Jonathan Smith, Sportsbook Training Services: In-Play Football Modelling Masterclass

Jonathan Smith, Sportsbook Training Services: Building an in-play football model

Jonathan Smith, Founder of Sportsbook Training Services, is set to deliver a masterclass on In-Play Football Modelling at September’s SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital

The session, worth £200, is open to all delegates at the four-day virtual conference and exhibition, and is free to attend.

Smith’s masterclass on how to build a simple league winner simulation in Excel was one of the highlights of April’s SBC Digital Summit, when more than 700 traders took the opportunities to improve their skills. SBC News caught up with him to find out what he has planned for next month’s event.

SBC: What we can expect from your In-Play Football Modelling masterclass at SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital.

JS: Well, people who know me understand that I like to educate and entertain at the same time, so hopefully you’ll see a bit of both. 

The platform SBC have for this type of education is excellent. We’ll be building a simple in-play soccer model using Excel’s VBA programming language to show how you can create something quite decent without too much complexity. 

SBC: Does the teaching assume prior knowledge of the subject matter or can anyone with an interest in sports betting pick it up?

JS: For this lecture, you can just turn up with your laptop and a copy of Microsoft Excel. Generally, I like to teach a subject from first principles because people may have learned how to price a sport in different ways in the past. With my lectures, explaining the fundamental reasons why we are doing something is as important as how we end up doing it.

SBC: How has the teaching side of your business evolved since the arrival of COVID-19?

JS: Whilst I prefer face-to-face teaching at sportsbooks because I like to see how traders go about their business, the virus has left most people unable to travel. As a result, my online courses have proved popular – traders can study at their leisure, keep all the materials and I still get to talk to them via email as they progress through the topics.

SBC: Which are your most requested courses?

JS: The Principles of Sports Odds Compiling has been very popular, particularly with European sportsbook traders. It’s something I wished that I had access to when I was an odds compiler many years ago, so I was determined to put together a foundation course for people who want to learn key skills that are relevant in the modern trading floor environment.  

Advanced Football Pricing also has a lot of subscribers and the In-Play Football Model tutorial will be added to that course after the Summit.

SBC: As technology continues to change, will the fundamental skills that traders require also change?

JS: Whilst the role of a trader has undoubtedly changed due to a greater emphasis and reliance on technology, the need for these skills remains undiminished. 

If traders don’t understand the models over which they have control – whether on the sportsbook or the supplier side – then it affects the end product and the bottom line. Furthermore, if you want to progress in the industry, it’s imperative to have a thorough grasp of the product that you are responsible for.

SBC: What can we expect from you in the near future?

JS: On the training side, my NFL module is due out at the end of August. It’s been a real challenge to produce something worthy of a sport that so many people, especially on the other side of the Atlantic, are heavily invested in, but I’m excited about it. I just hope the season goes ahead as scheduled.

On the modelling side, we’ve just added tennis, complete with Multibet, to our suite of products in the Multi Builder 365 range, which allows instant ownership of essential sportsbook models on a subscription basis. Whenever competitive tennis resumes, we’re sure we have a great product to enhance the customer experience.


SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital takes place on 8 – 11 September 2020 and delegates can register free of charge here. The In-Play Football Modelling session will be staged in the event’s Sports Betting Zone on Thursday 10 September. 

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