One of the most important questions facing those of you using racing tipsters these days is that of odds availability.
Specifically…Can you as a punter realistically obtain the odds that a tipster quotes?
For some of the most popular free tipsters like Hugh Taylor or Andy Holding it’s always been an issue as the weight of money behind their tips forces the odds in very quickly. The fact they both supply their tips for free means there are lots of punters trying to lump on their bets.
Odds movement is also now a growing issue for other less well-known tipsters too – especially horse racing experts that put up bets into early markets which are very price sensitive.
Whilst it might make sense to follow a tipster snapping up the earliest value – in reality, it can cause you all kinds of problems. From the fact you will be making less profit (and possibly losing so much value you might be in deficit by doing so) to being increasingly vulnerable to betting restrictions being applied to your bookmaker accounts.
In short, its a major issue and one you need to be acutely aware of if following a tipster.
The Evolution of Racing Bookmaking
To help explain the current issue with ‘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 a modicum of skill.
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 by all major firms. They simply track Betfair.
Which 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 such as the night before or the early morning of racing.
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 from a handful of bookies.
As the evening wears on, a few more firms will start to quote odds until there are a smattering of bookmakers pricing up each horse in a race.
This continues into the morning of racing and it is not until 10 to 1030am when the markets really start to form, with the vast majority of money actually only hitting the market around 10 minutes before a race actually starts.
The problem for us punters is that when taking ‘early’ prices prior to the market forming – these prices are based on a very small amount of Betfair trading – usually not much money at all.
A horse that is 10/1 at 9am, which suddenly sees a rush of support can send the bookies running for cover and be as short as 5/1 within 20 to 30 minutes.
This is because without a decent Betfair market to guide them at this time and with 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.
Want to red flag your account to a bookmaker as one for restriction? Simply place lots of bets on popular horses that quickly shorten in price and that usually does the trick.
Sometimes it matters not one jot if your bets go onto win. The simple act of regularly betting horses that shorten in price is enough to see many bookmakers limit your account.
20/1 Advised into 8/1 SP…
It is this issue of slashing odds that causes such a problem for tipsters who post up bets into these early betting markets.
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 than a profit.
The Tipster With Rapid Odds Movement Issues
To give you an example of the type of movement I regularly see on this front, I wanted to share with you stats from some ongoing odds monitoring we are currently undertaking on a popular racing tipster.
I won’t name the tipster in question as this odds monitoring is still ongoing, but I have seen several very positive reviews of his service as published by several other ‘review’ sites already – yet none of them mention his odds movement, which I fear is a major oversight.
This racing tipster advises his tips either the night before racing (8-9pm) or early in the morning of racing (8.30-9am) and to gauge how his prices stand up, we are tracking and comparing the best odds across 3 different metrics as follows:
- The odds he advises
- The odds after 15 minutes have elapsed from the time the tip was sent
- The odds at 10am
Below you can see what the average odds look like in decimal format at each of these 3 metrics so far:
- The odds he advises: 13.96
- The odds after 15 minutes have elapsed from the time the tip was sent: 11.96
- The odds at 10am: 10.85
Exploring these stats further, you can quite clearly see a major drop in the average odds available from those advised and those available after 15 minutes. From 13.96 to 11.96 in 15 minutes is a significant move.
By 10am, these odds have dropped even further down to 10.85 and it has quickly become apparent that they are being extremely well supported.
In terms of profit differences, you would be -9.35% ROI worse off if taking the best price after 15 minutes and -21.78% ROI worse off at 10am.
There is no suggestion that the odds quoted by this tipster are not accurate at the time they send the tips (our tracking also gauges this) but clearly they are going to prove to be very difficult to obtain.
Even if you did get on within the first few minutes of the bets being advised – most bookies would take one look at your betting history and quickly restrict or close your account.
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.
Why Odds Tracking Is A Must In ANY Review
The above 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.
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 will be reviewed in a forthcoming SBC Magazine once we complete our detailed odds tracking, and as things stand it does seem odds availability is a major issue – something that will prevent us recommending them to our members.
And whilst other reviews published on this tipping service might skirt this issue – we will not as it’s a fundamental problem that needs to be addressed if they wish to be taken seriously as a service.
The good news is that there are several Hall of Fame rated tipsters, whom we rate and recommend here at SBC that do play fair by the odds they quote for subscribers.
If you are keen to find out more on who they are and how they can help you, then you can find more details within our Hall of Fame listings and reviews, which you can gain access to 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!
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Smart Betting Club Editor