Stuck in a betting rut?
As you probably know, there’s far more to successful punting than just picking winners. So many punters make basic mistakes that cost them money time and time again.
So here’s a shortlist of the seven deadly sins of the punt. Avoid these, and you (and your bank balance) will be far better off in the long run.
1. Taking a knife to a gunfight
The betting market is set by bookies and other punters, and some of them are very, very well prepared. There are full-time professionals making their living off it, as well as some large syndicates that have the resources to crunch massive amounts of form data.
Had a quick look at a basic form guide and are going to bet? You’re woefully under-prepared and will take a beating in the long-term.
The good news is that there’s more information than ever available for all punters: track data, detailed stats, replays, trial reports, sectional times, price information, professional ratings… it’s all out there. Use it, and start to close the gap on the big players.
2. Taking a bad price
This is such a simple thing, and it costs real money: punters taking a price when there are better odds available elsewhere. In the glory days of the on-course betting ring it was unthinkable: all the prices were right there in front of you, so of course you’d take the best one.
Now that most betting is done online, it’s amazing how many punters have their single bookie account and just take what’s offered. As far as punting sins go, it’s unforgivable – you’ve done all the hard work and then cost yourself money at the end.
So open as many accounts as possible – it’s extremely quick and easy. You don’t need to deposit huge amounts – you’re far better off taking the same balance and spreading it across multiple bookies than having it all with just one. Then use Dynamic Odds and take the highest price.
And if you’re taking a tote price, use the best available. Products like Best of the Best and Betfair SP can deliver you greater returns.
3. Poor staking
Learn about variable staking plans… and use them.
At its heart, betting is about probability and maths. The laws of mathematics apply: just throwing the same amount on your picks whatever their price (level staking) makes no mathematical sense whatsoever. It’ll cost you.
4. Not taking price into account
A lot of losing punters are under the misconception that to be a success, you just need to pick winners.
If that was the case, then just pick the favourite for every bet you make: your winning strike rate will be great.
Will you make money? Of course not.
The only way to make money punting is to bet to value: take a price that is greater than what you rate your selection at.
You might have the surest thing in the world… if it’s not at a value price, it’s not a good bet. Do you want to back lots of winners, or make money? They’re not the same thing.
You don’t have to start by building your own markets immediately. But at least start to recognise the price, what it means in terms of market percentage, and whether that aligns with what you think. You’ll be better off.
This is one of the toughest habits to break, and one everybody is guilty of at some point. Our emotions can be powerful and convince us to make decisions that, in retrospect, don’t make much sense.
We’ve all bet too much when we think we’re on a hot streak, only to hand some back. Or cracked it after a poor run and thrown in the towel, only to see something we didn’t back get up.
Each race, or game, or contest is a separate proposition. The best punters are able to immediately put a win or a loss behind them and approach it that way.
6. Punting value traps
These are everywhere: the things that seem obvious to the naked eye, but don’t hold up as value propositions in reality.
What about that horse that hit the line hard last start? It must be worth backing, yes? What about if it’s up or down in distance – have you taken that into account? Many in the market may not have.
Things aren’t often as simple as they appear – learn to sidestep the traps that many fall into.
7. Not learning from your mistakes
Once the siren’s gone or a race is run, too many punters just forget about it.
But if you didn’t win, there’s a fair chance you made a mistake. All successful punters have a few things in common, and one of them is they always take the time to review both the race or match, and their own betting. That’s how they work out what went wrong, and make sure they don’t make the same mistake next time.
If you don’t learn from your mistakes, you’ll simply repeat them. On the punt, that’ll cost you money.
Pro-punter Cameron O'Brien knows how to find value winners at big prices. He's done it time and time again for his Key Bets members. They get all of Cameron's tips from right across Australia, including stake, recommended price and runner comments.