One of the most important issues facing many racing tipsters these days is that of odds availability.
Can you as a punter realistically obtain the odds that a tipster puts forward?
For some popular or free tipsters like Hugh Taylor and Pricewise it’s always been an issue as the weight of money behind their tips forces the odds in very quickly indeed.
Yet it is also now a growing issue for other less well-known tipsters too – especially horse racing experts that put up bets the night before a race runs.
Because 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 and catching unwary punters out…
The Evolution Of Racing Bookmaking
To help explain the current issue with taking early odds, it’s worth a quick walk down memory lane to understand how betting on racing historically worked.
Back in the good old days, most major bookmakers employed large teams of racing traders who would price up each race meeting and manage a traditional racing book.
As money flowed in a market, the odds for each horse would change as each firm managed their liability and tried to work an overall profitable position.
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 usually 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 almost all bookmakers basing their odds on what happens on Betfair.
If money comes in for a horse on Betfair – the bookie slashes its prices to reflect that. The opposite rings true on horses that drift in price although generally bookies are much slower to put their odds up than down!
Ultimately, the art of building a racing book has been lost.
And this in turn has impacted how we as punters get on and how the markets react to shrewd money.
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 – especially in your bog-standard racing fare.
For most horse races these days, you can expect to see the first odds start to appear around 4 to 5pm the day before racing is due to take place.
As the evening wears on, a few more firms will start to quote odds until there are a handful of bookmakers pricing up each horse in a race.
The problem is these prices are based on a very small amount of trading seen on Betfair – which is usually not much money at all.
And without a decent Betfair market to guide them and very little ‘racing expertise’, the bookies know they are vulnerable to shrewd punters who try and snap up the value odds on any overpriced horses at this point.
Therefore, even moderate sums of money coming in for a horse (especially at big odds) will see its price collapse in no time and the accounts of those placing such bets eyed with suspicion.
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*
*Although it’s important to make the distinction here that betting in the major race meetings such as Cheltenham or on the big Saturday/Sunday featured races won’t see the same level of movement.
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.
A 26% Drop In ROI After Just 15 Minutes!
Yet despite these clear issues with early tips – some unscrupulous tipsters continue to wilfully take advantage and claim what might be termed ‘fictional odds’ for their advised bets.
A clear example of this came from one racing tipster we reviewed here at SBC in 2017 who claimed a ROI of 46.6% from 880 bets over a 14-month period.
A 46.6% ROI on the face of it is phenomenal – far and away the best ROI we would have ever seen from any tipster over a long-term period.
The problem was – yep, you guessed it. This tipster was putting up bets at 5/6pm the evening before racing that disappeared almost as quickly as he put them up. I know this because as part of the SBC review, my team tracked the odds movement for 135 of these tips, which revealed some significant differences.
These 135 tips in isolation fared well, hitting a 70.6% ROI during a purple patch for the service, yet within 15 minutes of the tip being advised, the overall ROI dropped as much as 24.6%
By 8am on race day, the difference was -60.2% ROI and by 10.30am, it was -67.5% ROI!
The average odds also went from 12.48/1 down to 10.88/1 within 15 minutes – suggesting the odds on his tips were slashed very quickly indeed. You can see the full findings below:
So, whilst the odds this tipster quoted were indeed accurate at the time advised, practically no-one would be able to get on more than a few quid before the prices were slashed. Even if you did get on – most bookies would take one look at your betting history and quickly restrict or close your account.
You would be a marked man, because if there is one thing that will get a bookies attention it is constantly backing a horse that drops significantly in price after you get on.
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 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).
The tipster I reference above received a poor SBC rating following their review due to the very obvious odds availability issues. He certainly had an eye for a horse, but its highly unlikely many punters would be able to follow and obtain the same level of performance.
Instead of claiming a 46.6% ROI from these odds, he would have been far better aiming for a realistic 15% ROI by putting up bets at 10.30am when most punters could get on.
The good news is that there are numerous tipsters that we rate and recommend here at SBC who do play fair by the odds they quote for subscribers.
They might not be able to claim a 46.6% ROI, but at least you know what they do offer is realistic and fair.
Many of them can be found within our Hall of Fame listings and reviews, which you can obtain full details on 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!
See you on the inside
Smart Betting Club Editor