Professional Tipsters earn a living by recommending selections to their clients (sports bettors). Some punters are satisfied with the intel they receive, whilst others feel cheated.
Generally speaking, I believe that relying on Tipster recommendations is a naive and risky approach to sports betting. The concept of sports Tipping has several flaws, and there’s so many scammers and chancers in this space to contend with.
So here’s everything you need to know in order to maximise your chances of finding a legitimate, profitable Tipster and avoid being stung.
Sports Tipsters — My Overview
Tipsters are Extremely Popular
I’ve said it before many times: finding value is the key to earning from betting.
But the majority of bettors take the (somewhat naive) approach of “selecting winners”. And that’s precisely why sports Tipsters are so popular.
I’ve done some research into the popularity of sports tipping using Google Trends. I’ve drawn comparisons between the search volumes related to ‘Tipsters’ and those for ‘Value Betting’. Here are the results.
“Betting Tips” Vs “Value Bets“
“Betting tips” is becoming increasingly popular in searches, whilst “value bets” remains almost non-existent by comparison.
“Tipsters” vs “Value betting“
A slight improvement for the ‘Team Value’ this time — but not by much. “Betting tips” is more popular topic (by far) — and always has been.
What these search volumes show is that the vast majority of sports bettors will never fully convert, understand, or commit to the concept of Value betting as opposed to trying to pick winners.
I can preach my views and put my message across. But I’ll never convert the masses.
Negative Experiences With Tipsters
I previously tried looking for the best tipping service I possibly could find. My results were about as disastrous as I anticipated.
The service that I subscribed to (which I wont name) published historical profit records based on odds that were valid at some point — but not at the point the tips were released. In order words, they would publish ‘peak’ prices on horses and pass them off as the prices they were supplying to customers. That’s totally fraudulent in my eyes.
Finding The Best Tipster
I haven’t personally fallen in love with any given Tipster. I’ve always gravitated towards other approaches to sports betting.
What Makes Tipsters Worthwhile To Punters?
There are good reasons why punters subscribe to Tipsters. Here they are.
1. The Chance of Earning
First and foremost, punters use Tipsters in an attempt to increase the profitability of their bets.
The profitability of Tipsters is estimated (but not guaranteed) by their ROI over a period of time. Historical records provide some level of reassurance that bet recommendations have, at the very least, been profitable in the past. With performance assured, it’s an attractive proposition to many bettors.
2. Obtaining Little-known Information
Tipsters are viewed as being a ‘knowledge’ on a particular sport (e.g. horse racing). They’re often experienced bettors, sports experts — or have skills in data analysis. So their opinion represents something meaningful.
3. Gaining Reassurance
Many bettors use Tips to confirm their own opinions on a sports event.
For example, you might form your own prediction for an upcoming football match. If this prediction is followed up by confirmation from a top-rated Tipster, then it might serve to strengthen the selections you’ve highlighted. Or at the very least, it’ll give you some confidence in your selections.
Now for the negatives…
What Are The Dangers In Using Tipsters?
I’ve touched on some of the negatives already. I’ll elaborate in this section.
1. If Someone Has a Winning Formula They’re Unlikely to Give it Away.
This sounds a little cynical, but think about it:
Furthermore, if a Tipster truly has some sort of “inside information” (as some claim) then it’s highly unlikely he would let anyone know about it so openly — if only to avoid a brush with the law. Equally, someone that’s designed a winning betting system — which may have taken years to create & refine — wouldn’t be in any rush to give away his selections and encourage more competition for odds.
Ok, it’s not inconceivable that a Tipster would sell his genuine knowledge at a safe, steady profit either. It’s, perhaps, unfair to presume that everyone with a winning system has a huge bankroll, high risk tolerance — and the desire to place large bets themselves. So it’s possible that some Tipsters reduce their risk by offering knowledge as as service.
But be realistic. Don’t expect the holy grail.
