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Verified Sports Tipsters:
Performance Review 11th June 2012 - 10th June 2013

Posted 12 June 2013

It's been exactly a year since the cut-off date for the inclusion of verified tips for data analysis in my book How to Find a Black Cat in a Coal Cellar: The Truth About Sports Tipsters. I thought now would be a good time to see how the betting advisory services proofing to Sports-Tipsters had fared in that time, and whether there had been any changes in performance level during the past year compared to the previous 12. This article reviews the analysis for this period, specifically from the 11th June 2012 to the 10th June 2013. As for the analysis in the book all tipsters' staking has been standardised to allow for equivalency.

During this period a total of 42 tipping records have been verified. Of these, we must discount four of them on account of the records being too short. Two new ones, Math Punter and SoloValue, joined Sports-Tipsters only this week and have just 3 and 1 verified bets respectively. Two now discontinued services, Football Fixed Odds and Apostarparaganar, submitted just 2 and 1 additional tips respectively before proofing was terminated. Of the remaining 38 records, 18 were profitable and 20 were not. This is broadly in line with the analysis presented in book, where 129 out of 249 records were unprofitable. The summaries are shown in the table below.

Of the 18 profitable records, just one - Investbetting - was estimated to be statistically significant using the P-value calculator (see Luck Versus Skill in Sports Betting), with less than a 1-in-100 probability that such a performance would occur simply by chance alone. In fact, when analysing the raw data themselves, the record for Rugbytipster was also found to be weekly statistically significant with a 1-in-101 probability of it having arisen by luck. The reason for the difference between estimated and actual values lies in the large spread of betting odds and stakes that Rugbytipster's record exhibits, with odds ranging from 1.40 to 190 stakes varying by up to a factor of 40. With shorter prices attracting the larger stakes, the P-value calculator will invariably underestimate the statistical significance of a betting record.

Tipster Bets Average Odds Yield 1-in-x probability
Investbetting 487 2.04 13.60% 611
Insider Betting 597 2.16 9.27% 55
Tennis Desire 240 2.15 10.84% 16
Rugbytipster 410 7.48 20.89% 15
Prognosisbet 125 2.09 12.04% 10
PSBets 104 2.79 17.11% 9
Laurent Marty 366 1.89 5.08% 6
Tipsforbetting 180 2.60 8.71% 5
AHCTipsters 681 1.93 3.25% 5
BettingXpert 3814 2.27 1.48% 4
Parise 319 2.23 4.69% 4
Winabobatoo 741 2.81 3.44% 4
Bethammer 125 1.92 5.41% 3
Skeeve Doubles 49 2.99 9.59% 3
Andregomes 1417 1.92 0.95% 2
Sportyy 331 2.72 1.72% 2
Betgoal365 262 1.90 0.34% 2
Premier Football Betting 204 2.22 0.28% 2
Bartosz 113 2.41 -0.54% N/A
Football Punters 443 2.03 -0.36% N/A
Skeeve Asian 72 2.44 -2.26% N/A
Geert Van Elsen 90 1.96 -2.37% N/A
HeShootsHeScores 204 3.98 -2.82% N/A
Fabuloustip 128 2.29 -3.16% N/A
Betimprove 136 1.90 -2.62% N/A
Best Under 74 1.89 -4.18% N/A
Apuestasbets 69 3.27 -7.46% N/A
Betadrenaline 318 2.00 -2.65% N/A
Footballtipsincome 24 1.24 -8.86% N/A
fix-bet 10 2.16 -35.18% N/A
Arto 58 2.18 -21.24% N/A
Skeeve Shortlist 43 2.92 -31.63% N/A
Bets On Goals 449 1.97 -8.49% N/A
Insiderbet 42 1.99 -32.67% N/A
AH-BSZ 25 1.88 -50.18% N/A
Foka 77 1.94 -33.36% N/A
Premium Betting Football 54 N/A -18.59% N/A
Premium Betting Football 14 N/A -62.14% N/A

So of the 38 tipping records, just two could reasonably be seen to have arisen through something other than pure good fortune. Of course, several of the other records are really too short to make any definitive conclusions in this respect, and for records shorter than 100 bets, this analysis loses a degree of robustness. Nevertheless, with just 5% of verified records over the past year showing some probable degree of forecasting skill, this again broadly matches the findings presented in the book for the preceding 12 years, where just 11 (or 4%) of the records analysed achieved less than a 1-in-100 P-value.

In my opinion both Investbetting and Rugbytipster are likely to represent genuinely skilful betting advisory services. Both offer advice for the less popular betting markets (rugby, handball, speedway, basketball, motor racing) so unfortunately staking limits will be lower and price movements more aggressive than for sports like football, although this should not detract from what they are actually offering. Additionally, despite being of higher quality they have both nonetheless been prone to long unprofitable periods, emphasising the reality that even the best tipsters can't win all the time. Similarly, Laurent Marty and Sportyy, both considered to be high quality performers and highly statistically significant over the longer term, have really struggled to push on during the 2012 to 2013 period analysed here.

In the Truth About Sports Tipsters I also looked at the performance across different sports. Minority sports (like rugby and handball) were found to be performing far better than sectors like football and the US Sports. At the time I speculated that this might be because punters struggle to beat the bookmaker in sports where there is a lot more statistical information available. In football, NBA basketball and NHL ice hockey for example, so much information exists in the public domain that what the bookmakers don't already know is probably not worth knowing. This finding has again broadly been reproduced for the verified tips of the past year, with only tennis performing better than the previous 12 years. The results are summarised in the table below.

Category Bets Yield % of Total
Others 1426 9.54% 11.05%
Tennis 1409 6.12% 10.92%
Football 7670 0.82% 59.45%
US Sports 2397 -0.70% 18.58%
All tips 12902 2.08% 100.00%

Overall, just 2.08% profit over turnover was achieved from the 12,902 verified tips advised. That is marginally better than the performance of 1.13% from the 161,564 verified tips from August 2001 to 10th June 2012 but it's not anything to get really excited about. Given so few records of profitability have actually been found to be statistically significant, this is not unsurprising. The aggregated profit chart for all records is displayed below. The marked step changes, on two occasions in the time series, are largely a consequence of BettingXpert's record, which has seen wild swings in performance about a long term average of a little over +1% and which account for nearly a third of all tips during this 12 month period.

The vast majority of would-be tipsters, like punters who are just betting for themselves, are either useless or lucky. Just a few appear to be genuinely skilled at what they claim they are capable of doing. Niche sports appear to offer the best opportunity to make a profit, presumably because it is more probable that someone who says he understands the sport really is better than the bookmaker at assessing value. The downside, unfortunately, is that niche sports attract stricter staking limitation and greater betting price volatility at the bookmakers. Of course, sports betting is not an easy way to make a living; those who claim to sell that message are most usually either deluded or lying, and occasionally fraudulent.