Merlin Lays is a relatively new lay betting tipster service for horse racing across the UK. The service is operated under the Tipster Street umbrella of services.
What does the product offer?
With a name like Merlin Lays, I was all but ready to wade through a load of crap magic puns and bad sales copy. Instead, Tipster Street have very much taken the high road providing only information that is pertinent to the service. Don’t get me wrong, just because they have taken the moral path, that doesn’t mean that I am going to, however it definitely says a lot about the initial intent of the service that there is a focus on numbers and quantifiable things.
Building on this, you will probably not be surprised that there are no headlines or garish claims either. Once again, this bodes well for a service, but it doesn’t give me a lot to play with as a writer. None the less, the efficiency and focus that is on display in the marketing for Merlin Lays makes for a lot of hope that Tipster Street are offering a genuine service and nothing would please me more than that. You could almost say it would be a truly magical thing.
So what are you getting with Merlin Lays? It is a daily service that has been proofed with Tipster Street since March of this year and the results are interesting to say the least. Selections are emailed out to subscribers each morning, usually between 9am and 11am. The number of bets can vary from day to day however this variation is rarely to any extreme. Realistically, you will rarely be betting on more than 5 races per day.
As you can probably tell from the name of the service, Merlin Lays is a lay betting service. This does mean that you will need to have an account in place with a betting exchange. On the flip side, this approach also means that no mater how successful you are, there is no struggling with trying to keep bookmaker accounts open etc.
In terms of the numbers side of things, Merlin Lays follows a level staking plan of one point per bet. This is of course typical for most betting services. In terms of the odds that you will bet betting on (always an important factor when lay betting), these are wildly varied. Tipster Street say in their sales material that the average lay price is just 4.0 which is actually a decent number for this kind of service. This is only an average however and without looking too hard, I have found bets with odds as high as 26.
With any lay betting service the strike rate is massively important and with an average of 77%, you could be forgiven for thinking that Merlin Lays doesn’t perhaps perform as well as some services. Whilst I am of the opinion that this is perhaps a little less than I would like, given the average odds I don’t think that it’s necessarily the end of the word.
How does the product work?
For those who aren’t aware of what lay betting is, it essentially you are betting on a horse to lose rather than win. This sounds like a simple thing to do, it is actually rather difficult and requires a large degree of skill.
Unfortunately, there is no information provided by Tipster Street that talks about what the selection process entails. All that we are told is simply that Merlin Lays specialises in finding horses to lose. This is rather disappointing as I have always maintained that before buying into any tipster service, customers should at least have enough information to make an informed decision. This does include the approach that a tipster takes.
What is the initial investment?
Merlin Lays is incredibly fairly priced and hand on heart, this is undoubtedly one of the strongest points of the service. Tipster Street are asking for just £9.95 for 30 days or alternatively, you can pay just £19.95 per quarter. This makes Merlin Lays one of the more affordable tipster services currently on the market. On top of this, you can trial the service for your first 30 days (on both options) for just £2.49.
Unfortunately, there is no money back guarantee offered for Merlin Lays. This is however pretty standard for the tipster industry and given that Tipster Street provide a trial offer, I don’t see it as being a deal breaker.
What is the rate of return?
Based off the proofing provided, Merlin Lays has produced an overall profit of 41.59 points which is not a lot, but I think is definitely a decent result given the price. This is only part of the picture however and it does have to be said that Merlin Lays has encountered some rather substantial losing periods. This includes losing almost 30 points in April.
Merlin Lays is by no means an incredible service that is going to change your lie, but sometimes this isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. In fact, there are a few things that I like which I will get to, however I do have to address some criticisms of the service before that. The key one is that you will lose money with Merlin Lays at some point. This has happened on multiple occasions and there is no reason to believe that this will change. It is also worth being blunt about the fact that this is a part of using any tipster.
The second criticism that I have of Merlin Lays pertains to some of the losses and the risks. There have been one or two bets that have lost on pretty high odds (7.0 plus) which using £10 stakes means losing £70-80 in a single bet. When you factor in some of the other long odds that they have backed (including a horse with odds of 26 which finished 2nd ) there doesn’t seem to be too much in the way of risk management which also puts me off.
All of that having been said, Merlin Lays is an inexpensive introduction to both lay betting and tipster services. More importantly, it is genuine. Yes there are ups and downs, and at just over 40 points of profit for the year you aren’t going to be going to the Bahamas on Tipster Street’s money, I believe that there is enough in it to be an attractive option.
Personally, I like to see Merlin Lays in the context of a beginners tipster service. Betting just £2 per stake would have covered your subscription costs. £5 stakes would pay for a very nice meal and £10 stakes would cover some of Christmas. By the same token, the most you could have lost in a given month is between £56 and £280 depending on your stakes. This is a lot of money and there is no getting around this, but a decent betting bank will cover these losses and teach you a valuable lesson.
With all of this in mind, I am not going to recommend Merlin Lays because it will make you a lot of money. Instead I think that it is a fantastic place for people to get to grips with what following a tipster service entails. You don’t have to stake a lot keep your subscription fees covered and the fact that there is the potential for profit on top of this makes Merlin Lays worth a look in my book.