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HOW DOES HORSE RACE BETTING WORK UK

Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call to claim. Bet must be placed in first 7 days of account opening.

E-wallet exclusions apply. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. Cash stakes only. Qualifying bet must be placed within 30 days of opening account.

Cashed out bets will not qualify towards your average stake. One free bet offer per customer, household or IP address only. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. Opt in. New members only. Existing members do not qualify. Offer applies to sports bets only. A bet must be placed using real money in combination with the Odds Boost Token.

Odds Evs, Max. Skrill and Neteller deposits are not eligible - See full terms. New depositing customers on STSbet. When: Qualifying accumulator bet with min. Bonus wagering requirements: x6 on min. Bonus valid for any sports, for 7 days. Deposit method restrictions apply. Free bets applied to account on consecutive days. Multiple bets with cumulative odds of evens 2. Free Bet stake not returned after bet settlement.

No wagering requirements. Valid for 7 days, each Free Bet must be used in its entirety. Most experienced bettors will have at least heard of bet as the company has millions of customers worldwide. It has one of the best sign-up offers on the market which is extremely generous and simple to claim, with the minimum deposit one of the lowest on the market.

The sports markets bet offers to customers are second to none, and it is known for offering prices on many leagues and sports other bookmakers do not have. As such, it is one of the best at gaining the trust of their customers. It may be more well known for its casino offering, but sport has a sportsbook that is one of the fastest-improving online from a player perspective, with an incredible amount to offer in terms of sports and markets.

This includes some great odds on some of the biggest and more niche events. The welcome bonus is strong and sport has made it easy for users to claim and its website is just as easy to navigate. It also has a great offering of promotions for existing players. Virgin Bet is a newcomer to the industry but features on our list for its ability to compete with some of the long-established bookmakers already. The sign-up offer is less impressive than some rivals but its wide-ranging sportsbook offering, run on the popular SBTech platform, makes it one to look out for if you are looking for a new bookmaker.

The self-proclaimed money-back-special king, Paddy Power offers so much more for its players. The welcome bonus is simple and easy to understand, and effectively gives you a free bet on its vast sportsbook. Its rewards scheme for customers is the best on the market, so if you are looking for a long-term bookmaker, Paddy Power is the one for you. If you are looking to bet on horse racing and are an avid fan of the races, then the Tote is for you.

Ladbrokes is well known in the UK through its high-street shops and adverts but their online presence also holds up well to the competition. A competitive special offer along with some great free-to-play games makes the Ladbrokes experience highly enjoyable.

A bookmaker that definitely should be considered by all bettors is SportNation, which has shown itself to be a great alternative to more well-known high-street names. Its welcome offer is on the lower end of the scale in terms of free bets compared with some rivals, but the SportNation Rewards system more than makes up for it, with free bets or withdrawable cash up for grabs every week.

Betway has become one of the biggest brands in the UK, helped by its welcome offer and free bets as part of its loyalty scheme. It has a great website and app for sports betting, with competitive odds for a number of events and sports. Coral has improved its website and app over recent years and is now up there with the best within the internet gambling space.

Its in-play betting feature sets it apart as one of the best on the market with its dedicated free-to-watch live streaming service showing more than 2, events a week, while it has many additional promotions on top of its appreciable sign-up offer. A brand with heritage, William Hill is one of the best on the market and has been for a number of years, having built a website and app that is very popular.

Every market is easy to find, while its horse racing section is one of the best on the market when looking at the major events and festivals over the year. Betfred has been one of the most popular betting sites on the market for a number of years, with customers recognising them from numerous sponsorship deals at races and in football. They have a solid reputation as a destination for football betting and enhanced odds, as well as having a great welcome offer for new customers.

BetVictor has been in the industry since and continues to be a pioneer with its online offering. It is one of the most trustworthy bookmakers on the internet and has a record of great customer service. The sportsbook is extensive and rivals many competitors while the experience for desktop and mobile make it a perfect online bookmaker for any bettors, with the price boosts one of its selling points.

Betfair has more than just an incredibly vast sportsbook. It also offers the best betting exchange on the market. The exchange and sportsbook are both easy to use and they have a number of offers for existing customers once signed up. The new customer offer for its sportsbook is also one of the best on the market at the moment.

BoyleSports has been an underrated sportsbook among bettors over the years but recently it has really started to up its game. Its welcome offer is satisfactory and the BoyleSports sportsbook offers a select amount of sports and markets that anyone who wants to bet on a regular basis would want. Grosvenor is known for its high-street casinos but its sportsbook has often flown under the radar, having a unique sign-up offer that sets it apart.

The interface is well thought-out and simple and the easy deposit and withdrawal are pluses, but it may be a betting site more suited to a casual player, or someone who wants to also play on the Grosvenor casino. It has plenty of sports markets to choose from on nicely laid-out website and mobile versions, and also has a live-streaming platform that helps when betting in-play. The site is not as good as well-rounded of the more established UK bookies and the wagering requirements on its welcome offer should be looked at before signing up, but if you like football then all the markets are there for you.

Spreadex is the second bookmaker on our list that offers a sportsbook and exchange, both of which are very good for new customers. The layout makes it clear when you are on the sportsbook or exchange, and the website is well laid out to make it clear what events are in-play, popular upcoming events and the more niche markets. The welcome offer also means a good amount of free bets are available, but you must remember that your losses can exceed the deposit.

Mansion Bet is well known among football fans after sponsoring a number of Premier League clubs, and the company is certainly on its way to being in the top flight of online bookmakers. The welcome offer is generous enough and the Mansion Bet price boosts are a great way for customers to get extra value. Matchbook is a well-rounded betting exchange which allows punters to bet against each other rather than a bookie.

Strictly Come Dancing started on October 24th and will finish with the final on December There was no elimination in the first week as per usual, so the first Sunday results show were on week two. Unfortunately, political commentator Jacqui Smith and her partner Anton DuBeke were the first to leave.

The following week they were joined by Jason Bell as Strictly Come Dancing lost another contestant. Despite their best efforts, Nicola Adams, Max George and Caroline Quentin soon followed and then there were just seven left dancing for the glitter ball trophy! One week later and fans were disappointed when Radio 1 DJ, Clara Amfo, became the next celeb to waltz off the show.

JJ Chalmers was next to leave. But more controversy followed as tv presenter Ranvir Singh was eliminated in favour of keeping Jamie Laing, despite him being in more dance-off than any other contestant in the history of the show! That leaves four dancers heading to the final as Bill Bailey put in another great performance. That was enough to see him move into the betting market as the favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing So who is your fav and can they win this year?

So, as I mentioned, I picked the winner last year really early on in the series. I wondered what I would have gotten if I had placed some money on them. Pretty much all of the online bookmakers offer Strictly to bet on and with viewers close to 12 million it makes sense. But, what is the best betting tactic for betting on Strictly Come Dancing? Well, this may seem obvious but you need to be making your choice early in the competition.

The odds are going to reduce significantly as the field reduces. On top of that, there is always going to be a clear favorite. Then, in the first show, they dance like a pro. It goes without saying that the odds are not going to be amazing — it would be like choosing the favorite horse in a race. However, the favorite does not always win.

So, keep your cool and work out who is not quite as obvious but does have the ability, consistency, and is working hard. The chances are you could pick the winner and get a much better payout by doing this. New customers only. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. Please bet responsibly. Information appearing on TheGameHunter.

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Bookmakers will not normally accept a bet just to place, however, or to place for a greater stake than to win. The simplest way to consider the relative value of a win bet compared to an each way bet is to take a simple example. The example is of a six-horse race, in which all the horses are judged to be equally good, and the bookmaker takes no margin. In this mythical six-horse race, the fair bookie offers odds of 5 to 1 about each equally matched horse.

You and the bookmaker break even. However, only one horse will win, say Horse A, and another will finish second, say Horse B. A winning horse is also considered to be placed 1st is a place as well as a win. What Are Fair Place Odds?

For the win bet and the each way bet to represent equal value, the place odds would in this example need to have been about twofifths rather than a quarter of the win odds. At place odds of 0. In other words, for each way odds to represent the same value as win odds, the place part of the bet should be calculated as 0. In actual fact, the place odds in this example are calculated as a quarter 0.

In the case of six-horse races at current place odds, therefore, win bets would seem to represent better value than their each way equivalents. Win bets only are accepted if there are fewer than five runners. Handicaps Runners Fair place fraction Actual place fraction No. Even so, there may be occasional cases where you have good reason for believing that a horse is disproportionately likely to be placed, but is very unlikely to win, and that the each way bet may therefore represent value.

Multiple Bets There exist a range of multiple bets, i. The simplest is a win double. In a win double, the bettor chooses two selections. To win, both of the selections must be successful. If both horses win, the odds are multiplied. If either loses, the bet is lost. Example You select Horse A to win the first race on the card at 2 to 1. You select Horse B to win the second race on the card, at 10 to 1. The double is calculated like this. All multiple bets follow this principle. A common alternative to the win double is the win treble.

These operate exactly like doubles, except that there are three selections instead of two. Accumulators can be constructed in the same manner, built up of four or more selections. To calculate your return, convert the odds on offer into decimal notation, if they are not shown that way to start with. To do this, add one to the traditional or fractional odds. For instance, odds of 2 to 1 are represented in decimal notation as odds of 3. Now multiply these decimal odds together. So, if you have three selections at 2 to 1, 3 to 1 and 4 to 1, these are converted into their decimal equivalents of 3.

If they all win the return is calculated by multiplying these odds together, i. There are numerous multiple bets, usually with strange names, which simply combine a number of different multiple bets. This is obviously rather more costly for a given unit stake, but the advantage is that you will get some return if only some of your selections win. Bookmakers often offer incentives to punters to make these sorts of wagers, usually by offering a bonus payout to winning bets.

Some common examples of this type of multiple bets are as follows: Trixie Patent three selections, four bets three doubles, one treble three selections, seven bets three singles, three doubles, one treble Yankee four selections, eleven bets six doubles, four trebles, one fourfold Lucky 15 four selections, 15 bets four singles, six doubles, four trebles, one fourfold. Canadian five selections, 26 bets ten doubles, ten trebles, five fourfolds, one fivefold Lucky 31 five selections, 31 bets five singles, ten doubles, ten trebles, five fourfolds, one fivefold Heinz six selections, 57 bets fifteen doubles, twenty trebles, fifteen fourfolds, six fivefolds, one sevenfold Lucky 63 six selections, 63 bets six singles, fifteen doubles, twenty trebles, fifteen fourfolds, six fivefolds, one sevenfold.

