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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

Nick Hardman Tips

Anybody that followed our Friday Nick Hardman columns in 2014 will have made plenty of profit from the selections posted.

2015 has already got off to a great start and today Nick has selections at Huntingdon and Doncaster and selections for tomorrows Lanzarote…

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We had a great start to 2015 with 3 winners from our 5 AW selections in addition to L’Ami Serge winning comfortably and Triolo D’Alene grabbing some place money @16/1 under a brilliant ride by Barry Geraghty on Saturday.

This week we turn our attention to the Friday cards at Huntingdon and Doncaster and we have a couple of selections for the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday.

Nicky Henderson has a 44% strike rate at Huntingdon in the last 2 years. In that time he has sent out 15 winners from 34 runners. 9 of those winners were in hurdles races and he is 3-4 in maiden hurdles at the course.

Today he has a couple of qualifiers who are pretty much unknown quantities.

Huntingdon 1.20pm Maestro Royale
Huntingdon 2.30pm Hel Tara

Nicky Henderson also does well at Doncaster with his hurdlers. In the last two years his hurdlers at the course are 15-37 (41% strike rate) and show a level stakes profit of £37.46.

His handicap hurdlers have a lower strike rate (31%) but tend to pop up at decent prices with his last 4 handicap hurdle winners at the course returning industry SPs of 16/1, 15/2, 8/1 and 8/1. He has a trio of hurdle runners today.

Doncaster 12.30pm Saint Charles (Maiden hurdle)
Doncaster 1.35pm Nicolas Chauvin (Novice hurdle)
Doncaster 3.15pm Earth Amber (Handicap hurdle)

The Lanzarote Hurdle is one of the feature races on Saturday and I like the look of Dawalan and Hello George who are both backable each-way at 8/1.

Dawalan represents the Henderson/ Geraghty combination.

Back in November he got to within half a length of Sign Of A Victory over 2 miles and the latter is now rated 149 over hurdles having been last seen in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

Dawalan also had the re-opposing Kilcooley 16 lengths behind that day and that horse has gone on and franked that form (2nd to L’Ami Serge and 23 length winner at Haydock on his next two starts).

What is more significant though in the context of the Lanzarote hurdle is Dawalan’s battling victory at Ascot over 2m 4f on his last start.

That day he was outpaced and 5 lengths down three from home, but rallied gamely to get up close home to beat stable mate and 145 rated Bear’s Affair.

The extra furlong should suit and he gets a whole stone from Kilcooley who heads the weights.

Hello George ran a good race in the Ladbroke Hurdle, not beaten that far in 6th. He probably needs more of a test than the 2 miles he faced that day and he certainly gets it here.

He was tapped for toe in the Ladbroke but stayed on nicely to suggest the step up in trip may well suit.

He gets in off a light weight of 10st and that should see him competitive if he sees out the trip.

Saturday January 10th

Kempton 2.40 pm Dawalan 8/1 and Hello George 8/1 (1pt e/w ¼ odds, 4 places)

Big priced Selection from Top Tipsters

Not much going on this morning with only Lingfield racing, so I've nicked the write up for a big priced small stake each way bet from the excellent http://racingconsultants.co.uk

This guys have been impressing us all for the past 6 months or so and havent had a losing month since launching.

If you want to get serious about your betting in 2015 then I recommend these guys

http://racingconsultants.co.uk

Here's the full write up from David Massey this morning…

Good morning all,

The year ends as a bit of a damp squib, with Uttoxeter and Warwick getting the elbow early this morning but it does give us a clear run at the cards tomorrow. Cheltenham declarations have just come out as I type this, and the card has held up well – hopefully we can kick the New Year off in a bit of style.

Today, just one bet.

2.40 Lingfield – 0.5pts e/w Glastonberry (22-1 Bet Victor, Hills)

Lingfield

2.40 – 7f Handicap (class 4)

Not the most competitive of affairs, and top weight Shyron is likely to be a popular order after a win and close second at Wolverhampton, both of which show him to be in good form.But at a bigger price GLASTONBERRY is worth a second look.

Well drawn on the inside (has been held up on last two starts, but often races more prominently) he's a record of 3210 over this C&D and has won after a four month break before, giving hope that he could be ready to go first time out.

He won at Kempton earlier in the season and already finds himself only 1lb higher than that win, so has every chance from a handicapping point of view too.

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