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Professional Betting: 14 Pro Punters Give Their Best Advice

Professional Betting: 14 Pro Punters Give Their Best Advice

Being a professional sports bettor is simple. You just find an edge, throw your money down, and profit. Simple.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It takes incredible control and discipline. Most pro bettors you meet won’t be wheelin’ and dealin’ nomads living life on the edge. Bankroll management, cool temperament, diligent analysis; these are the things that really define a successful bettor. But enough from me, let’s hear it from them…

I polled 14 long-term successful sports bettors to ascertain the habits, methods, and advice of the very best.

First, I anonymously charted the ways in which they bet, then I asked them to give us an insight into why and how they made it to this level, delving into the skills that allowed them to pursue professional betting.


Charts And Graphs

I love a graph as much as the next guy, so, below I have outlaid the stats gathered on questions regarding betting styles and betting preferences. Keep in mind our sample size is a minuscule 14 bettors. Any bettor worth his salt knows that a sample size of 14 is not enough to prove or disprove anything – But we can start to build a picture.

Most Used Bookmakers

Best Bookmaker For Value Betting

No surprises here. Pinnacle has the lowest margins of any of the big bookies, and of course, you will never be limited. Obviously, betting limits are a gripe for any successful punter and are the single biggest factor that can cap betting income potential. If you can beat Pinnacle you are elite, they are the most diligent, sharpest bookmaker around and due to that, they have the ability to absorb losses from profitable bettors. Most pro punters hold Pinnacle in the highest regard.

Bet365 is different. This is the worlds biggest bookie, with the most markets in the world. On Pinnacle, you won’t be able to bet on those more obscure markets or leagues; such as lower-level football or lesser-known international leagues, on Bet365 you can. Due to the higher amount of markets, there are more odds inefficiencies to be found. Unfortunately, limiting can and will happen on Bet365 eventually.

Betfair is the next most used option, obviously being an exchange you won’t be limited here either. There is a multitude of different methods and systems to use on the exchange. If you find an edge on Betfair, hold it tightly – you are, after all, competing with your betting peers.

I won’t try to decipher the reasoning of any of the other bookies, but any bookie that has your markets, hasn’t limited you, and you are able to use your system at; is a winner. It really is a numbers game. Use as many as you can, bet where you aren’t limited and find the most value possible.

Preferred Sport
Best Sports For Value Betting

Football and Tennis dominate, I’ve found that to be a consistent theme over the years. But why? There seems to be a few reasons.

Firstly, they are available. Due to the high liquidity of both football and tennis, they have a huge amount of markets, stretching from small ITF tennis competitions to lower-level football games. The more people that bet on those markets, the more markets they open up to bet on, the cycle continues. The more people that are betting into that pool, the less likely they are to identify, flag, and limit the winners.

Second, they are able to be analysed. The flood of sports analytics in recent decades has opened up a sea of different metrics to compare and contrast the likelihood of certain events. Tennis and football are both linear and consistent, in comparison to many other sports – with a large match volume and plenty of data to get stuck into, edges can be found.

Horse Racing is obviously a massive punters sport, NBA/NFL have also become very analytics-driven in recent years, and golf is a really interesting one; there is no right sport, no right market, only your ability to find an edge and bet on it effectively. From Esports to Curling, F1 to Golf. It’s the method, not the market.

Staking And Risk

Most Used Staking Methods Maximum Drawdown Percentage

No consensus here. Staking is a personal preference, based on your risk tolerance and overall betting goals. Your staking method directly influences your maximum drawdown percentage as well as your profit potential. Building a staking plan is a huge, important topic, that is often neglected by inexperienced bettors.

I’m going to direct you to these two articles for a more in-depth look at why and why not to use certain methods:

This is an intro by me – Betting Stake Strategy | Level One
Here is a more advanced analysis by Miguel – Betting Stake Risk/Reward | Level Two

Odds And Volume

Median Odds vs Weekly Bet Volume

Did you find a reliable trend between odds and volume here? No, me neither. What I can see, what I’ve seen throughout the polling, and what I’ve seen many times previously – there is no ‘right’ method. Just on this chart we have someone who’s median odds are 1.35, then another with median odds of 5.

