A Day In The Life Of An Odds Compiler
Ever wondered about what goes on behind the scenes in the mysterious world of the Odds Compilers? Today on the blog Mike Pett from Unibet shares his experiences after spending a day inside the Unibet odds compiling department.
When mentioning the OC, most people would think immediately to the clichéd American ‘drama’ involving sun bronzed babes and annoyingly good looking men showcasing their talents on the Californian coast. But this OC is very different.
Peter - The Football Odds Compiler
I’m greeted by Sam, one of the managers at Unibet’s odds compiling department and he warns me on what to expect from a crash course in odds compiling, ‘some of these odds compilers have been doing this for over a decade, so you may be a bit overwhelmed’ before sitting me behind Peter, the odds compiler responsible for the pre match football.
It becomes apparent very quickly how numerically proficient you need to be to succeed. For a starter, he had 4 screens, which on them sat a number of different websites, programmes and excel spreadsheets all with an incomprehensible amount of complex data for an outsider like me.
One is a tool for comparing odds with rival websites and throughout my time it is reinforced how important the price in the market is to an odds compiler and to avoid being exposed, ‘if you are even a fraction of an odd out, the clever punters will take advantage and without even realising you could have a significant risk on a match that you don’t want’ adds Peter.
I’m then guided to an excel spreadsheet full of intricate algorithms, which can work out the ‘secondary markets’, such as total goals scored, over/under goals, and Asian handicap markets, based on the match price, which Peter assures me saves him a lot of time, especially if he has to do multiple leagues and multiple matches to compile.
I question Peter on what is the most important aspect of pre match odds compiling, ‘without a doubt it is watching as much of your sport as possible. It may sound simple but that’s where you learn about the teams, form, injuries, who each teams key players are’.
As the night time matches approach there is a real buzz floating around the office, Manchester United’s team against Newcastle has been released and it is an extremely strong front line for a League Cup game, so Peter is scrambling around to drop Manchester United’s price. ‘Were always searching for information that could affect the price, information that can give us an advantage against our competitors. Last year, for example we found out via Coleen Rooney’s twitter account that Wayne Rooney wouldn’t be playing in a match. We were lower in price than the market but we didn’t care because we felt we knew something that the bookies didn’t, and were willing to take the risk.’
One thing I really notice is the team spirit, how all of the odds compilers live the matches they are controlling together, and that it seems every goal that costs Unibet money is a slight on them personally.
‘Big football nights get very rowdy and competitive amongst the live odds compilers, and that really helps improve the service they offer, the all want to make Unibet the most money’ suggests Sam.
Tomek - The Tennis Odds Compiler
The most fascinating department that I sit with are the live tennis odds compilers and they are by far the most rowdy department also, cheering and cursing every point as if they were backing it themselves – which I soon find out is very much the case.
I chat to Tomek, who is covering a match between Dolgopolov and Falla, with Dolgopolov a 1.25 pre match favourite. Again, the odds compilers receive last minute information - Dolgopolov’s has just returned from the funeral of his best friend, and may not be in the best mind set for a tennis match, especially significant as Dolgopolov is an unpredictable player to start with.
Tomek is now happy to take as much money on Dolgopolov as he can and makes Unibet the most attractive price in the market. As soon as the match starts I watch and admire as Tomek chops and changes the price after every point, negating any advantage that a punter might hope to achieve in an instant, whilst casually betting £300 himself on the match with a competitor. ‘Why wouldn’t I?’ Tomek remarked when I questioned it, ‘I watch this stuff ten hours a day, I know a good price when I see one, why shouldn’t I make a profit?’
I soon find out from Sam that betting on shift is actively encouraged, ‘having a personal involvement means that the compiler is confident enough in their judgement to back it with their own money – and I love a confident odds compiler.’ As the match continues, I see that nearly every prediction Tomek makes comes true, and the profit’s roll in – both for Unibet and himself. I’m told that it doesn’t happen every match, but more than often Tomek and the other odds compilers are right.
As I leave, I’m questioned about what I have learnt and I answer something non-committal as my brain is still suffering from information overload, as if I’d been counting cards with Rain Man. Sitting on the train however, I can definitely settle on two things I have learnt.
Firstly, every odds compiler spoke about value over and over again, either avoiding giving it away or backing it themselves, and I was urged more than once to find when a price is askew and then bet to the rafters on it.
However, the point that interested me the most, is that these bookmakers may seem high and almighty from the outside, but in the scheme of things punters are simply betting against a one sport obsessed man on a computer.
And that should give us desperate gamblers a smidgen of hope.
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Nice article and good insight about how things are processed ate bookies.
Very nice article.
I had always wondered on how much the odds were affected by human opinions instead of computers.
This is a good insight to odds compiler and like everybody else out there that is searching for the profit, you can't refuse good odds when they come about and that's something that gets better as times goes by for punters. Odds can differ but when you know a bookie is underrating a team or one side, trust your instinct and jump to the cause. Happy hunting everybody.