Latest Cases - May 2014

How much is free advice worth?

8th May 2014

Good afternoon, friends,

In this issue of Punters’ Verdict….

  • You get what you pay for?
  • In the dock – Free Sports Tips….
  • A unique and peculiar concoction of bets….
  • The bottom line….

You get what you pay for?

There’s an old saying: you only get what you pay for. In other words, if you don’t pay for it then it isn’t worth having. And, taking it one step further, the more you pay the better it is – whatever it is you’re paying for.

Apply this cod ‘wisdom’ to the world of tipping and the flaws in the argument are instantly evident – because we have all encountered tipping services that aren’t worth a fraction of the subscription fees they charge. And increasing the price will do nothing to improve the performance of the service concerned.

In the world of tips and betting advice expensive doesn’t always mean effective. In fact it is a pretty rare event that there is any correlation between price and quality at all. There are just so many rip-off merchants at work in the betting industry that when you see a big price attached to a service all it generally means is that this particular service operator is greedier than his competitors.

So if expensive doesn’t always mean good, does inexpensive or free of charge always mean bad? It’s an interesting question. And in our line of business – sports-betting – we get the odd opportunity to test the hypothesis.

There are plenty of opportunities to get our hands on free or cheap tips. But are we wasting our time if we take advantage of them? Are we putting our faith in information that isn’t of any value? If we bet on the basis of advice we don’t have to pay for – or don’t have to pay much for – are we betting like cowboys? If we’re not spending good money to access betting selections are we automatically setting ourselves up for betting failure?  

I don’t know. But we’re going to find out. Over the next few months I’m going to make it my business to root through the bargain basement of the tipping world.  

I’m going to treat it like a Sunday morning at a car boot sale. I’m going to get my hands dirty rifling through the dog-eared cardboard boxes filled – on the face of it – with worthless tat. I do so in the hope that amongst the rubbish I’ll come across a bit of unloved treasure – something that is worth far more than the price I’m paying for it….

In the dock: Free Sports Tips….

From 10th of February through to 26th April I trialed the daily free sports tips provided by a service called Free Sports Tips.

A tip arrived on most mornings during the test period. In total I saw 71 bits of betting advice – all free of charge – meaning I had plenty of time to get an angle on what the service is all about and how it might perform over time.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how the selections performed it is worth spending a little time looking at some of the key features of the free service….

For a start it is worth noting that the service claims the tips are provided by ‘top experts’. Quite what that means I don’t know. I’m yet to come across a service that doesn’t claim to be staffed by top experts and unimpeachable authorities. But the claim does raise an expectation. You expect top experts to make you money over time….

It is also worth noting that the selections tend to focus on two-horse or 3-horse markets. Over the test period the average price of selections – and I have taken it as read that the advised prices were actually available – amounted to even money.

That average price tells you 3 things:

  • This service is not for punters who like big prices.
  • The top experts behind the service are going to have to hit a decent strike rate in order to beat chance and produce a meaningful profit – and beating chance in two- and three-horse markets is easier said than done. So you know they’re up against it.
  • To make any worthwhile profits – something amounting to a second income stream, for example – you’re going to have to be playing for decent money.

On the upside, of course, the tips are free – so you don’t have to factor expensive subscriptions fees into the net bottom line figure.

A unique and peculiar concoction of bets….

I’ve got to admit that this service amused me. It was like embarking on a bizarre cut-price bus tour around the most exotic (strange and peculiar) football leagues in the World. No domestic football competition was too obscure to consider having a punt on. 

Over the course of the trial I was recommended bets in the Turkish Super Lig; the Czech Republic League; the Argentinian Primera Division; the Slovakian Liga 1; the Polish Ekstraklasa League; the Romanian Liga; the Danish Superligaen; the Belgian Pro League; and the Switzerland League.  

I’ve never in my born days seen so many tips involving teams and leagues I wouldn’t be able to spell – let alone tell you anything about. Every morning I’d be waiting to see if one of their top experts had come up with a knocking good bet in the Honduran Liga Nacional. It didn’t happen – but that doesn’t mean it won’t further down the line. In fact, I have every confidence that it will.

There were other bets in more recognizable European football leagues. But the eclectic and eccentric nature of this service was perhaps best underlined by a recommended bet on the friendly international played between Yemen and Chad on 15th April. You wonder how someone settles on that fixture as the best betting medium of the day. The only time I’d consider betting on that kind of fixture is if I’d fixed the result. I’m assuming the Free Sports Tips team didn’t go to those lengths to find a winner – given that the advised bet went down.

The peculiar mix of bets – think of a stew containing a liberal splodge of everything in your fridge, your shed, your bathroom and your vacuum cleaner and you get the idea – also included selections on European basketball, US baseball, motor-racing, tennis and snooker.

I have never come across a punter – or even a collection of punters – who could legitimately claim to possess ‘expertise’ in such a wide range of obscure football tournaments (never mind the other sports). In fact, most punters don’t know half those football leagues exist – and if they do then they’d struggle to name 3 sides that play in them.

Maybe that’s the point. Maybe the Free Sports Tips team is laboring to give the impression that their experts are totally tuned into these weird and wonderful football competitions? Maybe that’s how they want to set their stall out – we know all about the bets you’d never think about? Who can tell?

All I can say is this: I sincerely hope the Free Sports Tips service really is underpinned by a huge team of experts scanning the World’s most obscure football leagues for great bets. Because if the tips are the work of one man trying to keep abreast of all that form and all those variables then he is probably in need of urgent psychological assistance.

The bottom line….

But let’s not be churlish. Let us not jump the gun. The proof is in the pudding and if the selections provided beat chance and lead to profit then we cannot quibble with the downright weirdness of the bets or how they might or might not be arrived at. If they do the job then we must doff our caps and marvel at the ingenious originality of the service.

So how did the top experts at Free Sports Tips do?

  • A total of 71 bets produced 34 winners at a strike-rate of 47.8%. Overall the selections produced a loss of 3.74 points when backed to level stakes.

In other words the service failed to beat chance and failed to get its users ahead over the test period – but nobody can deny that the top experts behind the services weren’t prepared (quite literally) to go to the ends of the Earth in an effort to do so.

You can’t really knock a free service. And if you’re looking for an inside line on the Slovakian or Romanian football then you can do worse than start here by signing up to look at the free advice yourself. You certainly won’t get the same bets off other tipsters – that’s a cert!

This free tips service wasn’t too bad – the results weren’t catastrophic – but it wasn’t a success either (not over the period I trialed it). On that basis the search must go on for a free tipping service that truly is worth its weight in gold….

I’ll be back with the Verdict next week.

The Judge

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