Brad Allen is a regular on the Matchbook Betting Podcast where he takes a data-led approach to finding value bets on US sports. At the Matchbook Traders Conference he will be speaking on the Pro Panel discussing NFL insights and analysis from the season so far, and we caught up with him to find out a bit more about the man behind the stats.
Tell us how you ended up in the gambling world?
Brad Allen: It seemed sensible to try and generate some utility out of the many hours I was spending reading about and watching sport. I also love the challenge – I get far more excitement from finding a good bet or angle than I do from it winning. As a regular gambler, I started applying for jobs writing about the industry, and have kept getting deeper since!
What has been the biggest change in your approach to betting/trading over the past 12 months?
Brad Allen: I’ve started taking odds against shots where possible, which usually means bigger handicaps.
For instance, I’ve been betting baseball favorites -1.5 runs and taking NFL teams -3.5 with plus money rather than paying juice for the -3. I think the market underestimates the volatility of these sports significantly.
How much have you gained over the years from listening to other gamblers and other points of view?
Brad Allen: I love sharing ideas and strategies. That’s what Twitter’s for, isn’t it? I’ve built lists of gamblers and handicappers for each of the sports I bet on and spend hours reading thoughts and articles on others. Even if you discount their view or disagree with it, it makes you reconsider your own views, and often you’ll pick up new angles.
What is the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given?
Brad Allen: The best bit of advice I’ve heard in recent years is to make your edge count while it lasts. Because most edges don’t last long. I had a year betting NFL player props where I was hitting around 60% at 10/11 and having a great time. But of course I got blocked from those bookmakers and the lines sharpened up. So make the most of it while it lasts because markets adjust.
What is your favorite sport to bet on and why?
Brad Allen: Baseball for two reasons. First of all is the sheer amount of opportunity you get.
With a regular season of around 2,400 games, you should be able to make your edge tell if you have one. It also lets you be more patient. With 15 games on most days, there’s never a need to force a bet.
The game is also the most statistically advanced sport in the world and there are loads of resources for people to looking to understand what happened in a game beyond the box score, and thus what might happen in the future.
What is your favorite event on the sporting calendar and why?
Brad Allen: Super Bowl Sunday.
I spend the two weeks building up to the game, reading and thinking it, covering everything from tactics to individual player matchups to all the stats, and generally have built a good picture how it might unfold come game day.
And given the hundreds of markets and props available, it’s a great opportunity to make a profit.