How to identify a good tipster

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If you find a good tipster when you are a novice punter you may have struck gold early on your journey as a bettor. But even the most experienced punters will make big gains from following advice from the best tipsters in the business. After all, it’s virtually impossible to have expert knowledge on every market, whilst localised, specialised insight on even the most obscure markets can provide huge value.

To consistently get profitable, reliable tips you are likely to need to pay a subscription fee so you will have to be organised and keep a spreadsheet to ensure that any profits you do make are actually covering the cost of what you’re paying for your tips. Sometimes these subscription fees can start from as low as £10 a month so making a profit is not that hard once you know what you’re doing.

In this article, we will consider how to identify trustworthy tipsters on social media and via other sources. We will also explore strike rate versus profit and loss in terms of assessing the value of tipsters, we will examine timings of selections and provide advice on how to avoid having your accounts flagged by bookmakers when following tipsters.

The world of £1 to £1000 challenges will also be analysed and the role of online ‘affiliates’ in betting we also be explained.

One tip on tipsters before we get further stuck into this interesting topic is to check out Joseph Buchdahl’s excellent read, ‘How to Find a Black Cat in a Coal Cellar: The Truth About Sports Tipsters’, as mentioned in our guide to the best betting books. Buchdahl provides great insight into identifying genuinely talented tipsters and how to differentiate them from those who have been able to make money more through luck and circumstance than real knowledge.


The social media minefield

As with information on many industries nowadays one of the best places to gather betting tips is social media. However, the mass of information on offer can be overwhelming when you first set out looking for a good tipster on your favoured sport or market. In addition, there is no shortage of charlatans and downright conmen in the social media betting tips world, so how do you sort the wheat from the chaff and avoid the fundamental pitfalls?

Firstly, be extremely wary of tipsters claiming to sell tips of fixed games and matches on Facebook and Twitter. Whilst fixing results is a real issue in sports betting the malevolent forces behind such corrupt behaviour are looking to make big money and are therefore highly unlikely to be selling real information on which games they have fixed for a few pounds, euros or dollars. Avoid this illegal activity at all costs.

Secondly, when you are looking at the track record of a social media tipster keep a close eye out for fake results. Watch their accounts over a given time and keep a log of all their tips. If their losing bets mysteriously disappear from their timelines when results have not gone their way you know they cannot be trusted.

A familiar marketing tactic tipsters use to attract new clients is to show you how they made £1000 profit starting from an initial £1 or £5 stake. This is plausible and can be done, but in practice, it is extremely hard to do, especially if you are a novice, as it would require huge luck along the way. It’s easy for a bad tipster to show a series of previously successful selections which take the small initial stake up to a big profit, but they can edit out any losing bets or mistakes with hindsight to paint a false picture of a smooth ride to a huge winning.

Even with paid services when they provide spreadsheets of previous winning bets they could have edited that document favourably in a few seconds, so you really need to focus only on future tips and whether they actually provide profit. Essentially what you need is a way to verify a tipster’s results by doing so yourself over time or by finding a truly independent third party to do so on your behalf.

Thirdly, research, research, research. You can’t expect to know nothing about betting and nothing about tipsters and immediately rock up and get the biggest, best tips to make you an instant return. The more you know about a certain market, the better you understand form, odds and value, the easier it will become to assess the quality of the selections you are seeing from tipsters on social media and beyond. 

The knowledge you gain in identifying tipsters in the markets you know best will stand you in good stead for later making profits off tips in markets you know nothing about. Once you have been able to identify two or three good, reliable tipsters in your favourite sport, you can use that nous to pick out trustworthy tipsters in markets you have less knowledge of, therefore opening up much wider possibilities of making money. Good tipsters across widely varying markets often work in similar ways, speak in similar terms and present themselves similarly. You can spot those patterns just like you can spot good form, value and odds for yourself.

