May 24, 2021

Drifters and Steamers – What do they tell you?

I just want to touch on market drifters and what to make of a ‘drift’ in terms of whether they should be avoided?

There is a saying in regards to live betting shows in that ‘the market gets it wrong more than it gets it right’. This is certainly the case when observing traditional bookmakers live shows. However Betfair is certainly a different beast.

My rule of thumb is what happens on Betfair needs to be taken notice of as the prices offered close to the off are the most accurate barometer of the horses likely performance in terms of its chances or winning or losing. This is a result of all the subsequent pieces of info from all the differing sources manifesting into a settled and stable price just before the race off time.

A price drift is no problem in a horse race so long as it’s not an alarming drift. You will often see a doubling in price on some selections within a short time frame and this is most worrying, especially when it’s near the top end of the betting market and if it’s one of the early favoured runners.

Many mistakenly ‘back’ these thinking they now offer great value, not so me! I would not touch them with a barge pole.

Obviously word has got around that something is not right with the horse to trigger this sudden and alarming drift.  Those that have gradual drifts are fine by 1-3 betting points, as maybe they are just having a ‘bounce back’ after having been backed heavily early doors to a point of extremely poor value. This has then been picked up in the market and has drifted slightly to its ‘true’ value price.

On the flip side, steamers and ones that suddenly price crash are also ones to avoid and you are going to need a very high win strike rate to make these pay especially with Betfair commission factored in.

Following steamers by very definition means you will have missed the boat by the time the ‘Steamer’ comes onto your radar.  A better angle for steamers is to make a note of those that have steamed from early market indicator sites such as the AT THE RACES steamer/drifter section, then look to see if they drift later on and have a small bet on them when they have bounced back to the price they originally opened at before the price crash took place.

So long as they don’t drift too much over the pre steamer price as you don’t want them to turn into a market negative. I have tried this a few times and have turned a nice profit backing each-way over 2 dozen data samples. A very short sample I know, but I will keep you informed on whether this has legs or not.

Got an opinion? Share it in the comments below...

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Steve Carter

Steve Carter is the Associate Editor of On Course Profits magazine. He has relied on his betting skills and knowledge for his income for the past 15+ years. He specialises in horse racing and football betting & trading and knows what it takes to make a living from betting. He is always looking for new angles for himself and On Course Profits readers.

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