Welcome to the dark world of match-side betting! Where speed can make you over £1,000,000 a year…
The contribution below is from a good friend of mine; a match-side sniper that routinely visits sporting events to exploit the delay between the televised coverage and reality.
It’s a specialist post you won’t see anywhere else, so suck it up!
I’ve been a sniper, or match-side bettor, for over ten years. I’m coming to the end of my career now so I feel like it’s time to speak up.
So many times I’ve scrolled through Twitter reading “snipers have coined it in” or “sniper down.” The reality in 2019 is that match-side betting is incredibly tough.
Don’t get me wrong it used to be easy money, but not anymore…
My Experiences Match-Side
If you’re not familiar with courtside betting read this article now.
We benefit from the delay in TV pictures and try to get bets on before punters can correct the odds at home.
Obviously you have sports that suspend on big events, like a goal in football. But there are also events that don’t suspend – Tennis, Cricket, Horse Racing, Rugby, Darts, NFL, Golf and Snooker to name a few. I’ve done them all with varying success.
What to Expect When Match-Side Betting?
In 2019, expect competition. I’ll say that much. It has been years since I was at an event and was the only one betting, and my profits have been reducing yearly for the last five years.
Sporting administrations are starting to kick you out now too; I was recently kicked out of an event just this week. I had two weeks of travel and accommodation paid for, only for it to go up in smoke when I got kicked out. You can’t argue, what is there to say? I’ve seen punters kick up a fuss, but they end up leaving anyway. If you’re caught betting you’re out; simple as. This is a common occurrence these days, and one of the main reason why I’m getting out of the game.
Back in the glory days; I’ve been the only one trading Betfair at Tennis matches, Darts, Rugby and Golf. I’m not going to lie; I’ve made some serious money. Years ago there wasn’t that much competition and also the administrations weren’t clued into what people were doing. I’ve done whole Rugby tours, cricket tours in Sri Lanka and India, along with the Majors at golf (apart from the Masters).
I’ve made a lot of money. However the game is changing, let me explain sport by sport how:
Horse Racing Trackside:
The horses were excellent. I could lay fallers at 1000.0 who had already fallen, and back winners at 1.01 who had already won about 50 yards past the post. I rarely made mistakes and it was genuinely free money.
You might remember the fast picture shops we had in London, remember the old Betfair forum threads. This is probably going back to pre-2010. In the shops, they used to be able to lay fallers at 1000.0 too for example, but at this stage, nobody had clued into the fact that you could bet from the course. Being first was massive.
As more people became aware and competition grew – miss-clicks became more common for me. When you’re betting 1.01’s miss-clicks are a real killer. But that’s the thing about competition; people take more chances and click sooner than you; so you do it too. It’s a race to the bottom.
Nowadays; places like Wolverhampton rent out boxes to lads who use it purely for betting in-running. I’m sure they can make it pay, but the risks are far greater and for the profits on offer, it’s not for me anymore…
In the glory days when Betfair match-siding first came along; tennis was the gravy train. A fluid market that would move every point; what more could any sniper want. This was obviously superb for a number of years, but as with everything that’s good – competition comes fast!
Tennis was the first sport, even before horse racing, to be overwhelmed with snipers. After all, that’s where match-side betting came from. There’s so much liquidity on Betfair now, yet it was easier when there was only a little liquidity. It’s a funny old game sniping.
Because of the amount of money going through the market now. Everything gets pulled when something happens; so there’s little to actually snipe. The only real snipe you can hit on tennis now is when the umpire doesn’t press his or her button for the point. Other than that I invite anyone to try tennis and actually try to get matched!
Along with this, the tennis administrations are completely against betting; so expect to get kicked out if you’re caught.
A lot of tennis match-siders moved over to cricket when tennis got too hard. Unfortunately, that just made cricket hard too. Cricket is a funny one which is difficult to understand. So much money goes through the market, but there is so much competition it’s unbelievable. Go to any game in England and you’ll see upwards of 30-50 people trying to match-side.
