I am sure some of you remember that a long time ago I promised you a review of a betting product known as Trademate Sports. Trademate Sports is a Technical Value Betting software, which detects pricing discrepancies between soft and sharp books on the one hand and Pinnacle on the other. The Trademate Sports’ team has given me access to the product and I have been tirelessly gathering tones of betting data ever since. After collecting a record of more than 11,500 resolved bets, I decided the time to write the review of Trademate Sports has come.
At the time of writing, the Trademate Sports team initiated a live stream, where they discussed the aggregate results of the plattform picks. This was a great opportunity to compare the data I have gathered with the overall performance of all the platform’s clients. It has helped me confirm some of my observations, but also get a new perspective on my results.
Tennis bet settlement
An important note: after the first version of the article a major issue with the settlement of tennis bets was severely affecting my results. After settling the problematic bets manually I have updated the results and my comments on them.
Furthermore, I have made a finding which helped the Trademate Sports team improve their product. Yey!
Before I dive into the analysis, let me give you a short overview on what the review will be about. I will of course share my experience with using the product, the functions that the software is offering and the customer support. And while all that is certainly important, the million dollar question is whether the product delivers on its promise to find an edge on the betting markets and improve your betting returns. Therefore I will focus most of the article on answering this question. There were quite some things I liked as well as a few tool functionalities, which I believe could use some improvement. I will make sure to go through all of these. Here we go.
Trademate Sports is a web-based betting app that scrapes data from the betting markets in order to identify value bets and deliver them to its customers. How does it do that? It will take a base bookmaker offering the highest liquidity for a given betting market and compare all the others to it. Taking that difference and adding up the margin of the bookmaker, it will calculate the supposed edge for that selection and deliver it to you.
Navigating through Trademate Sports
You can watch some videos from the Trademate Sports’ Youtube channel to get a feeling of the platform. The one below goes into great detail and will give you a good idea for the look and feel of the tool:
I have found the software very intuitive and easy to use. You can build all kinds of presets to test different betting strategies. You can choose the bookmakers you want, the target edge, a desired range of time left till the start of the event and a few other things. The Core version gives you a bunch of soft bookmakers to choose from. With the Pro version you get three sharp books added to the list – SBO, IBC (Maxbet) and ISN. In both cases your open and settled trades are recorded for bookkeeping purposes.
Trademate Sports Presets
I have used the preset building option to build two main presets. The first one was the widest possible preset, which includes all the books, odds, edges, etc. The goal there was to collect the biggest pool of data possible and cut it into smaller pieces later for a more detailed analysis. Then my second preset was one with only the sharp books, whereby I have added a sound alert to it so that I can catch as many of those as I could. The performance of this subset was essental to the review, since this was basically what the Pro version offers on top of the Core one.
I have gathered a total of 11554 bets of which 3263 were with sharp books. Below are the overall results for the two subsets of bookmakers:
You will find a lot of data here so I will give you a quick rundown on what is what. Above you see two numbers for Total EV (Expected Value) and Closing EV. These are generated based on the assumed edge of your bet at the time of placing it and at the start of the event respectively. The platform calculates the closing edge by comparing the odds of the bet to the closing price at the base book. The colors seem to be a bit messed up so look at the labels.
EV at Bet Placement > EV at Closing
You will see that the average closing EV always stands below the total EV. This means that the price at the base book on average moves closer towards the price we have taken as the event approaches. That is not all that surprising, given that the market tends to clear all market inefficiencies in time. But is also a good sign – it shows that the picks of Trademate Sports are beating the Closing Line so they should be profitable in the long run.
Sharp odds steaming?
However it is worth noting that the gap closes from both sides – albeit surely not at the same rate – meaning that odds at the base book are not necessarily fully efficient. I have seen that in practice too in the form of many drifts at sharp books I have been victim of during arbitrage betting.
This brings me back to an exchange we’ve had with a reader in the comment section of my last article regarding what edge you have when betting the soft side of an arbitrage pair. As I said back then I think the base book is not fully efficient at the time the arbitrage is placed and I believe the numbers above confirm this.
