2016 Football Blogging Awards: Meet the finalists – Scottish Football Tips

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We’re now less than a month away from finding out which of our finalists will be named the Football Blogging Award’s Best Gambling Blog, as sponsored by Ladbrokes News. So to give you some insight into the day-to-day lives of each of our nominees, we caught up with them to ask them about all things blogging.

Today is the turn of Scottish Football Tips!

Ladbrokes News: Describe a day in the life of a Scottish Football Tips blogger

Keeping my ear to the ground takes up a lot of my time most days. I have a list on Twitter I have titled ‘Fitba’. It contains the shakers and movers within Scottish football from ex-players to local journalists. I spend a lot of time on there and in forums like Pie & Bovril.

Pie & Bovril is great because you get info from the die-hard fans of the clubs. There is no better source. It’s as good as any ‘inside info’.

Every day also contains checking prices for upcoming games. I like to look for movement in prices that could present an opportunity. I specialise in Scottish football so have time to keep an eye on it from Monday to Thursday.

Thursday is usually my busiest day when I bash out all the weekend’s previews. I can knock out up to 4,000 words of previews on a Thursday, quite easily. Hell of a shift for a one man team.

There’s also the admin, promotion, social media interaction, website development, video producing, breeeaaattthhhhhhh……

LN: What makes you guys stand out from your competition?

The focus is solely on Scottish football, nothing else. I used to tip all manner of games on a daily basis. But while I had success it wasn’t a great experience for followers who were looking for someone they could place their trust in.

The comprehensive betting previews that I produce every week exhibit the knowledge and experience of Scottish football I have gleaned over the years. Followers know by my focus that I am spending time researching the information that should lead them in the right direction.

There is nothing else out there with such an entrenched focus on Scottish football, from a betting point of view. That’s what differentiates the site from everyone else.

LN: Proudest blogging moment to date?

Being nominated for the FBAs is right up there.

I genuinely didn’t think I would be in with much of a chance. I am indebted to those who voted for me. Seeing people vote for me gives me a big boost. I must be doing something right when they voted in such numbers. Particularly when you look at some of the behemoths I beat to the punch.

I am incredibly flattered by it all.

But the whole journey brings moments of wonder and awe so regularly. My first website, as ramshackle and unpleasing to the eye as it was, was a proud moment. The first person to thank me for making them a few bob. My first troll. All proud moments and they keep getting better.

Being approached by a major professional service to take up a position was hard to beat. When the big boys want your material you know you’re making some waves. Just this week I was approached by a Chinese media firm to produce material for them. Unbelievable stuff. I am still waiting on the call from BBC Scotland!

Now I am looking to employ some tipsters who also focus squarely on Scottish football. If I can pull that off by the end of this season and get a wee stable going that will top the lot.

LN: Best tip ever?

The very first tip I ever tweeted. Ross County to win the league without Celtic at 150/1. I know what you’re thinking, did Ross County ever finish second? No, they didn’t. But they went mighty close.

It was my first tip and I was putting my reputation on the line right from the word go. I pushed the hell out of it and got laughed off the scale across the board, which I understood. I tipped it when they were bottom of the table after all (in January (2013). That and for them to finish in the top six at 8/1.

In April, with six games to go, they were 1-2 up away to Hearts with 10 minutes remaining. A win would have lifted them right into contention but they somehow contrived to lose 4-2. The bet died there but I had already laid it off for chunks. And they finished in the top six.

LN: If you had a £100 free bet on any Premier League outright market this season, what would you back?

Premier League? In England? I honestly couldn’t tell you who plays up front for Man Utd right now. Is it that guy Celtic nearly signed? My focus is totally and utterly on Scottish football. If I used up what little free time I have to watch MOTD on a Saturday night my wife would kill me, or kick me out – which would be worse!

In the Scottish Premiership I would put it on a bet I took at the start of the season: Aberdeen to win the league without Celtic.

They were 7/2 at the start of the season, a crazy price lengthened by unrealistic expectations of Rangers. Rangers are still favourites in that market which is crazy in my opinion. The Dons are made of stern stuff these days.

LN: Is there a side which always lets you down?

Albion Rovers always find new, weird and wonderful ways to blow a bet.

Last season it was Peterhead. But I don’t believe in a jinx or teams that always lose.

It’s a statistical improbability. Losing bets just tend to stick in your mind. If you are always getting a team wrong you are more likely to be the problem, not the team. I would never let a perceived jinx put me off what I see as a really good bet.

LN: Biggest near-miss?

It’s not Scottish football but I took Dundalk to win the league in Stephen Kenny’s first year in charge. I took them at 150/1 and piled in. More than I should have given the price but I knew it was way out of sorts.

I laid some off here and there as they went close but I let most of it ride. Being a Dundalk fan it was doubly disappointing for me when they finally gave up the ghost, away to the eventual champions St Patrick’s if memory serves me correctly.

LN: Do you have any luck on other sports?

I don’t back any other sports seriously. I turn to others if I want to have a bet on, say, The Open.

LN: What advice would you give to new punters?

It’s all about the price. It doesn’t matter if you fancy a team to win or not, if the price is right that’s what counts.

If you think an outsider is too big look to other markets for value. A team at 20/1, for example, will usually be odds against just to score. Delve deeper than the WDW all the time.

And manage your bankroll. There is nothing worse than going broke. I know at first hand. It can be galling to have to start reducing stakes when on a losing streak but a good staking plan benefits you in the long run.

Design yourself a strategy and stick to it for a good length of time. GET A SPREADSHEET!

Analyse your results and pinpoint where your leaks are. Take a leaf out of the poker players’ handbooks. They are experts at managing and building bankrolls.

If you want to beat the bookie you are going to have to play the long game and eek out profit over time.

Check out Scottish Football Tips’ iconic goal challenge in the video below!

Head over to www.scottishfootballtips.com for all the latest previews and tips from the guys at @FitbaTips!

And don’t forget to cast your vote for the Best Football Gambling Blog in the form below!

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Alex Apati

Having graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Creative Writing with English, Alex joined the News team following a three year stint working for Ladbrokes behind the counter. When he's not watching darts, he's throwing them. Failing that you'll find him YouTubeing Thierry Henry's greatest Arsenal goals.