Let’s start with a story.
It features a punter who consistently loses money (although he tells others, and himself, that he’s a winner). One day, in January 2016, he stops kidding himself, and decides he is going to change his betting habits and start making the game pay. He does everything right. He decides to specialise, which he reads is an important first step towards profitability, and chooses top-flight men’s tennis as his focus.
He’s spreadsheet savvy, and uses his skills to build a ratings system, based on the ELO method. It takes a few weeks to get it right, especially the part where he converts rating superiority into odds, but with lots of reading of websites like this one, he gets there. He uses his ratings to start paper trading, working out when an odds discrepancy represents a value bet. After a few months of moneyless investment, he’s convinced his system is profitable. He starts using real money again. The story ends happily – he makes money, consistently.
There is an aspect of his new way of punting that vexes him, though. It involves Albert Einstein and Novak Djokovic.