Q&A: Phil Brown of Football-Bets.co.uk

The Inside Track on soccer betting sub-markets from a former gamekeeper turned poacher

This month we are chatting to, Phil Brown one of three tipsters that comprise the portfolio at www.football-bets.co.uk . Philís approach is unusual in that he almost exclusively specialises in so-called football sub-markets such as over 2.5 goals, both teams to score, corners bets as well as the more usual Asian Handicaps and win bets that make up his betting arsenal. Here he tells us why there is so much more to football betting than simply backing the match winner.


1.       Can you tell us a bit about your approach to betting and how it has been developed over the years?

My approach to betting is a very serious one, To the shock of many family and friends I gave up my job after eight years despite several offers to move up the ladder at a northern bookmakers and decided to concentrate on my own betting for a living aged 26yrs. five years later Iím still here and still going strong, I decided to cover the stats side of football in several big leagues and a few smaller ones and moved forward by letting others follow me as I went from strength to strength by setting up firstly BLSC and then joining football-bets where Iím currently the top tipster from the three services that make up the portfolio there.


2.       In betting terms you are definitely a stats man but how do you go about rating the key components that govern football results Ė especially in relation to corners and goals betting - and how do you weigh them all the competing data in your own research?

Throughout my career I have certainly had trial and error systems built into my own research and how I rate the key components has varied over time. These days itís different as I like everything to be solid, I need the stats to be very consistent over a long period of time and I need the sample of data to tick all the boxes I need. I am not prepared to follow a hunch or anything that isnít backed up with say, a couple of hundred of relevant results.


3.       It is always suggested that you should carve out a niche for yourself to specialize in. Why do you think your niche, on the stats betting side of things, is the best approach, firstly for you, and secondly for other people to exploit? Whatís wrong with simply looking for conventional winners?

Although I do look for conventional winners from time to time I prefer to keep them to a minimum as anything can happen in a game of football such as 90th minute plus goals to leave a very sick taste in the mouth and thatís the reason I go for the alternative route of stats betting I feel these lesser known markets give better value and more chance of winning long term and I feel all you guys can follow suit and stand out from the crowd of punters with their heads in their hands as a result of last minute equalisers.


4.       This is a question we asked Andrew Dagnall of Formlab Black last time but I reckon it is equally interesting in terms of your betting. How important is it to recognize the pros and cons of your own personality when betting Ė I am thinking about issues like attitude to risk, personal biases and tastes, core skills and patience levels? Can you give us a sense of what sorts of betting (specific leagues and countries, in play or prematch, trading etc) suits specific personality types?

For me I like to keep it nice and tight and bet at more or less the same levels, Patience is very key, Ďbetting for betting sakeí is a phrase that creeps into a lot of peoples mind and itís absolutely key you donít fall into this trap, Instead you have a plan and you stick to it only bet on the markets you have decided to and make sure your 100% happy with every bet you place , You also have to learn to take the rough with the smooth, if a bet loses it loses
It doesnít mean you are all of a sudden a bad tipster. Simply dust yourself down and move onto the next opportunity.


5.       You had a spectacular run towards the end of the season only before stumbling when you took on the summer leagues. What, in your opinion, are the most predictable and unpredictable leagues to bet in from a form and numbers point of view and is the experiment with a 12 month season something you will continue with (or is it important to take a summer break)?

First up I believe I made a mistake by going through the best part of last summer as these leagues are not the leagues I usually work in and although the summer got off to a good start it faded away and did not progress the way I would have due to what Iíd say in retrospect was a slight lack of knowledge.

The end of this season will see the Euro 2012 and that tournament is the only football I will be advising next summer after the main league seasons end in May. The reason for this is I like to make 90% + of my bets in the English Premier league Championship League One and Two along with the Spanish La Liga and Germanyís Bundesliga Ė leagues where I feel I have the greatest knowledge.


