Professional football service a long term winner

I’m going to recommend a service which lost in the three month trial which I’ve just completed. Have I gone soft? No, this is a refreshingly professional service of straightforward football bets, and they will argue that actually, it didn’t lose – and they would have a point. So I need to explain.

The service concentrates on high level football matches in Europe, so liquidity is never an issue. The markets selected are the best in value terms for the chosen game, and are varied, but always available on Betfair. The results are recorded from the suggested odds, but with no commission deducted – so if you do check out the results, take off 2% or however much commission you’re paying from the totals. I found that the suggested back odds were usually the lay odds when I checked them, so a tick shorter. However, the tips come through in the morning, so I always put in an order at the suggested odds, and it was never an issue getting matched. Indeed, sometimes I did better than the suggested odds, never worse.

On most days, the selection comes through by email, with a comprehensive write-up explaining the reasons why there is value in the bet. Occasionally, there is no bet advised, and very occasionally there’s a second bet which arrives later in the day. Sometimes, the stake is divided between two different markets in the game as an insurance back-up.

Staking is usually given as four points per game, but as this can be distributed between different markets it yields transparent results, so the only decision the bettor has to make is how much do they want to stake on a bet, and divide that by four if there are more than one bet on the game.

I’m completely happy with the recorded results, and so I accept the results given before the trial began as true and fair* (* other than Betfair commission needs to be deducted). Published results began at the start of 2021, and this shows that the service has made 368 points profit in the 40 months since then (see graph). That’s 360 points after 2% Betfair commission. That’s at flat staking, and there is discussion on the platform as how compounding the staking can turn this into a much bigger pot (as he points out, in 32 months of proofing to Bet Social and by compounding every month’s profit a £2,000 starting investment grew to over £1.2 MILLION).

My review inevitably began at a time of drawdown (yep, it always does!) and it’s a longish one at that (four months).  But serious bettors know that these happen along the way, and in some ways it’s a good thing to review during a drawdown, because if you can negotiate through those negative phases, you can make the most of a profitable service like this.

However, there are two tranches to this service, and the second tranche did turn the review period profitable if both tranches are considered at level staking. For every game in which there’s a bet, suggested correct scores are also given. The results are published to four points stake per bet, and this aspect of the service has only been included for six months, and yet it has overtaken the profitability of the main bets already.

Because the correct score betting yields inevitable long losing runs, I have recorded these to one point stakes for the trial. But even at one point, the results take the loss into profit. If I had bet the suggested 4 points on these bets, it would have been a very impressive profit indeed. The lowest point of the bank at one point during the review was -8 points, and the highest was +70 points, finishing the trial at +65 points. So if you multiply that by four, you’ll be very impressed. I had three separate instances where the losing run exceeded 25. If you’re betting £10 a point and staking 4 points on each selection, these losing runs would be over £1000, we had three of these during the trial. Personally I don’t have the betting mentality to withstand that, but I do know that if you apportion the appropriate bank to that, it’s no different from any other financial system with high volatility.

I did find myself looking at trading the correct scores during the games, and sometimes it paid to do that. On reflection, I would probably look at increasing my own stake on each correct score for the sole purpose of trading; or maybe add in a couple of other correct scores if, like me, you’re betting low. But the best position is to back the suggested correct scores and just let them run. And then avoid the game!!

Here are the results of the review period (6.12.23-15.3.24):

Main bets:

Profit/loss: -33.39 points @ 4 points per bet

Number of bets: 129

Number of wins: 58

Number of losses: 64

Number scratched: 7

Strike rate: 47.5%

ROI: -7

Average winning odds: 1.9

Average losing odds: 1.89

Longest winning run: 6

Longest losing run: 6 (twice)

Correct score bets:

Profit/loss: 65.79 points @ 1 point per bet (official results publish 4 points per bet)

Number of bets: 183

Number of wins: 19

Number of losses: 162

Number scratched: 2

Strike rate: 10.5%

ROI: 36.6

Average winning odds: 13.23

Average losing odds: 12.08

Longest winning run: 2

Longest losing run: 35

CONCLUSION

Football First is a serious professional football betting service. Transparent, targeting high liquidity markets in Europe with timely, easy-to-access tipping. The service did suffer the ‘Dave Yeates review effect’ – why does it always do this? Look back at the graph – the blue is the three years prior to the review, the green is the three month review! However, although the main bets lost 34 points at 4 points a bet, the correct score bets took me into 32 points profit at 1 point a bet. Had I decided to back the correct score bets at the suggested 4 points a bet, I would have made an enormous 226 points profit. As I’ve stated, I’m not the sort of bettor who is comfortable with long losing runs, and so I am happy to keep the correct score bets to a single point.

There’s really not much to dislike about this service, if you visit the results page before signing up, you can get a clear understanding of what to expect, and I’m happy to add this to the portfolio. It’s a PASS.

You can try Football First here