Horse racing remains the staple diet of UK bookmakers. It’s been that way since 1961, the year betting shops became legal and a familiar feature on the British High Street.
The changes in the bookmaking industry since have been monumental with the Internet proving to be the catalyst which has sped up the process of change immeasurably during the past 15 years.
Fundamentally bookmakers still take bets on the outcome of horseraces and pay out winners at a pre-arranged fixed price or an official starting price (SP). But there is more racing than ever, with the introduction of ‘all-weather’ racing meaning flat horses can race throughout the winter and under floodlights. Simple supply and demand stuff.
Additionally the major races from Australia, Hong Kong, UAE and America are also priced-up by the major bookmaking brands: William Hill, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Bet365, Coral, BetVictor to name but a few.
Throughout the sixties, seventies and eighties punters options amounted to win bets, each-way bets and accumulative bets: Doubles, trebles, 4-folds etc and exotics such as a Yankee, a bet which is actually 11 bets requiring four selections and consists of six doubles, four trebles and a 4-fold accumulator.
But once betting exchange Betfair hit cyberspace the traditional bookmakers knew they had to up their game, offer competitive prices and considerably more markets.
Place only, winning distance and match-bets have all now found their way onto the daily menu, but the chargrilled fillet steak with fries and béarnaise sauce is the introduction of ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’.
Definition: Take a price on your selection, say 3/1, at any time prior to the race and you are guaranteed that return regardless of the fact that a flood of late money could see it return as an even-money favourite.
There is nothing new with this scenario but now, should that horse drift out in price to a hypothetical starting price of 11/2 these are the odds you will be paid out at. It’s a supreme win/win situation and a massive advantage especially given the tiny margins you can back to in this modern era if shopping around.
So being they type of gambler that has spent thirty years finding all the angles only to discover I had neither the patience or self-control to apply them, I set about seeking ways to make this massive concession profitable.
It was soon abundantly clear just how this could be manipulated into a money maker.
Identify small field races (4-8 runners)
Find any race within the above parameters which, by referencing at an odds-comparison site such as oddschecker.com, features a best over-round of four percent or less.
Back every horse in any race (which satisfies rules 1 & 2) at the best possible price to win 1,000 units.
….If the race features a 103 percent over-round then this exercise will cost 1,030 units.
Sit back safe in the knowledge that whatever the outcome of the race the most you can/will lose is 30 units. Conversely, the upside could be massive if/when the race winner returns at a price greater than that you took.
…just consider placing 250 points on a 3/1 selection that actually returns at 5/1. The net result is a 1,500-point return and a 470 point profit. An amazing proposition considering you maximum downside is/was just 30 points.
What a system, what a beautiful and simplistic way to hoover-up money. There is one small problem, it doesn’t work. I stuck with it for months on end, even pulled out the traditional ‘bad habit’ stops of increasing my stakes.
In short 3/1 morning-line horses do not drift out to 5/1 unless they are dead and buried. 3/1 shots that go off at 2/1, on the other hand, they do win and win regularly.
So now, in 2015, my days involve utilising all the data I collected during this costly experiment which only clarified something stalwarts long ago concluded: Money is golden in horseracing.
True, a horse that has been smashed into short-priced favouritism from an opening show is not necessarily going to win. The stats simply state the odds of it winning were greater than the probability of that successful outcome hours before the start of the race.
If anyone could suggest how these market trends can be used to make money I’d very much appreciate their input.