Super Heinz seven selections, bets 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 fourfolds, 21 fivefolds, 7 sixfolds and one sevenfold. Goliath eight selections, bets, 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 fourfolds, 56 fivefolds, 28 sixfolds, eight sevenfolds, one eightfold. In addition to win multiples, bettors can also stake each way multiples.

Each part of the selection is then treated as an each way bet. Since the each way bet is made up of a bet to win and a bet to place, naturally the number of bets is doubled when placing the each way equivalent of each of the above. The potential winnings were higher, therefore, for the same tax.

To convert two single bets into a double, one need simply bet on the first horse. If it wins, stake all the winnings on the second horse. This is exactly what the double does automatically. However, by placing two singles you are able to control when and how much you bet on the second horse.

The same logic applies to a treble all three selections have to be successful or indeed any multiple bet. Sometimes, however, the bookmaker will try to encourage multiple bets, by adding a bonus to any that win. Unless you are confident that the advantage is actually in your favour at each stage of the bet, therefore, think very hard before placing a multiple.

After all, the great flexibility of choosing when and how much to bet, and at what odds, is diminished once you lock your money in early. Forecast Bets Forecast bets are similar to multiple bets, except that the bet involves more than one horse in the same race rather than different races.

This involves selection of the first two horses to pass the post in the correct order. Unfortunately, there is no simple way of working out in advance how much you will win if you are right. Instead, the payout is calculated according to a complex formula devised by the bookmakers. Need one say more? Most independent analysis suggested that the Dual Forecast offered better value, in most circumstances, than the Computer Straight Forecast.

The Dual Forecast has now been replaced by the Tote Exacta. Most studies suggest that the answer is the Exacta, despite the sizeable deduction from the pool. Forecast bets are not available on every race. It is important to check with the individual rules of the operator before assuming that a Forecast bet is applicable.

Choice The rise of telephone betting, and latterly betting on the Internet, has led to an explosion of choice for those seeking value. This has been hosted by a succession of tipsters, including most recently Henry Rix and Melvyn Collier, both of whom have gone on to tip on a private subscription basis. At the time of writing the incumbent Pricewise is Tom Segal.

The Pricewise column, which appears every Saturday, and periodically on other days of the week, highlights a selection of bookmakers who are offering early prices about each of the horses contesting selected races. These races are usually, though not always, broadcast live on terrestrial TV.

Pricewise by no means highlights all the offers available, but it is a good start, and it is complemented by advice and analysis. Latterly, those seeking to compare the odds on offer for best value have had the benefit of a number of Internet sites which have been set up to cater for this very need. A good example is Oddschecker.

Oddschecker is available at www. The basis of Asian handicap betting lies in the way in which it attempts to even up the chances of both sides of the match. To achieve this evening up process, the side judged to be superior is artificially handicapped for betting purposes by the market-maker, relative to the side judged to be inferior.

In other words, the side perceived to be the weaker of the two is awarded a notional head start as far as the match betting is concerned. The consequence is that the odds about the two options are brought closer to each other than would be the case if no handicapping process were involved. Asian handicap betting has two forms. The first is the single handicap, and the second is the dual handicap. In the case of the latter, you are effectively placing two bets, each of which is worth a half of your total stake.

Consider first the basic single handicap, and take for the sake of simplicity a simple half goal handicap in favour of the away side. With the benefit of this advantage, if Man City win or draw the match, they Man City will be declared the winners for betting purposes. If Man Utd win the match, then all bets placed on Man City will be losers. This is because Man Utd will have scored at least one goal more than their opponents, which is sufficient to outweigh the notional half-goal advantage handed to the visitors.

Assume now that the perceived margin of superiority is greater than this. If Arsenal win the game by at least two goals, all bets placed on Arsenal will be winning bets. If West Ham win, draw or lose by a margin of just one goal, however, then all bets on West Ham are judged to be winning bets.

Take the case where both teams are judged by the market-makers to be evenly matched. This is shown on the handicap as follows: Example: Tottenham level v. Leeds level In these circumstances, stakes are simply returned if the match is drawn. If Tottenham win, on the other hand, all bets on Tottenham are winning bets. Similarly, if Leeds win, all bets on Leeds are winning bets. Take now the case of a handicap of exactly one goal.

Example: Newcastle -1 v. In these circumstances, if Sunderland win or if the game is drawn, then bets placed on Sunderland will be winning bets. If Newcastle win by at least two goals, bets on Newcastle will be winning bets. If Newcastle win by one goal, however, the handicap bet is even and so all stakes are returned.

As long as the handicap line includes a half goal, a handicap draw is of course not possible. In those cases where the handicap includes a whole number, a handicap draw is a possible outcome, in which case all stakes are returned. There are more complex outcomes, where two handicaps are involved. In these circumstances, half your stake is placed at one handicap and half at the other.

In these circumstances if you bet on Southampton, and Aston Villa beat Southampton by a single goal, one half of your bet is cancelled out by the one goal handicap, and therefore one half of your total stake is returned. The other half of your bet is a losing bet, since the half goal handicap does not cover the one goal deficit. If you bet on Aston Villa, and Villa win by a single goal, again half the bet is effectively void, and this portion of the stake will be returned on the - 1 goal handicap.

The Tote is a pool form of betting, whereby all money staked is pooled together, and the pot after deductions is shared out among winning punters. To the operators of the pool, the exercise is risk-free, as the money paid out is simply a share of what is already paid in. Since there are deductions taken from the pool, punters as a whole earn less than they bet, and so the average bettor loses.

There are a number of different pools, and the lowest deduction is from the win pool, i. The chances of winning are, of course, very small, but the winner or winners are assured a commensurately sizeable payout. The real disadvantage of betting on the Tote is that you do not have the option of learning what odds you are taking at the time the bet is struck.

The final odds depend on the relative amounts of money staked on the different outcomes, which is not known for certain until after the race commences. Even so, an indication is available from computerised screens that provide regularly updated information on flows of money into the pool. A related problem is that one very big bet can change the odds sharply, particularly at meetings where the pool is relatively small.

High rollers are in these circumstances advised to stay clear, for their own stake may well cut the payout about their chosen beast quite drastically. On the plus side, the Tote is totally impartial, and so the odds on offer genuinely reflect the weight of money placed by punters. In particular, horses or dogs which are unpopular with the betting public will start at good odds, i. However one sees it, the choice that the two betting mediums offer the UK punter is clearly of significant benefit, if used properly.

Most countries do not offer bettors the luxury of betting with bookmakers or with the Tote. In the USA, for example, horse racing and greyhound racing are operated by a Tote so-called parimutuel monopoly. Bookmakers at the track are outlawed. Australia has an in-between system, whereby the Tote and bookmakers co-exist at the racetrack, but where the Tote has a monopoly off-course.

To summarise, the co-existence of bookmakers and the Tote offers a clear benefit to the betting public, who can choose the better odds on offer. For less fancied runners, in particular, this is often available with the Tote.

Either way, it is worth comparing the odds before placing a bet, while taking account of the fact that it is not possible to know with certainty what odds you are getting unless you take a price with a bookmaker. It was set up as a pool betting operation in , but this now makes up only a small proportion of its total turnover.

The basic way of betting on the Tote at the course is to approach any of the red-coated attendants manning the Tote terminals which are usually conveniently near to the paddock or hospitality areas of the racecourse. Tote Credit clients also have access to their own client area. There are also a number of socalled Tote Direct terminals in the offices of rival bookmakers, notably Ladbrokes and Coral, which accept bets straight into the pool.

The simplest bet is a bet to win. There is no maximum stake but in a small pool a large bet is likely to depress the odds about the selection too much to make betting sense. In the larger pools, however, characteristic of all-Tote countries, especially Hong Kong, even sizeable bets may fail to make a dent in the odds. Other Tote bets include: Place: this is a bet on the horse to finish in the first three usually , although the number of finishers which qualify for a winning place bet can vary depending on the number of runners and the type of race.

Each way: this is a win and a place bet on the same horse. It is available on all races of five or more runners. Exacta: this bet requires selection of the first and second-placed horse in the correct order. Jackpot: this bet requires selection of the winners of all six specified Jackpot races usually races 1 to 6.

It operates daily at a selected meeting. Placepot: This bet requires selection of a placed horse in all of six specified Placepot races usually races 1 to 6. It operates at every meeting. Quadpot: This bet requires selection of a placed horse in each of four selected Quadpot races usually races 3 to 6. It operates at almost every meeting. Trifecta: This requires selection of 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the correct order in nominated races of eight or more runners.

Scoop 6: This requires the selection of the winners of each of six nominated TV races, and operates on a Saturday only. The races may be selected from more than one meeting. In spread betting in a sports context, the event that is the subject of the bet may be almost anything. Popular examples include the number of goals or indeed bookings in a football match, the number of runs scored by a team or individual player in a cricket match, the winning distance in a horse race, the number of points scored in a rugby match, and so on.

For financial spread betting, the commodity is usually the price of a stock, or the level of an index, at some specific time in the future, say the close of the present trading day, or a given time on a given day in a given month. Spread betting enables a trader to take a position on the price of a stock without any need ever to trade the stock itself.

In this example runs the lower figure is known as the bottom end of the spread, while runs the higher figure is known as the top end of the spread. The same reasoning applies to a buy bet. To take another example, we can consider the market about the time that the first goal will be scored in a football match. In this case, the spread may be quoted as, say, 34 — The bettor may now buy the time of the first goal at 36 or sell at 34, for a given stake. If the bettor buys at 36 and the first goal is scored in, say, 44 minutes, the bettor wins 8 the difference between 44 and 36 times the stake.

If, on the other hand, the first goal was scored in 24 minutes, the bettor would lose 12 the difference between 24 and 36 times the stake. The same logic applies to a sell, so that the bettor wins loses in proportion to how right wrong the original bet turned out to be. There are currently four major sports spread betting companies for sport. City Index specialises in spread betting on financial matters, such as the price of shares at the close of trading on the stock market.

All of these companies are regulated by the Financial Services Authority, and each company may offer a different quote about the same market. Whether in sport or in the stock market, spread betting profits are free from capital gains tax, and there are no dealing or commission charges, stamp duty or other deductions. One consequence of the regulatory regime is that, unlike bets with UK bookmakers which are binding in honour only, a spread betting transaction is a legally enforceable contract; bettors may incur heavy losses if events turn against them.

