One of the most important issues facing many racing tipsters these days is that of odds availability.
It’s something that has dogged the likes of Hugh Taylor and his ilk for many a year as whilst his expertise in beating the bookie is never in doubt, the ability to obtain the odds he quotes certainly is!
Yet for some tipsters this issue is getting worse: Those tipsters that put up bets the night before racing.
As whilst it might make sense to follow a tipster snapping up the earliest value – in reality it can cause you all kinds of problems. Allow me to explain more, including why some unscrupulous tipsters are taking advantage of it…
The Evolution Of Racing Bookmaking
To help explain the current issue with taking early odds, it’s worth a quick down memory lane to understand how betting on racing historically worked.
Back in the good old days, most bookmakers employed large teams of racing traders who would price up each race meeting and manage a traditional racing book. As bets flowed in and out, the odds for each horse would change as each bookie managed their liability and tried to eke an overall profit.
Occasionally, some bookmakers would find themselves getting filled in and taking a hit if getting it wrong, yet their in-built over-round always ensured that long-term, they would make a profit.
With the introduction of betting exchanges, all of this changed.
Nowadays, large-scale racing trading teams are a thing of the past, with most bookmakers forming their odds based on the Betfair market or by simply copying each other.
The art of building a racing book has been lost with only a few exceptions (Black Type Bet for example who don’t price up the races until 8.30am the day of racing).
Ultimately though, most of the skill has gone out of creating and maintaining a racing book and this in turn has impacted how we as punters get on.
Why Odds Are Odd When Betting Early
This sea change in the world of racing bookmaking has had a major knock-on effect for those punters keen to bet early.
For most races, you can expect to see the first available odds start appearing around 4 to 5pm the afternoon before it starts.
As the evening wears on, a few other bookies will start to quote odds until there are a handful of bookmakers pricing up each horse in a race.
Often these prices are based on the limited amount of trading so far on Betfair – not much money at all or some rudimental tissue prices the bookie is working to.
As these early prices are not based upon the expertise or skill of a racing trader, the bookmakers know they are vulnerable to shrewd punters who might know more than them and snap up the value odds on any overpriced horses.
Bookmakers are therefore extremely twitchy about even moderate sums of money coming in for a horse at such a time of day.
If they see support coming in for a horse on the exchanges, this is another sure-fire warning signal that they might have the price wrong.
So what do they do in this instance?
Simple – they slash the odds available and it’s not rare to see big movements in odds, especially for the larger priced fancied horses, where the bookies potential liabilities are that much higher.
Tipsters & Their Quoted Prices
It is this issue of slashing odds that causes such a problem for tipsters who post up bets the evening before racing.
The general logic is that the earlier a tipster puts up a tip, the greater chance its odds will move downwards.
For those tipsters with a large subscriber base, there is zero chance the quoted odds will hold up.
It’s all too common to see a price of 20/1 quoted by a tipster, yet within minutes it’s a best 16/1 or 14/1. Come the morning of the race its 10/1 and it starts at 8/1 SP.
Considering betting profitably is all about value, even a change from 20/1 to 16/1 can and does make a major difference to your bottom line.
Taking 8/1 or 10/1 on a 20/1 shot isn’t worth thinking about neither – and by doing so you are actually more likely to turn a loss then a profit.
Recent Smart Betting Club Publications (Click each image to read more!)
The Tipster That Wouldn’t Play Fair
Yet despite these clear issues with early tips – some unscrupulous tipsters continue to willfully take advantage of them and claim ‘fictional odds’ for their advised bets.
Not long ago, I was approached by a tipster (who will remain unnamed) with on the face of it a tremendous record of results, roughly 35% ROI, all of which was loosely ‘proofed’ on a third-party website.
He was keen to start proofing to the Smart Betting Club, which he duly did. After approximately 6 months he got in touch keen to ask as to when we might be reviewing him. Apparently, he was struggling to keep hold of customers and needed to bring some more on board.
Stepping around the obvious caveat that we only review a tipster when we have enough data and proofing to hand (over 12+ months as the usual minimum) and the fact no-one gets a positive review unless it is merited, it was clear to me why he was struggling to retain customers.
He was quoting tips using ‘fictional odds’ the evening before racing – something that internally, my team and I had flagged as a major warning sign.
We would regularly see a 16/1 tip put up that in no time at all was 12/1 or an 8/1 tip that got smashed into 9/2….You get the point!
So, whilst he could attract customers initially, there was no chance he could keep them because it would quickly become apparent to any subscribers he wasn’t playing fair.
I put it to him that rather than quote a 35% ‘fictional’ ROI, he would be better served tipping up at 8.30am the day of racing and seeing how his tips fared at that point. He might only make 10% ROI but at least it would be achievable. Maybe he wouldn’t lose his customers so quickly!
He disagreed, preferring instead to sit on his unrealistic record and to tip as early as possible. He promptly withdrew his proofing and was never reviewed by us.
Odds Tracking Is A Must For Any Racing Review
This story outlines very neatly exactly why every genuine tipster review MUST feature an element of odds-tracking.
We perform this as standard for every major racing tipster we review and whilst it is hard-work and time-consuming, it is hugely valuable.
We track not only performance to the quoted odds, but the best odds after 15 minutes, 60 minutes, at 10.30am, SP, Betfair SP and other relevant time periods.
By doing so we can quickly identify those tipsters putting up genuine odds and inform you as to how achievable the odds are (or not).
Only the very best and fairest tipsters go onto be reviewed by us and can work towards a Hall of Fame recommendation.
The good news is that there are currently 23 tipsters within the Hall of Fame, all of whom have been assessed as offering punters a fair shot at obtaining the quoted odds put forward.
You can discover more about them (and read our detailed reviews on each) with a Smart Betting Club membership.
Whatever you do though, be very wary of any tipster quoting results based on tips sent the day before racing. Very often you simply can’t match their results in practice!
P.s. If ever in doubt as to whether a tipster puts up genuine odds – be sure to ask them exactly when they put up their tips and how they settle their results. If they are putting them up the evening before racing and making no adjustments for odds movement, I would advise you to give them a miss!