Having the skills and experience to do the form and compile rated prices that have an edge on the market is a big step forward to winning as a punter.

But long term success requires more than that. You must also have a sound approach to when and where you bet.

So we’ve got Adelaide professional punter Adam Mintz on to explain how he goes about it, using last Saturday’s meeting as an example.

Punting Insights

How each race is different, but the search for value never changes

Adam’s preferred bet types and betting outlets

How even professionals take bad prices at times

Why Adam will occasionally bet a half-stake early and the other half late


Dave Duffield: Hi Adam. I just wanted to run through the ratings from Saturday, and give people an indication of why you bet and when you bet because it’s important that with a set of ratings a lot of work goes into them, but it’s also up to the user to find the best value.

From Morphettville on Saturday, do you want to talk us through your plan and then what you did for Race One?

Adam Mintz: Yes. Race One was a 2,000m race. I probably prefer betting in races sort of a bit shorter than that; I’m not really keen on betting on them. In that race, I went for War Point, I thought with the gear change it would probably produce its better form. I think I rated it at about $3.40 or $3.50. As it turned out, I took a bad price. I think I took $4 off memory, may have been a little bit longer, and I reckon it ended up about $5.50 on BetFair. Which made no difference, the horse didn’t run very well.

The plan there was to back it, and I mentioned that I’d like to be saving Danouli at my price or better, so they were really the only two that I was interested in backing. Danouli was one that they didn’t bet my price fixed, but on BetFair late they did bet $11.50, which taking into account commission and everything, I was happy to save on Danouli. So I didn’t have a full stake, but I just saved on Danouli and chopped out on the race.

Dave Duffield: Race Two, we didn’t bet so we don’t have to worry about that. What about Race Three? We had the Hayes runner on top, but it wasn’t an overlay for us.

Adam Mintz: No, Race Three I had the favourite at $3.20, the Kifaah, so we weren’t on that anyway. Actually, off memory, I think the only horse that we could back was Kesan which I had about $6.40 I think? That was an easy one to get on, it was $11, $12 I think mostly. BetFair might have been longer at the finish.

I think that was the only one that I backed. Maybe backed Just Resting at about $16 or $17. There wasn’t much we could do in that race.

Dave Duffield: In a race like that, how early are you monitoring the market? Are you on Dynamic Odds? I know you’ve got some restrictions as to where you can bet, but what’s your process?

Adam Mintz: I’ve got a feeling of what the market’s going to do. In that race there, I think I took $12 Kesan early, thinking that that was a good price. Well, it ended up about that I think anyway. But it’s just really a feel. If people do have Dynamic Odds, what I sometimes put in is set the alarm, so that if a price goes off with a certain corporate, it will sound off an alarm which will then tell me that the price has gone off and then I can step in and take the fixed odds early. But that’s one that we can talk about a bit later, there’s a race where that happened later on.

In Race Three on Saturday, Kesan was a good over. It was the only bet I had, and I think I took $12 fixed. Really, I’m finding nowadays that BetFair late is a pretty good way to bet. Occasionally there are ones that shorten in the middle, during the 30 minutes before the race. But BetFair or Best Tote, I think is a pretty good way to bet.

Dave Duffield: With the monitoring of the odds available, are you a little bit hands tied behind your back in that at a lot of the outlets you can’t get on for what you want to get on?

Adam Mintz: Yeah I’m restricted, but I’m actually not barred in too many places. Well I can’t get an account with a few of them. I can still get a bet on with most of the others, but I’m restricted.

Dave Duffield: What would you say are the best three? You mentioned obviously there’s BetFair and Best Tote, but are there a couple of bookmakers in particular that you think are reasonable for South Australian Racing?

Adam Mintz: If you’re lucky enough to have an account with Bet365. If you can get one, you’d get one, because they’re probably the most competitive out of all of them. I’d recommend them if you can have an account there, that would be one that I would definitely have.

I have accounts with obviously UBET and Tabcorp. I have an account with CrownBet, Sportsbet, Luxbet. But they all pretty much restrict me. I think in this day and age, really, that’s probably for a lot of people not feasible to have accounts with all those different organizations and to have money in them. So if you’re sort of thinking of having one, they’re all pretty much of a muchness. They all bet Best Tote, I think, which is probably the most important thing. But I would have thought with regard to the most competitive it would be Bet365.

Dave Duffield: A We’ll move on to Race Four then. There was a significant overlay here, which was a good winner for us. But just talk us through Nodoubtaboutit, so rated $5.60, when and why did you bet here?

Adam Mintz: That race there I actually jumped in and took a bad price. I took the $7.00 in the morning on the winner, Nodoubtaboutit. Just a feeling, it’s a Stokes horse, they’re often very well backed. It had drawn a good gate. I just thought it was one that wouldn’t get much longer. There’s no rule to that, and it did. I’m looking here, it ran at $7.50 with a few of the corporates. I think Best Tote was $8.60.