A gambler wishing to participate in spread betting must normally arrange a suitable amount of credit with a spread betting firm, and specific transactions are usually conducted by telephone, with the calls recorded to settle any dispute. The firm may decline any bet a gambler proposes, or accept it only at a lower unit stake, or else may ask the gambler to increase his line of credit before the bet can be accepted.

Clients may open or close trades at any time in dealing hours, with instant execution. A common use of this flexibility when trading in single shares is to make a bet that a price will fall, or rise. Standard political trades include the number of seats gained by a political party in an election. Financial trading is exceptionally diverse, and includes the values of the Wall Street, DAX, FTSE, Hang Seng and Nikkei share indices, the price of individual shares traded on these markets, the price of a variety of commodities, as well as bond and currency futures.

Moreover, the bettor can win large sums of money for a relatively small unit stake. Therein, however, lies the major disadvantage of spread betting. The sums lost can exceed the sum staked by a huge amount, unlike fixed odds or pool betting, where the most that can be lost is the sum staked. In summary, spread betting is a relatively novel form of betting, which offers the opportunity to win or lose large amounts of money.

You are offered a quote of 10 — If this is at the same quote as that at which you opened the bet, you will lose your stake multiplied by the size of the spread. Example At the start of the match, the quote about the number of corners is 10 — Now examine the following scenarios.

Scenario 1 After ten minutes of play, four corners have been taken. The quote has risen to 13 — Scenario 2 After 30 minutes of play, no corners have been taken. The quote has now fallen to 7 — 8. In each case, you have decided to close the bet to guarantee a given profit or to cap a given loss.

Financial Spread Betting An increasingly common way of trading, particularly suitable for the smaller investor, is known as financial spread or index betting. Financial spread betting companies operate, just like sports spread betting companies, by quoting a spread about variables in a market characterised by an uncertain future outcome. A popular example is the FTSE index, i. The higher the FTSE index, the higher the price, on average, at which the top shares are trading.

Say, for example, that the market-makers consider that the FTSE will close the day at In this case they may quote a spread of, say, — , which includes their best estimate of the actual closing price. Clients of these companies are now invited to buy at the top end of the spread or sell at the bottom end The units are calculated according to the minimum marginal difference between positions at which trades can be implemented.

You have two choices if you wish to trade. Choice A: buy at Choice B: sell at Now consider the following scenarios. Outcome A: Having bought at , you correctly predicted that the spread was too low. For every point over you win your unit stake, i.

Outcome B: As a seller at , you incorrectly predicted that the spread was too high. For every point over you lose your unit stake, i. This is known as a stop loss, and it is designed to mitigate risk. To do this you place a stop loss order with the traders at, say, This is a protection against further losses if the market continues to fall.

However, the stop loss cannot be guaranteed at the precise level requested, particularly in fast-moving markets. Guaranteed Stop Loss This type of order offers complete protection at the chosen stop loss level, but involves an extra premium.

The service can be applied when buying or selling. The quote is — However, you decide to leave a guaranteed stop loss order at For this there is a premium charged of, say, 3 points. Hence, the selling level is now at - 3. The consequence may be that the spread for the June FTSE index opens sharply up at, say, — Without GSL i. With GSL, your position is automatically closed at your guaranteed level of not Limit Orders You can place a limit order at the same time as you open a bet, or anytime thereafter, in order to close the bet if it reaches a predetermined profit level.

You can also place forward orders to open a bet buy or sell if a market rises or falls to a level you specify. Over the next few days, and before expiry of the contract, the FTSE has gradually fallen, so you ask for a new quote. On calling, you are offered a spread of — Later in the day, you call back and find that the quote has slipped to — You are concerned that the market may fall further and decide to cut your losses.

In both the above cases you have closed the bet by making a bet in the opposite direction, of the same stake. If you make a bet in the opposite direction, for a smaller stake, you have partially closed the bet. Options This section is intended for advanced study only. Please feel free to skip it if you wish.

Options allow you to choose whether to buy or sell a particular market. There are two types of option — calls backing the market to rise and puts backing the market to fall. Options offer the security of knowing your exact downside when buying a call or a put. However, rather than bet on the June FTSE futures market, you decide that it is less risky to buy a call option, because your maximum downside is known in advance.

Outcome A: Index rises Say, now, that the index rises to by 1st May. Alternatively, you could wait till the expiry date in June and take your chance that you will be able to exercise the option to buy at As long as the market at expiry stands above say you exercise your option to buy at and win the difference between the closing price and the buy price , multiplied by your unit stake.

From this must be deducted the premium 50 times the unit stake. The index then falls sharply. This gives you the right to sell the index at on or before the expiry date, having paid a premium of Say, now, that the index falls to Since your put strike price was , you exercise your Option.

However, the premium is Let us now consider the opposite scenario. The index then rises. You do not exercise your option to buy, since your put is worthless. The idea behind betting exchanges is quite simple. It is to match up someone who wants to bet on something at a given price with someone else who is willing to offer that price.

This way both sides are happy, at least until the result is known. The person who bets on the event happening at a given price is the backer. The person who offers the price is known as the layer. In effect, he is laying the bet in exactly the same way as a bookmaker does. It also allows everyone on the exchange to act as a bettor backer or bookmaker layer at will.

Indeed, it is possible to back and lay the same event. The other drawback is that there may not be enough people interested in acting as a bookmaker on certain events. Even where there are people willing to lay bets, sometimes these are to very small sums. The betting exchanges certainly increase the choice on offer, however, to those interested in making money from betting. The Way To Bet On The Exchanges There really is excellent value to be had from betting on the exchanges, but only a very small proportion of those who bet know how to use them.

Those who are interested in learning will find it surprisingly simple once the initial unfamiliarity has worn off, and great fun. The idea is that you get to act as a bettor or a bookmaker, or both at the same time. Your first consideration is whether the odds about a Leeds win, a Leeds defeat or a draw are in your favour. The major betting exchanges present you with the three best odds and stakes which other members of the exchange are offering.

For example, for Leeds to beat Liverpool the best odds on offer might be 3 to 1 4. These odds, and the amount you can stake, may have been offered by one or more other clients who believe that the true odds are longer than they have offered.

If you wish to be cautious, however, you may decide to stake a smaller sum on the outcome. Before staking the money, however, you should check that no bookmaker is offering as good a deal, or better. This is important, since there is usually a commission deducted from winnings on the betting exchanges, whereas returns with the bookmakers are deduction-free.

An alternative option available to potential backers is to enter the odds at which you would be willing to place a bet, together with the stake you are willing to wager at that odds level. Laying On The Exchanges To lay a bet you set the odds you wish to offer and the stake you are prepared to accept at those odds.

Betting exchanges include Betfair www. Intrade As An Exchange Intrade is a betting exchange which works in a similar way to futures markets. In particular, standardised contracts are bought and sold between exchange members. Members of the exchange trade with each other, with the operator charging a transaction fee on each trade.

All contracts can be bought or sold, and there are two types of contract — short-term contracts and long-term contracts. Short-term contracts usually cover individual events, such as a particular football match.

Long-term contracts usually cover seasonal events, such as the total number of points obtained by a team over the course of the whole season. There are two basic methods of trading. Let us consider these in turn. The outcomes range from a notional 0 to Zero 0 represents a negative outcome, i. The contracts can, in principle, trade anywhere between 0 and When the outcome is determined, however, the contract will expire at either 0 or Multiple PIX contracts may be listed on the same event.

The simplest case is where there are three possible outcomes , i. Liverpool There are three possible outcomes, and therefore three linked PIX contracts : 1. Arsenal win Liverpool win Draw Thus Arsenal might be quoted at 55 — Say a client decides to buy. He may than buy, say, contracts at a price of The reason is that the contract makes up at 0 in the event of any outcome other than an Arsenal win. The potential upside is 42 ticks on each contract if Arsenal win, i.

At any point during the course of the market, the client may decide to close the trade by selling a contract previously bought, or vice versa. This might lock in a loss or a profit, depending upon how the market has moved in-between. Totals Contract Totals contracts are priced to represent some likely quantity, such as the total number of goals scored in a football match, or number of runs in a cricket match.

Each totals contract will have a given range, as well as a prescribed tick size and tick value. If an event results in more or less e. In this example the range is specified as 50 points to points. The maximum profit is points 10 contracts of 20 points , which would be realised if Man Utd amassed or more points. Bets are placed with other clients of the exchange, in the form of shares which trade between 0 and Winning team shares expire at Losing team shares expire at 0. Perhaps the most interesting manifestation of this sort of exchange is that offered by Tradesports www.

Now add in the option of comparing the offers from the bookies with the betting exchanges, and it is not difficult to fathom why the odds are starting to look loaded in favour of the bettor. The trick lies in using these options to maximum advantage. Take as an example the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. On Champion Hurdle day, there were five new pieces of advice.

The next best prices available about the Dermot Weld-trained 5-year-old were the 40 to1 available with Blue Square and Surrey Racing, both identified in the Pricewise odds comparison table. Visitors to the Oddschecker sites were alerted to the additional 40 to 1 available with Betabet, though not pointed in the direction of Surrey. Elsewhere there were general 33s and 25s on offer. Clearly, Chandler was the firm to go with. Still, dragging around the various outlets allowed a reasonable sum on the Pricewise fancy at 40 to 1.

Whatever price you took, and especially if you got the early 50 to 1, there might be money to be made regardless of the outcome. How so? Well, this is where the betting exchanges come in. Take Betfair as an example. If the horse won, you would still be in profit. In order to realise an actual risk-free profit, you would have needed to lay the horse on the exchange for a little more than you had staked on it to win.

This is rather less than before, but at least it is risk-free. Why so? A free lunch every time? Not really, as the evidence of the second Pricewise horse to be advised proves so tellingly. The horse in question was the Noel Meade-trained 6-year-old, Scottish Memories, in the very same race, and also tipped at 50 to 1.

Sounds similar advice, but as a betting proposition, we were talking a whole different ball game. The first warning sign was the fact that Victor Chandler were still willing to offer the horse at 50s long after the 8 am opening bell, and it was possible to take the same long price with the likes of William Hill, Ladbrokes and Surrey, as well as SportingOdds and Sports.

Clearly, the, the 50 to 1 did not represent such unique value. Still, according to the Pricewise column, it represented value nevertheless. The advice was to take the price for 2 points each way. The reason for their optimism lay in the hope that the odds would plunge from 50 to1 simply because it was the Pricewise fancy, and that the opportunity would soon open up to hedge, or lay, the horse at rather less than 50 to 1. Suitably planned, a risk-free bet on Scottish Memories looked a banker.