I strongly believe that a huge cricket bettor can beat the Betfair clock. If you speak to any clued in punter who has tried to snipe the big cricket matches they would agree in my view. In places like West Indies and South Africa it’s still very possible to make good money, but you have to factor in costs and the possibility of getting kicked out.
Cricket has a huge amount of “callers.” A caller is someone who gives a live commentary from the ground. Most sports will have these but cricket has a huge amount on the phones back to India and Pakistan. All the money gets pulled down nowadays when a wicket goes or someone hits a six. I’ve done a whole Indian Premier League; signal in India isn’t most reliable and it was tough, but it did payback in the glory years.
Darts used to be a big money-spinner for me, but unfortunately, liquidity has dropped off dramatically in recent years. I’m sure anyone who follows the liquidity numbers on Betfair can back that up. There just seems to be no real casual money in the market anymore – it’s all controlled by big players.
There are big players will have scorers or called at the event. It’s still possible to get a bet on, it’s just like horse racing the big and easy money is gone. It’s a sport you can still grind through; but with liquidity falling, you have to ask yourself how much can you make, and how long can it last.
I’m not at the World Cup this year, but I assume anyone that went is making it pay. The delay back to TV in the UK is huge, and surely there can’t have been many that made the trip considering how tough it would be to get a ticket and travel expenses.
Rugby is still a good sport to match-side. However, obviously liquidity isn’t as big as some other sports. It’s definitely one to put on your list if you have a game local.
National Football League (NFL):
NFL used to be a huge edge for me. The markets were so far behind; you could sit in the casino’s in Vegas and snipe Betfair. That’s all gone now and I don’t do the schedule anymore, but I’m sure going to the games still pays handsomely. Liquidity isn’t great on the games outside TV but it’s still enough to make a decent wage.
My favourite thing about the NFL was obviously sitting in Vegas. Sniping while sitting in comfort is immense. It used to happen too on cricket in the West Indies and T20 Blast via local radio before everyone started going to games.
Golf actually produced my biggest ever result. The thing about match-siding golf is it’s obviously extremely difficult to know anything apart from the player you have in front of you. I used to half stake birdies and full stake bogeys because obviously going backwards is always a blow; while a birdie could mean little when someone else in the group ahead has eagled.
The key to profitable golf is an event to yourself and a good live feed in the golf fan village. That’s a lovely thing to enjoy, but the odds of it happening are slim!
I have tried snooker too but had little joy. Obviously the crowd is dark and it’s obvious when someone is on their phone or tablet. I’ve tried two events and got kicked out twice. Maybe it could be good if you could get away with it. I couldn’t.
But football suspends I hear you say?
For goals and red cards yes, but there are still huge angles to being at the ground. The half-time markets for example; if the ball goes out of play as the clock ticks down – it might be only worth a couple of ticks but all those ticks add up. The same can be applied to the match odds market in the second half, all correct score markets and goals etc. It’s a nice little tactic if the market is friendly. Try it out some time.
So that’s all my experiences with the sports I have tried. Times change and the game moves on. Going horse racing was my favourites time, while tennis and golf were my biggest earners. I will explain why I’m quitting now…
The Negatives Of Match-Side Betting:
The two C’s and PC. Costs, competition and Premium Charge. I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about match-side betting, especially on Social Media. The idea that you can just turn up and make millions is total nonsense. For a start, you need to be really clued in, know your prices and at the same time be razor sharp with your clicking.
Costs are obviously a big negative. Speak to any match-sider you know and they will tell you that keeping the expenses down is absolutely key. You’re always travelling, so you have travel, hotels, flights and tickets. Then add on your food. The “callers” the big Indian and Russian firms send live on basically nothing, but to be at my best I always needed a decent night’s sleep and a good feed.
On average, it used to cost me around £250 to get to an event in the UK. Now, add on flights if you’re going somewhere like Australia or Dubai and then hotels there aren’t cheap either. Ticket costs are high too; especially when you’re going to a lot of events.
