The Racing Portfolio for 2021 – why these services?

It’s Tuesday, so it must be a Bet Diary post concentrating on horse racing.  I’m not yet clear as to whether doing three posts a week is going to help me remember where I am in the week (which is not so easy during lockdown, as all the days seem to merge into each other) or mean I don’t know if I’m coming or going!  Probably the latter.

I only started betting on the horses again yesterday.  With the freeze that hit large parts of the UK last week, causing a number of meetings to be cancelled, the racing on offer was pretty poor fare.  Add to this the fact I spent much of last week musing over which services to follow this year, and I was quite happy just to let things pass me by.  Subsequently I have no results to report, but I can use this post to outline my decision making process when it came to selecting who to follow this year.

In a nutshell, there are four boxes I identified as wanting to be ticked when it came to my betting on the nags.  They are:

  1. Ease of achieving the advised odds (or at least coming very close to matching them most of the time);
  2. The ability to use the Exchanges – not exclusively, but regularly/frequently;
  3. Protection of bookmaker accounts; and
  4. Workload.

Clearly Points 2 and 3 are not mutually exclusive and one leads in to the other.  The more bets I can place at Betfair or Smarkets, the fewer I have to burden my bookie accounts with.  My policy on this is that should I get a price which is acceptable to me on the exchanges, even if a bookie is offering a higher price, I’ll take it on the exchange.

Let me give an example.  Say I have a Precision Value bet advised at 7/2 (4.5 in decimal odds).  Smarkets is offering 4.6, Bet365 is offering 4/1 (or 5.0).  I’ll take the Smarkets price.

Yes, I’m doing myself out of a not insubstantial level of potential profit (or value, if you prefer) on that individual bet, but my service is telling me 4.5 is a value price.  Taking 4.6 and paying 2% commission on any winnings, the actual price I’m taking is 4.528, ie. a value price.  Meantime, I’m reducing the stress on my Bet365 account.  My logic/hope, is that over time, I’ll make more by maximizing the lifespan of my bookmaker accounts by using them only when it is clearly advantageous to do so, by which I mean if I take the Exchange price, I’m not taking a value price whilst I am if I use the bookmaker.  Make sense?

Workload is a very important factor to take account of, too.  I’ve become a lot more chilled over time about missing bets.  It’s not ideal, but you know what?  Life is too short, and I’ve reached a point where I want to avoid my betting meaning I can’t get on with the rest of life.  If I miss a price because I’m out walking the dog?  So be it.  There will be plenty more bets on the way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do my best to get on as many bets as I possibly can.  All I’m saying is I’m not going to sweat it if I miss a few, which I inevitably will.

How does the portfolio line up then?  You won’t see much real change, to be honest…

  1. Northern Monkey.
  2. Racing Service 1.
  3. Bet Alchemist.
  4. Precision Value.

I agonized over Bet Alchemist.  2020 was a losing year.  They happen, and BA have had one before, from which they bounced back strongly.  In the end, the fact that prices are largely achievable, and only big races/meetings are targeted (making the bets as bookie-friendly as they can be) swung it for me.  They deserve a chance to put 2020 right, through 2021.

There we have it.  First set of results in next Tuesday’s post.  Back tomorrow with a look at the ‘Other Sports’ portfolio, which unlike racing, sees new services engaged.  Exciting times.

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