Weekends Only Review – Bet Alchemist

Weekends Only is a new to market horse racing tipster service which is operated by the Bet Alchemist tipster stable. As the name suggest, it is aimed at providing tips for weekend racing with coverage for festivals as well.

Introduction to Weekends Only

It is incredibly easy in this line of work to find yourself embroiled in a certain type of betting. Not necessarily as a betting market, or even a particular sport. I’m talking more about a betting mentality. For me, I always pursue my own Holy Grail of betting which is consistent and long term profits. And in my mind, that is what everyone must want. But that kind of betting also requires capital, it requires time, and plenty of effort. And the fact of the matter is that isn’t necessarily for everyone.

This is really important to keep in mind with Weekends Only. An incredibly interesting option as far as tipster services go. Normally when you get something that could be seen as being for the more casual punter you end up taking a hit somewhere. Typically this ends up being a focus on long shots and what I like to call “jackpot betting”, that is to say, pursuing massive wins. What Bet Alchemist are doing here though really seems to be a very good looking option for bridging that gap between serious and casual betting.

Purely as a premise, this is enough to make Weekends Only stand out from the crowd, but there is more to it than that. The unfortunate fact is that there are some questions that hang over this. And as much I can appreciate that Bet Alchemist have a different agenda with this, it still has to be ultimately held accountable in the same way as any tipster service. Here, things are perhaps not quite as strong. So, let’s get into it and have a look at what is what here.  

What Does Weekends Only Offer?

If you are looking at Weekends Only, the clear starting point in terms of what is on offer is that this is a weekend based service. It’s right there in the name. It is also crucial to a huge number of elements in my mind. Because this is going to be one of those reviews in which I really need to keep everything in context, both in how this is different from other tipster services, and where it has to be compared to them.

Now, before I get into anything else, I want to talk about the logistics. I think this is generally one of the areas where Weekends Only is very much “business as usual” (within that weekend focus). As is pretty much industry standard, selections are sent out directly to subscribers via email. These are issued on the morning of racing on the Saturday and Sunday. They are also sent out about 9am.

This is all pretty reasonable, and whilst you aren’t going to get some of the more high value odds that you can find the night before the off., it still puts Weekends Only on a pretty solid pegging. And if you still want to try and extrude the highest possible value, and are in a position to do so, this is something that would work well with an odds comparison site. If you can’t bet through bookies, Bet Alchemist does say that this can also work for you betting to BSP as well.

Now we come to the bets themselves. In many respects, I feel like Weekends Only is a very straight forward example of a horse racing tipster service. Whilst this is technically a mix of win and each way bets, there are plenty more of the latter than the former. For context, Bet Alchemist’s own proofing shows that the last weekend of betting has just one win bet.

What is good to see here though is that the spread here is based on the odds involved. This means that in theory, your longer shot place bets still carry the chance to turn a small profit and keep your betting bank afloat. And believe me when I say that there are some very substantial odds involved.

It really isn’t uncommon to see Weekends Only advising selections which have odds into double figures. In fact, the more recent form suggests that this should be considered more of the norm than an exception. A stark contrast when you compare it to other tipster services that are on the market. However, it is also noteworthy that what you aren’t doing here is simply backing 50/1 outsiders on the “off chance”.

What you can expect though is potentially quite a lot of betting. Bet Alchemist say that there may be as many as 6 or 7 bets on a given day, and this top end isn’t something that is inconceivable. And of course, all of this is multiplied when there are festivals on. This is all applicable even with the modest staking plan that is in place.

You see, one of the strongest positives of Weekends Only in my mind is the simple fact that Bet Alchemist uses level stakes of just 1 point per bet. This means that the maximum of 14 points per week is all relatively manageable. However, this does need to be kept in the context of a betting bank of just 80 points. Undeniably enough to cover most drawdown, but is only really helpful if you have a strike rate.

This is a number that Bet Alchemist don’t actually provide for Weekends Only. And their proofing makes it rather difficult to calculate this figure (namely because they provide proofing for their full weekly service rather than this festival and weekends service). What I can say is that the more recent run of results isn’t exactly indicative of a huge number of wins. Something that is very important to keep in mind.

How Does Weekends Only Work?

Weekends Only is ultimately operated by one Nicky Doyle, the founder of the wider Bet Alchemist website. A service that has ultimately been kicking around for some 8 years. That is an impressive feat and suggests that there is somebody at the wheel with a solid understanding of horse racing. But this longevity isn’t the only thing that you can look at.

