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Betting Strategy

How to win at horse racing and betting generally

Intuition in Betting

Having A Hunch – The Importance of Intuition in Betting

I’m sure you will have seen the Betway advertising campaign, designed by Saatchi & Saatchi and the notion of ‘having a hunch’ and sticking to that hunch when discussing sports betting outcomes.

The ‘hunch’ is a universal concept in betting, it’s that ‘gut feeling’ that something will or should happen. Many ‘casual” bettors choose their bets through “gut feeling” about what they think will happen during an event.

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Profitable Punting

Improve Your Punting Part 1: Profitable Jockey’s on Favourites

Profitable Punting Do you fancy yourself as a professional punter, in this article John Burke kicks off the first in a series of 5 which will help the reader make more profit from their punting… At the start of the year I looked at how you can use favourites to make your betting more profitable and how the Favourite-longshot bias… Read More »Improve Your Punting Part 1: Profitable Jockey’s on Favourites

Last Time Out Winners

Improving Your Punting – Part II

There’s just one fundamental objective for punters and that to make a consistent profit. To achieve that objective doesn’t necessarily depend on hours of form study or detailed assessment of each horse chance in the race. Most punters don’t have the time or experience to undertake such tasks. In the second part of this short series on improving your punting.… Read More »Improving Your Punting – Part II

horse racing pace

A Beginners Guide to Pace.

When looking at a race for the first time. How many of you consider pace before delving into the form of each runner?

I must confess until recently, I didn’t. However, pace is now becoming a very important part of the way I go about analysing a race.

There’s nothing more frustrating than spending time looking at the form of the runners in the race, picking what you think is an excellent bet, only to find out that the race might not be run to suit your pick.

This article is a very much a beginner’s guide to pace but presents in a simple way the various category of running styles and pace scenarios.

Starting to Think About Pace.

For years, in North America, pace has been an important tool in a punters armoury when it has come to handicapping a race.

Until recently it was mostly overlooked by punters on this side of the Atlantic. Two reasons can be given why this happened.

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How to Create A Lay Betting System

Are you ready to create a laying system? I remember when the betting exchanges, most notably Betfair, took off and it was not long before the schemers and scammers were flooding the online betting product markets with laying systems. With the exchanges being a relatively novel idea, these products sold well with people being sucked in by the hype and the blatantly obvious statement that picking losers was easier than picking winners. Whilst this is true, making a profit from laying horses is not easy.

Some of the laying systems back in the day were very simplistic.

2nd Favourites Laying System

Laying the 2nd favourite in horse racing is an idea that has appealed to a lot of punters and laying all the 2nd favourites is close to a break even propspect.

There were variations of this system and of course you had to bet close to the off to know who the real 2nd favourite was and you had the choice between the on course second fav and the Betfair second favourite.

The table below shows the result of laying all second favourites in flat turf races, as per the Betfair market since 2008, you can see from the column highlighted in yellow that overall a small loss would have been made -0.13% ROI.

Some years have been winning and some losing, but the overall small loss suggests that some rules to reduce the bets may well make it a profitable endeavour.

As you will see below, laying 2nd favourites is a much better prospect than laying favourites.

Result of betting all 2nd favourites in the Betfair market since 2008

3rd Favourites Laying System

It is generally considered that the betting market is more efficient towards the head of the market, so we would expect a third favourites laying system to perform similarly to 2nd favourites.

Looking at the data below it would appear that is exactly the case with only 0.01% ROI difference between the two.

laying all third favourites, table of returns
Result of betting all 3rd favourites in the Betfair market since 2008

Laying Favourites System

Laying all favourites is not a profitable endeavour, work can be done to identify false favourites, IE those that are priced at less than their true chance, and laying those would be profitable but the stats tell us that 2nd and 3rd favourites are a better prospect for the layer.

The chart below shows the result of betting all favourites in UK flat racing (turf) since 2008.

Result of betting all favourites in UK flat racing

I read a lot of the sales pages and they were chock full of examples of picking one or two losers a day to rack up the profits and enjoy the champagne lifestyle. What they failed to inform the prospective customers was that their liabilities would always be high and that just one or two losing bets would wipe out all the profit banked. Most, if not all, of these products were naff. However, there is certainly plenty of mileage in exploring laying horses as a potentially profitable betting strategy.

In this article I am going to run through the steps in creating a laying system based on statistical data.

If anything, it highlights the opportunities to lay short priced, poor value horses without creating big liabilities. The lowest liability method is to lay favourites, which is kind of obvious as, by virtue of being favourite, they are the shortest price runner in the field. You can limit your liability further by laying only those favourites that go off under a set price, for example, 7/2 which is the decimal price 4.50 on the exchanges.

In the following example I am going to revisit a laying system I created if I remember correctly, back in 2010.

The theory behind it was that favourites in bumper races are often the poorest priced favourite on the card. One of the possible reasons for this is that the bumper races are usually the last race on the card and punters often lump on the favourite to recoup losses from earlier in the day. Another possible reason is that punters often just lump on the favourite because it is running out of one of the top yards such as Paul Nicholls or Nicky Henderson.

To illustrate this fact, I have looked at the performance of favourites sent off at a Betfair SP of 4.50 or shorter in hurdles, chase and bumper races to compare the relative performance and profit and loss (P/L). These are outright favourites and, so we ignore co-favourites and joint-favourites as we only want to be laying one horse in any race. As always, I am using HorseRaceBase (HRB) which has data to Betfair SP for these races going back to 2008.

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