You will also find tipsters promoting their services in Google’s paid and natural search results, or by advertising on popular betting advice websites, as well as in forums and in the mainstream media. So if you think you’ve found a good tipster via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram look up as much information as you can elsewhere on the web and you’ll have a clearer picture of their value and track records.


Strike rate vs profit and loss vs both

When you have a verified set of tipsters results to analyse you may wish to weigh up factors such as their strike rate versus the overall profit margins they are producing. You can assess data points such as total number of bets, total number of winning bets, total staked, average profit or loss per bet and total yield.

The total time period over which you make the assessment might reflect the time periods you want to consider for your own strategy. Are you looking to make a good profit in the next three months by following a tipster on an obvious recent hot streak before a trip to Vegas and have a blowout, or are you aiming to make consistent gains over the next three years by following an experienced tipster with a long, proven track record of making steady profit?


Look for these patterns and work out what suits you best in terms of which tipsters you follow and which tipster’s advice aligns with your strategy. You can find tipsters who have superb strike rates on lower-yielding bets, compared to another expert who gets one in three winning selections right on bets with far higher odds, therefore providing bigger winnings overall. Then, of course, there will be a middle road which combines strong strike rates AND big profits which is a winning combination.


Other factors to consider

As with many things in life, timing is everything in betting. Early odds often provide much better value than those placed just before a big match or race, depending on form, circumstance, injuries, changes in tactics and so on. The same can apply in reverse, the odds increase in value just before an event, game or race, with the crowd betting one way and the smart money going the other. It’s the job of your tipster to spot these trends and it’s in your interest to react quickly to tips when you too see the obvious value in them.

Consider also that making gains can often be simpler when there is less activity in a market. Anti-social hours and overnight betting can provide great value, after all the amount of people betting in a specific direction is one of the key factors which affects odds, whether that’s from bookmakers on the sportsbook or other punters on an exchange. Your tipster’s selections might provide more value at certain times of the day, week or season than at others.

Another factor to keep in mind is that there are some risks to following tipsters, even when the tipster is reliable and consistently providing advice on winning selections. One is that you should never become over-reliant on that tipster and start believing they will always provide you with winners. All tipsters, like the best horses, athletes and players in the world, have periods of bad luck, poor form and worse results than at other times. Think longer-term and don’t go crazy chasing get rich quick strategies. The best tipsters form will pick up again quickly.

Also, if your betting pattern suddenly changes as a result of you subscribing to the services of a very good tipster your account may be flagged, restricted or even closed by a bookmaker. If you start placing big bets out of the blue, you never place accumulators, you start making big money on singles, you always place your bets very early or very late or you start placing massive amounts of bets on an obscure, niche market you are likely to show up on a radar.

Think about how to balance out avoiding bookmakers’ restrictions whilst taking maximum advantage of good tips. It’s a fine balance to strike, but ultimately a profitable one. Also consider spreading your bets out across markets, building up a good, diverse portfolio of tipsters to follow and mitigate risk by betting with an array of bookies.

You should also become familiar with how affiliates operate in betting and the pros and cons of using the information they provide. Some affiliates provide an invaluable service, such as odds comparison sites or form and statistics experts. 

Other affiliates, such as untrustworthy tipsters on social media are just looking to lure you in and make a tidy profit from bookmakers on money which you stake and ultimately lose. It is in their interest to deliberately provide bad tips. It’s crucial to understand these clear differences. 


The final say

As a final thought on tipsters, let’s also consider professionalism and how you are treated as a customer. If the tipster you deal with appears to be highly organised and is responsive to your questions and requests before and after you have signed up to their service that is a good sign. Like with any product or service you pay for, you should expect to feel looked after and important as a paying customer and that applies just as much to a tipster as it would to a gym, digital streaming service or cleaning company.

Also, if you pay a monthly fee for tips and are not making enough use of the tipster’s advice, make sure you put those payments on hold until you have the time to place more bets on the back of the tips and the inclination to make the most your initial investment.

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