The reality was rather different, as would-be hedgers in the exchanges might care to bear in mind. Those waiting for the gravy train were to be sorely disappointed, however, as it never reached the edge of the station. Instead, by Anyone would be forgiven for thinking that the horse had been spotted limping to the course.

In the event, Scottish Memories performed rather well, finishing a gallant seventh at 50 to 1 despite being severely hampered as he was making his challenge. Who knows how close he would have got with a bit more luck? So much for listening to the market. Mutakarrim, for the record, finished a poor 18th, at a starting price of 25 to 1. The other end of the market told another story. The favourite at the opening of market hostilities was Like-aButterfly, available at a best-priced 5 to 2 with Blue Square, Surrey and Sportingbet.

Subsequently, the best odds at which it was possible to place a bet on Like-a-Butterfly on the exchanges was 2. By the time the market opened on-course, the generally available price was 2 to 1, and the starting price was as short as it ever got, at 7 to 4. Like-a-Butterfly won by a neck! Trained by Christy Roche, the 8-year-old was advised at 14 to 1 with Sunderlands, to a proposed stake of 3 points to win and 1 to place, and Sunderlands were happy to lay the price.

This was a horse that it was easy to lay at The three contenders at the early morning opening were Valiramix, Istabraq and Landing Light. Valiramix was a best-priced 9 to 4, available in quite a few places; Istabraq opened in the morning at a best 3 to 1, with UKBetting and Surrey; 7 to 2 could be had about Landing Light with UKBetting and Sports.

By Valiramix was on offer at 2. By noon the market had settled, and a comparison of the prices available to back and lay on two leading exchanges revealed the following: Betfair Betdaq Valiramix To back: 2. The starting price was as long as it was ever available on the day, and the casual punter who took the SP got better odds than all the sophisticates who had eagerly scanned the early prices and exchanges for value.

Not so in the case of Istabraq, who opened on course at 5 to 2 and started as short as he ever was, at 2 to 1. Landing Light opened at 7 to 2 and started at to The most notable feature of the market movements was that backers of Istabraq would never have done better than the early 7 to 2 available with a couple of bookmakers. Supporters of Valiramix would, in contrast, have been best advised to wait as late as possible before putting down their money, or else just taking the starting price.

Which all goes to show that there is no hard-and-fast system for always obtaining the best price. There are ways of improving your chances, though, and that is, in part, what this book is about. In the event, those backing any or all of the three at the top of the market went home empty-handed. Valiramix was going easily when he stumbled, and tragically had to be destroyed.

Istabraq was pulled up before the third hurdle. Landing Light finished fifth. At the opening of the market on the morning of the race, the best price available about the Hobbs horse was 7 to 1, with Sportingodds, while Carryonharry was available in a place Betabet at 15 to 2. Both these prices were better than was available on Betfair at 9. Those seeking to hedge the horses for a riskless potential profit were able, by the time the market had settled down at Carryonharry could be laid with Betfair at 6.

Both were available at better prices than would ever be offered on the course. Gunther McBride opened at 6 to 1, and started as a 4 to 1 favourite. Carryonharry opened at 6 to 1 and went off at 5 to 1. Both lost, finishing 6th and 9th respectively.

Trained by Ted Walsh, the 8-year-old bay gelding was advised at 12 to 1 available quite generally , to a proposed stake of 3 points to win. This was a horse that was never to be longer in the market. Indeed, by 9.

There was absolutely no problem in laying the 11 to 1 to modest sums. Meanwhile, the market favourite at the opening of business was The Bushkeeper, from the Nicky Henderson yard, available at a fairly general 6 to 1. The Bushkeeper lengthened on the Exchanges to a best of 6. On the course, The Bushkeeper opened at 5 to 1, started at 9 to 2, and won comfortably. No Discount showed nothing on the course, and fell two out when going nowhere. Trained by Christy Roche, and with Charlie Swan on board, the 6-year-old bay gelding was advised at a general 6 to 1 to a 2 point stake.

It was never better on the exchanges. By noon, the best price available on both Betfair and Betdaq was 5. Calladine was badly hampered when making his challenge, and finished 14th of 24 starters. By the end of the day, none of the Pricewise horses had yielded a return, though there were some opportunities to hedge at shorter prices than those advised on the exchanges.

The on-course and starting prices about these selections were usually significantly shorter than the morning opening prices. To a degree, the lessons of Cheltenham are atypical, since the market is so strong, and the information is so well known prior to raceday. On more usual days, a Pricewise tip will often lead to a marked and immediate shortening of the horse.

In these circumstances, it may seem just a matter of backing the Pricewise horse to whatever the bookie will allow you and then hedging by laying it at a lower price in the Exchanges. The danger, of course, is when everyone else is trying to do the same thing. After all, to lay a horse successfully at a given price, someone must be willing to back it at that price, with you. An example of a successful Pricewise punt along these lines came no later than the immediately following Saturday, at Uttoxeter.

In the event, the money came for the tipped horse, The Bunny Boiler. Those seeking to hedge could already make a potential risk-free profit by laying the Noel Meade horse at 7. The flow of money for the Pricewise horse was not matched in the enthusiasm for any of its rivals, and certainly not in the money chasing the favourite, This is Serious.

Opening at a best-priced 11 to 2, it was soon available at 6 to 1 in the exchanges to sizeable sums, and longer still once the market had settled. On the course, offers about This is Serious were less generous, however, and it maintained a steady 9 to 2, before starting at the same price. The Bunny Boiler duly opened at 6 to 1, shortened to its shortest ever 5 to 1 and trotted home, an easy length victor. The lesson of the week was that followers of Pricewise selections are usually best advised to get stuck in early, and to try to hedge in the exchanges once the market has settled down if so inclined.

The Pricewise tip is also likely to be a better bet for those seeking to beat the starting price, or to hedge in the exchanges, if the market is not overly strong, and if the price on offer is not too generally available. Do not expect, though, to be allowed to stake as much as you want in such circumstances, or think that you will always be able to hedge your bet later in the day.

Punters Beware! An example, from my own recent experience, may best illustrate the trap. On 11 May , at 1. Middlesbrough match incorrectly. Turn now to Rules 14 and 15 of the UKBetting code for the detail. Once you have confirmed your bet and it has been accepted by UKBetting.

Rule UKBetting. Notwithstanding Rule 14 above, we reserve the right to correct obvious errors for example an incorrect price or voiding bets struck after an event is underway. Where no instruction is received relevant bets will be settled at their correct odds. Hedging the mythical 50 to 1 at that 17 to 1 in the exchanges is a potential road to the poorhouse.

Starts 3 pm today. I would not wish to place this stake if you are to invoke a palpable error rule on me if the bet is successful. Can you clarify the situation? Your stake will be returned when the First Goalscorer market has been settled, at the conclusion of the game. One other point. They contribute to the scoreline, but not usually to the No Goalscorer market.

This is only a general guideline, however. In other words, you have the luxury of picking and choosing between all the prices on offer. Similarly, you have the choice of picking among a significant number of bookmakers, all of whom are competing for your custom.

Sometimes these prices are so disparate that it is possible, indeed, to bet on every possible outcome with different bookmakers and win whatever the result. Such circumstances do not last long, though, as there are plenty of people willing to swoop on such prices, with the effect of forcing them down to a less generous level.

There are, however, many less fleeting ways of tackling the bookmaker which can, if handled carefully, offer the opportunity of turning the odds in your favour. There are a number of these inefficiencies, and we shall consider them each in turn. First, though, we shall turn to perhaps the most well known, and certainly the most rigorously tested of them all.

The Favourite — Longshot Bias The idea of a so-called favourite — longshot bias at the racetrack was first identified in by Richard M. Griffith examined the odds available about thousands of horses running at US racetracks, and catalogued where each of these finished.

The results of his research were astonishing at the time, and were soon accepted for publication in the American Journal of Psychology. In other words, those who systematically bet on the favourite the horse with the shortest odds would over the long-term win more, or at least lose less, than those backing any other horse or horses in the field. This was a startling discovery, because it suggested that it was possible to earn above-average returns by following a simple betting system, which required no knowledge of anything other than the available odds.

This discovery was significant not only for horse race bettors obviously but also for economists. After all, how could this loophole exist? To the betting public, and that included quite a few economists and statisticians, the most important thing to find out was whether Griffith was right, and this meant collecting lots more data, from different racetracks and at different time periods.

Amazingly, study after study came up with the same findings. The favourite — longshot bias is indeed real. In the subsequent fifty years and more, only one significant US investigation has indicated otherwise, and that solely for the case of one atypical, relatively small US racetrack. In a way, this is not surprising, since laboratory experiments dating back to a classic study by Preston and Baratta in all point in the same direction.

These experiments all found evidence of a systematic tendency by subjects under controlled conditions to relatively underbet or undervalue events characterised by high probability short odds , and to relatively overbet or overvalue those with low probability long odds.

Wayne Snyder, writing in , surveyed all the work to that date which had looked at US racetrack betting, and concluded that there was indeed a strong bias which made bets on favourites much better value than bets on longshots. The problem with the US studies is that they are confined to the system prevalent in that country, i. Those seeking to turn an honest profit from their betting activities in the UK faced a very different environment.

It was not long before attention was turned to the existence of a favourite — longshot bias at bookmaker odds. A pioneering study was undertaken in by E. Lennox Figgis in his book, Focus on Gambling. This and subsequent studies by Figgis, were to become so influential that they were quoted in the final report of the Royal Commission on Gambling.

The favourite — longshot bias was alive and well in the UK, at the odds quoted by bookmakers. The way that Figgis conducted his studies was to collect data on the starting prices of the horses. The SPs, as they are called, are the independently determined assessment by professional assessors at the track of the general price at which a bet could have been placed on a horse with course bookmakers at the start of the race.

Most off-course bets are settled at this price. Calculations of the returns in and , performed for the Royal Commission on Gambling, found rates of return of In other words, in four of the five years examined, betting on all horses starting at the shortest odds examined would have yielded a very healthy pre-tax profit.

To pay for this healthy profit, it is inevitable that other punters are losing in an unhealthy way. If they were not, the bookies would be out of business. The big-time losers, Figgis found, were those who backed the longshots horses starting at long odds.

