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The Truth About Dobbing… Everything You Need To Know!

The Truth About Dobbing… Everything You Need To Know!

Have you ever heard of the phrase “dobbing”?

If you have then I’m about to share everything you need to know about it. If you haven’t, then I’m going to take you on your first journey into a new method of betting.

Like a lot of betting opportunities, dobbing became possible because of Betfair and the ability to act as a punter and bookmaker when you bet.

The name comes from the phrase Double Or Bust, or DOB for short.

The main principle of this method is to bet on the price movements of the race in-running instead of an outright winner.

Let’s break down exactly what a DOB bet is.

A DOB consists of two bets, a back bet which is placed before a race starts and a lay bet which is placed in-running. On occasion it may be possible to get your lay bet matched before the race as well, but most of the time it will be in-play.

The key is that you always place your lay bet for half the odds you took on the back bet and for double the stake.

Let’s look at an example.

If we back a runner at odds of 5.00 for £100 before the race goes off, then we have a potential profit of £400 and a potential loss of £100.

The race goes in-play and we place our lay bet at half the odds, 2.50, for twice the stake, £200.

If the lay bet gets matched then we win no matter what happens.

The possible results are:

  1. Horse loses and gets nowhere near your lay in-play bet
  2. Horse loses but you get your lay bet matched
  3. Horse wins

In the first scenario you would have lost your £100 back bet and your lay bet doesn’t get matched. This results in an overall loss of £100.

In the second scenario you would have lost your £100 back bet, but your lay bet got matched so you would have won £200 on your lay bet. That’s a profit of £100 before commission or £95 after commission at 5%.

In the third scenario you would win £400 on the back bet but lose £300 on your lay bet. This results in a £100 profit before commission, or £95 after commission at 5%.

To make this method of betting work, what we’re looking for is a way to find horses that are likely to run well (contenders) rather than specifically for horses that we want to win.

It doesn’t matter to us whether they win as long as their odds drop by at least 50% in-running.

To do this we need to use a combination of approaches. The first approach is a form reading style of analysing the runner. This is best done using a pace analysis method, and you should do this in three stages:

  1. Determine the pace type of race that is likely to be run
  2. Determine the pace type of horse that is most suited to the race
  3. Mark the horses that meet the pace conditions in step two

You can find a number of pace analysis methods here. Once you’ve done this, you then want to look into the overall form of the horses that you’ve marked to make sure they’re likely to be able to compete in todays race.

Then we want to analyse the horses in-play prices. To do this you can use the Timeform site which shows the in-play high and low odds for the horses. You’re looking for a horse that hits 50% of it’s BSP a significant proportion of the time.

If you’re willing to dig even deeper, then you would specifically want to check the in-play odds for races with a similar pace type to the race you are analysing.

The original phrase “Dobbing” was created by PatternForm in 2008 and they have some cards specifically designed to help you do this. Make sure you check them out here.

Dobbing can be an excellent way to make profits with a lower risk level and higher strike-rate than normal win betting. Let me know what methods you use, and if you would be interested in seeing a full strategy guide on how to DOB successfully then please leave me a comment to let me know.

About Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help punters improve their betting profits and think outside the box with their betting strategies. To date he has written over 450 articles on the site and recently started UK Racing News which has become a leading news site for horse racing in the UK and IRE. Check out my personal blog or my Google+

92 comments

  1. Hi Michael

    I would be very interested in seeing a full strategy for Dobbing. I have tried in the past but you need a high strike rate over 50% for it to work and I have never managed to master it.

    Kind Regards

    Matthew

  2. Hi Michael, I would be very interested to learn more about sobbing .
    Ann

  3. would like to give this a go looks interesting..
    JD

  4. Me too, I would like to hear about a nice strategy of how to find proper selections to do “dobbing”
    Thomas

  5. sounds good to me and you have me hooked, but do prices realy fall by half ?

    • They definitely can do Roy. It’s possible to have them drop less but this increases the strike rate you need in order to make a profit, both are workable and you can actually make the choice on the price drop required on a per runner basis from looking at their historic price performance.

  6. Hi Michael,

    am very interested in this dobbing idea and would love to see your strategy for it.

    kind regards,

    David.