2. Historical Records are Often Inaccurate, Incomplete… or Non-existent.
This is the major gripe many professional bettors have with Tipsters. In fact, there’s entire web pages devoted to slating Tipsters that’d claimed to produce a profit without providing sufficient evidence to back it up.
I’ve noticed a trend right now: social media accounts claiming to provide “sure wins”. It feels somewhat fraudulent. Nobody can say with absolute certainty what outcome will prevail in sport; there’s always an element of doubt.
Steer well clear of Tipsters who make big promises without evidence. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
NOTE: Anything can happen with a small sample size. Judge Tipsters on a large set of data. I recommend reading my article on The Importance Of Sample Size In Betting Analysis.
3. Not All Clients are Given the Same Tips.
This is the classic Tipster scam. You would’ve heard about it in one form or another.
Imagine a Tipster only earns a fee whenever his clients win a bet.
This “% of winnings” setup undermines the quality of the tips — because it’s in the Tipster’s interest to reduce his variance by making multiple recommendations in the same event, to different clients. The more outcomes covered, the more chance there is of customers ‘winning’ and paying a fee to the Tipster.
Legitimate guys wouldn’t do this, of course. It’ll only ruin your reputation as a Tipster. Yet it remains one of many active Tipster scams. It survives because there’s no shortage of new clients who subscribe to Tipsters on a whim, without doing their research.
4. There’s Not Enough Emphasis on Value.
Every selection method needs to be conscientious about value. However, many Tipsters treat selections as predictions and neglect the odds.
Imagine a coin toss, and your Tipster predicts “heads”. The odds available are 1.5.
Well, if you placed — and won — that coin toss at 1.5, the Tipster was ‘right’. But just because you made a profit doesn’t mean you received a good payout for winning. It was still a bad bet to make, because you required odds above 2.0 for it to be plus EV. The same concept applies to every bet you place.
Tipsters need to provide you with the minimum price you should back at. A good Tipster will appreciate that — a poor one won’t.
I also recommend using a price movement checker which can help you to assess the current market value. For example if the odds have dropped substantially, say -30%, from where it was an hour ago, then this may signify a low and potentially poor value price. Knowing this information is advantageous — it can help you to conceive what “good” odds are, and disregard some tips if necessary.
5. If Everyone Knows a Good Tip then the Odds Get Crushed.
A tip could be perfectly legitimate and provided with the best intentions. But if it was given to a lot of subscribers, or the news becomes widespread, then the odds will be cut by the Bookmakers. This usually happens following an insurge of volume on a particular selection (e.g. a horse).
Therefore the speed of the information from your Tipster, and your execution, is imperative. If you’re too late to the party, then the value will be gone. Therefore Tipsters with fast, dynamic information sources gathered in real time throughout the day are likely to be more responsive and effective than those who pick selections at the start of the day.
Snapping up the odds you want, as quickly as possible, is made a whole lot easier with products such as Geeks Toy or BetTrader — two of the fastest Betfair tools. For even more automation I recommend subscribing to a configurable Betfair Bot.
So Will Tipsters Earn You Money? Do Tipping Services Work?
I think the industry as a whole preys on vulnerable punters looking to profit from ‘insider knowledge’, ‘dead certs’ and any other unrealistic claims. The concept of earning fast-money by subscribing to a Tipster trivialises just how difficult it is to find longterm profits from sports betting.
Do your homework and proceed cautiously. Bare in mind all the warnings I’ve listed in this post. You may find a Tipster that’s very systematic and provides genuine value; the diamond in the rough.
But if you suspect the information you’re paying for is…
- Unfounded, with no good reasoning behind the selections, or
- Has a weak account of profitability,
…then you should seek better alternatives.
I recommend Tipstrr and Betting Gods — because they “proof” Tipsters over a large sample of bets, and fully scrutinise their records. There’s no false accounting. So be sure to read my review on the Best Tipping Services before parting with any money.
Originally posted 12th June 2016. Updated September 2018.