His calculations for the longest odds range, i. The average returns varied from as little as It was, however, Jack Dowie who first brought these ideas to the notice of the academic world with a path-breaking article published in the journal Economica in Dowie calculated the expected return to bets paced on horses starting at each of a wide variety of starting prices for the flat season.

His sample of races revealed evidence of a significant longshot bias, to the extent that a pre-tax profit could have been made by betting on all horses starting at 4 to 6 or shorter. Again, the return to longshots especially extreme longshots was far worse in extent than that reported for US racetrack betting markets.

The same study also showed that bets, to level stakes, on all horses returned at 1 to 2 or shorter would have provided a pre-tax profit of 9. Robert Henery was another to wade in, with his examination, published in in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, of races run in and The average return to a unit stake was calculated over various odds ranges, demonstrating a return of Confirmation of the findings of the academic studies was provided, interestingly enough, in the Ladbrokes Pocket Companion, Flat Edition, for The findings covered the flat racing seasons from to As expected, bets at shorter odds provided much better returns than at longer odds.

Indeed, the results suggested a positive rate of return to a strategy involving the consistent placing of bets on horses which started at odds of 1 to 2 or shorter. Of horses starting at odds between 1 to 2 and 1 to 5, won, giving a profit of 0. There were 96 examples of horses starting as even hotter favourites between 1 to 5 and 1 to Of these, 88 won, for a level stakes profit of 6. Of the 35 favourites who went off at odds of 1 to 8 or shorter, all won.

The following table, reproduced from the Ladbrokes Pocket Companion, clearly shows the nature of the bias against longshots. Odds Wins Runs Lev. I refer to the Happy Valley and Sha Tin racetracks of Hong Kong where betting on the horses seems to be not so much a hobby as a mad passion. The same also seems to go for Japan. Do all the shrewdies live in the Far East, or make their way there on the first available flight? Nobody knows for sure, although theories abound.

One of the most popular explanations is that the Tote pools are so big that it pays professional gamblers to set up shop with the most sophisticated data processing models. They then use these models to mop up the money placed in the pool by mug punters so silly as to overbet the longshots.

This brings the odds into line with the true probabilities, and eliminates the bias. Unlike bookmakers, the pool operator is happy to pay them and pay them again, using the money put into the pool by less astute race fans. So much for Hong Kong. So much for the horses, but how about the dogs? To answer this, you need look no further than the work of Michael Cain, David Law and David Peel, who demonstrated the same bias at the dog track in a study.

So the evidence is overwhelming. A consistent strategy of betting on horses starting at shorter odds will yield a better return than betting at longer odds. Indeed, for the UK at least, and in at least one study in the USA, it appears that a policy of betting all the shortest odds good things could, over certain past seasons, have yielded a pre-tax profit. Academics differ about what causes the affliction to longshotbackers, but all are agreed that it exists.

Only two published studies looked specifically and uniquely at football in this context, the most recent being published in the February, edition of the Scottish Journal of Political Economy. Despite the title of the journal, the investigation is based on the English Premier League. The key finding is that the odds available with fixed-odds bookmakers about very short odds-on favourites provides a significantly superior return on average than do the odds available about longshots.

In other words, the traditional favourite — longshot bias is alive and kicking on the football pitch, which means that if you know nothing else about football, your best bet is to back the favourite. Among correct score odds, the best value, according to the study, appears to lie in backing very short-priced favourites to win by a score of 1 — 0, 2 — 0, 2 — 1 or 3 — 2. These findings confirm an analysis written in , co-authored by myself and David Paton. The final odds depend on the relative amounts of money staked on the different outcomes, which is not known for certain until after the race commences.

Even so, an indication is available from computerised screens that provide regularly updated information on flows of money into the pool. A related problem is that one very big bet can change the odds sharply, particularly at meetings where the pool is relatively small.

High rollers are in these circumstances advised to stay clear, for their own stake may well cut the payout about their chosen beast quite drastically. On the plus side, the Tote is totally impartial, and so the odds on offer genuinely reflect the weight of money placed by punters.

In particular, horses or dogs which are unpopular with the betting public will start at good odds, i. There is ample published. However one sees it, the choice that the two betting mediums offer the UK punter is clearly of significant benefit, if used properly. Most countries do not offer bettors the luxury of betting with bookmakers or with the Tote. In the USA, for example, horse racing and greyhound racing are operated by a Tote so-called parimutuel monopoly. Bookmakers at the track are outlawed.

Australia has an in-between system, whereby the Tote and bookmakers co-exist at the racetrack, but where the Tote has a monopoly off-course. To summarise, the co-existence of bookmakers and the Tote offers a clear benefit to the betting public, who can choose the better odds on offer. For less fancied runners, in particular, this is often available with the Tote.

Either way, it is worth comparing the odds before placing a bet, while taking account of the fact that it is not possible to know with certainty what odds you are getting unless you take a price with a bookmaker. It was set up as a pool betting operation in , but this now makes up only a small proportion of its total turnover.

From the astute bettor s point of view, this is actually a little surprising, because the odds available about the same horse or greyhound in the Tote pool is often superior to that available with bookmakers at starting price, and on the average significantly better for less-fancied chances. The basic way of betting on the Tote at the course is to approach any of the red-coated attendants manning the Tote terminals which are usually conveniently near to the paddock or hospitality areas of the racecourse.

Tote Credit clients also have access to their own client area. Off-course, bets can be placed at any Tote betting office, or by. There are also a number of so- called Tote Direct terminals in the offices of rival bookmakers, notably Ladbrokes and Coral, which accept bets straight into the pool. The simplest bet is a bet to win. The minimum stake is 2, and the whole of the pool is shared out among winning bettors, save for a deduction of There is no maximum stake but in a small pool a large bet is likely to depress the odds about the selection too much to make betting sense.

In the larger pools, however, characteristic of all-Tote countries, especially Hong Kong, even sizeable bets may fail to make a dent in the odds. Other Tote bets include:. Place: this is a bet on the horse to finish in the first three usually , although the number of finishers which qualify for a winning place bet can vary depending on the number of runners and the type of race. Each way: this is a win and a place bet on the same horse. It is available on all races of five or more runners.

Exacta: this bet requires selection of the first and second-placed horse in the correct order. Jackpot: this bet requires selection of the winners of all six specified Jackpot races usually races 1 to 6. It operates daily at a selected meeting. Placepot: This bet requires selection of a placed horse in all of six specified Placepot races usually races 1 to 6.

It operates at every meeting. Quadpot: This bet requires selection of a placed horse in each of four selected Quadpot races usually races 3 to 6. It operates at almost every meeting. Trifecta: This requires selection of 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the correct order in nominated races of eight or more runners. Scoop 6: This requires the selection of the winners of each of six nominated TV races, and operates on a Saturday only. The races may be selected from more than one meeting.

Chapter 3: Spread Betting In addition to the well-established Tote parimutuel system of betting, and odds offered by bookmakers, a third method of betting on horse racing and indeed a wide array of other events has developed in recent years, called spread or index betting. In spread betting in a sports context, the event that is the subject of the bet may be almost anything. Popular examples include the number of goals or indeed bookings in a football match, the number of runs scored by a team or individual player in a cricket match, the winning distance in a horse race, the number of points scored in a rugby match, and so on.

For financial spread betting, the commodity is usually the price of a stock, or the level of an index, at some specific time in the future, say the close of the present trading day, or a given time on a given day in a given month. Spread betting enables a trader to take a position on the price of a stock without any need ever to trade the stock itself. Whatever the context, the market-makers set a spread around the expected outcome, and their clients the bettors are invited to buy at the top end of the spread, or sell at the bottom end.

For example, in a cricket match between England and Australia, the spread betting company s odds-setter might estimate that England will score runs in their first innings. In this case, a spread might be set of, say, to runs, which includes the estimate. In this example runs the lower figure is known as the bottom end of the spread, while runs the higher figure is known as the top end of the spread. A bettor who believes that England will perform rather worse than expected may now sell at the bottom end of the spread, at runs, for any given stake, within his credit limit, say 10 a run.

If England were to score less than runs, the bettor would win the stake 10 multiplied by the number of runs by which England fall short of For example, if England scored runs, the bettor wins , calculated as the difference between the final outcome and the sell point multiplied by the stake On the other hand if England were to score more than , the bettor would.

For example, if England score runs, the bettor loses , calculated as the difference between the final outcome and the sell point multiplied by the stake The same reasoning applies to a buy bet. In the example of the England Australia game, the spread on Englands first innings runs total is set at A bettor who believes that England will perform rather better than expected may buy at the top end of the spread, at runs, for any given stake, within his credit limit, say 10 a run.

If England were now to score more than runs, the bettor would win the stake 10 multiplied by the number of runs by which England exceed For example, if England score runs, the bettor wins , calculated as the difference between the final outcome and the buy point multiplied by the stake On the other hand, if England were to score less than , the bettor would lose the stake 10 multiplied by the number of runs by which England fall short of For example, if England score runs, the bettor loses , calculated as the difference between the final outcome and the buy point multiplied by the stake To take another example, we can consider the market about the time that the first goal will be scored in a football match.

Say, for example, the bookmaker s best estimate of the time that the first goal will be scored is 35 minutes. In this case, the spread may be quoted as, say, 34 The bettor may now buy the time of the first goal at 36 or sell at 34, for a given stake. If the bettor buys at 36 and the first goal is scored in, say, 44 minutes, the bettor wins 8 the difference between 44 and 36 times the stake.

If, on the other hand, the first goal was scored in 24 minutes, the bettor would lose 12 the difference between 24 and 36 times the stake. The same logic applies to a sell, so that the bettor wins loses in proportion to how right wrong the original bet turned out to be. There are currently four major sports spread betting companies for sport.

City Index specialises in spread betting on financial matters, such as the price of shares at the close of trading on the stock market. All of these companies are regulated by the Financial Services Authority, and each company may offer a different quote about the same market.

Another relatively new player on the market is Sportsspread. Whether in sport or in the stock market, spread betting profits are free from capital gains tax, and there are no dealing or commission charges, stamp duty or other deductions. One consequence of the regulatory regime is that, unlike bets with UK bookmakers which are binding in honour only, a spread betting transaction is a legally enforceable contract; bettors may incur heavy losses if events turn against them.

A gambler wishing to participate in spread betting must normally arrange a suitable amount of credit with a spread betting firm, and specific transactions are usually conducted by telephone, with the calls recorded to settle any dispute. The firm may decline any bet a gambler proposes, or accept it only at a lower unit stake, or else may ask the gambler to increase his line of credit before the bet can be accepted. Clients may open or close trades at any time in dealing hours, with instant execution.

