USA to UK – 5 lessons we can learn from the Action sports betting documentary

Today I want to discuss a fascinating documentary I recently watched on sports betting and gambling in America and the lessons we as punters can take from it – wherever we are based and whatever it is we bet on.

The show itself is called Action and over the course of 4 one hour long episodes, it explores the legalisation of sports gambling as the industry in the US develops following the lifting of the previous ban on betting in the American Supreme Court last year.

It follows several characters throughout the 2018/19 NFL (American Football) season and the very different ways they seek to make an income from betting.

Whilst the show has rightly come in for criticism for the some of the people it follows throughout – you can understand to some extent why they did so.

Professional sports betting by its nature is very boring – usually just a guy sat at a computer all day, so the producers decided to follow a few larger than life sports bettors characters in the main.

Focused at the US market and novice bettors in general, the show does raise some interesting points, so inspired by it I wanted to share 5 lessons we can learn about betting – wherever you are from!

Watch out – US Betting Terminology Used!

Throughout my article below, I have used a few US based terms. Loosely this is what they mean:

Handicapper = Tipster
Futures = Antepost
Picks = Tips
Moneyline – bet on a team to win

1. Buyer beware Stateside

One of the most controversial figures in the show is that of Vegas Dave – a self proclaimed ‘No 1. sports information consultant’, who in reality seems little more than a marketer selling ridiculously expensive picks to an audience he openly describers as ‘degenerates’.

If Vegas Dave was ever able to show a long-term profit, I would be very surprised and he seems to have built his reputation on a few big wins in the ‘futures’ market.

The sad reality is that the US Market is filled with people just like this – ‘professional’ handicappers and sites working in cahoots to make money first, provide you genuine winning advice second (likely a very distant second too). If you thought the UK and European tipster market was tricky to navigate (at least without SBC’s help) then you need to be 100 times more careful Stateside.

With all that in mind, I am currently exploring the US handicapping market to try and better understand who exactly is genuine and who to avoid – with the goal of releasing my findings later this year.

2. Not always a correlation between price and quality

One thing Vegas Dave is very good at is marketing – given the millions he openly admits making every year in orders for his picks. Extortionately priced at $497 for just 1 bet or ‘whale-play’ as he calls them – his pricing helps to quash the notion that there is always a correlation between quality and price, especially in the tipping/handicapping world.

Just because you are paying $100’s for picks each day or week – this is no guarantee you are getting a better calibre of expert. In reality, you might just be falling victim to a marketer with a slick tongue who knows how to maximise his revenue through creative pricing and a large social media presence.

Consider the more mature UK and European tipster market (where SBC currently specialises) as you can find quality proven expertise from tipsters charging anywhere between £20 and £40 per month for their service.

The kicker as always is that whatever you pay, it should easily be made back at average stakes over an average period of time.

If you need to stick £250 or £500 on a bet just to cover the cost of purchasing 1 pick/tip, you are being taken advantage of.

3. Hunting for value is universal

Another character featured throughout the show is Bill ‘Krack’ Krackomberger – a professional gambler based in Vegas. What separates Krack from many of the others on the show is his attitude to sports betting and how he beats the book.

Firstly, he fully understands the need to obtain value and the difference getting better odds can make, especially in the ultra competitive NFL markets. He is shown driving from location to location in Vegas simply to get the best odds on a bet. It might only be a few % points, but when you are risking $30,000 on a single bet as he is – this all adds up.

It’s the same lesson the world over as simple things like – using an odds comparison site to find the best odds for your bet or placing it on exchanges like Smarkets or Matchbook versus Betfair, whereby you get lower commission rates. The Smarkets rate for example is always 2%, whereas Betfair’s charge begin you at 5% – one easy way to get a 3% better return on your bets.

4. Remove emotion from your bets or pay the price

Krack is also wise to the need to remove all emotion from your betting if trying to make a profit. Rather than sit in the sportsbook lounge whilst the games are on and live every part of his bet out in real-time, instead he sits at his laptop and pays no attention to the ‘action’. Wins or losses are lines on a spreadsheet and he never gets too high or low whatever the outcome.

