As I am a long term subscriber to Football Betting Tipsters, Graham has asked me to give a review of my experiences with the service and this follows just below.  As well as this one-off review I will report back about once every four to six weeks on how the service is progressing.

Before I get on with the review, I just want to mention that recently I have been inundated with emails from third parties, extolling the virtues of the service. I am sure Football Betting Tipsters have little or no control over how these third parties (affiliates) generate business. However, the marketing techniques are amongst the most aggressive I have experienced and I find them unpleasant, intrusive, extremely irritating and counter productive. If I had not been a long term subscriber I would have binned the emails and ignored the service.  From first hand experience over about two and a half seasons I think this would have been a mistake.

Anyone who has subscribed to this service for the first time will see a new website and might be forgiven for getting the impression that the service is new.  The site may be new, but the service has been going for a number of years.  As far as I am aware, every year has been profitable and that certainly has been the case for me.

I have only just subscribed to the service for this year.  I wasn’t in any hurry to subscribe because early in the season the selections are normally advised to small stakes and, as might be expected, the service can get off to a bit of a wobbly start.  However, from past experience, it soon settles down and begins to motor.

I don’t normally follow tips, as I want to be able to make my own selections.  However, what I know about football can be written on the back of a postage stamp (using a felt tip pen) and I have found that making soccer selections using systems can be very time consuming.  I have made an exception with this service because it originally came with a system (discounted rate, first month free, something on those lines).  I decided to give them a try and I have found them consistently profitable.  Apart from GHB, this is the only service that I have subscribed to over a period of more than a couple of years and I hope this says more about the service than it does about me.

With systems I keep strict records and I did so for last season with Football Betting Tipsters.  However, the first season I used them I was betting to very small stakes, it was easy to check my results and they were very close to what was claimed on the site.  The following season was still to moderate stakes and again it was easy to check that what was claimed agreed very closely with my own results.  Last year I upped my stakes sufficiently that I decided that, as well as setting aside a betting bank, I needed to formally record the results.  Again, they were very close to what was reported.

If anything my results were better than the “official” results.  This was because they advise which bookies are giving the best odds.  However, I have found that frequently the odds on Betfair are higher than those offered by the bookies (even at odds on).  And this is after allowing for commission; even at 5% comm Betfair can offer the best value and it is definitely worth checking their price.

The service mainly backs top teams, from the top European leagues, e.g. the top four Premier League clubs, Barcelona, Inter, etc.  In the summer there are usually a few selections from major cup competitions; UEFA Cup and the World Cup, with such major international talents as Finland being a selection last June. 

In league matches, usually the selection is the home team and odds are always very short. So this will not be a service for everyone.  However, the site claims a strike rate of around 83.5% for the last two season and according to my figures for last season I achieved a slightly higher strike rate .  I’m not sure how my S/R is higher than theirs (more likely to be luck than good judgement on my part) and I will double check that I have got the math right.

The service recommends a 1000 point bank and with each selection is an advice on how many points to use.  Occasionally this will be as low as 50 points, will often be 200 points, and (from memory) there may be a rare 250 point selection.  However, most selections are 150-200 points.  It is also recommended that the amount per point is kept static.  For instance, if the starting bank is £1000 then each point remains at £1 throughout the season. 

As can be seen, even with a starting bank of £1000, stakes will easily be in the region of £200 so, as mentioned, the service will not suit everyone.  What has worked for me is to set aside a bank solely for this service, then just keep following the selections throughout the season, whatever the results.  

During the time I have used the service most months have been profitable.  But with stakes at up to 20% of the starting bank, a loss can hit the bank quite hard.  That said, usually the loss is quickly recovered and so far the service has shown a profit at the end of each season.

Last season was going well, then a new tipster was taken on in February and everything went pear shaped.  For some strange reason said tipster didn’t last beyond mid-February, which was when I recorded my last loss from the service.  After that I had 15 consecutive wins to the end of the season, followed by a further three wins as of last Saturday.  In what was, by a large margin, their worst year, my bank was up about 330 points by the end of the cup matches: far from brilliant, but far better than sticking it in Northern Crock, or LloydsTSBHalifaxBarclays (or whatever).  Of course, profits would have been far higher (double or more), but for the questionable appointment in February, but damage limitation was very prompt.

The one-and-a-halfish previous seasons, since I started using the service, showed much higher profits.  Unfortunately, I can’t recall exactly how the bank grew in each case, but I think it would have doubled; give or take.

Selections are advised by email.  They are usually sent out twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Alternatively, they can be found on the site by going to the Members Area and then clicking on a link, called “Selections” believe it or not.  With my first bet of the season placed last Saturday and off to a good start, I am waiting for tomorrows selections and they should be with me in a few hours.

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UPDATE 20th April 2010

It is about six or seven weeks since my last update.  Until last week the service was doing very well, but Murphys Law being what it is, with an update due there was a rare losing bet.  Despite that I am showing a profit since the last update of slightly over 280 points (from a 1000 point starting bank).  Unfortunately for me, I missed a couple of selections and as both were winning bets this would have increased my profits by about another 50 points to around 330 points.

UPDATE 13th July 2010

With the World Cup over, now is probably a good time for an update of this service.

I was expecting more tips than I actually received. However, quality appears to outweigh quantity and from a 1000 point bank I made a profit of over 200 points since my last update: this came solely from World Cup matches.

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UPDATE 28th December

Using this service and my own staking plan, I have not quite broken even since my last update (30 October). The advice from the service is to use level stakes, but I decided that I would rather use a rolling bank, without any ratcheting, so I have not been “following the rules”. On the other hand after the poor run reported in my last update, I have kept my stress levels very low!! Also, I have not been keeping records of what would have happened using level stakes. Consequently, it is not straightforward to give a points P/L since the last update. What I shall do instead is give a breakdown:

There have been 12 bets placed since October 30th at average odds of just under 1.26 before BF commission (where applicable). Nine of these were winning bets giving a 75% strike rate. Two of the losses were staking 100 points (from a 1000 point bank) and one was for 200 points. Without taking the trouble to do the math, I am certain that I would have been better off using level stakes. However, as profits build (as they have done every previous year I’ve used this service), compounding will work its magic, leading to more substantial profits. That at least is the aim.

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