A common use of this flexibility when trading in single shares is to make a bet that a price will fall, or rise. For example, if the buy price of a share is p, a gambler who expected the price to rise could decide to buy at the rate of 10 for each 1p movement in the price. The maximum loss, if the share became worthless, would be x 10, i. The scope of assets that are traded in spread betting markets is wide, ranging from the price of gold to the number of goals in a soccer match.

Indeed, the asset that is the subject of the trade can include almost any clearly quantifiable feature of an array of sports, political and financial markets. There are also some so-called speciality indices, for example the number of Oscars won by a given film at the Academy Awards ceremony. Standard political trades include the number of seats gained by a political party in an election. Financial trading is exceptionally diverse, and includes the values of the Wall Street, DAX, FTSE, Hang Seng and Nikkei share indices, the price of individual shares traded on these markets, the price of a variety of commodities, as well as bond and currency futures.

The clear advantage of spread betting, therefore, is the sheer diversity of eventualities on which a client can bet. Moreover, the bettor can win large sums of money for a relatively small unit stake. Therein, however, lies the major disadvantage of spread betting. The sums lost can exceed the sum staked by a huge amount, unlike fixed odds or pool betting, where the most that can be lost is the sum staked.

In summary, spread betting is a relatively novel form of betting, which offers the opportunity to win or lose large amounts of money. In the right hands, it can be an invaluable part of the bettor s armoury, but because losses are not limited to the stake, extreme caution should be exercised, particularly by the novice punter. You are offered a quote of 10 You think there will be more than 11 corners, and you buy at 11 for 20 per corner.

Your Second Bet You are offered a quote of 10 You think there will be fewer than 10 corners, and you sell at 10 for 15 per corner. Risk Management In Simple Sports Spread Bets In each of these cases you can close the bet at any time during the opening of the market, by making a bet in the opposite direction of the same stake. If this is at the same quote as that at which you opened the bet, you will lose your stake multiplied by the size of the spread.

Example At the start of the match, the quote about the number of corners is 10 You buy corners at 11, for 20 per corner. If you now change your mind and decide to close the bet entirely, you must sell at 10 for The usefulness of a strategy of closing the bet often occurs when the game is in play. A number of markets, particularly live televised matches, are traded in running. Take the same example as above: You buy corners at 11 before the match.

Now examine the following scenarios. Scenario 1 After ten minutes of play, four corners have been taken. The quote has risen to 13 If you wish to close the bet totally, you can sell at 13, for the same stake Scenario 2 After 30 minutes of play, no corners have been taken.

The quote has now fallen to 7 8. You decide to close the bet, by a sell at 7 for In each case, you have decided to close the bet to guarantee a given profit or to cap a given loss. Financial Spread Betting An increasingly common way of trading, particularly suitable for the smaller investor, is known as financial spread or index betting.

Financial spread betting companies operate, just like sports spread betting companies, by quoting a spread about variables in a market characterised by an uncertain future outcome. A popular example is the FTSE index, i.

The higher the FTSE index, the higher the price, on average, at which the top shares are trading. Say, for example, that the market-makers consider that the FTSE will close the day at In this case they may quote a spread of, say, , which includes their best estimate of the actual closing price. Clients of these companies are now invited to buy at the top end of the spread or sell at the bottom end The outcome of the trade is calculated as the number of units by which the actual.

The units are calculated according to the minimum marginal difference between positions at which trades can be implemented. Example Opening of market: FTSE is trading at The market-makers quote a spread on the days closing price of, say, One hour after the opening of the market: FTSE has risen to The market-makers are now offering a spread of You have two choices if you wish to trade. Choice A: buy at Choice B: sell at You must then choose your unit stake, say 10 per point.

Now consider the following scenarios. Outcome A: Having bought at , you correctly predicted that the spread was too low. For every point over you win your unit stake, i. Outcome B: As a seller at , you incorrectly predicted that the spread was too high. For every point over you lose your unit stake, i. Risk Management Whether you are selling or buying, you can indicate to traders a level at which you would like your bet to be closed without further reference.

This is known as a stop loss, and it is designed to mitigate risk. Your view is that the market will rise, so you buy at , for 10 a point. As it is an unpredictable market you decide to take out some insurance. To do this you place a stop loss order with the traders at, say, This is a protection against further losses if the market continues to fall.

However, the stop loss cannot be guaranteed at the precise level requested, particularly in fast-moving markets. Guaranteed Stop Loss This type of order offers complete protection at the chosen stop loss level, but involves an extra premium. The service can be applied when buying or selling.

The quote is You think that the level is too high, and therefore you sell at , for 10 per point. However, you decide to leave a guaranteed stop loss order at For this there is a premium charged of, say, 3 points. Hence, the selling level is now at - 3.

Now, assume that between the date of the agreement and its expiry. The consequence may be that the spread for the June FTSE index opens sharply up at, say, Without GSL i. With GSL, your position is automatically closed at your guaranteed level of not So, you sold at for 10, and the bet is closed at This limits the loss on your bet to Limit Orders You can place a limit order at the same time as you open a bet, or anytime thereafter, in order to close the bet if it reaches a pre- determined profit level.

However, you think that if the market goes up by points it might well then fall back, so you place a limit order to sell at for 3 if the quote reaches to close the bet. Your limit order is activated and you sell at for 3. You can also place forward orders to open a bet buy or sell if a market rises or falls to a level you specify. The spread is quoted at You think that the spread is too high, and therefore you SELL at for 5 a point.

Over the next few days, and before expiry of the contract, the FTSE has gradually fallen, so you ask for a new quote. On calling, you are offered a spread of You think that the spread is too low, and therefore you BUY at for 15 per point.

Later in the day, you call back and find that the quote has slipped to You are concerned that the market may fall further and decide to cut your losses. Since you originally bought for 15 a point, to fully close the position you need to sell for 15 a point at the new selling price of In both the above cases you have closed the bet by making a bet in the opposite direction, of the same stake.

If you make a bet in the opposite direction, for a smaller stake, you have partially closed the bet. Options This section is intended for advanced study only. Please feel free to skip it if you wish. Options allow you to choose whether to buy or sell a particular market. There are two types of option calls backing the market to rise and puts backing the market to fall. Options offer the security of knowing your exact downside when buying a call or a put.

However, rather than bet on the June FTSE futures market, you decide that it is less risky to buy a call option, because your maximum downside is known in advance. You decide to buy at 50 this is the premium for 10 a point. Outcome A: Index rises Say, now, that the index rises to by 1st May.

You may now take a profit by selling the option at 90, for a sure profit of , i. Alternatively, you could wait till the expiry date in June and take your chance that you will be able to exercise the option to buy at As long as the market at expiry stands above say you exercise your option to buy at and win the difference between the closing price and the buy price , multiplied by your unit stake.

From this must be deducted the premium 50 times the unit stake. However badly the FTSE performed, the premium cannot fall below zero and, therefore, the most you could lose by buying the option at 50 for 10 a point was Outcome B: Index falls You buy a June call at 50 with a stake of 10 per point. The index then falls sharply.

You cannot exercise your option to buy, since your call is worthless the market failed to rise above , and you lose the premium 50 multiplied by your unit stake 10 a point , i. Irrespective of how far the index drops, your loss is capped at in this example. This gives you the right to sell the index at on or before the expiry date, having paid a premium of Say, now, that the index falls to Since your put strike price was , you exercise your Option.

However, the premium is Let us now consider the opposite scenario. You buy a put with a stake of 5 per point. The index then rises. You do not exercise your option to buy, since your put is worthless. Chapter 4: Betting On The Exchanges If spread betting is the youngster of the betting mediums, so-called exchange betting is the toddler. The idea behind betting exchanges is quite simple. It is to match up someone who wants to bet on something at a given price with someone else who is willing to offer that price.

This way both sides are happy, at least until the result is known. The person who bets on the event happening at a given price is the backer. The person who offers the price is known as the layer. In effect, he is laying the bet in exactly the same way as a bookmaker does.

The advantage of this form of betting is that it essentially cuts out the formal bookmaker, and thereby the bookmaker s margin. It also allows everyone on the exchange to act as a bettor backer or bookmaker layer at will.

Indeed, it is possible to back and lay the same event. The other drawback is that there may not be enough people interested in acting as a bookmaker on certain events. Even where there are people willing to lay bets, sometimes these are to very small sums. The betting exchanges certainly increase the choice on offer, however, to those interested in making money from betting.

The Way To Bet On The Exchanges There really is excellent value to be had from betting on the exchanges, but only a very small proportion of those who bet know how to use them. Those who are interested in learning will find it surprisingly simple once the initial unfamiliarity has worn off, and great fun.

The idea is that you get to act as a bettor or a bookmaker, or both at the same time. Your first consideration is whether the odds about a Leeds win, a Leeds defeat or a draw are in your favour. The major betting exchanges present you with the three best odds and stakes which other members of the exchange are offering. For example, for Leeds to beat Liverpool the best odds on offer might be 3 to 1 4. This means that you can stake up to a maximum of 80 on Leeds to beat Liverpool at odds of 3 to 1, although you could bet a further at 11 to 4 and a further at 5 to 2.

These odds, and the amount you can stake, may have been offered by one or more other clients who believe that the true odds are longer than they have offered. Say you think that the true odds of Leeds winning should be 5 to 2, you may decide to stake 80 at the 3 to 1 and a further at 11 to 4, since both these odds are longer than you think the true odds are.

If you wish to be cautious, however, you may decide to stake a smaller sum on the outcome. Before staking the money, however, you should check that no bookmaker is offering as good a deal, or better. This is important, since there is usually a commission deducted from winnings on the betting exchanges, whereas returns with the bookmakers are deduction-free. An alternative option available to potential backers is to enter the odds at which you would be willing to place a bet, together with the stake you are willing to wager at that odds level.

This request say 50 at 4 to 1 will then be shown on the request side of the exchange, and may be accommodated by a layer at any time until the event is over. Laying On The Exchanges To lay a bet you set the odds you wish to offer and the stake you are prepared to accept at those odds.

