Benjamin Leander, Better Collective: The referee turned tipster driving safer gambling on SpilXperten

Former Danish Superliga referee Benjamin Leander has agreed to an extended partnership deal with Better Collective, where he will continue in his role as an official brand ambassador for the firm’s SpilXperten media platform. 

For the latest in the popular Better Collective Spotlight series, Leander gives us the run down on his typical weekly routine as a brand ambassador, before outlining how he has contributed to SpilXperten over the last eight months via his vodcast and weekly analysis of the latest sports matches.

Leander has also taken responsibility for promoting responsible gambling – a concept central to Better Collective’s core values. As someone who has experienced problems in the past, he is well placed to lead this across his social media profile and SpilXperten channels.

SBC: When did your association with Better Collective first start?

BL: I started collaborating with SpilXperten because I knew the founders of the site. I have been collaborating with Better Collective and SpilXperten on a fixed, ongoing basis since May 2019 where I have contributed with Leanders Luringer (Eng. Leander’s Tips) – more on this later. From the beginning of 2020, I signed a new agreement with Better Collective extending the partnership meaning I am now an official brand ambassador for SpilXperten. 

SBC: What does your weekly work for SpilXperten.com include?

BL: I contribute with expert tips and analysis on platforms where SpilXperten publishes content – and on a broader note I help to spread the awareness and key messages of the brand, e.g. when it comes to responsible gambling. But also when I join other media collaborations and give interviews.

Once a week we record the SpilXperten podcast SpilXpoden where I, together with the other hosts, analyse sports matches for the week. The podcast is available basically on all podcast publishing channels, and it is also distributed as a vodcast on the SpilXperten YouTube Channel. 

With SpilXPoden, we would like to be more than just pundits who provide tips. We want to educate our listeners in terms of how to analyze a football match from a sports betting analyst point-of-view, but also talk about sports betting in general, how to have a healthy relationship with your betting pattern. A good combination of fun and seriousness while providing the listeners with an edge over the bookmakers.

Two times weekly I contribute with Leanders Luringer on the SpilXperten platform. Here, I dive into data on sports matches and provide what is from my perspective the tips with the best value. SpilXperten already has many strong experts on big leagues like Premier League, Bundesliga and the Danish Superliga, so I strive to pick my tips from the minor leagues, however still ensuring that the markets are significant enough so both occasional bettors and the more professional ones can bet the stakes they want to.

Generally, I help spread the awareness and values of SpilXperten – e.g. when I join other sports media podcasts, give interviews and through the channels I control – mainly through my twitter account LeandinhoDK where I surpassed 10,000 followers late in 2019.

SBC: Why did you choose LeandinhoDK for your Twitter handle?

BL: Before the World Cup in Brazil 2014, a sports site had created a name generator where you could “Brazilify” your name. Benjamin Leander turned into “Leandinho”, and as a Dane you always strive after being just a little more exotic. That nickname has followed me for the last six years.

SBC: Has your refereeing background impacted the way you interpret sports data?

BL: I am very thorough – some might say ‘nerdy’ – when it comes to analysing sports data and matches. I am very detailed oriented and objective with the data and spend many hours weekly finding the odds where I see the largest value. 

In some way I can draw parallel to the period where I was elite referee in the Danish top divisions. ​Before my matches I always prepared myself well. How are the teams in terms of playing style? Do we have a clash with a very pacey midfielder from the home team against an aggressive full back from the away side? Can anyone look for a deliberate yellow card to take a convenient suspension? 

All that kind of scenarios that could impact the game from a referee’s point of view. 90% of my colleagues did not understand me and said “Oh, you’re over-analysing it. It’s just a game of football”. I disagree strongly on that view – if you’re well-prepared, you’re way more likely to succeed. In all terms of life, especially in betting! So just like on the pitch, I use this sense for the small details when I analyse odds on sports matches.   

SBC: SpilXperten.com, and Better Collective as a whole, is pushing responsible gambling as a key agenda for 2020; does your own experience with problem gambling help you to boost this message within your tips?

BL: I think my background involving issues with problem gambling, which I have been very transparent about, brings some credibility to my messages on responsible gambling. I know what impact it can have on a personal level and to your surroundings – and therefore I know from my own experience the importance of betting in a responsible way. 

This is also a core reason I decided to join forces with Better Collective and SpilXperten – we are very well aligned on the core agenda that betting is entertainment and the core message being: One should only set aside the amount he or she is willing to lose for the sake of entertainment. There is a reason why the saying goes; “The house always wins” as this will be the case for the vast majority of the players.

Therefore, betting needs to be considered as fun with a small cost, just like when you go for the movies, bowl with your friends or other leisure. By providing well-analyzed tips for SpilXperten, I hope that following me can be both fun, educating and maybe even securing a small profit from time to time. It is an agenda I am glad to help pushing.  

SBC: And finally, what is the Tips13 millionaire competition? How many times have you won?

BL: It is a pool game where you tip on 13 pre-defined matches by Danske Spil ​against other bettors. If you’re the only player to get all 13 matches correct, you win 1.000.000 DKK. 

The first time I won was in October 2018 a week before my birthday. I needed the Derby della Madonnina between Inter and Milan NOT to end in a draw to win 1.000.000 DKK. A draw would however have secured me 100.000 DKK, but the “mythic million” was a completely different feeling…and amount. Mauro Icardi scored in the 2nd minute of injury time, and I still get goosebumps when I see the goal over a year after.

My second “perfect 13” was in September 2019…This time Sheffield Wednesday’s Adthe Nuhiu scored the equalizer against Fulham in the 4th minute of injury time and secured 1.000.000 DKK for the 2nd time in just 11 months. Actually, I managed to do a hat-trick on the 1st of January 2020, however, the 1.000.000 DKK guarantee was halved that day, so I had to settle with 600,000 DKK.

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