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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

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Big Winners great Strike rates…

Isn’t betting a funny thing…

On the one hand we want winners and the bigger the better…

…And on the other we want to win a lot with very few losers.

Big winners and a great Strike rates… Perfect!

Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work like that.

Big winners tend to mean lower strike rates.

Take “Elision” a system we have been testing over at the Grey Horse Bot web site since 28/08/2014.

It has an average winning price of 9.00 (pretty big).

It also has an average strike rate of 13.12% (not so big)

And since we started reviewing the system it has had a winning month of 51.39 and 40.32.

Sounds pretty good…right?

Well not quite…

Averages are funny things. They are made up of high and low figures.

The high ones are great because they produce the big profit months like above.

It’s the low ones that are a pain.

They tend to be the ones where you need to dig deep.

If you have done your homework and understand that longest losing runs do happen then you can ride them out.

If you haven’t then this is where you find out that staking too much from your bank on each selection can really be expensive.

Tipsters and systems have good runs, but they also have times when their natural strike rates adjust.

Whether you call it a “bad run”, “bad luck” or “The system doesn’t work”.

It will happen.

Elision proves this point.

Yes it has had some good months but it also has bad months.

The 28 month history shows us that this is not unusual…

…It’s all down to you and whether you believe the history or think the bad months are the signs of the system going bad.

Don’t ignore statistics…

 Losing runs will happen and the lower the strike rate the longer these will be and the more often they will happen.

Be prepared and reap, ignore and you will be forever losing.

You can check Elision out here

http://greyhorsebot.com/elision

Thanks

Malcolm Pett

http://greyhorsebot.com

Today's Selection

3:20 Newcastle Up And Go – win bet – 15/8 Sporting Bet

SAW 9 Winners

In last week’s post I told you about this new “open” test we have been doing over at the Grey Horse Bot website.

Since then we have had 9 winners and gained about 6 points if we took all the selections.
The test is also to see if it is more profitable to “stop at a winner” rather than just keep betting on every selection.

This is an interactive test based around one of our in house ratings and the morning and midday Betfair prices.

We are calling it “interactive” because you can choose the ratings figure to base the selections around.

I choose 220 and so far this month it has been far better to bet on every selection than it is to SAW.

That may not be true of every figure which is why we wanted people to experiment.

These are low priced and often (but not always) favourites.

Using 220 is giving an overall strike rate of 52.26% and an average price of 1.34.

We are doing a little better this month with an average strike rate of 56.52 but our average price is a little lower at 1.31.

270 is a good figure to go for if you want a better strike rate although 350 or above is better but it is hard to gauge how accurate they are because the amount of selections available in the results is quite low.

So far anything under 190 hasn’t performed very well this month unless you switch to SAW and use a maximum daily loss strategy of 3.

A loss strategy is important for SAW otherwise you can wipe out your profits very quickly on a losing run.

I know I go against the “value” idea with these types of low price test…

…But my argument is that if my average winning odds is higher than the strike rate suggest then haven’t we found value?

Ok maybe a little “tongue in cheek” and it is quite early days as far as this test is concerned.

If you would like to take part then pop over to the Grey Horse Bot web site.

http://greyhorsebot.com

Thanks

Malcolm
The Grey Horse Bot

Today's Selection

16:00:00 Newbury Might Bite – win bet – 13/8 Sporting Bet

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