6.       Looking at the so-called sub-markets, what markets should we concentrate on as punters? What are the key areas of bookmaker vulnerability and what are the sub-markets to avoid?

One area I feel the bookmakers are vulnerable in is the corner markets - this being the Most Corners and Corner Handicaps. By and large the firms will just side with the bigger teams so to speak and that creates opportunities for punters who do decent research. I find this happens especially in the bigger leagues and European tournamentsí such as the Champions League where already we have good success this season, A quick glance through this month results to date shows seven winners from nine bets with 51% ROI from these particular markets. I think that is pointing up a good direction for us and also a vulnerability in the part of the bookmakersí knowledge.† I am sure they must be thinking that these are marginal markets anyway and if they keep the big name teams onside they wonít go far wrong.


7.       What is your attitude concerning bet volumes and strike rates Phil. You clearly run a relatively high strike rate, high volume service.

I like to keep my betting volumes quite sensible with around 25-30 bets per month looking to have a strike rate of 60% + for steady profit building which gives small losing runs and allows a smaller than normal betting bank. Those are the two key benefits of this style of stats betting and you canít under-estimate the feel-good factor associated with a kind of betting where most of your bets will by definition be winners and also that you can operate from a small betting bank that doesnít tie up too much capital. If you are the sort of person that is looking for a style of betting that avoids the spectacular swings of highs and lows then developing an expertise in two outcome markets could be the way ahead for you. In fact since starting out at www.football-bets.co.uk the bank has never gone below -3pts since the first two days of betting at launch way back on 8th November 2009.


8.       For punters battling away at home with their own analysis and systems, is there any advice you could give on betting more successfully?

This is a hard question to answer due to not knowing exactly what the individual would be doing, but the main advice I would give is to keep 100% discipline. By this I mean only bet when you know everything is right about the bet and there is value to be had, Check team news such as injuries and suspensions and stay away from certain cup competitions where teams specifically put out weakened sides or teams that are simply not up to the task in hand.


9.       What are the common misconceptions that surround numerical analysis and football in your opinion and how do you distinguish between numbers that are worth persevering with and statistical red herrings?

People view betting at value odds as the be all and end all. That is all well and good in theory, however to build up your bank securely and safely you really need bets that are going to win at a good strike rate in conjunction with a value approach. There are clearly many bets available that are value bets in theory but that nonetheless have a miniscule chance of landing for you. I think it is all about striking a balance between a value price and a decent chance of winning. Taking the best odds on offer that does not necessarily mean the highest odds but odds that match the value of what the bet incurs. I personally distinguish between the good value bets and the bets that are only good in theory by sheer research and having a good knowledge of the market I am playing in. Firms will often display good statistics, quoting OPTA and so on, to lure you into bets but you really need to read the small print. For example what time period has this sample been taken over and how valid is the data? At the end of the day, donít forget, the bookmaker wants you to lose money not win it (they are not there to help you). A glaring example of this is bookmaker windows advertising bets and the marketing emails being sent out to their customers. One piece of obvious advice is donít be tempted by anything the bookies are keen to market to you as a client. I guarantee the bet will be framed to suit them rather than you Ė whether that is represented in the odds offered or the margins that the bookie builds into his prices.


10.   Using your own research, can you give SBC readers a current angle they can follow in their own betting?

As previously mentioned I feel the corners markets (Most Corners, Corner Handicaps and Total Corners) offer great opportunities to find value. It is one occasion where the big games and televised games in particular, will actually offer you the best value with at least three-four firms pricing up.

In terms of a specific angle, Tottenham Hotspur have out cornered their opponents 19 times from the start of last season in 24 games at home to an average of 3.5 corners more than their opponents which gives† a 79% Strike Rate. Spurs are certainly a team well worth following in most corners and corner handicap markets.

We thank Phil for sharing his expertise. You can visit this page for more details about how to get a dirt cheap test of the Football Bets Service .

This article first appeared at Secret Betting Club. SBC are a very well respected site aimed at more professionally minded punters.



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