I take bad prices, I think we all do. But that one there probably because I’ve got it $5.60 and I’m getting $7, I’m thinking that’s a pretty good price, that’s a pretty good overlay. I didn’t have my whole stake on it, so maybe what people can do is just put half on if they’re looking and thinking that that’s a good overlay. Maybe have half your stake on and monitor. And have the rest on later on, hopefully at that price or maybe a little bit better. I think that one was about $9 on BetFair.

The two things that I’d recommend people do, would be pretty much having at least one account with a corporate that offers fixed odds and Best Tote. But also I couldn’t get by without BetFair anymore.

Dave Duffield: Okay, what about Race Five? It was a pretty open race and you wanted significant overlays to get involved. Was it just Brave Journey that was an overlay?

Adam Mintz: That was the only one, which is funny in a field of I think twelve we’re 90% market, I really couldn’t do much at all. I was anti Liminal. The favourite I couldn’t quite back, and that was the only one I could back. The middle pinner, Brave Journey, which I had $13 I think I backed it at $26 or something, I think. BetFair ended up about 30-odd dollars. Which was not a bad result, because we could only back one horse and we didn’t do much damage anyway.

Dave Duffield: Race Six, smaller field but a bit more betting action. Again, when did you decide to bet here and how?

Adam Mintz: I think I suggested I wanted $8 or better, numbers 4 and 5 I had them both at just over 5/1, I think.

I was wrong again, here. I took Blue Viper I locked in I think $9 in the morning. CrownBet were $11 at the finish, the Best Tote was over $11, and BetFair you could have got $14. I took a bad price there, but then again I put half my stake on I think at the $9 and then I topped up at the end at the better odds.

They were both good overlays. They were probably always going to be good overlays, because I had the favourites a lot longer than they were. I took a bad price on that one as well.

Dave Duffield: Yep as you said, that happens. You can take a bad price.

Adam Mintz: Well, you don’t know. I can’t control what the market’s going to do. You’re pretty determined, if you’ve got something 5 to 1 and you’re getting 8 to 1 about it … Especially when it’s a small field. That was only a field of seven or eight. I was pretty happy with that. The one that I thought I’d be saving on, Grand Armada, I think I had a comment that I was happy to save at the price or better. I had it about $10. I ended up backing it $20 on BetFair.

That case again, BetFair late was the way to bet. You could have got $14 the winner, $20 Grand Armada. The number 4, Eljetem was about $9 or $10 as well.

Dave Duffield: Do you spend much time reviewing something like that? When I chat with Snowy he gets mad when he doesn’t shop well. You can’t be top odds every time, but it really frustrates him if he makes the wrong move there. Do you spend much time reviewing that?

Adam Mintz: Yes, it really annoys me … I hate taking a bad price. But I top up if I do. It’s what I do. I’ll top up. I might just have half my stake on and then the rest later, or I might actually top up a little bit.

Because I’m a bit the same as Nathan, I don’t like taking bad odds. Jumping in and taking fixed odds early, pre-post, when there’s scratchings and change of weather. It’s just a bit of a trap.

There’s two instances we’ve spoken of today, where if I’d just sat back and bet later on, I would have been better off financially.

Dave Duffield: So when you say you top up later, that means the drift doesn’t scare you at all?

Adam Mintz: I stick to what I do. I’m not too worried. There’s instances where yes, it will.

If a horse is first up, I mean that’s a pretty strong sign if it’s a huge drift … There was one on Sunday at Gawler that was first up that obviously lost a leg and ran accordingly. I think you’ve got to use things as a guide like that. Only horses that are first up, horses that I don’t really know.

But I was pretty happy to bet there because I thought the bottom one Hell On Earth was just a stupid price. I just thought that was a silly price. It had run heavily backed the week before, got in the best part of the track, and got run down by an eight year old. I was happy to bet in that race.

Dave Duffield: Speaking of first up, your notes for Viddora in Race Seven. You said, “Happy to be on Viddora, current fixed or better.” It was a pretty good price.

Adam Mintz: Yeah. That’s another one. They’re a punting stable. I thought 1050m first up, it had trialed so there wasn’t any doubt and it was a listed race so there was no doubt that it would sort of be aimed for the race. I didn’t even look at the trial that it won easily.

I just thought that was a good price, I think it was $12 or $14. I think they actually bet $18 early in the week. That was one that I was happy to jump in and take that fixed. You’ve got it at $7 and I’m getting about $12 or $13 I think I got, $13. That was one where yeah, we pulled the right rein and went early and got the good price.

Dave Duffield: We also backed Showpero, you said at $6 or better?

Adam Mintz: Yep.

Dave Duffield: Then you said we’d want close to a 50% overlay to be backing anything else.

Adam Mintz: Yeah.

