Introducing the 'Soccer In-Play' Betting App
bettingexpert blog editor. Always taking the alternative route to finding the value.
Where can you find in-play football betting stats? How do you become a professional sports trader? Today on the blog we chat with Mark Iverson about being a pro trader and a new in-play betting app he has developed to assist football traders.
How long have you been involved in betting/trading and how did you get involved?
My history with sports started a long time ago. When I was young boy I had a condition with my hip that stopped me from going to school. The only person available to look after me was my Grandfather so every afternoon he’d push my wheelchair to the betting shop where we’d end up fighting the smoke to try and pick some winners from the race cards on the wall. My parents didn’t mind this daily routine until I started scanning the daily paper over breakfast to read the horses form and give my tips for the day. They stopped the paper soon after, but that was it – I was hooked.
As I grew older my fascination grew and I became increasingly convinced that it was possible to profit from betting on sport. I created system after system to try and beat the bookies, all of which returned mixed results, but it took what I call ‘a perfect storm’ for everything to start coming together.
Four crucial things happened over a relatively short period of time; gambling tax was abolished in the UK, the broadcasting of live sport via digital television took off, the internet became a household phenomenon and Betfair was launched thus giving punters the chance to trade sport like any other commodity.
If any of these hadn’t happened I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be doing what I do now but I still had to serve an apprenticeship. In the summer of 2005 I read the books ‘Lay, Back and Think of Winning’ by Nigel Paul and ‘Game, Set and Matched’ by Iain Fletcher and the penny dropped. From there I committed myself to adopting a more professional approach and for the next 4 and a half years set about trading/betting as much as I could on a part time basis. It was only in January 2011, after building a reasonable sized betting bank, that I took the leap to become a full time sports trader.
What did you do professionally before you became involved in betting/trading fulltime?
After struggling to come to terms with the being an academic despite both my parents being teachers, I realised that if I was to get anywhere I’d have to work hard from the bottom up, so after dropping out of University in my first year my CV took on a varied feel. My most influential positions since have consisted of being a Cinema Manager, a Department Manager for ASDA and most recently as a Project Manager for a multi-national company where I was mainly responsible for setting up operations in new territories. A mixed bag but with a stint in sales squeezed in-between it’s also given me a broader outlook and a good grounding in most business areas. On reflection, it’s surprising how many transferrable skills I’ve taken from these roles into gambling.
Did you play any sport at a serious level?
I’d love to be able to extend the truth, but the short answer is no. The highest level I reached was playing for my school rugby, football and cricket teams and even then I could only describe myself as being a decent all-rounder.
Which sports do you focus on with your betting/trading and why?
These days the majority of my profits come from One Day Cricket with it generating 70-75% of my profits, with the rest made up from Football, NFL, Rugby Union and Darts. Why this sport? A tricky question to answer but it just seems to lend itself to a style I’m comfortable with - plenty of statistics to get stuck into and matches that tend to develop over time. Another big attraction is the in-play liquidity on the exchanges. As the vast majority of my betting is in-play it’s been vital for me to concentrate on a sport where it was going to be possible to scale-up my stakes as my betting bank got bigger. Cricket has ticked these boxes and with around 300 televised matches each year I very much recommend it as a good place to start for any newcomers.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a professional bettor/trader?
Firstly, I think it’s important to think of being a ‘professional’ as a state of mind and not necessarily a job title. Betting doesn’t have to be your only source of income for you to think of yourself in this way. When I first started out I was earning pennies but this didn’t stop me from endorsing my blog with the words ‘Professional Sports Trader’. Now that I look back it’s all a bit cringe worthy, but at the same time I believe this internal pressure to be something I wasn’t, drove me on. Almost like a mission statement, this pressure made me concentrate very hard on how I could improve and I’m sure it accelerated my learning process.
Secondly - think BIG. Have big lofty goals but don’t misunderstand this as an excuse to not work hard or for taking shortcuts. In my opinion, a lot of us settle for what we have rather than to aim high and fall short, but I’ve come to the opinion in recent years that almost anything is achievable if you want it enough and put the steps in place to get there. After all, didn’t Muhammad Ali say "I’m the greatest” even before he knew he was?
Okay, those two pieces of advice are aimed at the psychology aspect, but from a more fundamental and practical point of view I would say specialise in a sport you are interested in and gather as much information as you can put your hands on. Knowledge is everything so aim to be the one who knows more than most. With an endless stream of sporting websites springing up on a day to day basis and with an explosion in social media, it’s easier to find out so much more these days.
What was the inspiration behind Soccer In-Play?
Whilst cricket is by far my main sport, I’m always looking for edges in others and with football generating so much interest I’ve been keen to understand more about the game.
This came to a head at the beginning of last season when I started thinking about how the sequence of goals and goal times can have an impact on a Manager’s tactics. I wondered if there were consistent patterns that could be followed if you also added the strength of the teams playing.
Sure enough, after the painstaking process of collaborating the data, I found there were but the methods I had for filtering similar matches were a bit cumbersome – what I needed was a quick, easy and and reliable tool that was mobile so I could use it anywhere I was watching a match.
From this point I set about building an app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
What was the development process like?
An interesting one! I’m not a overly technical person and I’d never attempted anything like this before so it’s fair to say I had some help, but my previous Project Management experience came in handy and from the initial design to the final throes of testing I learnt so much.
Tell us briefly how it works?
At the beginning of a match you set your perceived strength of both the home and away teams from the 4 options given; Top Team, Top Half Team, Bottom Half Team or Relegation Candidate.
You then simply wait for goals. When one goes in you add the goal time to the relevant team and from there you can select 1 of 5 predictive graphs ( Match Odds, Next Goal, Next Goal Time, Correct Score & Total Goals) to see what happened from that position in similar historic games.
How do you think making this information freely available will impact upon the in-play markets?
With the in-play football markets being one of the largest growth areas in the industry I doubt that Soccer In Play will have a huge impact initially. It’s a slow burner but I really believe it can educate users on how a match is likely to play out, so over time who knows? Maybe in 5 years time the majority of us will have a much better understanding of what’s likely to happen when Man Utd go 1-0 behind at Norwich in the 60th minute!
How is it better than competing apps?
From what I’ve seen of other football apps, they’re all based around team results and past statistics. I’m not aware of any others that have attempted to help the in-play punter/trader make better in-play decisions.
My favourite bit is that you don’t have to wait for a game to get this information – why not simulate games in advance so that you can build a strategy based on what you think will happen? Fancy the first goal to come after half-time? Just enter the goal times and view the graphs to build a picture of likely scenarios.
How has the response been?
It’s been very encouraging with the app gaining over 1000 downloads in the first 13 days. This was above my expectations so it’s shown me that people do actually like the idea.
Do you have any enhancements for the product or new apps in the works?
The future of ‘Soccer In Play’ is very much in the users hands and I’m always keen to hear feedback whether it’s positive or negative. If there’s any standout feature that’s missing then feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
One big question I’ve had is whether there’ll be an Android version but that’s on hold for the time being as I made a conscious effort to just concentrate on the iOS market for now. Any new apps in the pipeline? Not yet but the obvious question is whether I could provide a similar product for other sports. It all depends if there’s a demand for it.
Visit the Soccer In-Play site to download the app today
And check out more of Mark's thoughts on all things betting and trading on his blog at MarkIverson.com:
Follow him on Twitter: @markyiverson
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Superb app and everyone should get one if you want to be up to date.
Very interesting and informative interview. There is little doubt that in-running betting is a bigger and bigger part of the betting industry now, with punters loving the ability to change tack and positions during play. This app does sound well worth a try for anyone keen on trading football...