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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

Greyhound Racing Videos

Before I get into the specifics of finding winning dogs by reading the form I want to just give a bit more background info and talk about a method I used to use when I was full time betting the greyhounds…

Finding the winning greyhound in a graded race is about a lot more than the times it has achieved in the past.

Graded racing is the greyhound equivalent of a handicap race except that greyhounds are not allocated any sort of handicap to slow them down.

Instead they selected to be as closely matched as possible.

The Racing Managers job is to put together races that are as closely matched as possible and to, if you like, create a puzzle for the punters.

On course bookmaking at greyhound tracks is notoriously hard, mainly because when money talks in a small market there are not the opportunities to balance out a book. This is the reason that on course overrounds are huge at greyhound tracks and the reason that the Racing Manager does his best to make the races as decipherable as possible.

Don’t let any of this put you off, though, because winners can be found if you are selective and if the meeting is covered by Betfair then fair prices can be obtained also.

As with any activity knowledge equals power or in this case the more you know the more profitable you can be. The ultimate level of knowledge is to have watched every race ever run by every dog in the race to hand and to know how each has been performing at home. (Many trainers these days have some sort of track at their own kennels).

It is unlikely that you can get inside info on every dog in a race but you can often get to see every race a dog has run. For some years now tracks have supplied videos of all races run to those prepared to pay for the privilege. And the backer who focuses on one particular track can, given time, watch every run of a particular animal. However this is an expensive, although ultimately profitable, approach.

I will briefly touch on the things to watch out for when race watching here and next time we'll get on to a more form based approach.

Racing Videos

When watching greyhound racing in the main what you are looking for is

• Dogs that have had a hard race (bumped and blocked) but still performed well indicating they are faster than the time recorded. They are likely faster than the bare form suggests. If you are in the bookies watching the BAGS racing and you see a dog that had a hard race make a note of it and check the results to see what tine it did and estimate what time you think it should have done,. It may be a good bet next time out.

• How a dog breaks from the traps EG do they run straight to the rail, which would cause trouble for the dog inside them but hand an advantage to the dog on their outside. This info can be useful in assessing the chances of the dog in question and other dogs.

• Are they on the bunny! IE doing everything in their power to get in front and win or did they give up easy & just follow the pack home. Chasers, who are not really up for it will win less than their share of races because they don't like to be in front.

Top Ten Tipsters

The Tipster Table is based on the last 30 days selections and uses the Best Odds Guaranteed prices to record the level of profit. The overall Return on Investment is our main concern, but obviously this has to be coupled with a reasonable strike rate.

All prices quoted are at Advised Odds.

1. Back LucrativeStrike Rate 21% ROI 77%
Back Lucrative has come storming back in to the tipster table after last being seen toward the end of April. Winners with Still on Top 10/1, Ralphy Boy 12/1, Encapsulated 14/1and Realtra 12/1 have boosted the profits back up from their negative position toward the end of July to now being a very healthy 76 points profit in the last 30 days!
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2. Flat AttackStrike Rate 33% ROI 61%
Flat Attack is a climber this week from the Number 6 slot last week aided with wins from Burningfivers 11/2 and Muqtaser 3/1 and an each way winner finishing second with Radhhadh 11/1 all adding to the profit tally.
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Top Ten Tipsters

With the Glorious Goodwood meeting over how have the Tipsters fared over the past week. Are there any surprises in store for us?

The Tipster Table is based on the last 30 days selections and uses the Best Odds Guaranteed prices to record the level of profit. The overall Return on Investment is our main concern, but obviously this has to be coupled with a reasonable strike rate.

All prices quoted are at advised odds.

1. GO RacingStrike Rate 53% ROI 62%
GO Racing has shot up the table to the Number One slot this past week. Gareth Owen Racing claims 20 years of experience in the UK Racing Industry. He also claims to speak daily to “connected” people knowing those whom to listen to and those whose advice to ignore. This week there have been five winners from the last eleven selections with prices ranging from Evens to 9/2. Not massive prices but the resultant 11.50 points profit has added to the current 30 day total which now stands at a shade less than 33 points.
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2. ITK RacingStrike Rate 42% ROI 67%
ITK Racing is a re-entry to the Tipster table this week and last seen two weeks ago. Just the five selections this week but of those there were two winners at Evens and 13/2 which has pulled them back from albeit a slight downward trend which they were on with regards to profit. It may be to keep a watching brief with this one.
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