Dave Duffield: There were a couple of others that got out to significant overlays, so we backed those. So all up we had almost three units out, and about eight units back.

Adam Mintz: Showpero, I think I had it at $4.60 off memory, saying I wanted $6. I didn’t think I’d be backing it, but it did get to $6 with UBET, it got to $6 with CrownBet and BetFair was I think closer to $7. We were on that one. That was one where BetFair late was where you’d be betting. Or betting very late.

If you hadn’t bet late on Viddora, you would have copped … Well Best Tote was $6.70 and a couple of the corporates was $7. So that’s a huge difference. You wouldn’t have even been on it if you hadn’t bet early.

Dave Duffield: Then we had the lucky last, which looked to be a raffle. You said happy to be on Ascendance or Golden Century, at around $8.50 or better. Neither of those got to the price, so we were only on Trueno there.

Adam Mintz: Yeah, well that’s a big field. A big field, I’m sort of a little bit more picky with regard to value. I think I had them both at about … Did I have them both at about $6.50?

I didn’t want to be jumping in at that price. I didn’t want to be jumping in at what I had them rated at. We ended up I think only in the field of eighteen I think it was, we ended up only being able to have one bet and that was Trueno. So minimal damage there.

Dave Duffield: One other thing I wanted to speak to you about was just marginal overlays. I think some people think that, say $14 about a $13 chance, is the same as $4.80 about a $4.20 chance, things like that when there is a significant difference. How do you handle marginal overlays, particularly at double figure price?

Adam Mintz: I’ll try and include that in my comments what I want to do, but marginal overlays … If there’s a marginal overlay and I’ve got it in my top few picks, I’d be a bit more inclined to be having a bet than if I’ve got a marginal overlay and I’ve got a sort of sixth or seventh pick. The last race on Morphettville on Saturday, I’ve had one of the two horses was a marginal overlay, Golden Century. I had $6.50 and I think I said I wanted $8.50. I didn’t back it, because I didn’t get my price.

In some instances, if I’ve got a horse first pick and it’s a marginal overlay, I’ll still back it. Smaller field, I’ve got something 7/4 and it’s 2s I’d probably still back it. But the bigger the field, the less inclined I am to take marginal overlays.

Dave Duffield: One other thing I said at the start was – now what? Now that someone’s got a set of ratings, what to do next? Occasionally track bias rears its ugly head. There’s been some meetings there in South Australia recently, and elsewhere, where there’s been a race to the outside fence.

Adam Mintz: Yep.

Dave Duffield: You’ve done a lot of work in compiling the ratings before the meeting, how do you handle a meeting like that where they’re all heading to the outside?

Adam Mintz: You’ve got a fair idea when and where that’s going to happen. The meeting I think on Sunday, Gawler was heavily leader biased again, and it was at the last meeting there. But I’ll try and readjust and send new things through, or send an email saying that we’re just not betting if there are drastic changes.

I’ve got a fair idea when they’re going to do it and when they aren’t. There’s always, I tend to find, there are certain jockeys that were more inclined to head to the outside rail.

The problem that we have here, and the reason that happens, is that a lot of the tracks are substandard here. When we have any rain, that’s what ends up happening. Murray Bridge is an obvious one, Strathalbyn they can hardly ever race through in Winter because it just doesn’t handle the wet. We’ve got problems with tracks here. We’ve had meetings at Balaklava that have been called off because the tracks have been too wet. That makes it difficult. It makes it hard in the middle of Winter betting here when we’ve had as much rain as we have.

I think probably the solution to that is an all weather track which is sort of … I’ve been on about a bit lately. I can’t see how the situation’s going to get any better unless that occurs. I think a couple of our tracks, I think Gawler is underutilized.

My idea would be to put an inner track in on the Morphettville, in where the track at Morphettville Parks and race between the main track at Morphettville and Gawler as your main Saturday venues.

Dave Duffield: Sounds like common sense, but it’s probably unlikely to happen.

Adam Mintz: I think they have to put in an all weather track. I think they have to. I’m sure they want to, but I can’t see that next Winter is not going to be the same. I think we’re probably going to have wet Winters now. I don’t think things are going to change too much. We’ve had meetings transferred. A couple of times they really couldn’t transfer a meeting, because they didn’t have a track to transfer it to, because they were all in a similar position. I think that will happen.

I think more likely the scenario is they will probably put one in inside the Gawler main track. I think there’s enough room there to do it. That may be what they’re looking at. They definitely need an all weather track here. When we have all horses going to the outside fence on a regular occurrence, it’s not a good look.

Dave Duffield: No problems. Appreciate you joining us again, Adam. Hopefully that’s given people a good insight into what to do with a quality set of ratings, and what decisions they can make. Thanks for coming on the show again, and best of luck this season.

Adam Mintz: No worries, Dave. Thank you.