Say you think it unlikely that Leeds. Perhaps you are willing to lay Leeds at 3 to 1 up to a stake of This means that you are willing to accommodate a backer or backers up to a total of 20 at 3 to 1. If your bet is fully matched, you will be liable to pay out 60 3 x 20 if Leeds go on to win, but you keep the 20 if they lose or draw. Betting exchanges include Betfair www. Intrade As An Exchange Intrade is a betting exchange which works in a similar way to futures markets. In particular, standardised contracts are bought and sold between exchange members.

Members of the exchange trade with each other, with the operator charging a transaction fee on each trade. All contracts can be bought or sold, and there are two types of contract short-term contracts and long-term contracts. Short-term contracts usually cover individual events, such as a particular football match. Long-term contracts usually cover seasonal events, such as the total number of points obtained by a team over the course of the whole season.

There are two basic methods of trading. Let us consider these in turn. The outcomes range from a notional 0 to Zero 0 represents a negative outcome, i. The contracts can, in principle, trade anywhere between 0 and When the outcome is determined, however, the contract will expire at either 0 or Multiple PIX contracts may be listed on the same event.

The simplest case is where there are three possible outcomes , i. Example Arsenal v. Liverpool There are three possible outcomes, and therefore three linked PIX contracts :. Thus Arsenal might be quoted at 55 Say a client decides to buy. He may than buy, say, contracts at a price of At this price, he is risking 58 trading units or ticks on each contract if Arsenal lose or if there is a draw.

The reason is that the contract makes up at 0 in the event of any outcome other than an Arsenal win. The potential upside is 42 ticks on each contract if Arsenal win, i. At any point during the course of the market, the client may decide to close the trade by selling a contract previously bought, or vice versa. This might lock in a loss or a profit, depending upon how the market has moved in-between. Totals Contract Totals contracts are priced to represent some likely quantity, such as the total number of goals scored in a football match, or number of runs in a cricket match.

Each totals contract will have a given range, as well as a prescribed tick size and tick value. If an event results in more or less e. In this example the range is specified as 50 points to points. Since each tick in the example has a specified value of 10p, the profit is 20 ticks at 10p per tick. The maximum profit is points 10 contracts of 20 points , which would be realised if Man Utd amassed or more points.

Bets are placed with other clients of the exchange, in the form of shares which trade between 0 and Winning team shares expire at Losing team shares expire at 0. In a draw both teams shares expire at Perhaps the most interesting manifestation of this sort of exchange is that offered by Tradesports www. Comparing The Options Cheltenham Festival, Tuesday, March 12th There is so much tax-free competition between bookmakers that the modern-day bettor is faced with a paradise undreamed of in the not too distant past.

Now add in the option of comparing the offers from the bookies with the betting exchanges, and it is not difficult to fathom why the odds are starting to look loaded in favour of the bettor. The trick lies in using these options to maximum advantage. Take as an example the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. Diehard followers of the Racing Post advice forums will have turned straight to the Pricewise page in large numbers, for Tom Segals idea of value.

On Champion Hurdle day, there were five new pieces of advice. The next best prices available about the Dermot Weld-trained 5-year-old were the 40 to1 available with Blue Square and Surrey Racing, both identified in the Pricewise odds comparison table. Visitors to the Oddschecker sites were alerted to the additional 40 to 1 available with Betabet, though not pointed in the direction of Surrey.

Elsewhere there were general 33s and 25s on offer. Clearly, Chandler was the firm to go with. There was a slight problem, though, in that Victor Cs operation had opened up at the unusually early time of 8 am, just for the duration of the Festival.

Those unaware of the revised opening hours were, of course, unable to grab the price, which lasted as long as one might expect in the face of the astute early birds just waiting for such an unexpected opportunity. Those seeking solace in the 40 to 1 available with Blue Square were accommodated for longer, but to a maximum of just 10 each way.

Still, dragging around the various outlets allowed a reasonable sum on the Pricewise fancy at 40 to 1. Whatever price you took, and especially if you got the early 50 to 1, there might be money to be made regardless of the outcome. How so? Well, this is where the betting exchanges come in. Take Betfair as an example. More interestingly, it was also possible to lay the horse at 37 to 1 for 5 or at 39 to 1 for If you were of a mind, there were people out there wishing to stake another with you if you would offer them 49 to 1.

If you had bet 30 on the horse at 50 to 1, of course, you could now lay the horse at 39 to 1 and shorter to the same stake. If the horse won, you would still be in profit. To be precise, your 30 on Mutakarrim at 50 to 1 with Chandler would have yielded you a tax-free In debit, you would have had to pay out at 39 to 1 those punters who staked 25 with you a total of , and at 37 to 1 to those punters who staked 5 with you a total of This makes a grand total of Your net profit on the deal works out at - If the horse lost, you would have lost the 30 you staked with Chandler but gained the 30 staked with you by other clients of Betfair.

A risk-free , then? In order to realise an actual risk-free profit, you would have needed to lay the horse on the exchange for a little more than you had staked on it to win. For example, lets say you staked just 25 on Mutakkarim at 50 to 1 with Chandler. In this case, you would stand to win if the horse won. However, by laying the horse at 39 to 1 for 25 as before and at 37 to 1 for 5 as before , you would be obliged to pay out to your Betfair colleagues.

That makes a net profit of This is rather less than before, but at least it is risk-free. Why so? Well, if the horse lost you would lose 25 to Chandler, but you would gain 30 from your Betfair dealings, which is still The difference between your winnings on Betfair and your loss to Chandler is 3.

In other words, if Mutakkarim wins, you win If Mutakkarim loses, you win 3. A free lunch every time? Not really, as the evidence of the second Pricewise horse to be advised proves so tellingly. The horse in question was the Noel Meade-trained 6-year-old, Scottish Memories, in the very same race, and also tipped at 50 to 1.

Sounds similar advice, but as a betting proposition, we were talking a whole different ball game. The first warning sign was the fact that Victor Chandler were still willing to offer the horse at 50s long after the 8 am opening bell, and it was possible to take the same long price with the likes of William Hill, Ladbrokes and Surrey, as well as SportingOdds and Sports.

Clearly, the, the 50 to 1 did not represent such unique value. Still, according to the Pricewise column, it represented value nevertheless. The advice was to take the price for 2 points each way. Those unsure of the value might have looked on a shrewdly placed 20 each way, say, as a solid bet anyway. The reason for their optimism lay in the hope that the odds would plunge from 50 to1 simply because it was the Pricewise fancy, and that the opportunity would soon open up to hedge, or lay, the horse at rather less than 50 to 1.

Suitably planned, a risk-free bet on Scottish Memories looked a banker. The reality was rather different, as would-be hedgers in the exchanges might care to bear in mind. Well, it is true that for a brief few minutes there were those on Betfair who were willing to stake 14 at 49 to 1.

Those waiting for the gravy train were to be sorely disappointed, however, as it never reached the edge of the station. Instead, by Worse still, clients of Betdaq or. GGBet were seemingly unwilling to make an offer to back the wretched thing at any price. Anyone would be forgiven for thinking that the horse had been spotted limping to the course. In the event, Scottish Memories performed rather well, finishing a gallant seventh at 50 to 1 despite being severely hampered as he was making his challenge.

Who knows how close he would have got with a bit more luck? So much for listening to the market. Mutakarrim, for the record, finished a poor 18th, at a starting price of 25 to 1. The other end of the market told another story. The favourite at the opening of market hostilities was Like-a- Butterfly, available at a best-priced 5 to 2 with Blue Square, Surrey and Sportingbet.

Subsequently, the best odds at which it was possible to place a bet on Like-a-Butterfly on the exchanges was 2. By the time the market opened on-course, the generally available price was 2 to 1, and the starting price was as short as it ever got, at 7 to 4. Despite this, one intrepid punter managed to place a bet of , to win ,, and two other bets of 25, were placed to win 56, Like-a-Butterfly won by a neck! Trained by Christy Roche, the 8-year-old was advised at 14 to 1 with Sunderlands, to a proposed stake of 3 points to win and 1 to place, and Sunderlands were happy to lay the price.

This was a horse that it was easy to lay at Despite a bet of each way, and another of each way, at 10 to1, the horse trotted home last of the finishers. The three contenders at the early morning opening were Valiramix, Istabraq and Landing Light.

Valiramix was a best-priced 9 to 4, available in quite a few places; Istabraq opened in the morning at a best 3 to 1, with UKBetting and Surrey; 7 to 2 could be had about Landing Light with UKBetting and Sports. Istabraq was available at 3 to 1 for and Landing Light at 3. By Valiramix was on offer at 2.

By noon the market had settled, and a comparison of the prices available to back and lay on two leading exchanges revealed the following:. Betfair Betdaq Valiramix To back: 2. Istabraq To back: 3 to 1 2. Landing Light To back: 3.

On course, Valiramix opened at 9 to 4, and started at 3 to 1. The starting price was as long as it was ever available on the day, and the casual punter who took the SP got better odds than all the sophisticates who had eagerly scanned the early prices and exchanges for value.

Not so in the case of Istabraq, who opened on course at 5 to 2 and started as short as he ever was, at 2 to 1. Landing Light opened at 7 to 2 and started at to The most notable feature of the market movements was that backers of Istabraq would never have done better than the early 7 to 2 available with a couple of bookmakers. Supporters of Valiramix would, in contrast, have been best advised to wait as late as possible before putting down their money, or else just taking the starting price.

Which all goes to show that there is no hard-and-fast system for always obtaining the best price. There are ways of improving your chances, though, and that is, in part, what this book is about. In the event, those backing any or all of the three at the top of the market went home empty-handed. Valiramix was going easily when he stumbled, and tragically had to be destroyed. Istabraq was pulled up before the third hurdle. Landing Light finished fifth.

At the opening of the market on the morning of the race, the best price available about the Hobbs horse was 7 to 1, with Sportingodds, while Carryonharry was available in a place Betabet at 15 to 2. Both these prices were better than was available on Betfair at 9. Those seeking to hedge the horses for a riskless potential profit were able, by the time the market had settled down at Carryonharry could be laid with Betfair at 6.

By noon it was still possible to bet 70 on Gunther McBride at 7 to 1, and on Carryonharry at 6. Both were available at better prices than would ever be offered on the course. Gunther McBride opened at 6 to 1, and started as a 4 to 1 favourite. Carryonharry opened at 6 to 1 and went off at 5 to 1. Both lost, finishing 6th and 9th respectively. Trained by Ted Walsh, the 8-year-old bay gelding was advised at 12 to 1 available quite generally , to a proposed stake of 3 points to win.