You only have to compare his approach to the legion of punters sat in the Vegas sportsbook lounges – all of whom suffer the ups and downs of their bets in real-time to know Krack has it right. Swearing at the TV screen, claiming the matches are fixed or chasing wins by placing more and more bets as the day wears on – its easy to see how betting takes its toll mentally on so many people.

Whether it be a Vegas casino, British bookmaker or simply streaming a game through your laptop – there is real value in taking a step back from watching your bets if trying to make money.

5. The NFL Market like all major ones is highly efficient

Finally, its worth a note that making a profit betting into the main NFL markets (moneyline, spread, over/unders) is extremely difficult due to the volume of money traded in the market.

Finding major value bets is therefore near impossible for most punters and indeed handicappers – something the show doesn’t communicate nearly enough in my opinion.

It’s the same for most major leagues and competitions – be it NBA, Baseball, the Premier League or even Champions League. These markets are hugely efficient due to the amount of money traded within them and finding a value edge long-term is very difficult.

Anyone that can make a few percent points return on investment over a decent data sample from these major betting competitions is doing very well indeed (and they should talk to a betting syndicate!) and its important to be aware of this.

So if you read about a tipster claiming a 10% or 15% ROI in a major market like this – be very cautious indeed and ask yourself: what do they know that millions of others don’t?


In summary then, whilst Action is firmly developed for an American audience – the reality is that the same qualities it takes to win betting on sports in the UK are the same in America.

The sports, markets, terminology and bookmakers used are often very different, yet the key concepts remain very true indeed.

For those of you interested in learning more about how the Smart Betting Club independently regulates and reviews the UK & European tipster markets, you can read more via the following links:

How We Can Help Your Betting

The Tipster Review Process

Our 100% Independent Policy

Subscribe NOW to the Smart Betting Club.


Peter Ling
Smart Betting Club Editor


1941 points profit @ 8.39% ROI: The tennis tipster with a phenomenal record

The very latest SBC Magazine is out now – and its a Tennis Betting special as we focus on the expert Tennis Tipster with a phenomenal record.

Over the course of 36 months and more than 23,000 tips, this tennis algorithm has made 1941 points profit @ 8.39% ROI and for the first time ever – you can read our extremely detailed review of what’s on offer.

Developed by an ex-poker player and based on a model using Artificial Intelligence, we have been suitably impressed by the standard of service and level of betting bank growth offered to those following it in.

Best of all you can save €40 on the cost of a subscription to the service as an SBC member, thanks to the major Tipster Savings we negotiate on your behalf.

Added to the mix, in SBC 111 you can also explore our review of 3 more tipsters including another long-term winning tennis tipster and two racing experts with profitable records at Betfair SP.

All told its a bumper edition, ideally timed ahead of Wimbledon 2019 – SBC Issue 111 is available now with a Smart Betting Club membership.

Grab Your Copy of SBC 111 Immediately

You can access your own copy of SBC 111 and our entire back catalogue of magazines the instant you join the Smart Betting Club.

This includes access to every single tipster review we have ever written (there are literally hundreds available) and all of the Hall of Fame Tipsters we recommend to make you money betting.

Check out some of our latest publications.

You can also enjoy significant discounts on the cost of joining many of these tipsters via our unique Tipster Discounts – exclusively available to SBC members only.

Get The Full SBC Membership Package For Just £27.99

You can now join the Smart Betting Club and take advantage of our lowest EVER membership prices for 2019.

From as little as £27.99 + VAT per quarter, you can get started immediately and access the ENTIRE Smart Betting Club service including all our SBC Magazines, Tipster Profit Reports, Best Tipster Guides, Pro Betting Guides & more.

This includes access to our full 13 year back catalogue and no quibble money back guarantee if you join and don’t like what is on offer (unlikely!).

£27.99 per quarter works out at just £2.15 per week – less than the cost of the Racing Post.

It’s our best ever SBC membership deal and with our amazing money back guarantee offer you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Subscribe Now to the Smart Betting Club

Best Regards

Peter Ling

Smart Betting Club Owner and Founder

What’s better – The number of winners you back or how much you win?

