Sharp betting is hard work.
In order to beat the bookies, one needs Value Bets, in one form or another.
Even if you have found a software to supply you with value bets, you need to go through a number of steps in order to actually place the bet:
- Be on your computer when the value bet appears
- See the value bet
- Log into your account
- Navigate through the bookmaker page to find it
- Decide on the size of the stake you want to play with
- Finally place the bet
Of course, those steps take some time so there is no guarantee the bet will still be there when you get to the finish line. And if it is not, you would have missed a profitable opportunity. It’s a pity. This is often what happens when a Value Betting software identifies a value bet or when a tipster sends his picks out. Value attracts money – if you are not fast enough you are out of the game.
But even if you do manage to place your value bet manually, those steps cost you a lot of time. Time is an expense that does not show up in your ROI calculation. Yet another reason why betting ROI cannot be reasonably compared with ROI from traditional passive income sources like financial investing. Betting income is never passive. Remaining in the green requires constant hard work.
What is an API?
Since speed is so essential in betting, many have been asking if the advance in technology could not be applied in betting as well, in order to automate this whole process. For a long time, there has been no viable solution to this issue – up until the first bookmaker APIs appeared.
API (Application Programming Interface) is a standard interface that major websites offer to developers. With its help developers can more easily interact with the website in question. The usage is normally free of charge (though not necessarily). In any case, the developer must adhere to certain ‘fair use’ rules (as defined by the website). Normally, the main purpose of the ‘fair use’ rules is not to overload the website’s host server with too many requests.
A developer can build different kinds of software that communicate with the website through the API in various ways. For bookmakers, it means that the odds request, as well as the bet placement can be automated. Potentially, this translates to increased speed and reduction of overhead in bet placement. For the bookmaker, it translates to more action which should hopefully bring in more profit.
What’s happening on the betting scene?
There already are a few bookmakers / exchanges on the market, that offer APIs to punters willing to automate some of their activities. The number is rather small but contains some big names. Betfair and Pinnacle are two notable examples. Those firms have offered to the tech savvy punter/trader the opportunity to earn an advantage in front of the crowds by automating his betting placement.
Great news for the ones among us with a taste for software development, not so much for the rest. There are already some extensive resources available on the internet if you want to program your own Betfair trading bot, which is surely a fun side project if that is your kind of thing.
But things are moving in the bookmaker area too. On the market since 2015, smartbet.io has developed a platform allowing you to automate your bets for a reasonable price. I must admit myself to discovering the platform rather late. Regardless, I have just given it a try and am very excited by the provided functionality.
Smartbet.io is the most sophisticated betting automation platform on the market today – as far as bookmakers are concerned. It manages a bot on your computer that places bets instead of you according to the delivered instructions.
How does it work?
You install a bot (a small piece of software) on your computer. You provide the bot with the password of your bookmaker account(s). If you intend to use it for placement of tipster picks which you receive by e-mail you also input the credentials of your e-mail. The bot then reads your email inbox on predefined intervals (e.g. one second) in case of pick receival per e-mail. Alternatively, if the tipster is integrated, it retrieves the relevant pick directly from the platform and places the bet in your bookmaker account.
It looks like this:
The currently supported bookmakers are Pinnacle (and clones) as well as bet365 (and most of its international versions).
How much does it cost?
The currently supported bookmakers are Pinnacle (and clones) as well as bet365 (and most of its international versions).
There is no fixed fee for using the service, the platform charges on a “per stake” basis. The price for placing a bet through the bot is 1% of the stake at bet365 and 0.25% of the stake at Pinnacle for automatic bet placement. There is also a smaller fee for manual bet placement, but I haven’t tried this one so far.
What is it good for?
The bet instructions are normally delivered by a tipster and following a tipster is the main current use case for the technology. As far as the quality of tips of the integrated and supported tipsters is concerned, the usual high caution is recommended. I do think there are some valuable services on the platform, but since this is not the focus of the article, I will leave that for another day.
If you have a tipster offering a profitable strategy to utilize your bet365 account, smartbet.io offers you the possibility to delegate the tedious task of placing your bets. Furthermore, instant placement guarantees best price – the lines at bet365 are much slower than the ones at Pinnacle, so with (near-) instant placement you don’t have much to worry about.
In this case we are talking about strategies involving large amounts of small bets, since, naturally, bet365 would restrict any winning accounts by reducing the maximum allowed betting amount to 1% of the original one. How long those limited accounts last remains to be seen, but so far results look promising.
The fact remains, that utilizing a strategy involving limited bet365 accounts is only possible with betting automation and smartbet.io is the perfect tool for that purpose.
If, on the other hand your preferred tipster follows a strategy of advising smaller number of value bets with higher stakes, you can only make that work by betting at a sharp bookmaker. In that case the Pinnacle automation comes in handy. By placing your bet less than a second after receiving the pick you will secure much higher odds compared to when you search the selection manually.
