Simon Hopper (@hopperfootball) is the editor and the chief Football Tipster of easyodds.com. He is the author of the “Top Football Lays column”, where he advise teams to lay at short prices throughout the season. Since November 2012 his tips have been reviewed by The Secret Betting Club, who monitors and reviews the services of online tipsters. Simon also provides picks in areas such as darts, reality TV and Formula One .
Can you tell us what is easyodds.com?
Easyodds.com is an odds comparison site. We compare odds from around 20 of the biggest bookmakers in the UK, Europe and Asia. As well as that, we also offer expert tipping across most major sports.
You are the editor of easyodds but you also provide Football tips. Can you tell us more about your contribution as a Tipster to easyodds?
My main specialities are the top four English divisions, though I also cover the Champions League, European club football and international football. Every week I contribute tipping to the site in a variety of ways. I have a lay column, offer around 3-4 Football League tips, contribute to a weekly Premier League tipping podcast and also offer recommended bets on all TV matches for the top four English divisions with my team.
What was your first contact with the sports betting world?
My family have been involved in horse racing for over 20 years so I guess it was the early visits to the racetracks which gave me my first contact (not that I was betting underage of course!).
What are the best and the worst parts of the tipster profession?
The best part is getting to immerse yourself in the world of football, which I’m sure for many men of my age is a dream job. The worst part is knowing you’re losing people money when you’re having a bad run. I can cope with my own swings but it’s hard not to feel bad for your followers.
What is your method for finding value odds and selecting your picks?
Before looking at the betting, I price up every market for every match I am analysing. Then I will cross-reference my books with the best prices available and look to take advantage of any significant discrepancies. Most of the time there won’t be any major differences but when there are, you can take advantage.
Why did you decide to create the Top Football Lays column?
My reasons were two-fold. Firstly, when I started the column around 70% of my personal bets were lays so it was a lot easier for me to give my top selections to Easyodds.com readers each week. Secondly, a few years ago not enough UK football punters were not taking advantage of laying. I wanted easyodds.com readers to understand that this was a great tool to have in your betting portfolio if used correctly.
Do you have an estimation of how many people see your tips (yours and your team’s) every week?
My Lay column has several hundred regular readers each week, many of whom I am in regular contact with. Our two top 10 columns (Top 10 Premier League tips and Top 10 Football League tips) are the most popular articles; each get a few thousand readers a week. They are also ranking well in Google for some sizeable search terms so they are gaining new followers at a good rate.
Do you think it’s important to watch the games on TV?
For me personally, not really. Most of my research is stats-based and what actually happens in the games is not terribly important. Also, I don’t bet in-play or trade on the exchanges so I don’t need to follow the games too intently. I’m sure for punters who rely more on team news and other short-term factors then watching the games would be far more important.
What is your staking method? What is your advice for punters?
I stake between 2-5% of my bankroll on my selections, depending on the value. I’ve worked out my worst ever losing streak and made sure I always have enough to cover the same bad run and then a little bit more. My advice for punters would be to pick a conservative staking plan (personally I wouldn’t bet more than 5% of your bankroll on one selection) and stick to it, with absolutely no exceptions. Even if you over-bet on one selection just once then the whole staking plan is ruined. You have to be absolutely disciplined.
What advice would you give to those who want to become Professional tipsters?
Make sure you have an enormous sample size of past results to prove you are good enough to do it. Variance plays a huge part in football betting and you need to be sure you’re not just getting lucky, as most winning punters probably are. If you can get a decent ROI over thousands of selections then maybe you can do it. Also, don’t feel like you need to spend fortunes on your bets to start with. I spent many months not spending a penny on my bets and just recording the results to check that I was on the right path.
Do you think there are many “hidden” great potential tipsters, who aren’t betting yet due to fear or ignorance?
I think there will always be maths-based specialists who could take up an interest in betting and do well at it. That’s a far more likely scenario than someone who knows a lot about sport becoming good at betting. Knowing a lot about sport and making money betting on it are two entirely separate entities.
Can you tell us how a normal day in your life is?
I’m in the office for 8am and normally do a combination of meetings, writing, research, podcasts, and planning my team’s schedule until about 5.30 or 6pm. Some nights I’ll go home and watch football and others I’ll do additional research, depending on how busy the football schedule is. Being editor of a site and being a tipster is like having two different jobs so it’s normally a minimum 10-hour day.
What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
I am interested in history and politics (I studied War Studies at university) so try and read as much on those subjects as I can, though the odd football book normally works its way into my collection in the summer. In a past life I also used to love poker but don’t get enough time to play much anymore. Besides that, I’m based in London so I spend as much spare time as I can out with my friends, mostly in pubs or restaurants.
Any sports betting book you have read and want to recommend?
The Definitive Guide to Betting on Football by Kevin Pullein is pretty good. It’s heavily stats-based but offers a good insight to the long-term principles all punters should be guided by. To be honest I’ve found most other sports betting literature pretty underwhelming. I enjoy reading the better poker strategy books, which I find more interesting.