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SP Before the Off

Grey Horse BotToday we have the first post from new contributor Malcolm Pett.

Malcolm explains how we can know the Betfair SP and bet based on Betfair SP before the off!

Here's Malcolm…

Just about every system you come across on the web would first have been created using past data.

If this is the case then the result will be shown using either SP (Industry Standard starting price) or BSP (Betfair Starting Price) for results.

There is nothing really wrong with this because it is the only way of giving people the chance to check the results they are seeing as being accurate.

But where it does cause an issue and pose a problem is when it is a price sensitive system or a system that relies on being on a particular ranked runner, like the favourite.

BSP and SP are calculated at the off.

You may think by looking at the ranking a few seconds before the off will tell you who was favourite, second favourited etc…

But often this isn't the case. The BSP/SP announced ranking can be different to the just before the off rank.

A short test we did with Betfair some time back clearly showed that the rankings can differ by as much as 1 or 2 runners in every 10.

Maybe this doesn’t sound too bad…

…But when you consider you could be following hundreds or even thousands of bets over the course of a year…this could easily change the results you were expecting or the results being advertised.

The same is true of price. The price before the off is often different to BSP/SP causing even more inaccuracies in your system.

So what can you do to make sure you are on the correct runner or within the correct price range?

You may already know that just as Betfair's market goes in-play the BSP price and ranking is made available through their API.

So we have developed a great feature on the Grey Horse Bot that allows the bot to read the BSP price and Ranking as soon as it happens.

This gives the Grey Horse Bot user the opportunity to choose which ranked runner to bet on or to only place a bet into the market if it is within the price range you require.

When you create your own system it should be part of your testing to determine if you get better prices before the off or in-play. You can test both automatically with the Grey Horse Bot.

Thank you for reading I really do appreciate it.

Malcolm

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Malcolm is the creator of a number of Betfair automated betting products like the Grey Horse Bot. He also writes articles for Betfair. Apart from automation Malcolm likes creating and testing systems and believes his readers should have all the statistical facts available to make proper informed decisions.

If you have any questions about bots or automation please add a comment and we'll try and answer them.

Backing Favourites for a Living – Malcolm Pett

Backing Favourites for a Living

This page started life with an article from Malcolm Pett that asked the simple question “can you make money backing favourites”.

Malcolms original article is included below but before we get to that, a few thoughts from 2019.

Backing Favourites

The first thing to say is that you can’t bet all favourites and expect to make a profit.

That’s just not how the betting market works, there is always a profit margin built into a bookies prices, but because it isn’t an exact science not all prices reflect the true chance of the horse.

And so it is possible to cherry pick the best value favourites and to make a profit from those.

Some Facts

The headline fact is that favourites have won 34.99% of all races over the last 10 years up to November 2019.

If you had bet them all for £1 you would have been on 114584 bets, won 40,088 times and lost £7,904 at industry SP.

Your ROI would have been – 6.9%.

The split is pretty even across Flat, All Weather and National Hunt.

That is a pretty small loss percentage wise and that is what we have to overcome to make a profit.

One way to do that is to drill down into a sub set of races, a very small subset like this system 

Another is to search for false favourites. favourites that are at the head of the market on hype rather than proven form, favourites that are on unproven ground or have some other negative factor that is against them.

BOG

As with any backing if you can bet at best odds guaranteed then you can squeeze another few percentage points from your bets.

Although we all ultimately have BOG taken from us as we become more successful, if you still have it take advantage.

It is fair to say that the bookies are a lot more tolerant of punters who bet and win on shorter priced selections and your account and privileges.

Betfair SP

You can get even closer to making a profit with Betfair SP. in fact the loss we reported above for all favourites for the past 5 years reduces to 3575 when betting at Betfair SP and ROI of – 3.12%.

Psychologically betting favourites is a good idea, many a bettor has abandoned a winning strategy because they couldn’t tolerate a losing run.

Alternative Strategies

What we really want to do when we bet favourites is to bet at a high strike rate with shorter losing runs.

Other options are to bet favourites in the place only markets at Betfair, which will get you a much higher strike rate.

Or dutching together selections to have multiple runners in a race and of course a much higher strike rate. You can use our dutching tool to work out you stakes.

Here is Malcolm's original article from 2014…

Today we have our regular Wednesday article from Malcolm Pett and this week's subject is backing favourites for a living

Can you make money backing favourites?

Most people tell you that there is no value in backing favourites and you should stay clear of them and look for those “outsiders” that come in now and then, at a really good value.

It sounds plausible except almost 80% of all winners come from the top 3 or 4 in the betting and so although it’s not rare to see an outsider come in at great value…

…It’s not easy finding and identifying them.

Backing Favourites for a Living

If you have read any of my articles then you are probably aware that I tend to go on about strike rate and average winning odds a lot.

There is good reason for this…

…They are important…very important.

At the end of the day all that matters is that these two figures stack up and make you a profit.