Mind you, you will still get lower odds that the advertised ones, but the slippage will be much lower when using automation software. For explanation of slippage refer to this great article by the Betting is Cool blog.
The difference in slippage as compared to manual bet placement will more than offset the price of using the bot. This is especially the case if you make use of a cashback offer as the one Premium Tradings is offering for players referred by the Church of Betting:
Is it worth it?
To see if the service is worth it simply take:
- the expected return from following your tipster
- the software fee (1% for bet365 and 0.25% Pinny)
- your tipster’s fee
- the expected slippage
- any other variable costs associated with placing your bet
The result from the above calculation must be your expected edge with such strategy. I would personally be comfortable to settle with a lower edge here compared to a strategy with manual bet placement, since, obviously, using smartbet.io you don’t have to do much more than setting up your bot.
But even if you disregard the time expense factor, the automation might still be the dominant option in purely financial terms – especially if you back tipster picks in Pinnacle. The reason, as already mentioned – the slippage will be reduced dramatically. Let me give you an example:
Let us say your tipster delivers a pick with a current price of 1.9 @Pinnacle. The first subscribers jump on the bet, perhaps using smartbet.io themselves. They get a price between 1.8 and 1.9 – let us presume 1.85. Then you come around 30 seconds later, getting the selection at 1.78.
What would happen if you use smartbet.io? You will get the 1.85 price instead but will need to pay 1% fee on your stake. Meaning, your effective odds will be 1.85/1.01= 1.8317. Throw in a 0.1% cashback from Premium Tradings and you arrive at 1.8316/0.999 = 1.8336. That is still way higher than 1.78 and in this case the bot is fully worth it.
From my experience the above is a very realistic scenario when following a popular tipster.
Can I Automate Bet Placement for a Non-Integrated Tipster?
Not immediately. But nothing is impossible. If your tipster of choice is not available in the list of integrated tipsters or supported external tipsters, you must put a request to add him to the platform. At the latest when the guys from smartbet.io implement your request, you will be able to automate your bet placement for your tipster of choice.
That being said, the list of supported tipsters is pretty extensive, and you will have a hard time finding a popular tipster service that is currently not being supported.
What Can I Offer You?
If you subscribe and send a message to the admin (who goes by the nickname tango) saying you were referred by me, you will get a small EUR 8 bonus on top of the EUR 2 you get anyway.
But more importantly, you will get a second line of support through me – I have some experience using the bot so I can help you with any technical or other issues you might experience along the way. Of course, the smartbet.io team will do just the same, but this way you will have an extra helping hand by setting up and using the service.
Finally, if you register trough me and make a deposit, drop me a message and I will give you a recommendation of my preferred tipsters.
Other players in the bet automation space
BettingDev is a company that is specializing in the development of Betfair bots. However, on their Custom App Development page they mention they also work with bookmakers, without specifying any further details. They seem to use Gruss Software as a basis, offer their own VPS (Virtual Private Servers) based in London and also have a couple of self-made bots for football, tennis horse racing and the greyhound market.
The one review I found online of the product seems to be rather positive. If you have a specific custom app in mind, it might be worth it to drop them a message and see if they can help.
Speaking of Betfair bots, Betfair themselves maintain a page with a number of automated services they promote to their customers. Betfair obviously benefits from the promotion since they keep a commission for every bet placed through the bots. However, it is in the best interest of the punter to research the profitability of the offered bots on his own. Without having tested all the offered apps, I can imagine making a profit out of them might be harder than it sounds!
My research in the betting automation space lead me to the conclusion that smartbet.io is the leading player as it comes to automated bet placement in bookmakers. I do believe smartbet.io is a fantastic service. If you have decided to follow a tipster service, the tool is second to none in improving your ROI.
Since smartbet.io is mainly about following tipster services, any tipster service you might consider following must be thoroughly and skeptically examined by you. Always make sure your tipsters satisfy the strictest criteria for transparency, record keeping, reliability and profitability. A large percent of the tipsters on the market (some would even argue all of them, to which I disagree) would waste your money not only on the subscription fee, but also on urging you to place bets on selections which contain no value.
That aside, I do believe there are tipster services worth following – and do follow some myself. If that is the case for you too, I am fully confident to say smartbet.io is a must-have tool for you.
If your tipster is on the platform, you may be pretty sure some of the other subscribers have already automated their bet placement. If you don’t do the same you are at a clear disadvantage – you will get drastically reduced odds, which will deteriorate any value the selection might have contained. To me it is a no-brainer – if your tipster is at smartbets,io, you have to be there too.
Let me know if you have any questions, and should you decide to subscribe as my referral (in which case you should send a message to the admin that you come from here), I am fully available to help you with the setup of the service as well or facilitate your communication with the support staff if your issue is outside of my competence.
Also make sure to subscribe to my Twitter to get updated on any new material from The Church of Betting. See you around!