Today, I want to share with you a fascinating article recently published by a friend of mine from the betting world – Matthew Walton, who raises some very important points that all aspiring profitable punters need to be aware of

Matthew delves into the battle between strike-rate and profit and the real-life mental challenges that occur when using tipsters, especially those that select bets at big odds and to low strike-rates.

Like Matthew, I have seen far too many punters quit a good tipster all too early because they suffered more losers then they could handle. Despite the fact that when a bet did win, it won big.

There is no shame in falling foul of this especially when you consider the pain of a losing bet is twice the joy we get from backing a winner.

It’s a psychological test – all of which makes it vitally important that as punters we absorb as much information as possible from experts like Matthew. After all, he knows what it takes to win long-term, which is of course what matters most.

So, without further delay – over to Matthew…

What’s better, strike rate or profit?

Which is more important… the number of winners or how much you win?

This is something which I have thought about, spoken about, and written about A LOT!

Because over the many, many years I have worked in this business, some of the most common questions I get asked by new members or, more often, punters who are considering becoming new members, are along the lines of…

What’s the strike rate of your best racing tipster?


How much profit did your best football tipster make last week/month?”

Don’t get me wrong, both are sensible questions. And both are well worth asking of me, or any other service you care to take an interest in joining. Because you need to know if Service X has the kind of strike rate you’re comfortable with, or whether Service Y will actually make money from soccer betting.

You need to know these things.

And they’re questions that I would ask myself when doing my due diligence on any new football tipster, or horseracing expert, who tugs my coat and tells me they’re the next big thing when it comes to making money at football, or beating the bookies at racing.

They are fundamental to whether you (a) join and/or (b) stay with a service.

And you should ask yourself the question right now, if you haven’t already… which would you prefer? Or rather, which order would you put them in.

Stupid question, it’s obvious…

Profit, right?

We all bet to make money, primarily. And the more we make, the better.

So if it’s a case of sacrificing a few percentage points in terms of strike rate, in order to generate a bigger overall return… it’s a no-brainer. You should take the cash every time.

Well, you say that. But I know from experience there’s a flipside to this argument.

Take these two notional services… Service 1 has a 10% strike rate but returns a 40% Return on Investment (ROI), whereas Service 2 has a 40% strike rate but returns a 10% ROI.

I know from working in this business for more years than I care to remember, the majority of punters would actually stick with Service 2 longer than Service 1.

What?? That’s absolute rubbish!“… I hear you cry.

Not so.

Whilst most backers would like to win more money (and I agree with that, who wouldn’t), crucially the manner in which that profit is made also must be to their liking.

And as such, low strike rates, which sap confidence (from some, not all), which clean out betting banks (only of those who don’t budget properly, or stake erratically), and test the patience to breaking point (yes, of the less savvy punters)… these low hit rates cause many to throw in the towel, and often far too quickly.

Which means even though a bigger payday is waiting for them, somewhere down the line, they’re simply not able, or are not prepared, to wait for it to arrive.

Believe you me, I have seen this time, after time, after time.

Take one top golf tipster that I work with, which the guys at SBC recommend… a proven profit-maker that has made 500+ points profit to level stakes in 5 years (Yes! He has generated an average profit of around 100 point per year to level stakes).

I’ve seen this service ditched because it didn’t deliver “certain members” enough winners in a short space of time – in other words, the strike rate was too low. As a result it is kicked into the long grass because a member has grown impatient, spent up their insufficient funds, or simply lost confidence (in what has already been proven to be a long-term profit maker).

But the point is, the average price of these golf bets is around 80/1.

You’ll never get a high hit rate backing golfers at 80/1. Never.

But you will make a long-term profit if you back enough of them when they are assessed to be over-priced (which is exactly what the Golf Insider does).

This service has an ROI in excess of 20%… but the low strike rate is seen (incorrectly, I argue until I’m blue in the face) as a negative, when it shouldn’t be. Not if you get your staking correct and your mindset right.

You can’t handle the truth!

Of course, when someone joins one of the tipsters I work with, they do so with the goal of making money from horseracing or to win big at golf betting… I offer them some initial advice on the importance of a betting bank, and a sensible staking plan, and a degree of level-headedness when it comes to results… and they all nod their heads in agreement.

