Cheekpieces is an independent horse racing tipster service which is operated by Neil Agravain. It is an interesting affair that has certain elements that are strongly in its favour.
Introduction to Cheekpieces
I’ve been doing this for a long time, and the landscape of tipster services has altered drastically in that time. At one point, there were a number of independent tipsters who were out there trying to do their thing. These days, it seems like most tipster services that land on my desk are one of two things. Firstly, there are tipster stables or management companies. These seemingly work with anybody who turns a profit because many of them simply take a cut for marketing a service. The other thing I see a lot of are dodgy affiliate marketed tipsters.
There are very few genuine guys out there who are doing their own thing. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist anymore either. Enter Cheekpieces. This is a service that has been seemingly going for some time, but has entirely flown under my radar. Which is a shame, because Neil Agravain seems to do a lot of things right here. This is genuinely quite an impressive tipster service as far as these things go, and furthermore, it potentially represents excellent value for money.
With that in mind, you could easily at this point get overly excited. I know that when I first started researching what Neil Agravain was doing here, I did. But whilst there are undoubtedly some very solid elements here, Cheekpieces also does have some areas that are… I’ll be generous here and say weaker. Are they necessarily deal breakers? Well, that all depends on what you look for from a tipster. So, let’s get straight into this and see whether or not it can deliver.
What Does Cheekpieces Offer?
By and large, I don’t think that it’s entirely fair to say that Cheekpieces is a simple tipster service. Because, frankly, it isn’t. There is very clearly a lot of work that Neil Agravain puts into this and no matter what else I may have to say about the service, that effort definitely shows. But with all of that said, you aren’t exactly signing up to some complex beast either. I think it’s best to say that this is simple where it matters.
At its core, what you are signing up for here is a regular horse racing tipster service. I’m loathe to use the term “near daily” here, because I don’t believe that it is. From everything that I’ve seen, Neil Agravain is very selective when finding horses for Cheekpieces and he doesn’t seem at all inclined to bet just for the sake of it. As I’ve said before, that is something that I will always welcome.
Whilst there are elements of Cheekpieces that are definitely a bit different to the kind of stuff that you see day in day out, much of the management side of things is what you would expect from… Well, pretty much any modern day tipster service. Selections are sent out directly via email, they are also made available through a member’s area on the website.
Where things diverge from the norm is the quality of content in these emails. Because Neil Agravain does something that I don’t feel like we see nearly often enough, but in my opinion, should be industry standard. You receive and explanation of why a horse has been tipped. I know that this doesn’t sound like a big thing, but I can tell you from experience that it really is. And it helps elevate Cheekpieces above a lot of competition. But I’ll pick this point up a bit later.
In terms of the bets that you are placing, Cheekpieces is ultimately a horse racing service. This does of course carry certain limitations, and this is very evident. The fact is that there are only a few betting markets (not counting the myriad of accas that you see), and here, you are exclusively dealing with straight win bets. But I don’t believe that to be a bad thing.
One of the single most impressive elements for me is the kinds of odds that you are betting at. A massive part of what Neil Agravain is doing here is finding value, and this shows. Bets can be advised at odds ranging from 9/4 all the way up to 100/30. What is interesting to me though is that the focus definitely errs more towards the top end than the bottom.
Volume of bets wise, Cheekpieces is a bit of a mixed affair. As mentioned, it is a regular tipping service, but not daily. However, on the days when selections are issued, there can be a fair few tips advised. And by a fair few, I mean at most 5 or 6 selections. It isn’t a huge amount, but it can come as a bit of a surprise after a week of just 1 bet every other day.
A big part of the reason that I see all of this as manageable though is the staking plan that is involved. Neil Agravain typically advises using level stakes of just 1 point per bet. Occasionally, on some of the longer shots, you might only be staking half a point per bet. All of this means that you aren’t ever putting too much at risk in one go. Even on those busier days.
Something that is really important if you’re looking at Cheekpieces is to keep in mind that this isn’t something that is going to win day in day out. Neil Agravain talks a little bit about his past results and the takeaway is that generally speaking, a strike rate of between 15% and 20% is probably to be expected here. We are also told that the longest losing run to date is 19 consecutive bets.
How Does Cheekpieces Work?
By far and away the thing that has impressed me most of all about Cheekpieces is the transparency of how everything works. I cannot recall a looking at a tipster service before that I have so fully understood what I am getting into. I am thoroughly shocked at this, not because I don’t welcome it (I really do think every tipster service should be along these lines), but because it is such a rarity.
So, first things first, I want to talk a little bit about Neil Agravain. We are told that he has spent over ten years “realising a second income from betting on horse racing”. This has supposedly resulted in restrictions and closures of accounts from bookies (which I am inclined to believe). We are also told that his background is as an accountant and a s such, he has developed an analytical approach to betting. Again, this is all something that I can believe.
That brings me nicely to the value element of Cheekpieces. Normally, we’re simply told by a tipster that they like to back value bets, and if we’re lucky, we’ll see a bunch of long shots that seem to back that up. Here though, Neil Agravain talks all about how he identifies value. You can see this by signing up for a free membership on the site, but effectively, there is a comparison drawn between the odds available and the implied odds that Neil Agravain feels are available.