  7. This sounds like a very interesting strategy, I’d like to know more.

  8. Mike I am highly interested.
    Pls can you give me the detailed horse selection strategy?
    Thanks.

  9. I am interesting to know how to do it ,pls let me have information ,thank u

  10. Sounds a very interesting strategy. I thought for a moment it was going to be a variation of Beaumonts Bets whereby a runner is backed and also laid for 75% of the back stake.
    Derek.

  11. Does anyway know if its possible to make a falling scale lay bet work… after the back bet? In above example laying the horse at between 5.0 and 2.5 for various stakes to get part or all matched? Or is this over complicating matters?

  12. I am highly interested Mike.
    Even if its just 30% profit (I mean 2.5 to 2.2) is perfectly ok for me.
    But my challenge at all times is the selection process for the right horse that would actually drop inplay.

    Any assistance as regards this would be sooooooo appreciated.
    Thanks.

  13. correct me if I’m wrong but laying at 2.5 equates to 6/4
    backing at 5 equates to 4/1
    so it is not double the stakes at half the odds.
    half the odds would be 3 which equates to 2/1 and this would leave a scenario where you would lose £100 or break even or make £100 before commission.

    backing at 3 (2/1) pre-race would mean a lay at 1.5 (1/2) in running.

    i can see a lot of people getting their fingers burned trying this strategy.
    Very few would get matched pre-race and the horses would have to run very well to get matched at the IR prices.
    Also if they are running that well to get matched at those prices the value call would be to let it run without the IR lay.

    • Thanks for the comment Chris. I’m looking at half the decimal odds in this example. If you were backing at 3 and laying at 1.5 then you would have one of these possibilities:

      >In the first scenario you would have lost your £100 back bet and your lay bet doesn’t get matched. This results in an overall loss of £100.

      >In the second scenario you would have lost your £100 back bet, but your lay bet got matched so you would have won £200 on your lay bet. That’s a profit of £100 before commission or £95 after commission at 5%.

      >In the third scenario you would win £200 on the back bet but lose £100 on your lay bet. This results in a £100 profit before commission, or £95 after commission at 5%.

      There will always be a scenario where you can lose your stake money, however it’s possible to hit a very high strike rate of lay bets being matched in this method. The average traded volume pre-race for horses with odds of between 2.90 and 3.10 on Betfair in 2013 was £246,494 so at those odds there is plenty of money in the market for people to get matched pre-race.

      It’s the use of the in-running price information combined with a pace analysis that enables this strategy to work. You are right that you are getting much better value by leaving the bet to run without the lay but this results in higher risk win bet strategy, by dobbing you are reducing the losing streaks and the bankroll required to run the strategy.

  14. Hi Michael,
    This. Robbing method has me most intrigued and I would appreciate the opportunity to analys the strategy .

    Cheers
    Woody

  15. That should be Dobbing Michael? Although if it’s relieving the bookies I suppose it could well be legalised ROBBING.

    Woody

  16. Yeah count me in ….

  17. The theory sounds good but the reality may be somewhat different I guess.Im not saying it can not work because it can,but at those sort of strike rates with that type of margin you would need to be very good at what you are doing.

    If I’ve backed a horse for £100 at 20’s and it hits IR of 10 I’d rather be sitting there and let in ride rather then getting out.Surely logic tells us that if a horse has fell to 50% of it’s Price the market is telling us at that specific moment that horse has a better chance of winning the race? Of course it’s not always going to win,I guess it’s just a balancing a act.

    • Like all successful betting it does require some work and you do need a high strike rate. 50% of the price isn’t actually a threshold for winning, the biggest threshold is if a horse at 10’s or higher hits 1.99 then they very often win. But that’s a different strategy ;)

      As you say the horse does have a better chance of winning the race at that point, but with good pace analysis you can determine whether that is just the case because it likes to get up to the front and so it looks good until fading at the final furlong. That’s one example scenario.

  18. Hello Michael. Your readers may be interested in the Patternform web site. They have special dobbing cards that have pace analysis included.

  19. Hi Michael. I am beginning in the bet world and the DOB method is correct. But my question is if I can make the Lay bet directly on time in the race or i need an special software for assure the bet is made in correct time. The things goes fast in a race. A second question is: it would be better to make the bets in a long race, e.g. 2 to 3 miles for having more time?
    Thanks in advance
    Juan

    • Hi Juan, you can actually make the bet as soon as the race goes in-play because it’s based on how often you get matched compared to how often you don’t. Sometimes you just don’t get matched and have a losing bet which means these need to be taken into account.

