The Lizard and the Bee
How two men mastered online betting and made their fortune
By Johnny Phillips
The Lizard and the Bee - how 2 friends conquered the trillion dollar football betting industry
Betting on football matches is a global obsession. More than 100 million people regularly bet on the sport. Less than 1% of them make a profit. At the summit of this select group are two men who make more than anyone else.
Both of them have used their betting winnings to buy the football clubs they supported as boys - Brighton and Brentford. Their names are Tony Bloom and Matt Benham.
The world in which Bloom (the Lizard) and Benham (the Bee) have made their fortune is the Asian football betting market. In the relatively short time since online betting has been around this market has grown exponentially so that it now rivals stock and bond markets for volume and wealth. Bloom and Benham have each built up a syndicate betting operation that works more like a hedge fund than a punter in a betting shop. They employ an army of maths genius 'quants' to crunch the mountains of data they collect on football teams and players from all over the world.
The wealth that these operations has generated has let Bloom and Benham live out every football-mad young boy's dream - they have bought the football clubs they supported as lads. Brighton and Brentford have traditionally bounced around the lower reaches of the English football pyramid. But with the financial investment of their multi-millionaire owners, and crucially, the application of cutting edge statistics-based analytical methods honed in the cut-throat world of professional betting, both have enjoyed unprecedented recent success.
The Lizard and the Bee is a story of how two highly intelligent young men spotted the potential in the Asian Handicap market just as it exploded in size. How they mastered the art of finding an edge in the biggest, smartest sports betting market on the planet. How they used the wealth that this prowess brought to by football clubs. And then how they applied the skills forged in the betting markets to the running of their clubs.
Johnny Phillips is a Sports Analytics & Strategy Consultant and former bookmaker betting shop manager, trader and odds compiler. He also spent eight years as a professional gambler, betting on pre-game and in-play football, using betting exchanges and Asian bookmakers.
Since 'retiring' as a full-time gambler he has worked for betting syndicates principally as a 'quant' analyst, working with ex Star Lizard and Smartodds people.
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- Publication date:
21 Mar 2019
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