You may notice there are only 12 dots, that is because I couldn’t fit two of the pros on my chart. We had one pro tallying 200 bets per week with median odds of 1.60, then we had one with a whopping 1500 bets placed per week at odds of 2.25! He showed me his bet tracking and you better believe we have an interview coming up with the punter in question. Stay tuned.

Edges come in many shapes and forms.

The Pros: Professional Betting Advice

Alright, here we are. Let’s see what the pros have to say!

I structured it with three main questions:

The THREE Most Important Skills In Value Betting?
Book or Article All Aspiring Value Bettors Should Read?
Any Final Advice For Aspiring Professional Bettors?

Wayne Finter

Twitter: @NMPunter

Three Important Skills

  • Understanding value
  • Not being afraid to admit when you have been wrong on a bet
  • Having a plan and sticking to it, enthusiastically, even through losing runs – which everyone suffers

Reading Recommendations 

Bounce – The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice – Matthew Syed

Final Advice

Always log your results and review them periodically. After a losing bet is settled, try and understand why it lost – was it just variance or did you fail to factor in a variable you should have known about? Be prepared to adapt your methods over time, because edges can be eroded.

Neil Macdonald

Twitter: @NeilMac555

Three Important Skills

  • Control your emotions, if you don’t have the mentality to handle losing and winning streaks you won’t get very far
  • Have a betting bank. This is money you can afford to lose, anything can happen in betting so make sure this isn’t money you’re relying on
  • Stake between 1-3% of your betting bank per bet. You can adjust your bets to a slightly higher % if you believe the implied edge is in your favour

Reading Recommendations 

Sharper: A Guide to Modern Sports Betting – Poker Joe

Final Advice

Don’t ever think you can become a flashy professional gambler


Twitter: @nishikoripicks

Three Important Skills

  • Common sense
  • Analytical mind
  • Stake management

Reading Recommendations 

Fixed Odds Sports Betting: Statistical Forecasting and Risk Management – Joseph Buchdahl

Final Advice

Most of bettors are not able to make a profit in the long run, so you are likely to fail too. Try to see if you have the skills by betting small amounts for a long period, before taking the plunge.

Jimmy Boyd

Twitter: @boydsbets

Three Important Skills

  • Modeling
  • Bankroll management
  • Stoic about results

Reading Recommendations 

Statistical Sports Models in Excel – Andrew Mack

Final Advice

If you have an edge in a sport or a situation don’t be afraid to press it. They don’t last forever


Twitter: @ParieurPanache

Three Important Skills

  • Bankroll management
  • Talking with other successful punters
  • Finding good data

Reading Recommendations 

Pinnacle Sports Betting Blog

Final Advice

Do a test-year with a small BK and keep track of your record. If successful, invest in your BK.


Twitter: @SkeevePicks

Three Important Skills

  • Hard Work
  • Staking Approach
  • Non-addictive/gambling personality

Reading Recommendations 

Joseph Buchdahl’s Books and Articles

Final Advice

Think twice before you decide to become a pro bettor – you’ll need nerves of steel. 🙂

Miguel Figueres

Twitter: @Miguel_Figueres

Three Important Skills

  • Backtest
  • Profit/Risk Assessment
  • Long-Term Focus

Reading Recommendations 

How to beat the bookies – Miguel Figueres 😉
Squares & Sharps, Suckers & Sharks: The Science, Psychology & Philosophy – Joseph Buchdahl

Final Advice

Always simulate before betting real money, then wait for long term results


Twitter: @lepicks

Three Important Skills

  • Find a niche
  • Bankroll
  • Discipline

Reading Recommendations 

LePicks 🙂

Final Advice

Focus on one sport/market. It’s not possible to win long-term without being a complete expert in some area.


