Telling secrets / giving tips conceptCan tipsters be trusted? That depends on what you are trusting them with. They may well be generous at the bar, perfectly capable of looking after your cat and brilliant at keeping secrets but that is not really the issue here. When it comes to people offering betting tips, what really matters is whether they are honest, authentic and helpful. We would say those are realistic criteria for a tipster to meet but for many punters, all that matters is whether tipsters will help them make a profit.

To do that in the long term, a tipster would need to provide regular tips at odds that are genuinely good value. We discuss the concept of value elsewhere on the site but, in short, given that nobody has a crystal ball that can provide winning tips every time, value is crucial to sustained success. That means providing tips at odds that are higher than the true probability of the event happening.

When we ask “can tipsters be trusted?”, if we mean can they regularly provide value betting tips, the answer has to be no when it comes to virtually all of them. We do not offer tips on this site because we feel that unless you can provide value tips, it is better not to bother. And, frankly, if we could identify value bets on virtually every single game of football and horse race, plus all the big events from other sports, we would not be sharing them! We’d be sitting on a yacht in the Med drinking cocktails and champagne and, quite possibly, a number of bookmakers would go out of business.

The fact is that beating the bookies is incredibly tough as they have vast resources and expertise, as well as contacts within the various sports providing them with information that is very hard, if not impossible, for most punters to access. Quite simply, why would anyone capable of cashing in on bookies’ errors share those tips when it could only prove damaging to themselves in the long run? Why not simply be a pro gambler themselves and not draw attention to their bets by having hundreds of other people backing the same selection?

Tipping Services & Social Media Tipsters

Punters at a horse race

Despite the fact that very, very few people can regularly get the better of the bookmakers and the odds, there is no shortage of tipping services and tipsters who offer advice via social media or websites. We strongly advise against using a paid service for the simple reasons outlined above. Most tipping sites and services claim incredible success but if it was easy as paying £4.99 a month to get “exclusive” tips, wouldn’t everyone be rich? Wouldn’t bookies be going to the wall, instead of paying themselves a salary of £469m?

For some, time tipping services have had an air of the wild west about them. Websites, phone lines (in ye olde times!) and more recently social media accounts could basically make any claim they wanted. There was little if any comeback and no regulation with regards to the success they boasted and how they advertised. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) have stepped in fairly recently to try and make sure things are a little more regulated.

Should Be Used as Guidance Only

They offer detailed advertising guidance but, sadly, this remains just guidance and policing social media is far easier said than done. There are countless stories of dodgy tipsters and scams and numerous ways for tipsters to make it seem as though they are successful when in reality they are far from it.

TV illusionist, Derren Brown, famously demonstrated one method in his TV programme, The System, and online tipsters use variations on that method. One way to show punters a winning tip is to back all of the options but only show proof of your winners. Of course graphics editors, such as Photoshop, are a far simpler option these days and can be utilised to “prove” just about whatever the user wants.

Tipsters Often Delete Their Losing Tips

Another method used by some sites is to simply delete losing bets or, if they have even bigger cojones, add successful ones after the event. Because virtually none of these sites can deliver a long-term, sustainable profit, they know they will lose customers eventually. They are not in the business of customer retention but rather they are seeking short-term profit and churn.

For every person who joins their site, pays for their tips or funds their marketing or affiliate business but then leaves in a week or a month once they realise the tips are not what they purported to be, there is another mug out there ready to step into their shoes dreaming of easy money. As such, whilst an existing customer might notice that tips have been removed or altered, a prospective new customer will not.

One hugely popular social media tipping account got caught out when they posted the wrong screenshot by mistake, making it clear that they had been scamming all along. Of course, nothing happened and they continue to post their cash races (where a series of tips are posted to turn £1 into £1,000 or similar). In addition, we have seen tipping sites boasting about their successful bets and showing total wins over a calendar year in five figures. However, what the headline neglects to tell you and the small print does, is that they have completely ignored their losing bets.

As the old saying goes, the easiest way to walk out of a casino with a fortune is to walk in with a bigger one. In the same way, it is easy for a site to say they have won £65,000 and even show proof of every single bet and that the tip was provided in advance. But what they don’t show is the other £70,000 of losing tips they have offered up. Yes, they have genuinely and legitimately “won” £65,000 but their profit/loss account shows a negative of £5,000. Of course, that is not a problem to the tipster, who has been earning £4.99 a month from 10,000 punters who were sucked in by the headline and “winnings”.

Value Is Key But Disappears Fast

One key reason why few, if any, punters that use a tipping service will make a profit is that the prices of the selections are as important as the selections. And odds change. Quickly. Some regular bettors will argue until they are blue in the face that “value” is a myth or that it doesn’t matter and all that matters is winning bets. After the event, that is true, but we only know the winners once the race is run and by then it is too late to place a bet.

If you are someone who doesn’t “get” value, then ask yourself this: if you think a horse will win a race and want to back it at 6/1, would you still back it at 4/1? Or 2/1? Or evens? A 6/1 shot might be the favourite in a wide-open race but the fact remains that if the bookies have got their odds anywhere near right, it will still lose around 80% of the time. If you think it will win more than 15% of the time then you can back it at 6/1 and still make a profit in the long run (if your assessment is right).

Perhaps a simpler example concerns the roll of a dice. If you win on numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4, the chances are that you will win. You have a four in six chance of winning, in other words two in three, or 66.67%. You have found a bet that will win the majority of the time. If you can bet on such a roll at odds of better than 1/2 you will win in the long term. However, if you backed 1-4 at odds of 1/5, for example, even though your bet will probably win on most individual rolls, overall you will lose money.

We have digressed there into an explanation of value but the point is that the odds don’t just matter, the odds are crucial. If you join a tipping group or site, the chances are that by the time you get the tip, the odds will have already been cut somewhat, assuming the tipster themselves plus any friends, family and business associates back the selection before it is made public. Then, once the tip is sent out, you will be joining tens, hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of other punters trying to back it at the best price. The odds will fall and if there was any value in the first place, which is far from certain, it may at best be greatly diminished and at worst gone entirely by the time you get your bet on.

Tipsters: Good for Ideas & Information, But Not to Get Rich

Thumbs up laptop
Tips can be a good source of information, but aren’t foolproof

If we are giving the impression that we dislike tipsters then that is not the case. Listening to the tips and ideas of others has its place. However, we strongly recommend being very careful when it comes to using a paid service. Equally, we recommend you are extremely cautious with your stakes when it comes to following the tips of others.

A tip may talk the talk and if it is well written and well-considered, using all the right phrases and terminology, it is easy to believe it will win. But talking the talk is one thing: yielding winners at the right prices is another entirely. In short, no matter how convincing a tip sounds, piling in blindly with a large stake is not wise.

That said, as a secondary source of information, tips are brilliant. If you are someone who likes to research their bets and seek out value then a tip might back up your opinion. On the other hand, it might make a point that you had not considered and make you think again about your wager. Equally, it may throw up a bet you had not thought about at all but can now look into.

For those who do not have the time or inclination to pour over the stats and data, following a tipster can also be an easy and quick way to decide what to back. If you are a recreational punter looking for a bit of fun and in control of your stakes, then why not follow a tipster? They are probably not going to yield results all that much better than you would get yourself but if luck is on your side, you’ll still be picking up your winnings.

In conclusion, tipsters have their place as a source of information and another viewpoint but are absolutely not a get rich quick scheme. They are not any sort of get rich scheme, in fact, and you should be especially cautious with paid services or anyone making claims that sound too good to be true.