I’m a former horseracing journalist and history/politics teacher who has long been obsessed by the Eurovision Song Contest. I started betting seriously on Eurovision with its expansion to include more countries in eastern Europe and the growth of betting exchanges such as Betfair. I had my first four-figure bet on the contest in 2006, when I calculated Turkey had enough guaranteed points from neighbours and its diaspora around Europe to qualify from the semi-final.
The introduction of two semi-finals instead of one in 2008 widened my opportunities. By 2010 I was able to quit my day job to focus full-time on betting. To fill the gap between Eurovisions, I turned seriously to The X Factor. The same year I set up Sofabet to share my thoughts on both.
From 2011 I have been reporting on Eurovision rehearsals from the press centre. Whilst my Eurovision returns have fluctuated, I have continued making a profit each year on the event. That was also the case on X Factor until a wrong call in the 2013 semi-final sing-off wiped away my previous winnings that season and more. I returned to profit for the 2014 series.
Many people ask why I share my thoughts publicly on Sofabet rather than keeping them to myself. Am I not worried about spoiling the odds I can get on Betfair by putting others onto what I’m backing? It’s a very valid question, and I have two answers.
First, it would obviously be impossible for me to detail in advance on Sofabet every bet I intend to have, as opportunities often arise that need to be acted on instantly. That’s why my articles tend to be explanations of the direction in which my thinking is going, rather than explicit tips (although, for the sake of form, I do force myself to give an explicit tip in Sofabet’s main preview of the Eurovision semis and final, and before the X Factor live shows and the final). Longstanding reader Justin told me: “I like your site because it has taught me how to approach betting on Eurovision rather than just giving tips.”
Second, I find that writing for Sofabet provides invaluable mental discipline. In the course of drafting an article to justify my instincts to a public audience, I am often able to spot weaknesses in my own reasoning that cause me to revise my views. And the debate that ensues in the comment section is often very helpful in informing my own punting strategy.
I bet on a variety of other things such as sport and politics, but given that my main focus is the TV stuff – which has traditionally been less comprehensively covered – that has always been the focus of Sofabet too.
Please feel free to join the conversation – we try to make the site as welcoming as possible. Or if you want to know more about me, my betting or Sofabet, drop me an email.