There are lots of hurdles to overcome before you can expect to turn a profit from following a tipster. First and foremost of course it’s the tipster’s skill to identify value prices. Secondly you want the tipster to advise his bets at prices from a reputable bookmaker who does not restrict their customers. Additionally you need to deduct subscription fees from potential profits and bet placement fees if you happen to place your bets automated through a bot (like I do). Something that is not so obvious and sometimes hard to estimate is slippage, which also has a hefty influence on your bottom line.
Slippage is the difference in profits between betting at advised and betting at obtained prices. Say, you follow a tipster and his yield across 1000 picks is +4.50%. Let’s also assume that the actual yield you have achieved from these bets (by sometimes being forced to take lower odds) is +3.30%. Your slippage would then be 1.20% (4.50% – 3.30%).
Please be aware that slippage only affects winning bets. For a losing bet using 1 point level stakes your p/l is always -1, regardless of the odds you took beforehand.
Consistently taking lower than advised prices can eat massively into your profits as we will see below. In fact it can be the difference between winning and losing depending on the popularity of the tipster. Generally speaking the more popular the tipster the greater the slippage will be.
But just how much of slippage are we talking about? I will try to quantify this figure below.
For this study I have used a bot to place all of my bets. Real wagers by the way. That is, once a pick has been submitted by a tipster, the bot placed the bet within fractions of a second from the time it has hit my inbox. All bets have been placed using €100 level stakes at Pinnacle prices.
I have also set a minimum odds requirement of 8 clicks for each bet. That means if the advised price was 1.80 the bot would get on at 1.72 and above. If the odds have dropped to anything below 1.72 the bot wouldn’t place the bet at all. I felt 8 clicks was the maximum drop I would accept, anything below I have considered as -ev.
My portfolio consisted of 7 different Pyckio PRO tipsters, so without a doubt the most popular tipsters on the platform with sometimes well over 1000 followers (although not everyone of those necessarily has an active subscription).
And here is the bottom line
Bets placed: 1759
Average odds taken: 2.064
Theoretical profit (w/o slippage): +€4,937.26 (+2.81% roi)
Actual Profit: +€2,506.90 (+1.43% roi)
Looking at the returns we can see that slippage has eaten almost half of the profits. Advised prices would have returned €4,937.26, in reality I turned a €2,506.90 profit. A slippage of 1.38%. Remind yourself that bets were placed almost instantly. If I had placed the bets manually, I would have definitely taken the worst of it and slippage would be even greater. Odds would likely have dropped below the minimum requirement, which would be the worst case scenario (as I would have paid sub fees for that pick, but couldn’t get on!).
Subscription costs for these 1759 bets were €1,835.40, so I needed to deduct this from the actual profits. €2,506.90 – €1,835.40 = +€671.50.
Note that sub fees are proportional to your stakes. For €100 level stakes (which I used) sub fees will take roughly 1% of your gross yield. For €50 level stakes sub fees will already eat 2% into your profits, for €200 stakes this figure would be 0.50%, etc. That means you will need to use sufficiently high stakes to compensate for subscription costs.
Additionally Pyckio charges 0.50% of the stake for bets using a bot, which would be a total of €879.50 for my sample. €671.50 – €879.50 = -€208.00.
Unfortunately that’s not the end as smartbet.io charges a 0.25% fee of the stake for providing the bot software. – €208 – €439.75 = -€647.75.
Et voila what looked a promising €4,937.26 profit ended in a €647.75 loss.
Consider these external costs before you subscribe. Especially slippage is not always obvious and sometimes not accounted for properly.
A tipster with a long-term yield of 3%+ is extremely rare. And even if you happen to find him, not a lot of profit will be left after all costs.