Beating the closing line
Yet it is commonly stated that the closing price at the base book is the most efficient price you can get for an event. Therefore Trademate calculates a closing edge based on that. The closing edge is supposed to be the actual edge you have for this bet, not to be confused with the edge you see when placing the bet, as the closing price is supposed to be the most efficient one. Again, the margin of the base book is added in the calculation.
Therefore, if all is well, in the long run we would expect our return on capital to approximate our closing edge and our profits to stay around the Closing EV line.
Trademate Sports: Performance Analysis
In an earlier version of this article the profit line was running way below the closing EV line. The main reason behind this was that the data provider of Trademate Sports seems to settle Over/Under Tennis bets wrongly. All of those bets were settled as losses whereas of course some of them were winners.
Overall the profit line runs closely to the closing EV line for a large number of bets. From this it can be concluded that the software does its job.
In my trading I have not aimed at maximizing my profit but at expanding the data set I have available for analysis. Using Trademate Sports’ advice and my own intuition I have tested some more refined subsets in order to try and improve my results. In doing so I have noticed some interesting trends and also some issues with edge calculation within specific subsets. I will come to that again later.
What to bet on?
Before going to the subsets where it doesn’t go that well, let’s first see where we can find the most profit potential. In the help section of the platform the Trademate Sports’ team recommends to look for higher edges the further away the start of the event lays. The logic behind this is that the variance of your edge is proportional to the time left before the start of the event, therefore from risk/reward perspective you would want a higher return to take on a higher variance. That makes sense.
Furthermore, in general the team recommends focusing on lower odds and betting closer to the start of the event. I believe that suggestion comes from their analysis of the community results where they have noticed that lower odds & betting closer to kick-off deliver better results.
That suggestion makes sense if you want to minimize risk, but also leaves you with fewer picks to bet on. While I understand the risk/reward point, I wouldn’t drop high odds and early bets out completely. Yes, the risk for both is higher but there you can surely find value bets too. In fact, as it comes to time before kickoff I would expect to find more value bets earlier while the market hasn’t matured yet. Furthermore, concerning odds, the higher risk of high odds is considered by the Kelly stake formula, which is used by Trademate Sports, so this shouldn’t be an issue at all.
I decided to test those suggestions using the data I have gathered.
Let’s start with the most obvious one. Higher edge must bring higher returns – I guess that doesn’t need further explaining. Let’s see how the picture looks for different edge ranges. Below I have put the results for 5 different minimum edges in the range of 0-8%.
The profitability in terms of average ROI does seem to improve with increasing edge. Somewhat similar effect can be observed for flat ROI, although the effect is not that strong there, which is a bit concerning. In general it might be concluded that higher edge will give you better profitability. Still, you get a negative flat ROI even for some high edge ranges, which can raise some concerns. I believe there is a clear indicator of value in those edge ranges as for higher edges I beat the closing odds with a higher margin, so the increasing profits are not the result of chance. Then what’s the matter with the flat ROI?
Average odds & Edge Calculation
Have a closer look at the average odds for the different edge ranges. As we increase the edge, the average odds of the tips the platform returns increase too. Does that mean that the longer odds contain more value? I don’t think so. I believe that the edge might be overestimated for the long odds. Therefore, for the flat strategy you get long odds selections, the value of which is in fact not that high – or simply not there. The Kelly stakes mitigate that negative effect as they adjust the stake to the odds. One can still see the issue in the flat ROI.
The higher the edge, the more you earn
That aside, betting with a high edge will give you better profitability. The price for that will be a lower total number of bets. The advantage you have against the closing odds at the base book is a clear evidence for that. However, I think some “false positives” slip into the data set. I will look further into these with an analysis of different odds ranges.
As usual in Value Betting, the task for everyone using Trademate Sports would be to find a balance between a high enough number of bets in order to turn over the whole bank, together with a satisfying expected return per bet. I will give my suggestion on that later.
As I said, the Trademate Sports team recommends avoiding long odds bets. Yet, according to the analysis above, long odds bets on average give you a higher edge. To me that was a bit confusing. I decided to look into how long and short odds are performing within the data set. I have looked into the results with minimum odds of 1-6.