If you go for the lower strike rate range then you will need higher odds to make money.

Where a higher strike rate means you need lower odds to make money.

So it doesn’t matter if you are on favourites or outsiders the figures still have to add up.

People love going on about finding value and if you like being a detective then it is really good fun.

But value bets winning are rare and so even if you get good at spotting them your strike rate is still going to be low, meaning you will get a lot of losers before finding a winner.

Looking for value bets also needs a big bank roll and you need to know when to take advantage of the odds available.

I follow a number of systems like this and you soon find out that you have to go through losing runs of 20, 30 or even 50, to make these systems work.

Not many people are prepared to do this and not many people have the bank to support it.

I am not saying you shouldn’t have high price value strategies…

…I am just saying it probably doesn’t want to be your only strategy.

But we have already talked about there being no profit in favourites so what else can we do?

Well let’s discuss that for a moment.

Let us say that we came up with a system that uses favourites and has an average strike rate of 50%.

That means “on average” we win one bet and we lose one bet.

So every time we lose…we lose 1 point which means every time we win we need to do better than 1 pt to make money.

In fact if we take Betfair prices where we can generally do a little better then we need an average winning price of 1.05, just to break even.

So let’s say for arguments sake we get on average a winning price 1.26 (2.26).

1.26 * 5% = 0.06 = 1.20 profit

So if we had 100 selections in a month and won on 50 of them it would look like this…

50 * 1.20 = 60 – 50 = 10 points.

So as you can see we don’t have to have a very high “average winning odds” to make a decent amount of points every month.

The thing is to test…it’s no good saying you cannot make money on favourites unless you try some strategies over 2 or 3 months.

If you pick well then even if you don’t get the prices you need. You are unlikely to lose as much as you would following a low strike rate high value system with long losing runs.

Malcolm

Favourite Average Price Rise

Today we have our regular weekly column from Malcolm Pett of GreyHorseBot.com
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In the last couple or articles we have been looking at the results from an interactive test we have been doing over at the Grey Horse Bot website.

Part of this test is also to discover if it is better to be on all the selections or to stop at the first winner of the day.

I picked 220 or above as my rating figure (see later why this may still be to low).

It hasn’t been the best of weeks for this number and it was only because of a 6.3 winner a couple of days ago that we are still showing any profit for this month.

This is a bit of a shame as it was a lot more positive last week…

…But that’s racing for you.

I am a statistical type of person so I don’t like to blame the weather.

And I do know this…

Favourites average prices tend to drop slightly in the winter.

I am not sure why but it could be that there are less races so they are more heavily backed than they normally would be.

But a quick check on the averages over the last couple of years shows that from the height in the summer of 3.5 (sometimes higher) in the winter this can drop to around 3.1.

And although the strike rate of this particular system has dropped off slightly…

…The amount of favourites winning is slightly better than the norm this month.

Which again, strangely, seems to happen around the winter months.

But back to the system test…

I am still not convinced that SAW is the best way to go but it is going to take more testing to actually make that decision.

If you crank the ratings figure up to 240 then things look a little better for all selections and it may be my choice of 220 was still a little low.

This will probably be my last report about this test for a few weeks.

Unless something amazing happens!

You can see the results from this test and get the daily selections here.

Thanks
Malcolm
The Grey Horse Bot

GreyHorseBot.com

Today's Selection

2:00 Lingfield Ershaad – win bet 5/6 Bet Victor

Nico de Boinville

Mr Nico de Boinville!

There's a lot of interesting articles online about Nico de Boinville, how he came from a privileged background, about the alternate careers he could have had, acting, city banker etc.

But none of that is of much interest to us.

What is of interest though is that Nico de Boinville makes a level stakes profit at industry starting prices if you bet all his mounts to win.

At least he has over the last three years.

The profit is getting a little tighter now because he's had some high profile wins and his ability is better known by the betting public.

His day job, as it were, is with Nicky Henderson and that's where most of his profit has come from with 70 rides since January 2013 and 21 wins for a 44% ROI.

But he has had more outside rides than he has rides for Nicky H so we'll look at all rides in the last two years to see where he's done best.

First up he's an SP loser over the big obstacles but a big winner over hurdles.

It would seem that he is over bet in his Chases, I don't know why that would be because his strike rate is the same but the ROI for Chases is minus 33% and for Hurdles is plus 66%.

The data is scant, but looking at what we have I'd tend towards dropping big field races and so I'm looking at under 14 runners.

The dataset is getting small now with just over 100 runs in the last to years, so I'm going to leave it at that.

We may be a little late to the Nico de Boinville party but I still think this is a jockey we should be following.

And in the past two years if we had backed all his rides over hurdles in fields of less than 14 we would have had the following results…

Runs = 118
Wins = 25
Strike Rate = 21%
Profit at iSP = 118.96
ROI = 100%

Today's Selection

12.25 Southwell – Best Tamayuz – win bet 2/1 Bet 365

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