Guest post written by Michael King
I find it interesting to observe how over time different areas of form or betting are resurrected, usually by the racing press or a book and suddenly once again they become in vogue. One such area during the past year has been value.
As with most aspects of racing this is open to many interpretations and uses, but few would deny its importance to profitability.
Recently I have read articles suggesting that people should back the value horse in a race even if they do not feel it’s the most likely winner. This is not an approach I would care to follow. My take is to find what i feel is the winner and then ONLY back it if i can get what i consider a fair or value price.
My personal preference is to work on handicaps and IMO no horse in these races is value at less than 7/4 (decimal odds 2.75). That is the absolute minimum price I will accept. Several times a week you can see people lash into really short priced favourites in handicaps as if defeat is unimaginable, if only they would check the results. I so wish backers had the inclination to set a minimum acceptable price for any bet and have the discipline to skip the bet when it’s not obtainable. If you would care to try this with your own bets I can almost guarantee, although sometimes this will cost you winners long term, it will improve your ROI and profits.
If you believe there is some credibility to the above then the question is how do you go about it?
Ideally you will have the experience, time and knowledge to formulate your own tissue or prices. Unfortunately most of you are unlikely to be able to commit to this amount of work so i will suggest an easy way, which on balance is almost as good.
Once you have found your potential winner check its forecast price in both the Racing Post and Sporting Life betting forecasts. Then take the average of the two prices. As an example if we have odds in the RP of 5/1 and in the SL of 7/1, then the average is 6/1. Make this the minimum price you will accept. If Rule 4 applies then reduce your minimum price by the appropriate deduction.
This simple technique will increase profitability for most bettors and if used by the majority (which sadly will not occur) would force the bookmakers to take a more realistic view of their over-round, particularly at the front end of the market where the majority of winners come from.
Michael is now 57 years old and has been interested in racing since he was a teenager. After many years of research and analysis he finally went full time as bettor at the beginning of 2010. His specialist area is handicap races.