The results confirm the suspicion that something is wrong with the long odds bets. Once your odds go above 4 most profitability metrics start deteriorating. I have repeated the test for all possible edge ranges and with very few exceptions the trend holds. It is telling that the flat ROI goes down as well for the high odds ranges. For me this is another clue suggesting that the edge for high odds might be estimated incorrectly.
So far, so good. We have established that higher edges give us higher returns, showing that the software does identify value. We have also noticed, strangely enough, that we should rather drop the high odds as something’s wrong there.
The Trademate Sports team suggested focusing on bets short before kickoff to minimize your variance. Let us see how the performance differs across the Time-Before-Kickoff ranges. I have looked into bets placed 0-6 hours, 6-12 hours and 12-48 hours before kickoff.
The suggestion does seem to have some merit. We get slightly better returns and lower variance for the range of up to 6 hours before kickoff. However, the difference is not that big. I believe excluding the early markets altogether would rob you of too many good bets. If you are aiming at a lower total number of bets with higher ROI it might be a good solution for you. Otherwise I would not recommend it.
So, does time before kickoff matter?
I still don’t believe that there is more value to be found closer to kickoff. Intuitively it just does not make sense – this is when the markets are supposed to be most efficient. Indeed, betting further away from kickoff increases edge variance and the results prove this. I don’t think this is caused by a margin calculation for the early bets.
A Good Strategy
I was thinking about how an optimal strategy with Trademate Sports would look like. We have seen that the profitability improves for higher edge ranges. Furthermore, long odds bets suggested by Trademate Sports are generally less profitable. Finally, lower time-before-kickoff does seem to improve results somewhat but not by much. As I would like to aim at the highest total number of bets at a decent profitability I would go with an edge of at least 4% and will avoid odds higher than 4. Here are the results of such strategy.
The profit line moves next to the Closing EV as it should be. You get a solid profitability and a total of 1790 bets for around a month and a half of betting. Very nice!
Maximum edge? But Why?
You have perhaps noticed I have also restricted the maximum edge at 10%. The reason I have done that was to exclude palpable errors. As you probably know these will not only fail to deliver any profit (as they will most probably be declared void by the bookie) but will also limit your account in no time, so it is best to avoid them. Of course, you can include them and decide on the spot whether you see a palpable error or not. Odds comparison website like oddsportal will help you for that. In my experience the majority of them are just that so be careful.
Trademate Sports: Sharps vs Softs
As I mentioned earlier, the Pro version adds three additional sharp bookmakers to the list – SBObet, IBC and ISNbet. You also get Dafabet but I don’t count it separately as it shares odds with Maxbet. I am running at a small profit so far after a total of 3263 bets. With these I don’t manage to beat the base book average closing line. Therefore I have had a look at what happens when I increase the edge. You can see the results for the overall sharp data set as well as a minimum edge set at 2, 4 and 6%.
The profitability does look better by some measures as the edge is being increased. The edge against the closing odds increases. However, one can also see that the closing EV line is further away from the EV line at placement. It seems beating the Asians is much harder task as the Pinny odds drift much more in this case. The edges are slimmer and the variance higher. My sample is not large enough to determine what is the actual edge. However, the community’s 0.6% long-term ROI in the sharp books can be taken as benchmark.
How many bets can you get down?
Of course, given that we are talking about sharp books here the amount of bets you get is certainly smaller than with the softs. However, I don’t think this would be an issue since in sharps you do not get limited. So you don’t have to focus on a league or sport and could just bet on everything. The average edge is much smaller in comparison to the whole data set, so you should not expect profitability as high as with the softs, but that’s not unusual either.
All in all so far I think the Pro package would be a valuable tool for the high-roller. I would strongly advise you, given the reduced profitability compared to the softs and the higher price of the product, to consider carefully whether you have the needed capital to make it work. Furthermore, considering the tiny edge you will have pursuing such a strategy, be ready for some serious variance down the road. You can refer to my article on betting variance to get an idea.
The Edge Calculation Issue
Alright, we have established that the software works and you can make a solid profit from it. But I am also suspecting that there might be a problem with the edge calculation for higher odds. What could the problem be?
