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An Analysis of Free Horse Racing Tips

I like free stuff; do you like free stuff?

In the betting, tipping, and horse racing world you have to be careful with free stuff and do your due diligence.

Free tips may be very good and given away to highlight how good a paid service is. Or they may be given away to encourage you to lose money with a particular bookmaker who pays a share of your losses back to the tipster.

And I’m sure there are many other reasons that tips are given out some positive and some negative.

A few weeks ago, I was looking around the OLBG site and their free tips and decided to try and track for myself how some of the top tipsters there perform.

On Course Profits free Horse Racing magazine

If you don’t know how OLBG works basically they run tipster competitions in hundreds of categories. Anybody who fancies themselves as a tipster can submit their selections each day and win cash prizes if they do well.

According to the winners’ tables on OLBG some tipsters win a lot of money from the tips they submit, the biggest winner has apparently won £9,115. I don’t know what period that is over, it could be many years, but if you’re finding selections anyway a few extra quid from time to time must be nice!

So, here’s what I did. I chose the top 5 horse racing tipsters in the OLBG chart at the time and set up a spreadsheet to automatically download their selections each day.

OLBG ranks tipsters by annual profit.

My hope was that between these five, all selections could be bet and a Betfair SP profit produced. I’m an optimist!

As I write this, I have 52 days of data and 471 selections so a decent sample.

I have only analysed the win bets because I needed to automate a lot of this in order to find the time to carry out the experiment, there were over 800 bets if you include all the each way selections. Once I have a data feed for the places paid at Betfair I’ll run a further test betting win and place.

But for now, these are just the win tips given out by the five tipsters I chose back on September 14th.

Ok, so we’re not getting rich yet by just backing all the win selections. But there are other factors to look at.

Each tip comes with a Win Percentage. This is an indicator of how many tips (from all the tipsters in the competition) in this race are for the selection.

If we only bet when 50% of the tips in the race are for the selection, we get a 0.032 point profit (1 point level stakes), after commission, but we only have 32 selections now.

If we lower our criteria to where 25% or more of the tips are for the selection, we get a profit of 7.932 from 142 selections, that’s looking a bit better. Only a 5% ROI but if we find something we may be able to automate the whole process.

I have a couple more ideas to investigate.

The Nap percentage tells us how many of the Naps in the race are for our horse.

I tried greater than 25% here and got a loss of -5.29 from 96 selections. More than 50% is + 1.3484 from 16 selections.

So, I tried not zero, meaning somebody on OLBG has napped the selection, that produced a loss – 27.81 from 161 selections.

My final test for now is to see what happens if we only bet when the price available when the selection was collected is bigger or smaller than the Betfair SP.

So, if the price shortens and the Betfair SP is less than the morning price (the data is collected at 10:30) we get a loss of -4.4456 from 187 bets.

And if the Betfair SP is the same as the morning price or bigger we get -59.1262 from 284 bets.

I don’t like those numbers because I like to think that drifters are not a bad thing and that when the price drifts, we are getting more value and these final results support those punters who won’t bet a drifter, I would expect that to correct with a bigger sample, but I may be wrong.

If I fancy a horse and it drifts, I’m still betting it, I may not always be brave enough to increase my stakes, but I still bet.

Anyway, I’m heading off track here.

What have we learned well I suppose we’ve just confirmed that winning at Betfair SP is not easy, but we knew that, and we also know that if we want to bet big and we want to automate our betting then Betfair is the road we have to travel.

What next? Well, I will keep collecting data, maybe I’ll collect selections from more of the tipsters and we’ll revisit the results in a few months when we have much more data to analyse.

By the way there were eight horses selected by two tipsters they all lost, all bets given were counted in the above totals, duplicates were not removed.

Finally, by the time you read this it will also be posted on the website so if you have any comments or questions feel free to post them on the website.

Darren Power