But throw in the curve ball of a few losers…

Even though they are to be expected with the service they’ve joined (or any other betting service for that matter)…

And it’s panic stations! Needlessly.

As I often say in the office, mis-quoting Tom Cruise in the film A Few Good Men

You can’t handle the strike rate!

And this is something which actually ends up hurting the member themselves in the long run. Because they’re the ones who head for the exit, when if they’d stayed longer, the winners (and profits) would have fallen into their lap.

But strike rates aren’t everything

I totally agree.

I’ve seen services, and this is often the case with football betting syndicates, or laying services on the horses, where the strike rate is higher than, say, a standard horseracing operation or a golf betting cartel… but the ROI is half, a third, maybe even a quarter of the amount on offer with those other services.

And when you factor in costs, it means you either (a) have to stake big, big amounts to make any money or (b) you stake within your own comfort zone and end up with a membership that breaks even, or makes just a few points profit after months of subscribing.

Unless this is a service offering exceptional betting bank growth or Return on Capital – something that only occurs with a few very high volume tipsters, then the above outcomes are not what you want from your betting.

Because you want to show a healthy profit for your efforts… we all do.

And if you get too hung up on the number of winners you’re going to back with a service, or how many bets there were in its longest losing run, or what’s the biggest drawdown of funds it has endured… all to the detriment of the “elephant in the room” (i.e. how much profit a service makes)… then you could easily miss out on a nice little profit-generator.

I think of an example like the Scottish Football Tipster I work with which has a strike rate of close on 46%. This means members can lump on the bets safe in the knowledge that almost every other bet will be a winner… great!

But the flipside is the ROI on this service is nearer the 15% mark. That’s less than the my golf expert.

However, members tend to stick with the Scottish Football Tipster longer. Why? Because it simply provides then with more winners (also, let me add, it’s because a 15% ROI betting on football is a truly exceptional level of performance. Better than you’ll find anywhere else on any other soccer service).

So reverting back to the original question, would you prefer a high strike rate or bigger profits? As sadly you rarely get both!

Is it all down to your risk profile?

Most likely. It all boils down to what kind of punter you are, how prepared you are to accept a few losers, how much “bottle” you have when funds appear to be ebbing away, and whether you can keep faith in a proven service when it’s not necessarily firing on all cylinders.

From my perspective, and as stated above, you might get a service that has a low strike rate and low profits (we’ve all seen those, right?) but you will never see a service which has a high hit rate and a good level of profit. Certainly in terms of ROI anyway. They are as rare as hen’s teeth, unicorns and rocking horse poo.

So what I try to look for are services which deliver the best of both. Ok, a lower strike rate than some… but still a higher profitability than others. Or maybe a shade more winners, traded for a scrap less return.

And that sweet spot should provide you, the prospective member, with the best of both worlds. Enough winners (relative to the average price) to keep you happy, but enough profit to make sure the service – whether it be golf, horseracing, football or greyhounds – more than pays its way.

OPINION: You have every right to expect the service you’re joining to make as much profit as possible. But do not make the mistake of falling for the horseracing service, or football syndicate, that boasts the highest figure… because the way it generates that return (e.g. backing big-priced bets with a low strike rate) might not sit well with your own personal way of betting. But by the same token, if a service freely advertises that it only tips long-shots (but does make money doing this) then make sure you give it due time and opportunity to deliver. Because backing at an average price of 80/1 doesn’t produce the same strike rate as backing at 6/4… sad, but true!!

Get The Professional Betting Fundamentals

My thanks to go to Matthew for granting me permission to share this article with you all and I hope you found it as useful as I did.

As Matthew alludes to – much of the battle to become a winning punter takes place in the mind and a greater understanding of the challenges we face when betting, can help us dramatically improve our bottom-line profit and loss figures.

All of which is why we provide all new Smart Betting Club members with access to our Pro Betting Fundamentals – featuring 2 key reports to help you think and act like a professional, profitable punter.

Whether it be the tools and expertise to get your betting setup professionally OR the mindset you need to be a winning punter, these guides will help you every step of the way.

Subscribe NOW to the Smart Betting Club.

Peter Ling
Smart Betting Club Editor