About James Pacheco

A question people often ask is: what’s so special about you that allows you to tip for a living, or what entitles you, to call yourself a professional tipster? It’s a fair question. After all, if you were handing over your Finances to an Accountant, you’d want to know about their qualifications, diplomas, track record of managing clients’ money and maybe even request some references before trusting them with your hard-earned money. So the answer comes in three parts.

Gamekeeper turned poacher- A career in betting

For starters, I’ve worked in Online Gaming for 12 years. Almost nine at Betfair and three at a Swedish company called NordicBet, owned by the Betsson group. I worked in Operations, trading, as a Press Officer, a Website Editor, a Copywriter and a Content Manager. I was a Pundit on my own Radio Show on Betfair Radio, talking about upcoming events, betting opportunities, betting stories and all other things sports betting. I was the founding Editor of Betting.Betfair, the excellent website that specialises in discussing betting opportunities solely on Betfair markets.

The most important thing I learnt from all these years of working ‘on the other side’ isn’t ‘what to do’ as much as ‘what not to do’. I’ve talked to customers, Head Traders, Journalists, Marketing Managers and plenty of other people in my bid to one day beat the very bookies I was employed by. It can be done. It can be done with patience, research, discipline and hard work and all those things are things I intend to demonstrate in spades, right here.

And if you’re wondering about the ‘what not to do’ side of things, here are just a few of the things that came up time and again by talking to people and seeing it with my own eyes. 1) Don’t bet when tired, drunk, angry or on the back of a big loss. 2) Don’t take poor value on a bet just because you think it will win. 3) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket by having several bets that all rely on the same sort of thing happening. For example, don’t bet over 2.5 goals, both teams to score, Rooney and Ozil to score when a 0-0 makes them all losers. Similarly, don’t risk too much of your balance on just one bet. 4) Don’t bet on what you think will happen or what you want to happen. Instead, bet on a selection that has inflated odds in relation to your perceived chances of it happening. 5) Big accas are the fast way to the poorhouse. A double is fine most of the time but anything more than that is doomed for failure as a long-term betting strategy. You’re better off backing all your selections as singles. 5) Sometimes the best bet is no bet at all.

Time, patience, research, knowledge…

I recently left my job as a Content Manager at a very large Swedish betting company to pursue betting and tipping full time. That means I now have the time and patience to research bets and accumulate as much knowledge as possible. It means I have the time to watch a Portuguese football match on a Monday night, a T20 match from the Pakistan Super league on a Wednesday afternoon or even the highlights of a round of matches just gone by. All this is preparation and research for future bets.

I also have time to meticulously analyse stats, read team news, assess the impact of injuries and generally just know as much as I possibly can about a sports event before it takes place. And that includes going over endless betting markets and checking odds comparison sites for the best prices.

In summary, I have the time to do all this because it’s my job. Like anything else, if I don’t put in the hours I won’t reap the rewards, my suggested bets and my own betting will be poor and I’ll join the tipsters and wannabe pro bettors who found that betting isn’t so easy after all. Goes without saying that I don’t intend for that to happen! More to the point, I put in the hours of research and preparation so you don’t have to.

Proven results

You can read about how I research, what I bet on and why here but suffice to say it’s not enough to talk a good game. Some tipsters like to explain losses with phrases like ‘at least I got the value’, ‘we were unlucky’, ‘the betting Gods were against us’ and so on. There are only so many times you can explain losses rather than talk about wins. And the proof is in the pudding. I’ve been writing tips for Daily Punt and on the Betting School website since August 2016 and my P and L shows I return a serious profit. Every bet at the suggested odds for the suggested stakes is accounted for and if I didn’t show a healthy long-term profit I wouldn’t be here. And that’s the way it should be. After all, if you’re paying for a tipping service that doesn’t give you a healthy profit then what are you paying for?

You can keep tabs on my ongoing P and L here.

My betting methods

As explained elsewhere on this site, I believe there’s no substitute for hard work and research. I also believe that the expression ‘Jack of all trades, Master of none’’ was invented for a reason. I’ve found the very best tipsters and pro punters specialise in just a couple of sports. The more you try to cover, the less specialised and knowledgeable you’ll be on each individual thing you’re betting on.

Some just specialise in a particular league, a particular type of horse race, a particular team, or a particular betting market like goals or cards or corners. That’s definitely the way to go although if I was to be quite that specific I’d find it hard to pick enough bets to be active enough myself and to pick interesting bets for you to bet on. So instead I’ve decided that I’ll focus just on cricket and football. Very, very rarely I’ll pick a selection from something else like tennis or snooker if I’ve been watching a particular tournament intensely or if it involves a player I’ve followed a lot over the years. But that’s very much the exception.

