Your Guide to Beating a New League - Part I
It became apparent to us, after 12 months of recruiting Elite Team members, many viable candidates had a certain commonality…the leagues in which they were experts were leagues we would consider relatively efficient betting markets and hard to beat. Premier League, Championship, La Liga, Bundesliga…all leagues our applicants had an abundance of experience in. However, we are not Starlizard, and we don’t need to try and beat those leagues to achieve returns relative to our bankrolls.
This created an opportunity for us to train our traders in leagues new to them, where they could apply an appropriate methodology, successfully adapting the pricing & betting techniques we teach. With that in mind, I welcome you to a two-part blog series about how you can start betting in a league from scratch and turn it into a profitable venture.
Now, I must preface this post with the disclaimer, we teach a certain methodology… a ratings based “odds compilation” betting approach. The guidelines detailed in this blog are appropriate for targeting leagues with this style of betting. There are many ways to profit from the markets, and if you are successfully betting in leagues without the characteristics I outline, then I applaud you. It is extremely hard to beat any market, so whatever approach you are using, continue as you are. However, for those who apply a data driven, pricing led betting strategy, this article should prove insightful and assist you in some shape or form.
In this first post, I will provide an outline for the preparation required to begin your journey into a league previously unknown to you. In the second post, I will discuss how to effectively turn your preparation into action and make the transition to become an active bettor in the chosen league. I will narrate a 4-week journey into a new league so that you too, can learn from that experience.
Step 1 – Choosing a League
This is not quite as obvious as it may seem. When choosing a league to bet into, there are a number of different factors to consider. Let us start from the finish…you need a league that is liquid enough for you to scale your activity to such a level that you can turnover seven figures a year. Only then is it a league where becoming an expert, can truly pay off. For this, you need a league the Asian bookmakers offer, and preferably offer early market prices. There is no point becoming an expert in the Welsh 2ndtier, if only a handful of firms price it up. Yes, you will be able to get some great prices, but you won’t be able to scale it to the size where you can make a sustainable income.
Secondly, you must choose a league that has the necessary coverage for you to access enough information to make informed betting decisions. This includes quantitative data, qualitative information & media coverage.
And finally, the league must have enough betting opportunities to provide you with the necessary bet count and turnover to make your efforts worthwhile. An obscure league with 8 teams and 32 rounds of fixtures is not as enticing as a league with 24 teams and 46 rounds.
Furthermore, a league that exists within multiple tiers makes it much easier to incrementally increase your bet count. Scotland League Two for example, in isolation, would be hard to turn over the required amount. However, an expert in League Two could easily expand their coverage to League One, the Championship and finally the Scottish Premiership, without too much additionally work. If we compare this to the Welsh Premier League, there is not really anywhere else to go once to master that league.
To summarise, league attributes:
Enough market liquidity to scale your bet size
Publicly available resources & information
Large number of fixtures to scale your bet count
Step 2 – Information Supply
As we outlined in Step 1, information is a necessity for you to successful bet into a league which you are not familiar. There a very low level, niche leagues offered in Asia that a newcomer would struggle to beat due to the information premium. Those participants “in the know”, will maintain an edge in those niche leagues because there is insufficient vision of games, match statistics and media coverage (local & nationwide). Women’s Leagues, Youth Leagues and niche countries would be typical examples. Attempting to beat these leagues with ratings & prices is an impossible task. Prices move ferociously on team news and other known, unknowns.
The type of media you want to see available for a prospective league is as follows:
Match Vision– you are going to require access to highlights at the very minimum. Freely available or via subscription, but this is a “must have” for you to be successful
Match Statistics– minimum requirement is shot data. Again, free or paid (or hard to acquire). Preference is for the latter, as the harder this data is to acquire, the greater an advantage it will provide for you
Traditional Media– local, regional or national coverage by traditional media outlets is recommended
Social Media– club twitter accounts, active club/league reporters, enthusiastic fans. You should be able to compile and sort a large number of valuable twitter accounts and other social media accounts to follow. The information from these sources is often real time and extremely useful
Podcasts– one of the easiest way to get a succinct view on teams, players and general news is to find a good podcast for your league.
Scouting/Analytics- inevitably this will be “paid for” and not something you will need when you begin. However, as you increase bet size and turnover, the access to more valuable insights & data will help to maintain or increase your edge over the market
This may seem like an extensive set up, however, you must remember this is all with the intention of making your time spent pricing and betting into a league as efficient as possible. Once you are set up with all the coverage you require, immerse yourself immediately in the league. Squad size, managers/coaching setup, club finances & resources, the Ground, are they part time/full time if semi pro league, star player/young prodigy…these and many more, are the type of factors you should have an awareness of for each team in the league.
Step 3 - The Market
Ok, you’ve chosen your new league, you’ve set up your Information supply, and you are ready to start crunching the data and placing your bets. Before you jump in, there is one final step to the preparation. Now, dependent on your approach, this is likely to be one of the more time-consuming steps prior to placing your first bet, but it will definitely be the most valuable!
You must become an expert in the market micro structure of the league you have chosen to bet. This can only be achieved by meticulously studying the market. You need to know:
Who goes up with prices first?
When do they go up?
When does Asia go up with their prices?
Who opens in Asia and what is the liquidity?
When do Pinnacle go up?
When do the biggest price moves occur?
When do the most consistent price moves occur?
Do any firms consistently differ from the market?
Do any firms consistently lead the market moves in the period before Asia opens?
Are the big syndicates active in these leagues & when do they play?
Only when you can confidently answer most of the above questions, should you consider yourself knowledgeable enough about the intricacies of the league, to become an active bettor on those matches. There is no specific “time” you should take, but I’d suggest at least 4-5 rounds of fixtures are observed prior to executing your first bets. This will ensure you are comfortable with your set up, get a handle on the teams & markets all whilst actioning the compilation techniques we teach and paper trading those prices.
In Part II, I will document the 4+ weeks I spent actively betting into a new league. This was done to educate & motivate our trainee traders, so they could achieve the same results when they tackled a new league.