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How to beat the Bookies:
All you need to know to make money betting

Posted 3rd September 2018

Miguel Figueres, of the specialist tennis advisory service WinnerOdds, has written an ebook How to beat the Bookies: all you need to know to make money betting. Miguel is an intelligent contributor on the betting twittersphere @Miguel_Figueres. Here I review his ebook.

The idea of writing this e-book, Miguel says, was to share his point of view about sports betting and the concepts a bettor needs to learn in order to understand how to win money over the long-term. At the core of his approach was to distinguish between casual lucky short term punters who play for fun (and typically end up losing), and skilled long term punters who work to get the odds on their side to make a sustainable profit. In this respect it's similar to other betting guides that seek to educate the punter with information to help them become sharper.

An expert in Artificial Intelligence at the Polytechnical University of Valencia, Miguel is well qualified to teach us how to become better bettors. Being restricted by bookmakers because of his advantage play, Miguel developed WinnerOdds to help other bettors take advantage of his sports betting method.

The ebook is divided into a number of key sections: the odds, finding value, key betting concepts, the difference between the casual and professional bettor, and soft versus sharp bookmakers. The relationship between odds and probability and the concept of expected value are comprehensively explained. Miguel reminds readers that: "winning money in sports betting is not about picking winners; the secret is in estimating the real probabilities better than the bookies and other bettors."

Miguel explains what market inefficiency means, the difference between opening and closing odds, and how influential information brought to the market is. However, I remain unconvinced by his assertion that it's not always necessary to beat the closing odds to find positive expected value. By definition, if you are bringing meaningful information to the market, bookmakers and other bettors will be expected to react to it. The public expression of this reaction will be odds shortening. Similarly, his claim that about 10% of closing odds hold some value is not supported by any referenced sources. Is this figure based on some informed knowledge or merely a speculative hunch?

Miguel illustrates the role of variance and randomness superbly, explaining how to avoid being fooled by small sample bias. Similarly, he provides a very informative analysis of the concept of drawdown, that is the amount you can expect your bankroll to fall after a previous high point.

Unfortunately, if you're looking for tricks and tips on how to estimate outcome probabilities better than the bookies and other bettors, you will be left short. There are no golden eggs. Of course, that's not surprising. There never are with betting tuition guides, certainly not those which are free. Nor should you expect any. If they were given away so freely, they would quickly be exploited away. Rather, Miguel may hope that you might consider his subscription tennis advisory service, which has an excellent track record dating back to May 2016. Whilst the record is not independently verified, Miguel is fully transparent about who he is and what he does, with a legally registered company in Spain offering all the guarantees required by the European Union and subject to and governed by the laws of Spain and the EU.

For the novice and seasoned punter alike, I would certainly recommend Miguel's ebook. It may contain nuggets of information and a different presentaiton of ideas from which you've previously seen that might just increase your chances of becoming a longer term winner.