how might they start?
A lot of questions I get are what type of data should I collect?, why did you decide to collect that? And why don’t you use tools that are already out there? Let me answer the last one first … I do. There are some rally good tools and websites out there but the problem I have with them is I find it difficult to have a process I can repeat and automate to suit my needs and it lacks the key data I always want but it they do help me some pre game re-search that can be important to your method. The other 2 questions I answer with .. Everything you can get and I don’t know until I know what I want.
As you would have seen earlier I like to know odds, Strike rates, Probabilities etc etc so only I can do that in the way I need it, all you need is a good understanding of excel (If not there are loads of people who would create you a worksheet cheaply on sites like Fiverr) All the data you need is free to access from sites like Timeform, Betfair, Soccerstats for example, a great tool I recently came across was CGMbet and you can export all the data into excel, the only key piece of data most things seem to be missing are betfair Odds but there are free sources around to get that.
So if you wanted to build your own data, for example football, I would probably stick with a Max of say 6 leagues to start with (patience & Discipline) and collect as much data as you can weekly, That’s starting information as well as the results after the games. (So If I go back to the greyhounds I have the race data for the day in the morning so that I can filter the races I am interested in then I will complete the results the following morning so that I have that to use in the historical data for analysis).
I found I start with everything I can get my hands on then slowly remove what I know I would not use ….. Here is an example of a sheet I am starting for the football data, [for those interested, this below data is available from Goal Profits ]
Break every item into a column so that it can be sorted and filtered and create you totals boxes like I showed earlier so that you can see instantly the results, I sue conditional formatting in excel to make data stand out if it meets set criteria’s. From that I would look into methods I can create.
For example if I was looking to create a method using the U4.5 markets that I want to use as a set and forget If I work during the day I would want to understand how well teams have performed in that space.. So If had the starting Odds and HT odds for all of the Unders market then that would be really useful, how often had somebody Like Arsenal v Man U gone Over or Under 4.5 all this would be easy to do if you had the data and if you had the totals information that could really help you make decisions quickly. Why not just use Cgmbet or Goal Profits .. I could but it can only be manipulate how they want you to see it and some information is just not there.
So you never watch the events ever? Not even the highlights?
It’s true I don’t watch the events.
I may see a couple of minutes on the Betfair screen but I TRUST my data and I have no interest in watching. My data has driven my decisions so no need to change anything. If I watched I would end up doubting my choice ? I just let Bet Angel do anything that needs to be done.
I think my strengths are I believe in my data and I have a detachment of emotion on my betting and trading. I am Disciplined in what I do and have patience.
I have spoken to many people over the years and have even mentored some and what I find is lot of people do not understand Staking and Bank management.
Also people lack patience, discipline and struggle with Mindset.
Let me give you an example…
A person I worked with to build a method took it away and started using it. Over a period of 1 month I also followed the same method and we caught up at the end of one month and compared notes … I Had made 76.28pts he had made 17?
I asked what had happened and he revealed he had “improved” the process. well I’m not quite sure on that one! ?
I then followed up again after 3 months to see how they got on and they told me after 2.5 months they gave up as they were in a loss. I couldn’t understand this as I was up just under 200pts from memory. It turned out that they had given up after the big losses we had had over a period of 3 weeks but then it turned around and rocketed up so it goes to show you need a mindset to take the losses as well as the wins and this is where proper Bank Management come in as this would of set the mindset.
Very interesting and something I see all the time. People giving up after one weekend sometimes. From when you started, how long did it take you to become profitable? Was there any sort of Eureka moment when things began to click?
Probably about 12 months.
I thought I must be mad following these tipsters and people on forums saying lay this, back that you should cover the u2.5 and the Match odds I had no idea what people were talking about and why they were saying it, I was totally disorganised and had no discipline.
I was having a drink one day with some friends and the TV happened to be on and they had a couple of screens on with American sports and all I could see was numbers and player statistics being shown and discussed.
And that was my Eureka moment as I knew then I needed to collect data. It kept being drummed into me over the years that data is never wrong just follow it.
Very true, data is more valuable then oil these days or so I heard. So how is your football database working alongside the goal machine methods so far?
I bought the Goal Machine methods and to my joy Matthew was like me and had no idea about football but could still make money which has always confirmed my personal view.That really made me laugh.
