2018 was a year of unspeakable misery with one redeeming aspect: gambling. While navigating disaster zones in every other area of my life, I managed to gamble my way to £20,167 in profits over the course of the year.
Given that my unit size is £100, winning over 200 units in 2018 ridiculously good (I actually hit the 200 mark with the very last fight of the year – thanks Magomedkerimov!). While I’m happy about the result, it’s probably not repeatable – although I can certainly earn more money with a larger unit size.
Here are my thoughts on what went right, what went wrong, and what I can do to improve next year.
Less Degenerate Action
Unfortunately I don’t have access to my 2017 results, but my overall profit was around £4,400 with the same unit size. My profit would have been somewhere around £9,000 or £10,000 if I had stuck to UFC bets – but I had a bad habit of blowing cash on basketball, soccer and baseball.
While I fell back into my old ways a few times this year, for the most part I’ve stayed disciplined and have only bet on MMA plus the occasional boxing match. My goal for 2019 will be to cut out all other sports entirely, irrespective of whether I receive a good tip from a friend.
While I’ve always been a decent analyst, I’ve significantly improved as a handicapper. In other words, I’m getting much better at determining where the lines should be in relation to where they actually are.
Part of this is simply experience, as another year gives me more data to draw from – particularly in regards to pattern recognition. Another reason I’ve got better is that I’m actively looking for value plays instead of “locks”.
I have less conviction in my picks because I know it all comes down to probability. Learning to look at fights from every angle is crucial.
More Straight Bets
Despite being a heavy parlay player in the past, I’m having more success with straight bets now.
As the sport grows, more idiots are looking for squash matches as parlay pieces. Bookmakers are wise to this and perceived mismatches are almost always juiced. It’s getting harder to profit long-term by parlaying favorites in the UFC, although you can still take advantage of soft lines with favorites in other organizations.
My best plays this year have come from slight/moderate underdogs that I favor outright and slight/moderate favorites that I believe should be more significant favorites. My ideal odds range has been between -200 to +150.
The 10% Test
When I’m considering a bet, I question whether I’m getting a 10% edge over the bookmakers. For instance, if I’m contemplating playing a fighter at -150, that’s an implied probability of 60% that they’ll win. In order to play them, I want to believe their chances of winning are at least 70%.
If I’m taking a stab on a wide underdog, I want there to be significantly more than a 10% edge in order to place a bet.
Handicapping isn’t an exact art, but thinking in percentages helps a lot. Use this helpful implied probability calculator when you’re considering a bet.
Less Content Consumption
One marked change from previous years is that I’m consuming almost no content now. Remember, there is no barrier to entry for someone to create a YouTube channel and broadcast their predictions to the world – this doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about.
I don’t want to denigrate anyone producing content, but in my experience the best gamblers aren’t the ones trying to market themselves as genius experts on social media every day.
I have an inner circle of a dozen sharp bettors and listen to absolutely no one else. This might sound stubborn or arrogant, but I’m not here for a joke and a laugh. I’m here to make meaningful amounts of money that will upgrade my lifestyle, so it’s important for me to only converse with other consistent winners.
More Tape Watching
I watched a lot more tape in 2018. Ironically, this is because I want to produce well-researched, high quality content – but it’s had a positive effect on my betting results too.
I’m consistently amazed at how I notice small details that I would have missed if I’d solely relied on my memory. If you don’t watch the last few fights of each fighter you’re betting (and his opponent’s fights) – you’re doing yourself a disservice.
I’ve had good success with live betting this year. Oftentimes when a fight isn’t going to plan, live betting allows me to hedge out and swap sides. I’ve also used live betting to fade front runners after the first round.
I recommended that my readers bet Anthony Smith over Volkan Oezdemir after round one, and it worked out exceptionally well. If you’d like to know more about my live betting strategy, you’ll receive my Top Secret Live Betting Guide after subscribing to my newsletter.
My advice to myself and everyone else for 2019 is as follows:
- Tune out idiots and only converse with other sharps
- Keep looking for value plays where I have a 10% or higher edge
- Be patient and wait for golden live bet opportunities
- Watch as much tape as you can
- Never, ever gamble on balls that bounce around on a green field