Over the past few years, I have looked at in play betting in horse racing and I am returning to this topic for this article. I have looked at flat racing data in 2020 (UK racing) and decided to concentrate on my favoured type of race namely sprint handicaps.
I consider 5 and 6 furlong races to come under the sprint handicap umbrella so these are the races I am going to ‘number crunch’. As far as ‘in play’ racing goes, sprint handicaps are potentially the most difficult to trade as the races are over within around 55 to 70 seconds depending on the course and the distance. Things happen quickly in these races and you need to be ‘fleet’ of finger and have good software to compete with the other traders if live trading.
In previous articles I have discussed ‘dobbing’ – now dobbing or similar types of idea are my personal preferred methods of in play betting. Before I continue, I will give you a very quick recap on what dobbing is for any new readers or those of you who may have forgotten.
Let us imagine you back a horse at 8.00 for £10; in order to create a potential dobbing opportunity (DOB) you try and lay the same runner at half the odds for double the stake – so in this case it requires a lay at 4.00 for £20.
If the horse hits 4.00 or lower in play, your lay bet will be matched and regardless of the final result you will win £10 (less commission).
Referring back again to previous articles on this subject, my research in the past has shown that horses have dobbed around 40% of the time across all flat races, with this figure being slightly lower in sprints (around 38 to 39%).
The 2020 data correlates well with the historical data giving a dobbing percentage in sprint handicaps of 38.8%.
For most of this piece I am going to use horses that ‘dob’ and the percentage of horses that ‘dob’ as the statistical comparison. It keeps the data uniform and makes it easy to compare one ‘angle’ against another. Of course, I could choose any arbitrary percentage drop in price to look at, but the patterns will still be remarkably similar to the 50% dobbing findings.
Sticking to half odds trading just seems easier – essentially if we win more than 50% of our trades when attempting to ‘dob’ we will make a long term profit.
Now there are a couple of important points to note regarding dobbing; firstly, any horse that is priced Evens or shorter pre-race cannot halve in price (e.g. a horse that was let’s say 1.80 cannot contract to 0.90 in play as 1.01 is the lowest price a horse can be traded at); secondly a good percentage of runners that ‘dob’ actually go onto win the race.
This second point is perhaps obvious, but I think a point worth making.
Keeping with discussing finishing positions let me look at what percentage of runners ‘dob’ in relation to their finishing position.
As you would expect the better the finishing position, the more likely a horse is to halve in price in play (dob).
For the Gold edition this month David looks at identifying how successful dobbing can be at the various tracks. Does one track offer better prospects than another?
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