Punting for profit
To bet intelligently, which means profitably, you must know what the true odds are according to form, class and weight and the many other factors a skilful racing analyst considers.
You might think it strange that the Dataform prices are so different to the actual starting prices, but this occurrence often happens. The general inaccuracy of the betting public allows the astute punter to make punting profitable.
The vast majority of punters know very little about the mathematics of betting and nothing at all about the mathematics of exotic betting. Betting for a win or a place, they lose moderately. Betting exotically, they lose on grand sale. This is because exotic betting multiples and magnifies their errors and illogicalities many times over. However, for the successful punter, who refuses to copy mass betting habits, the rewards are greater than ever before.
All successful bookmakers and punters have founded their prosperity on a knowledge, not only of form and weights, but also of betting mathematics and the percentages which ultimately determine who wins and who loses. The simple arithmetic of a betting book is easy to grasp. The mathematics of exotic betting is much more complex. Only a handful of punters have even bothered to study at this higher level of racecourse leaning.
Those who do know and understand the mathematics of exotic betting usually keep their knowledge and their understanding to themselves. They do not want other punters, less astute than they are, to share in the profits. They want the percentages to work forever to their own advantage. After all, they can usually afford several exotic holidays every year paid for entirely by that multitude of exotic punters whom the professionals scornfully but justifiably describe as mugs.
The odds in a betting market are different from those in casino games like roulette. In horse racing, the probability that a horse will win cannot be calculated mathematically. In roulette, the true probability about a colour or number coming up can be calculated mathematically. What is more, in horse racing, if large bets are placed on some runners, and only small bets on other runners, the odds change. The odds about the favoured horses shorten, and the odds about the unfavoured horses lengthen. In roulette, no matter how much money is bet on one colour or number, the odds remain the same.
This means that there are two important differences between betting on roulette or any other mechanical gambling game and betting on race horses.
First, when you bet on a game like roulette, you can calculate the true odds mathematically, and so can the casino. When you bet on race horses, you cannot calculate the true odds mathematically and neither can the bookmaker.
Second, when you bet on a game like roulette, the odds offered about any number or colour coming up do not change. When you bet on a horse winning, the odds offered about that horses chances do change. The odds fluctuate constantly according to supply and demand.
When betting on a race opens, the bookmaker offers prices based on the past form of the horses and his own inside information. The bookmaker cannot accurately calculate the probability that a horse will win, and fix his odds with certainty. He can only offer odds that he believes to be accurate. If he is wrong in his opening prices, you can obtain an overlay.
The opening prices do not remain static because the betting market is a lively one and the bookmaker constantly changes his prices as punters bet first on one horse and then another. By shortening the price about a horse, the bookmaker tries to deter punters from backing it. By lengthening the price about a horse, the bookmaker tries to entice punters to back it.
As betting progresses, the odds reflect not only the opinions of the bookmakers but also the opinions of punters and the amounts of money wagered on each horse. If most punters are wrong in their opinions, wager foolishly and accept false odds about some horses, they also create, by their actions and the weight of money they wager, value odds about other horses. In this way you can again obtain an overlay.
Because the bookmaker generally bets to odds that are favourable to him and unfavourable to his clients, his betting figures allow him to easily beat most punters, particularly the uninformed ones. But you are no longer an uninformed punter. You have worked out your future ratings and you are ready to calculate the odds about the chances of all horses.
Your Betting Bank
One of the biggest benefits of framing your own market and pricing for profit is that you know exactly how much to wager on value horses. By staking in exact proportion to the percentage figure of your price, you are betting in a systematic way. You do not increase your stakes race by race, as most so-called racing systems demand. Nor do you reduce your stakes. You maintain the same level of betting.
This, of course, does not mean that you cannot increase your stakes as your bank grows bigger. I suggest that your betting bank should be at least 20 times your objective. This means that if your objective is $10, you need $200 before you can start betting in earnest. Similarly, if your objective is $100, you need $2,000. If your objective is as high as $1,000, you need to save up $20,000.
Whatever your initial objective, once you start winning and your bank increases, then you can increase your stakes. If you begin with a $200 bank and double it, you are entitled to change your objective from $10 to $20.
Not all opinion bookmakers rely on a study of form and weights. Some are heavily influenced by track reports that a horse has either improved out of sight or trained off. Others rely on stable information or, observe closely how well known stable punters bet. They keep the fancied horses safe and lay the unfancied ones.
If some bookmakers are betting according to figures and other bookmakers are betting according to their opinions, the punters are in the pleasant position of being able to shop for prices and buy at the best odds. From the conflict between figure wizards and opinion wizards, value emerges.
Figures and opinion bookmakers also have to compete not only against each other, but against the computer tote. The computer tote initially reflects the opinions of early off course punters. Later it is heavily influenced by on course wagering.
Early tote betting reflects the uninformed opinions of thousands of small punters who like to back their fancies on Friday night or Saturday morning with no thought about the value they are getting. Such punters are betting blind. I use the term blind because early off course punters are betting in the dark with no knowledge of the likely dividend they will receive if their bet is successful.
The important point for course punters to remember is that when there is huge support from TAB punters for one runner, the tote odds are unrealistic. If bookmakers are freely betting 5/2 about a horse that is odds on with the tote, it is absurd to back that horse on the tote. It is not absurd to back others runners on the tote because the weight of off course money for the tote favourite produces inflated, value odds about these other runners. What is more, the bookmakers have to stretch their odds to compete with the tote odds of the horses unfancied by TAB punters.
Every punter who seriously seeks to make a profit should be at the course comparing the odds offered by figures bookmakers, opinion bookmakers and the tote. These punters will eagerly accept the top odds offered by a figures bookmaker or an opinion bookmaker. They will also bet at the tote windows in the last few minutes of betting supporting those horses that are tote overlays. Some of the tote dividends will be less than expected but, on average, the returns should be profitable.
Punters who take advantage of the contest between figure wizards and opinion wizards on the one hand and the computer tote on the other, are the punters most likely to succeed. When they back a winner, they are sure to get what William Crockford never gave any punter - value for money!
To be a successful punter you must wait for the right races and sidestep the wrong ones. The right races are the ones in which you depend very little on guesswork and have plenty of evidence and solid facts to support your judgement. The wrong races are the ones in which you depend largely on guesswork and have insufficient evidence and few facts.
If there is no sound evidence to support the bookmakers set of prices, you should stick strictly to your own market and bet accordingly. Some horses are talked into favouritism because of glowing reports about their work in private. Some big betting stable commissioners plunge heavily on horses they rate well and you rate badly. The general public strongly supports a street corner tip to the exclusion of all other contenders. Wild rumors bring some horses into short prices and push others out to long prices. The betting market is sometimes volatile and irrational.
Now with Dataform you can arrive quickly at all odds by clear and mathematically precise rules. The screen shots below is an example of how its done