Here are some of the golden rules I stick to:

Practice what you preach- I never recommend a bet that I haven’t bet on myself. If I don’t put my own money on the bets I’m recommending to you then the question is, why not? If they’re good enough to tell you to bet on them then they’re good enough for me to bet on them. Placing bets with my own money ensures that every single bet I recommend has been researched and picked with all the necessary care and attention. We’ll turn over a profit here but this isn’t an exact science so if you’ve had a losing bet based on my tips, then so have I.

Respect the staking plan and the betting bank- I believe in betting being a long-term hobby or living. That means I believe in building up a steady profit rather than going ‘all or nothing’ just for thrills. It also means that I take a staking plan very seriously and keep to it. Firstly, that applies to both how much I bet on each selection. If my own policy is to bet 10 pounds on a one point bet then a 10 pound bet is what I’ll bet. If yours is 25 Pounds per one point bet then that’s what you should bet. Not 50 on a one point bet when it’s normally 25 just because your previous bet lost. Equally, when I recommend two or three bets per match it makes sense to back them all rather than pick and choose one of them. That’s because I sometimes have ‘saver bets’ that allow me to still show a profit even though my overall assessment of the match was wrong. Equally, if I’ve decided for example that Watford will definitely score I might recommend bets on both Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo. Betting on one and not the other only for the one you didn’t bet on to score can be very frustrating.

Steady profits not big highs and lows– I try to have a balanced set of selections. For the most part I don’t believe in trying to go for too many longshots. In terms of football and cricket I’ve found that in general big-priced selections of 15/1, 20/1 etc are little more than speculative punts. Occasionally I might go for a Man-of-the-Match selection at big odds on a cricket match after working out which player or players might thrive in particular conditions or very, very occasionally a first goalscorer if someone is vastly overpriced.

But for the most part I tip bets between about 1.8 and 4.0 as this is generally where I’ve felt I’ve done best. I appreciate most customers who follow racing tips are used to tips at much bigger prices but this is what has worked for me in terms of showing a profit.

Big accas don’t pay off- I’m not a fan of accas with more than two selections. In all my years of betting and working in the betting industry I’ve never known anyone to be in profit in the long term by betting on big accas. Of course it’s hugely satisfying when a 7-way 50/1 shot comes in because you were right and because it gave you a big short term profit. But I challenge anyone to tell me that these small moments of joy made more money than what you lost on all the failed accas.

Have Multiple Betting accounts- There are several benefits to having multiple betting accounts. One is that you still have an open account in case another one is closed because you’ve been winning too much.

Another is that you can benefit from more offers such as bonuses, free bets and money-back promos.

Yet another is that not all bookies have all the markets I bet and recommend bets on so you don’t want to miss out on good tips because the one bookie doesn’t offer that market. For example, a certain player to be shown a card in football, certain corners markets in football, Man of the Match markets in cricket, which team will hit the most sixes in a cricket match.

The last is the most important: price. If it’s a big football match, the odds on a team winning will generally be pretty similar from one bookie to the next. But on other markets it can vary massively. Player ‘to score’ markets are one such example. I’ve seen certain players on Bet365 be half the price on this market compared to what they are on Betfair and UniBet, for example. That’s not to say Bet365 isn’t a good betting company. It’s one of the very best, It’s just that they’re stingy on that particular market and it makes no sense to only get half the return on a win that you’d get somewhere else.

I appreciate that it’s not practical to have 20 different betting accounts for several reasons. So in terms of good odds, the variety of markets, the all-round quality of the product and offering the markets I tip on I’d recommend having accounts with the following: Bet365, Betfair, PaddyPower, Ladbrokes and Betfred.

Value is king- This is the number one thing any pro punter will tell you. This might mean that a few strange scenarios where I say something probably won’t win but is a value bet. I might say Bangladesh probably won’t beat India but they should be 3.0 to win, not 5.0 and that 5.0 represents value.

Value means backing prices that are bigger than they should be. That way when they win, your returns will be bigger than what they really should be and will make up for a few inevitable losses along the way. Value betting is essential to showing a long-term profit.

Head, not heart- Despite being a huge sports fan, I’ve made a point of not supporting any team or particular player and never have I, or will I ever, have a patriotic bet! This allows me to see the wood for the trees. So you’re unlikely to find me here tipping the England football team (they’re generally under-priced), Andy Murray (he’s on the way down) or anything like that. Unless of course they’re a value bet. Which is where being objective and detached comes into things.

What I Bet