I haven’t done it yet but alongside what I am starting to see in my data it is bang on. Like me he has stuck to specific limited Leagues looks for certain odds and goes for it.
Yes I agree that you can also maybe use the stuff you teach in UFT to add more filters but I would say don’t over think it and try to keep it simple. Stick to certain Leagues and repeat a process that works and stop tweaking it.
I know a guy with a similar approach to yours and he was in the negative for the first 6 months of 2020 before things turned around. I know we had a lockdown in there but that can be hard to handle mentally! So with your approach, how do you handle periods of downswings?
Oh yes there will always be losing days sometimes maybe a losing week, but I have had 1 losing month in 2 years so I feel that is pretty good. When we had lockdown we still had Greyhounds and Horse racing in Australia, the Belarus league had some interesting football so there was enough sport on to still make money on.
I handle the downswings as I do winning swings.
To me they are all part of trading so a win has as much emotion as a loss does.
Certainly it is always nice and comforting withdrawing money from your Betfair account every few weeks, that’s what makes it worth it.
But I cannot let emotions get in the way otherwise I will be a wreck
Now this bit might hurt, but tell us about your most embarrassing mistake you made when betting/trading?
I guess my most embarrassing moment is I wanted to back something, but as a layer by heart I layed it and lets say I lost A LOT that day.
I do have an embarrassing story.
I live not too far from the Chelsea training grounds and I went over to drop my son off with my wife to a camping event he was having with the scouts. After dropping him off we went to the local Pub to have lunch. My wife and I decided to chat about how we were going to pay for our next holiday and she always knows I like to cover things like that with a trade or two so I was looking at my data on my phone and saw that the next Chelsea game had a high probability of them losing so I said over the table I am going to cover the correct scores and lay Chelsea to win.
When I said that a guy walked over to me and said are you happy to take a bet on that?
I gently said no, the guy laughed loudly and walked away. My wife and I looked at each other and just shrugged.
10 minutes later I went to the bar to get another drink, casually while the guy was pulling the pint he asked if I knew who that guy was offering the bet and said “Nope I have no idea mate”.
His response was “Ashley Cole” and I said who is that?
He just laughed.
It wasn’t until I Googled it that I found out who he was.
Haha, I bet Ashley probably thought you would recognise him and laugh. He was pretty famous when he was at Chelsea for sure!
Anyway, I know you don’t watch the events but are there any particularly memorable moments or any “big wins” you had?
I think the biggest moment for me was waking up on Saturday morning pretty hung over from the night before. 1pm in the afternoon I had decided there would be no trading for me this weekend (At my age it takes more time to recover) to my delight I signed on to my betfair account to find I had won £3.2k on the Australian horses and dogs overnight.
Surprisingly I had a big win today on a 3 horse race today and the favourite was @ 1.07 .. now most people wouldn’t dream of laying the 1.07 favourite but I did for £100 haha 2nd place won.
Making money while you sleep, very nice!
Finally, from what you have seen in the online world, why do so many go wrong when trying to be profitable at trading?
I think there are too many shiny toys and dreams being sold.
I watch twatter and see sooo many tipsters promising to help make people money and they have a great system, I’m not sure if it has shown during this interview but I like to lay horses and Dogs. There is a pretty big lay tipster out there I spoke to and simply asked what are your returns if I “lay to Liability” , there answer to me is “What’s that?”… now that scared me.
Newbies don’t really seem to fully understand what they are getting into and ask the wrong questions on forums and 9/10 get incorrect information back. People need to learn from the likes of you and other experts out there that offer a lot of free help and really ensure they understand what they are doing. Betfair is a sharks tank and there are a lot of people ready to take your money and it doesn’t take them long to spot trends.. I tried this once and started placing a lay in the place market at 2.00 it was 3days later the odds strangely started hitting there so I moved it and again 2 days later it was spotted.
I know it is exciting but please stay focused and don’t stand in the headlights and follow the latest fad.
I like to keep quiet as you get so many trolls and I have shown P&L in the past but then you get nothing but abuse so I will NEVER show my P&L ever again.
But I am always happy to help the Genuine people out there.
And, do you have any advice to give to people starting out?
Ensure you FULLY understand stake management and bank management. I hate to shout but THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT With that understood you should be able to manage your mindset.
Find a process that works for you and STICK to it
Enjoy what you are doing and have confidence in what you are doing
Many thanks for taking the time Tony!
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