  20. Always open to new strategies M.
    I have spotted this potential strategy myself but that all important correct horse is the potential stumbling block for me so yes very interested.

  21. Sounds interesting but what specialist equipment will you need to successfully achieve the required results.
    I cant see it working if you rely on the Betfair site to land your bets.
    I will be interested in your strategy when you produce it.

    • Thanks Leslie, I shall keep you updated. You can actually place the bets as soon as a race goes in-play as all thresholds are determined by then. In fact, you can do it before the race goes in-play and ask Betfair to keep the bet in-play.

  22. Hi Michael,

    Good to know more about this. Anything you can do would be greatly appreciated.

  23. I’m interested in this. I’ve been looking at pace analysis a lot lately ( it seems this is becoming more important over here now )

  24. Michael,

    Sounds interesting. Would this work with place betting also, do you think?
    Keep me posted

  25. I’d be interested in this strategy too please Mike. I’ve had a few goes at it with mixed results.

    • I shall let you know when it’s ready Wendy. How are you analysing for it at the moment?

      • I do quite a bit of race reading, and I also use that and a combination of my own rating strategy. And I look for a horse in the top 6 that has come first or second in a similar class and distance in a recent comparison race. I mostly get the right horse as they frequently get placed, but the money doesn’t necessarily get taken up in play. I find they have to be up pretty close towards the end or even in the lead to be taken up. I feel a bit of pace reading might come in handy.

  26. 4-45 have backed one scoop or two @7-4 and layed @ 5-9 will leave in running if not taken before off.lexis hero didn’t do it during race but the winner was one of 3 early paced runners given on patternform site the other being dangerous age which also would have been winning trade.

  27. sounds interesting looking forward to your strategies

  28. looks interesting, count me in

  29. Another great post Michael, would you please let me know how it is going on.

    Barry

  30. Please count me in for the Dobbing strategy. Thanks

  31. Yes would be very interested in seeing a strategy of dobbing

  32. Would be very interested to learn more. Will give this a try, but with very small stakes at the moment hoping to increase stakes as my bank grows and more information from yourself michael. G

    • Thanks Gary, the key is pace analysis (and there is a series on pace analysis on the Race Advisor if you do a search in the search bar on the top right) and using Timeform for in-play prices on different runners.

  33. Morning Michael, Any idea how it would have worked using the top 2 selections from Puntology software?

    Neil

  34. Glenn

    Hi Michael,
    Personally I don’t really lay my selections even though trading my bets to guarantee profit was another failed new years resolution. Anyway my question is, would I have to wait until the race starts to place the in running bet or can this be done as soon as I place the back bet?
    I also noticed that patternform have ‘Dobbing’ cards which could be a useful place for people to start building a dobbing strategy. I don’t know if this is a new feature and I’m still trying to get my head around how to use it but here’s a link for all todays races http://patternform.co.uk/iroverview_2014-02-18.htm

    • Hi Glenn, someone else mentioned the Pattern Form dobbing cards. I haven’t had a good look at them yet but will definitely do so. You can place your bet at the same time as the back bet and leave it in-running. Occasionally you may even get matched before the race goes in-play. We should know at what odds we are expecting to get matched before the race begins which is why we can do this.

  35. Hi Michael re Puntology [ should I talk about it here?] looking at todays selection at Wetherby in the 2.45 second selection Legendary Hop has dropped below 50% in running in 6 from of its last 10 races, worth a go?

    Neil

  36. Hi Michael, we’ve been DOBBING at Patternform for years – I coined the phrase sometime before 2008. I have a few notes on advanced dobbing which are available from the main Patternform page. The Moneyform pages on the patternform site are a derivative of the dobbing concept and give you the flexibility to filter the formline using the standard patternform filters. and then of course there are the pace pages ….

    • Hi Martin, I didn’t realise the phrase was coined by yourself! A great phrase :) I’ve just updated the post to say that PatternForm coined the phrase and have added a link through. I’m going to go in and take a look at your Moneyform pages today.

    • What does all that mean for goodness sake!

