You have your selections but how do you know what odds you should take? Is it best to take any odds, only odds above a certain level or only odds below a certain level? In this post I hope to answer a few of these questions.
How you choose to bet is a very subjective matter and I am sure there are going to be plenty of you who disagree with what I am about to say. Whether you disagree or agree please post comments as other views will help everyone (including me).
How I choose the odds at which I will bet a selection is determined by the way that I found the selection to begin with. There are many ways to choose and I use a variety of methods.
If I am form reading and have spent the morning finding my selections by analysing each horse’s performance then I use experience to tell me whether the odds are good enough. There is no set formula for it just a gut instinct that decides whether I will place the bet or not.
Alright that is fairly unhelpful. If the more traditional method of finding selections through form reading is your preferred method then there are a few techniques to help you find out which odds you may want to consider backing/laying at. This is where those all important historical records you have been keeping come in. You open them up and start to analyse them. It is likely that if you are using this method of finding your selections then you are already specialising in a certain type of race. One of the first places to begin is to look at which odds ranges you are most profitable in and then try to find out why. It is the why that is important.
You could just narrow down to those areas where you are most profitable but there is no reason to lose out on profit from other areas. Of course if you discover that when the odds are higher than 12 (for example) you make an overall loss then it would make sense to stop betting horses higher than 12. This can take a long time but I would suggest going back through your records and giving each horse odds that you estimate it should be. When you have finished you can then look back and find out which horses you would have bet on or not with different levels of value.
How does this improve your profit? You can also look back and see if anything is out of line. By this I mean asking questions such as: Why am I always saying that a certain type of horse has lower odds than what I can bet at? Do I need to raise them slightly?
By going through this process you will instinctively begin to learn how to price up the horses you are selecting and the best way to use the prices. Ultimately this could lead to more profit. If you don’t have the time to go back through your records then you can start putting the prices you think a horse is worth next to the selection in your records and come back a few months later when you have more data to analyse them.
If you are a system builder then the odds you are betting at is not something to concern yourself with unless it is already built into the system. The whole purpose of a system is that it is quick and easy to implement. Having said that it is always worth going back to a system you are using and seeing whether if you had bet earlier in the day or got better than SP how much higher your winnings would be. I know of a very successful bettor who places his bets early in the day to get good odds. The selection process is automated but he knows that after about midday the prices he can get drop to a level where he no longer makes a profit. This is not choosing the odds so much as being aware that odds change throughout the day and it is important to find out when you can get the best odds on your selections.
The way that is considered ideal is to be able to price up an entire race and then only bet on the horses that show value. This is a lot harder than it sounds. In fact I don’t know of anybody who makes a profit solely using this method (with no other selection process) outside some of the big teams who have vast resources at their disposal. I am sure there are people doing it; I just have not had the fortune to meet them.
Personally I use a combination of odds lines and an automated selection method. Every horse in every race gets odds that I consider to be their chance of winning the race. I then use this information as another factor when building the methods to find my selections. It normally flows a little bit like this:
- Price up all the horses in the race
- Find which horse types are likely to perform well in which race types (separate method to the pricing) i.e. contenders
- Cross check this with the odds I have given the contenders to determine what would be the minimum acceptable odds (can be lower than the odds I have given them)
- Incorporate the market odds and re-analyse
- Decision on bet structuring (I shall write a separate post about this)
It is a little more complicated than that but not much! These are a few ideas on possible ways to determine the odds that you should place your selections at. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.