This was a horse that was never to be longer in the market. Indeed, by 9. There was absolutely no problem in laying the 11 to 1 to modest sums. Meanwhile, the market favourite at the opening of business was The Bushkeeper, from the Nicky Henderson yard, available at a fairly general 6 to 1.

The Bushkeeper lengthened on the Exchanges to a best of 6. On the course, The Bushkeeper opened at 5 to 1, started at 9 to 2, and won comfortably. No Discount showed nothing on the course, and fell two out when going nowhere. Trained by Christy Roche, and with Charlie Swan on board, the 6-year-old bay gelding was advised at a general 6 to 1 to a 2 point stake.

It was never better on the exchanges. Simultaneously, it was possible to lay the horse at the original 6 to 1, to stakes up to By noon, the best price available on both Betfair and Betdaq was 5. Layers could take advantage of backers willing to stake at 5. On the course, Calladine was available at a steady 7 to 2 with 4 to 1 in places , and went off at 7 to 2 favourite, after attracting bets of to win 12,, to win 10,, and four bets of to win Calladine was badly hampered when making his challenge, and finished 14th of 24 starters.

By the end of the day, none of the Pricewise horses had yielded a return, though there were some opportunities to hedge at shorter prices than those advised on the exchanges. The on-course and starting prices about these selections were usually significantly shorter than the morning opening prices. To a degree, the lessons of Cheltenham are atypical, since the market is so strong, and the information is so well known prior to raceday.

On more usual days, a Pricewise tip will often lead to a marked and immediate shortening of the horse. In these circumstances, it may seem just a matter of backing the Pricewise horse to whatever the bookie will allow you and then hedging by laying it at a lower price in the Exchanges. The danger, of course, is when everyone else is trying to do the same thing.

After all, to lay a horse successfully at a given price, someone must be willing to back it at that price, with you. An example of a successful Pricewise punt along these lines came no later than the immediately following Saturday, at Uttoxeter. The favourite, This is Serious, was available at a best-priced 11 to 2. In the event, the money came for the tipped horse, The Bunny Boiler.

Those seeking to hedge could already make a potential risk-free profit by laying the Noel Meade horse at 7. Hedgers were able to lay The Bunny Boiler at 7 to 1 for with Betdaq, and it was even possible to lay it at 6. The flow of money for the Pricewise horse was not matched in the enthusiasm for any of its rivals, and certainly not in the money chasing the favourite, This is Serious. Opening at a best-priced 11 to 2, it was soon available at 6 to 1 in the exchanges to sizeable sums, and longer still once the market had settled.

On the course, offers about This is Serious were less generous, however, and it maintained a steady 9 to 2, before starting at the same price. The Bunny Boiler duly opened at 6 to 1, shortened to its shortest ever 5 to 1 and trotted home, an easy length victor. The lesson of the week was that followers of Pricewise selections are usually best advised to get stuck in early, and to try to hedge in the exchanges once the market has settled down if so inclined.

The Pricewise tip is also likely to be a better bet for those seeking to beat the starting price, or to hedge in the exchanges, if the market is not overly strong, and if the price on offer is not too generally available. Do not expect, though, to be allowed to stake as much as you want in such circumstances, or think that you will always be able to hedge your bet later in the day. Racing, like life, just aint that easy. Punters Beware!

The idea of betting with the bookmakers and hedging in the betting exchanges, highlighted above, exposes one potential trap into which. This is courtesy of the palpable error rule of which the slapdash bookmaker is so fond. An example, from my own recent experience, may best illustrate the trap. On 11 May , at 1. Middlesbrough match incorrectly. The reason for my caution lay in the palpable error rule.

According to this rule, written into bookmakers rules and regulations, prices set in error can be rescinded if the error is palpable. Turn now to Rules 14 and 15 of the UKBetting code for the detail. Rule It is your responsibility to ensure that details of your bets are correct. Once you have confirmed your bet and it has been accepted by UKBetting.

Rule UKBetting. Notwithstanding Rule 14 above, we reserve the right to correct obvious errors for example an incorrect price or voiding bets struck after an event is underway. The term incorrect price means an error in inputting or reversal of the odds.

In such cases, the client will be notified. Where no instruction is received relevant bets will be settled at their correct odds. Now the danger is all too clear. Hedging the mythical 50 to 1 at that 17 to 1 in the exchanges is a potential road to the poorhouse. Not wishing to place 50 on No Goalscorer at 10 to 1 I could get it at 12 to 1 elsewhere if I was interested , I sent off the following e- mail to Customer Services at UKBetting I could find no telephone contact number , timed at 2.

Starts 3 pm today. I would not wish to place this stake if you are to invoke a palpable error rule on me if the bet is successful. Can you clarify the situation? Your stake will be returned when the First Goalscorer market has been settled, at the conclusion of the game.

Those who had laid the 0 0 in the exchanges at 17 to 1, in the expectation of a riskless profit, were left biting their nails and beyond. One other point. The difference is the way that own goals are counted. They contribute to the scoreline, but not usually to the No Goalscorer market.

This is only a general guideline, however. You should check the individual bookmakers rules to be sure in any particular case. In other words, you have the luxury of picking and choosing between all the prices on offer. Similarly, you have the choice of picking among a significant number of bookmakers, all of whom are competing for your custom.

Sometimes these prices are so disparate that it is possible, indeed, to bet on every possible outcome with different bookmakers and win whatever the result. Such circumstances do not last long, though, as there are plenty of people willing to swoop on such prices, with the effect of forcing them down to a less generous level.

There are, however, many less fleeting ways of tackling the bookmaker which can, if handled carefully, offer the opportunity of turning the odds in your favour. Economists and statisticians have worked for over half a century seeking to identify these methods, through an examination of what are known as betting market inefficiencies or anomalies. What is meant by an inefficiency in this sense is an opportunity to make a superior return by the use of a defined system or approach.

There are a number of these inefficiencies, and we shall consider them each in turn. First, though, we shall turn to perhaps the most well known, and certainly the most rigorously tested of them all. This is the so-called favourite longshot bias. The Favourite Longshot Bias The idea of a so-called favourite longshot bias at the racetrack was first identified in by Richard M. Griffith examined the odds available about thousands of horses running at US racetracks, and catalogued where each of these finished.

The results of his research were astonishing at the time, and were soon accepted for publication in the American Journal of Psychology. In other words, those who systematically bet on the favourite the horse with the shortest odds would over the long-term win more, or at least lose less, than those backing any other horse or horses in the field.

This was a startling discovery, because it suggested that it was possible to earn above-average returns by following a simple betting system, which required no knowledge of anything other than the available odds. This discovery was significant not only for horse race bettors obviously but also for economists. After all, how could this loophole exist? To the betting public, and that included quite a few economists and statisticians, the most important thing to find out was whether Griffith was right, and this meant collecting lots more data, from different racetracks and at different time periods.

Amazingly, study after study came up with the same findings. The favourite longshot bias is indeed real. In the subsequent fifty years and more, only one significant US investigation has indicated otherwise, and that solely for the case of one atypical, relatively small US racetrack.

In a way, this is not surprising, since laboratory experiments dating back to a classic study by Preston and Baratta in all point in the same direction. These experiments all found evidence of a systematic tendency by subjects under controlled conditions to relatively underbet or undervalue events characterised by high probability short odds , and to relatively overbet or overvalue those with low probability long odds.

Wayne Snyder, writing in , surveyed all the work to that date which had looked at US racetrack betting, and concluded that there was indeed a strong bias which made bets on favourites much better value than bets on longshots. The problem was that the bias was not big enough to cover the deductions from bets levied by the operators of the American Tote-only parimutuel system. A subsequent classic US study, undertaken by Richard Thaler and William Ziemba in was a little more optimistic from the punter s point of view.

While they confirmed that track deductions were too large to make bets on the aggregate of short-priced favourites profitable, they found that such a strategy was profitable at odds of. The problem with the US studies is that they are confined to the system prevalent in that country, i. Those seeking to turn an honest profit from their betting activities in the UK faced a very different environment.

Both bookmakers and the Tote were available on-course, and competed for the punters money. It was not long before attention was turned to the existence of a favourite longshot bias at bookmaker odds. A pioneering study was undertaken in by E. Lennox Figgis in his book, Focus on Gambling.

This and subsequent studies by Figgis, were to become so influential that they were quoted in the final report of the Royal Commission on Gambling. The favourite longshot bias was alive and well in the UK, at the odds quoted by bookmakers. The way that Figgis conducted his studies was to collect data on the starting prices of the horses. The SPs, as they are called, are the independently determined assessment by professional assessors at the track of the general price at which a bet could have been placed on a horse with course bookmakers at the start of the race.

Most off-course bets are settled at this price. Figgis evidence on SPs collected for races run in , and demonstrated that for the shortest odds examined, i. Calculations of the returns in and , performed for the Royal Commission on Gambling, found rates of return of In other words, in four of the five years examined, betting on all horses starting at the shortest odds examined would have yielded a very healthy pre-tax profit.

To pay for this healthy profit, it is inevitable that other punters are losing in an unhealthy way. If they were not, the bookies would be out of business. The big-time losers, Figgis found, were those who backed the longshots horses starting at long odds. His calculations for the longest odds range, i. The average returns varied from as little as These low returns to longshots.

It was, however, Jack Dowie who first brought these ideas to the notice of the academic world with a path-breaking article published in the journal Economica in Dowie calculated the expected return to bets paced on horses starting at each of a wide variety of starting prices for the flat season. His sample of races revealed evidence of a significant longshot bias, to the extent that a pre-tax profit could have been made by betting on all horses starting at 4 to 6 or shorter.

Again, the return to longshots especially extreme longshots was far worse in extent than that reported for US racetrack betting markets. The same study also showed that bets, to level stakes, on all horses returned at 1 to 2 or shorter would have provided a pre-tax profit of 9. Thats to a blind strategy of betting on each and every case, and doesnt even allow for the fact that it is often possible to beat the starting price. Robert Henery was another to wade in, with his examination, published in in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, of races run in and The average return to a unit stake was calculated over various odds ranges, demonstrating a return of Confirmation of the findings of the academic studies was provided, interestingly enough, in the Ladbrokes Pocket Companion, Flat Edition, for The findings covered the flat racing seasons from to As expected, bets at shorter odds provided much better returns than at longer odds.

Indeed, the results suggested a positive rate of return to a strategy involving the consistent placing of bets on horses which started at odds of 1 to 2 or shorter. Of horses starting at odds between 1 to 2 and 1 to 5, won, giving a profit of 0.