      • Keith,
        The concept behind Patternform.co.uk is to (where possible) display a runners form against the other runners in the race – since it’s those runner it has to beat. So the Patternform formlines displays a runners finishing position and both speed ratings and Form ratings on a single page. Many other form pages do this,but where Patternform differs is that it allows you only to display details (i.e. formline and rating) which match filter values. These filter relate to a runners previous races and cover such things as the going, race distance, Type of race, course, class, etc.
        So for instance if today’s race is a 2m Hcap Hurdle class 4 on Hvy – you might select from the filters (2m and 2m1f, Hvy and Soft, Hcap Hdl) and only form detail from races which match that criteria will be displayed – so you can see how all the runners in the race have previously performed under those conditions (or if it has encountered those conditions before).

  37. Thanks Michael,
    Great article. I have been to look at patternform and find it
    all very interesting, I’ve bookmarked the site for my return.

    Alex

  38. Glenn

    I have been trying this out with a few bets and although it has been providing a profit I would have made more by just placing the back bets which can be a little frustrating. I think dobbing would be great if you are in the losing run as it would be minimised and could still be profitable (a losing run that can generate a profit is really appealing to me). I think I will use this technique with larger size bets but also run a smaller bank to just go with the back bets to try and maximise the profits.
    Today I have gone with Bapak Bangsawan in the 3:00 at Wolverhampton. Front runner and a consistent placer so I think that he should be battling for the win. Backed it at 4/1 last night with Bet Victor and the price has been shortening since. Fingers are crossed that my lay will get matched before they even go to post.

    • Thanks for the comment Glenn and great to hear you’re already making a profit. Long-term these bets should be offering value so you would make a larger profit simply backing them. However if you only have a small bankroll or are risk adverse then dobbing provides a way of making a profit without the long drawdowns and losing streaks.

      • Glenn

        Hi Michael,
        Thanks for the reply. As you probably know Bapak Bangsawan won the race so I got a nice win, but had to give some of it away. In hindsight I think I should have reduced the odds on my lay when I saw how quickly it was shortening but things are always easier when you have hindsight on your side. Anyway when it comes to placing bets the night before, do you think it would be worth waiting to see what the SP is going to be and using that as the benchmark of how much to lay it off. I know this deviates from the dobbing plan but I’m trying to think of the best way to maximise profits. Maybe a 2/3 stake lay at half odds and 1/3 at slightly shorter odds is also an idea i have.

        • I did notice it had won :) To be honest I have never tried a split lay stake. The best way to maximise profits is to place back bets but that also contains the highest risk. It’s about finding the balance that suits you personally. If you’re happy to take a slightly larger risk, and increase your bankroll slightly, then splitting the stake may work well. I would personally go back and see how often the horses went further than half the odds and how far to make a more informed decision of where to place the second lay portion and how often I would be expecting it to not get taken.

  39. very interested to learn more about this strategy, please keep me informed. thanks

  40. hi mike
    can you let me have your stratergys as ive been on the great site patternform for many a year now and watch
    the dobs section which is laid out 4 you including pace rating to se who leads or comes late it give you colour
    readins

    cheers frank

  41. ooooppppps forgot to say please

  42. Hi Guys, I have used this to some success, I usually look for a DOB over 75% and at least 15% clear of the next DOB, if the horse is over 20/1 I dont bother, also What I tend to do is just 12 ticks down for my lay, doubling seems a bit too risky for me.
    I have thought of iceberging as you call it but could never work out my stakes, try what I have suggested, you should win most days, my advice dont get greedy, take a few ticks and bank the profit.

  43. Or another thought is, go for the big DOBS lets say from backing at 10 and laying at 3, this would give you a massive £233 profit for £100 back bet, of course you are not going to hit this every time but you could reduce your losses by taking a loss if the price drifted out to 13. I will have a look at this in the next few days using my selection method, I will produce two figures, one for the 12 tick DOB and another for more than half DOB trading out at a 6 point loss, lets see which makes most profit?

  44. I been doing something similar,but not for very long.I back pre race,quite often I will trade pre race if the opportunity arises,then set my lay bet at 20% lower going in running!so for a £40 back bet will earn me £10,the obvious problem here is the high strike rate needed to succeed,80% just to cut even!I’ve managed it so far but with only 100 races,so to be honest I’m not real confident about it over time…What about laying first and back in running,doing this on 2,3 or even 4 horses as most horses I find will drift in running,the obvious problem here is the risk/reward ratio,but has anyone tried this for any decent amount of time.I was just mucking around with it last night on the top 4 horses of a few races with success every time

    • You do need a high strike rate to dob. I’ve not tried laying multiple horses and trading them inplay. I would be interested to hear how you get on with it over more races.

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