Aug 22, 2013
Aug 22, 2013

Pinnacle's Head of Sportsbook answers your questions

Pinnacle's Head of Sportsbook answers your questions
Pinnacle's Head of Sportsbook took questions from bettors from around the world. The event, where he discussed markets, odds, trading, and probability, proved so popular it broke Twitter's message limit. Below is the first part in a series of articles expanding upon his answers.

Due to being a Twitter Q&A session, both the questions and answers were cut to fit the 140-character limit. However, in this write-up we've increased the Head of Sportsbook's answers to include more detail that wasn't possible to include on Twitter, and to make it more accessible to bettors. All expanded answers have had the full input of the Head of Sportsbook.

To read the original, un-expanded transcript, click here.

Are odds sets by statistical analysis of past data, or do you copy lines from other bookmakers, or do you guess based on subjective criteria?

Honestly, it's a mix of all three of those factors. We take past data in account, but we also use market information. There's also that human element.

When customers bet, are we trying to beat you? Surely you generate two-way action, to balance the book, and simply take the margin?

The "us vs. them" view is an antiquated view of looking at bookmakers. With our small margins, we have a much higher exposure than other books, and therefore if we set lines badly, we'll be exposed on one side of a market. Therefore we always manage our lines to make them as efficient as possible, and never our players.

Do you intend to provide any "money back" offers like a lot of UK books do, or any other free cash-based incentives?

Only if you want worse odds. We avoid those gimmicks so we can provide our players with better value. When a company gives you those things, you have to ask - where does that money come from? A comparison of their odds against ours will give you the answer.

Our content team wrote an article on why these kinds of promotions are bad (and are not as generous as you might think). Read about the terms and conditions behind free bets and promo cash here, or see our in-depth look at promotions provided by other bookmakers here.

The same is true of bookmaker's sponsorship - where does the money come from to put their name on a soccer shirt? Worse odds for bettors. 

How do you determine whether a "bad line" should be voided? I've had some voided and some not in the past.

We apply common sense when determining bad lines or not. We try to err on the side of the customer, but we do void if it's something substantial.

How can I identify value when betting on soccer?

Betting right after the line-ups are released is a good time. You can read more about this in our article, "Money Talks at Pinnacle", which also explains the Pinnacle Lean.

Can you consider supporting growth markets more, such as cycling, by opening markets earlier and with more options? Maybe an opportunity to bet on the Top 3, rather than just one.

By far, the most-asked question we have received concerns markets we don't offer or offer low limits on.

Pinnacle is a global company with a priority of providing global markets. We rely on the volume of those markets to enable our offering the best odds in the industry. This is the essence of our service.

If we do not offer a market, or keep limits relatively small, it's due to a lack of global popularity. If a sport dominates headlines regionally, but doesn't reach outside that region, we can't offer it in the same way we would soccer because the global market hasn't embraced it. That doesn't mean we think any less of those sports, it's just that niche markets are not our focus.

There are two things you can do to increase the odds of our carrying a sport or increasing its limits. The first is to let us know what you're looking for with an email to [email protected] (because of requests for beach volleyball, for example, we recently covered a few more competitions), and the second is to bet more on a given market. Both are indicators of popularity, and with enough volume, attitudes can shift.

How do you feel about arbers?

In short: we welcome arbitrage players. You can read our promotions page that explains our positive policy towards arbers here.

When I bet, my expected return is usually $1.04 for every $1 wagered. This means that my accounts with other bookmakers are normally closed. Why do you still allow me to bet and provide me with a good service?

We like the challenge, and our model (which welcomes winners) has worked well for us for the past 15 years, so why would we change it? It essentially works by encouraging betting volume and good players to shape our odds to be as accurate as possible. You can read more about our Winners Welcome policy here.

I would like to know how your office looks. Lots of TV screens? Do you spend weekends there?

We make our work environment confortable for our staff. We have more TV screens than you can count (and almost as many computer monitors)...And yes, we often spend weeks in here. Look out for a peak behind the scenes

Things missed in the Q&A

That concludes Part 1 of our Q&A write-up. There were plenty more questions asked, however, so expect many more articles covering the answers. Because of the sheer volume of questions, however, the @PinnacleSports account maxed-out the number of tweets it could possibly send, so we missed out on a chance to say the following things:

Challenger Tour and Live Tennis - More markets

The Head of Sportsbook wanted to use the Q&A as an opportunity to tell customers about a plan to upgrade our tennis offerings.

Tennis bettors will be happy to know that we're working out details that will allow us to not only offer Challengers series events as a regular offering, but also enhance our live tennis offerings.

Betting Resources - Empowering your betting

Pinnacle’s Betting Resources is one of the most comprehensive collections of expert betting advice anywhere online. Catering to all experience levels our aim is simply to empower bettors to become more knowledgeable.