Twitter: @futunver

Three Important Skills

  • Keep out tilt status
  • Don’t follow each pick live
  • Keep your strategy and change just minimum details to improve

Reading Recommendations 

La Mentalidad Del Jugador De Poker – Ian Taylor/Matthew Hilger

Final Advice

Try to lose only the money that you can lose

Harout Massoyan

Twitter: @betlikeharout

Three Important Skills

  • Discipline
  • Positive Mindset
  • Emotional Stability

Reading Recommendations 

The Logic Of Sports Betting – Ed Miller/Matthew Davidow

Final Advice

If you want to become a professional sports bettor, believe that the dream is possible and well within your reach. Use your aspiration as fuel to find the answers you need to make this a career for yourself – they are out there.


Twitter: @davidatprobet

Three Important Skills

  • Understanding statistical variance and the nature of losing AND winning runs
  • Discipline with a bank
  • Patience in waiting for the right bets

Reading Recommendations 

Super-Forecasting; The Art and Science of Prediction – Philip E. Tetlock/Dan Gardner

Final Advice

Find your edge. (in any market that you can find an advantage over the bookies). It’s a lot easier than most people think then guard it with your life!


Twitter: @Bruno21tipster

Three Important Skills

  • Bankroll management
  • Specialization
  • Being Constant

Reading Recommendations 

Pinnacle Website

Final Advice

I think that every bettor should record his own bets in some website or in a personal Excel to be aware of his real results.


Twitter: @viajepa100

Three Important Skills

  • Discipline(trusting the model)
  • Mindset

Reading Recommendations 

Read as much of you can and filter down the information. Not any article or book in specific for me.

Final Advice

Any form of gambling as a profession can be hard on your emotions if you are not prepared mentally. Be sure to meditate on yourself, analyse yourself and work on that. That way you will be prepared for emotional swing. The rest is the model’s job. Good luck


Twitter: @day25

Three Important Skills

  • Mental fortitude
  • Getting the basic down (Tracking bets, getting the best odds)
  • Long term attitude

Reading Recommendations 

Letters From A Stoic – Seneca

Final Advice

Making a long term profit from betting is the hardest “easiest” money I have ever made. If you are good with numbers, you will earn more and have zero stress in other areas (finance, programming). If you really want to “go pro”, try and double a small bank for the next 3 years in your spare time.

Professional Betting: Conclusion

Wait.. No ‘go with your gut’ or super-secret betting methods? Nope. Just boring old bankroll management, testing, and diligent analysis.

Here were my big takeaways:

  • Pinnacle and Bet365 are still the bookies to beat
  • There is no consensus on staking methods. (but kelly criterion is highly regarded)
  • There is still value in tennis and football. (and there always will be)
  • There are THOUSANDS of sports, markets, and odds ranges that you can find an edge in. But all you need is one.
  • Boring old bankroll management is still the first piece of advice most will give. For damn good reason.
  • Anyone who has been at this a while knows how important it is to get your mindset right.
  • Think long-term! Stop living and dying by each result. Play the long game.
  • Before you start betting big, practice with a small side bankroll. Make sure it works.

And plenty more..

Read all of the above, read some of the books and articles recommended, and remember that the secret is – there is no secret.

Be smart, manage your bankroll, talk to other successful punters, put in the work, see the results.

Thanks for reading and happy (value) betting

  1. Really liked the article Jake.
    As a ‘day trader’ in past times, there are many similarities in terms of discipline, a long term perspective, testing the model first, and not getting emotional about each trade (good or bad)

  2. Jake Windram-Ashby

    Hey Dan,

    Thank-you, i’m glad you enjoyed the article!
    There’s certainly a lot more to betting than just knowing the sport, as there is a lot more to stock trading than just understanding business. There’s a reason only a small percentage succeed, there are certainly a lot of similarities!

    Thanks, Jake

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