So you start the day minus £250, let’s say you make £500 – only a £250 profit. If you’re a good trader you could have probably made that at home. I make much more than £500; however, there’s the Premium Charge – of course with all my winnings and strike rate I found myself on the highest possible charge.
Then after that kick in the nuts, there’s a lot more competition now. There’s always going to be new people trying to match-side. It’s just part and parcel of life; obviously, as more people become aware of it more people try it. Caan asked me to write this years back but I never wanted to until I was nearly out of the game…
Most Important Factors at Matches:
I’ve been a sniper for over ten years and if you want some tips, then you won’t find better than this list. Trust me:
- Use the software on your phone or tablet. This is obvious, but speed is the name of the game now. Using the original Betfair App is laughable. I see guys in their 20’s at sporting events having a go with the App, they may as well just have a pint.
- Always do the “what if” price in your head. People think match-siding is just clicking buttons and stealing money. It was in the past but not now. Imagine Federer is serving at 40-40; you need to know what price he goes if he wins or loses the point. When you’re betting £10,000 per click and the price is 1.5 – if you go to 1.42 and it settles at 1.45 you’re three ticks off and just lost £300. Imagine making a three tick mistake ten times during the day’; £3,000. You won’t make that back quickly.
- Be prepared to be beaten. This is the sniping game these days. You simply won’t hit every bet or every click. You’ll be lucky to hit one in every four. There’s upwards of 20 people around you trying the same thing and you just won’t beat them every time no matter who you are. Remain calm and accept this.
- Snipe the poor snipers. This is now the only profitable tactic at cricket games. There’s now so many match-siders and callers it’s almost impossible to hit a bet; but what if they make mistakes? You’re in the ground and first to realise. They click a catch when the fielder drops it, you take their snipe.
- Run it like a business, do your cost research. Going to sporting events and traveling is expensive. Work out how much it costs to get there and then figure out whether it’s worth going or not. If the costs are too high; what exactly is the benefit of going? You have to look at it as a business.
What Can Go Wrong When Match-Side Betting?
I’ve touched on the miss-pricing above. Obviously getting your prices right is absolutely key. Imagine you clicked on 1.4 when the market settled at 1.5. That’s a £1,000 loss at £10,000 a click – you really have to know where the market is going to settle and not go further. Just imagine going to a game and then losing money match-siding; what would be the point?
After that; the obvious one is pressing the wrong button. It sounds bad and to be honest, anyone who doesn’t snipe will tell you they never would press the wrong button, but trust me; when you’re there you do. Shit happens. It’s so easy to press the wrong button on a phone or tablet. Or get the team/player/horse wrong in a fast moment.
I had one situation where I was betting £6,000 per click and had my software set up on my phone. I don’t know how I did it but I totally didn’t want to bet, when I was moving around (maybe getting a drink) my knuckle hit the screen and placed a bet. That was a real sickener because it wasn’t even a finger! That cost me £1,200. One-click and I wasn’t even watching.
Those situations are painful but they happen. Miss-clicks will happen often during the course of the year. Luckily for me, I never miss-clicked when I couldn’t trade out. That definitely happens at sporting events. How many times have you seen a winner in the final moments? Trust me someone in the crowd has hit the wrong button.
So there you go; an honest opinion of match-siding. A game coming to the end. The big players and syndicates just have the Betfair markets on lock now and there are very little sniping opportunities.
Let’s break it down into real life for a second. Let’s say you make £400k a year sniping – take off £100k expenses and you’re left with £300k. Which is a decent amount, but there are so many ways you can make that money outside of gambling. That’s even before Premium Charge comes into account or if anything goes wrong. Premium Charge killed me; although more competition just took away the edge.
If you looked back ten years, you couldn’t have guessed match-siding would have gone as it has. It changes every year, and one wonders what the Betfair markets will be like in the next five years.
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