A common trait for long odds bets is that the bookmakers apply to them higher margins than usual. Trademate Sports does consider the margin when calculating the odds. However the exact margin attribution to different outcomes is unclear to me.
What is the case in practice? Intuitively, one might expect the bookmaker to apply the margin proportionally to the odds. However, this is not the case. In fact, longer odds receive an over-proportional share of the margin. Perhaps bookmakers want to increase their expected profit per long odds bet as those are more risky to the book than the short odds bets. You can read more on that in Joseph Buchdahl’s Fixed Odds Sports Betting: Statistical Forecasting and Risk Management.
Furthermore, margins vary per sport, league and country. Calculatig the margin for any given event is easy, but splitting it between the different outcomes correctly is tricky. I think a further look into this can significantly improve the performance of high-odds bets in the Trademate Sports platform. This would bring value to the customers as it would expand the total range of viable betting opportunities.
I haven’t said much about the support from the team yet. I would like to thank Marius and the rest of the team as they have been very responsive with every question I had. They also organize periodic meetings to discuss the results of the whole community. I really like that as it shows great transparency, which is extremely important in the betting industry. At those events the customers get the opportunity to see how everyone else is doing. Furthermore, they can share their thoughts and feelings about the product with the whole community. All in all I have found the customer support to be at a good level.
Trademate Sports does deliver on its promise to identify profitable opportunities on the sports betting markets. The team has developed an innovative software solution which would be an asset for any serious bettor.
I believe there are some flaws with the edge calculation of certain subsets that I have outlined above. Certainly, those will be addressed by the team soon enough. Keeping those in mind you should have no problem turning a profit with Trademate Sports relatively quickly.
That aside, the software is easy to use and offers a lot of nice features. The customer support is on a very good level. Overall I would recommend the software to anyone who follows value betting strategies and has the necessary budget.
Some final words
This is certainly my longest article so far, so thanks for reading to everyone who has made it to the end. Thanks to the Trademate Sports team for giving me access to their product, which made this review possible. I would also like to use the opportunity to thank Steve from Daily25 for giving a great feedback to my previous article and helping me improve the count of my Twitter followers substantially. Steve is offering a product based on Trademate for the Australian market, so if you are an Australian bettor make sure to check it out.
Also, if you would like to see any further stats from my data set in Trademate Sports or want to ask anything just drop a comment or get in touch. I am sure the Trademate Sports team will also be around to answer your questions.
EDIT (12.03.2017, 12:39 CET)
Marius from Trademate Sports had a few comments on the review. I am posting them with some delay here.
Concerning the edge calculation, Marius shared my opinion that there is an inconsistency in the margin attribution for long odds bets. He has let me know that the team is working on developing a solution. I am glad that Trademate Sports is addressing the issue. Furthermore, I am sure that solving this problem will further improve the quality of the product. Marius has also advises to focus on lower odds in order to reduce overall variance. It turnes out that many customers are uncomfortable with the risk that higher odds bets carry. Not surpricing, considering the Value Betting variance can be overwhelming.
Time before kickoff remark
Regarding the time before kickoff, Marius raised the valid point that betting closer to kick-off, there is less risk that odds go the wrong way before the event. Therefore, you can rely more on the margin calculation here. That fact only makes the underpeformance of early bets more interesting. Since the margin is not the reason, there must be some other factor depressing the returns. At this point I am struggling to see what that might be. If you have any ideas I would be happy to hear them. Regardless, this might turn out to be quite a useful finding by itself. It is good that platforms like Trademate Sports collect large amounts of betting data. With its help we can notice such particularities and improve our betting knowledge.
The Trademate Sports team confirmed they calculate all closing edges against the Pinnacle closing line.
I have also added the missing link to the picture in the Time-Before-Kickoff Analysis part.
EDIT2 (26.03.2017, 18:56 CET)
We have discovered an issue with wrongly resolved tennis results has badly affected my results. Apparently, the tool settled all Total Game Tennis bets as losses. That in turn depressed the returns of my data set and most subsets significantly. To correct the results, I resolved these bets manually and updated the article accordingly.