As well as this, you also get that insight into each and every selection. This of course means that no matter what else happens, you always understand why you are following Neil Agravain’s advice. The write ups are pretty thorough and they cover the reasoning behind every bet advised through Cheekpieces. Once again, this sounds like something that should be commonplace, but it really isn’t.
Finally, it is worth noting that whilst there isn’t comprehensive proofing provided on the website, Neil Agravain does have full records for Cheekpieces available if you request them via email. This provides you with some insight into what you can expect as well.
What is the Initial Investment?
There are two sets of two options available through Cheekpieces. Firstly, Neil Agravain provides a weekends only service. This isn’t entirely redundant as bets do seem to be somewhat weighted towards these. The first option for these weekend only bets is a monthly subscription. This is priced at a monthly cost of £14.50 with your first month available for half price. Alternatively, you can sign up on an annual basis at a cost of £109.
Alternatively, you can sign up to receive all selections through the week. This is priced at £25 per month and again, you can get your first month for half price. If you want to sign up for the full year, you can receive substantially better value, however, there is more outlay invovled with an overall cost of £189 (meaning a saving of £111).
There is no mention of any money back guarantee in the sales material for Cheekpieces and as such, I wouldn’t suspect this to be an option if I’m honest.
What is the Rate of Return?
Now we come to the result for Cheekpieces. These are… Well, a somewhat mixed bag. Because straight up, Cheekpieces just isn’t hugely profitable. By the back end of November, the overall profit for the service was 58.8 points. Now, there is a 2 month gap there where Neil Agravain didn’t bet because of Covid 19, but this still means quite limited results. Specifically, you would be looking at a monthly average of 6.5 points per month. That isn’t a massive amount.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that a massive impact on these results was a 23.8 point loss in July and a 16.2 point loss in August. These are pretty substantial numbers. With that said, it does look like Neil Agravain’s more recent form may well be turning around with some consistent profits.
Conclusion for Cheekpieces
Cheekpieces is one of those tipster services that are just incredibly frustrating for me. Because I bloody love what Neil Agravain is doing here. Everything that he does with this service is exactly what I want to see from a tipster service. So why am I so apprehensive about this? Well, there are a few good reasons for this. More specifically, 6.5 of them. So, let’s talk about that.
The biggest problem here is simply that Cheekpieces doesn’t make a lot of profit. That average of 6.5 points is just… Well, it’s a bit lacking to be honest. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some things that are worth keeping in mind, because there is some context to this. First things first, let’s not forget that Neil Agravain has in fact made a profit. In and of itself, that is an achievement.
Furthermore, that is also an average monthly profit that covers your subs. Which is a strong positive. To £10 stakes, you’d make an extra £40 per month. It isn’t life changing, but it isn’t necessarily bad either. The million dollar question is whether or not you can make your money work harder for you elsewhere.
And there isn’t an easy answer to this necessarily. First things first, Cheekpieces is very reasonably priced compared to some services that are on the market. As in… Half of what I’d expect to pay on a monthly basis. Of course, by the same token, it is also worth noting that you can arguably make substantially more money through using other tipster services that are on the market.
But a big part of what you are paying for in my opinion isn’t just the profit. It’s literally everything else that comes with Cheekpieces. And that is a hell of a lot for your money really. When you keep that in mind, I do feel like the gap does start to narrow a little bit and Neil Agravain’s service becomes a lot more viable.
So, here’s the bottom line for me. If you are solely bothered about making money, then this won’t be for you. The fact that it is cheaper than a lot of rival services doesn’t count for much when they could be making 3 times the profit for you. At the end of the day, you’d be saving £25 to lose out on potentially an extra £80. That is a straightforward premise.
But I don’t see this being a write off either. For me, the beauty of Cheekpieces comes from the wider package and what that brings to those who aren’t perhaps entirely switched on when it comes to horse racing. It gives you an opportunity to make a bit of pocket money, all whilst providing you with insight into the mind of a professional tipster. For some people, that is priceless.
And if I’m honest, I do think that the results may well perk up a bit long term. Neil Agravain seems to be finding a better footing recently and his profits reflect this (although there does still remain that risk). As such, in the future, you may well find that this turns out to be a potentially decent little money maker. But all of that is entirely speculative.
Here’s the bottom line for me. If you’re looking for an accessible tipster service that teaches you how to take a methodical approach to betting, this is something that is seriously worth considering. Sure, you aren’t being given any step by step guides to picking your own selections. If you are looking for that, there are plenty of exceptional offerings on the market. But I can see Cheekpieces rubbing off on you a little over time.
So that apprehension wasn’t unwarranted. And Cheekpieces is a long way from being “black and white”. But I don’t think it is a bad service at all. There is a lot to like here, and if the bottom line isn’t everything to you… Well, there’s a fair amount of value to be had here. If you are only concerned with profit though, it is definitely worth skipping over.