We are actually told that Bet Alchemist uses form analysis for Weekends Only. There is also a lot of information provided about his background within the sport and what his philosophy on betting involves. This is really a far bigger document than this small space allows, and there is a lot that isn’t necessarily of significant value. But there are a few points that are worth mentioning.

The main thing for me though is that Nicky Doyle says that the full form Bet Alchemist service is based around value. By proxy, so is Weekends Only. This makes a lot of sense when you look at the results. There are definitely some big bets involved and the unfortunate lack of wins is typical for a service that focuses so highly on value. Building on this, we are also told that members are advised to “run their betting like a sports investment business”.  

Of course, none of this really tells us what the selection process involves, which is undeniably a bit disappointing. It is also rather frustrating that there isn’t a filtered set of results that only shows the results for weekend racing. But at the very least, we can extrapolate proofing for Weekends Only from that wider database if you so desire. So at the very least you can develop an understanding of what you are getting into.

What is the Initial Investment?

Price wise there are a good few options available for Weekends Only, each with differing value and costs. The lowest cost option is a monthly subscription which is priced at £21.75. Representing slightly better value is a quarterly subscription which is £55 per quarter (equivalent to £18.33 per month). The best value Bet Alchemist offer involves signing up for the full year, however, this does require paying out £199. All of this brings down the effective monthly costs to just £16.58.

Something that is worth noting is that Bet Alchemist do offer a conditional money back guarantee with Weekends Only. What they say is that if you haven’t made a profit by the end of the year, you will get your subscription costs back. This isn’t a bad offering, however, you will need to show commitment to following all bets for this to work.   

What is the Rate of Return?

Now we come to the part of Weekends Only that is probably going to be a deal breaker for a lot of people. And if I’m honest, reasonably so. You see… Well, it just isn’t necessarily all that profitable. The average annual profit is touted as £2,002 which is undoubtedly impressive and would make a fair old difference to a lot of people. But this number is also based off stakes of £50.

This means that what you’re actually dealing with an average annual profit of just 40 points. That really isn’t a huge amount to be bringing home. In fact, I’ve seen a number of tipster services achieve this in a month. Now, admittedly, the fact that you’re only betting on the weekends is inevitably going to have some impact on the results, but that is still a substantial drop in profit.

Unfortunately, the average isn’t really representative of the results that you can realistically expect. Last year, Weekends Only lost 3.09 points. The year before, it made just 14.8 points. For some real context, the range on points is from a low of a 24.77 point loss to a high they year before of 98.2 points profit (both very historic results).  

Conclusion for Weekends Only

I can honestly say that I wanted to like Weekends Only. In many ways, I still really do respect the premise of what Bet Alchemist are doing here. Furthermore, I would go as far as to say that there is a gap in the market for a product of this nature. Something that offers a gateway into serious betting, but without the need to be backing horses every day. It is a genuinely solid idea for a tipster service.

Sure, there are other more casual examples on the market but they tend to fall down a bit in my eyes by lacking the seriousness that Weekends Only contains. Like Nicky Doyle says, you should be running your betting like a sports investment business. Especially if you want to start taking it seriously. This means things like logging all your bets, taking a long term approach, and showing willingness to back a strategy even if you’re losing.

Here’s the thing though. As great as all of this sounds, and I really think it is philosophically solid, the end result is just a little bit too lacking in my mind. Because whilst I can appreciate everything that Bet Alchemist are trying to do, 40 points a year just isn’t where it’s at in my mind. As I often say, the bottom line is the bottom line, and the bottom line here runs far too low for my tastes.

You see, the default stakes that I calculate all profits to is £10 per bet. This allows me to see every service in the same light and that results can be compared pretty fairly. And using that figure, it means that you’re looking at an average profit for the year of just £400. Even if you take the best value option, that leaves you just £200 per year as your profit. Now, a profit is a profit, but you can definitely do better than this elsewhere.

Personally, I think that one of the biggest issues with Weekends Only is that is that it isn’t really a specialised service. It’s just Bet Alchemist doing what they do and charging a bit less cos it’s only the weekend bets. This can be all well and good if you’re aiming for more consistent profits, but the value based approach that is favoured here doesn’t really lend itself to less frequent betting.

With all of this in mind, I don’t really think that I’d look to recommend Weekends Only. I really do think that Bet Alchemist have had a very good idea here. Unfortunately, the execution is just a bit lacking here. Both in terms of the lack of specialisation and the really blunt fact that the profits are so inconsistent and low. All of which is a bit of a shame, because I really did want to like this.  


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From: Simon Roberts