The majority of successful racing punters go about things in, basically, the same way:
- Use their form process to come up with a probability of each horse winning
- Convert those probabilities into rated prices
- Bet when they can secure a better price – an “over-lay”.
Mathematically, this is the way to make money from racing. If your probabilities and rated prices are more accurate than the market, the maths will deliver a profit when you secure an over-lay.
So shouldn’t it also work the other way around?
You can lay horses on Betfair, so if you have an under-lay… the horse will win less often than the market price says, and you’ll finish up in front.
Yet looking at how many of the Champion Bets racing analysts bet, few of them engage lay betting on a consistent basis. Why is that?
We asked a couple of them…
For Cameron, laying horses – particularly those short in the market – just isn’t that efficient in terms of getting a return.
“I’ve done a little bit of it, however if I find a favourite I am opposed to I’d prefer to try to back a couple of horses around it,” says Cameron.
“Laying the favourite is essentially the same as backing every other runner, even the no-hopers. I’d prefer to be a bit more efficient, if I don’t like a favourite, and back a few around it.”
Put simply, there are horses in every race that have no chance. The market – which you’re betting into – prices them in anyway, and that affects the price of every other runner… including the horse you may want to lay.
So much of punting is about the mental application, and that’s a big reason Trevor hasn’t engaged in a lot of lay betting.
“It’s a different mindset, more that of a bookie,” he says.
“It can work in some situations, there’s no doubt, but I’ve been betting for a long time and I’m well trained in the way I do things. In a way, maybe I’m a bit stuck in my ways… but there is a mental adjustment to be made there if you’re going to lay horses.
“It’s different. You have to be prepared to consistently risk larger amounts in order to return less. As a punter who’s always looked after his bank, that’s the opposite of what I’m used to doing. That decision-making process is flipped around, so it’s something you’d have to get used to. When I have a bad day, it’s easier to accept the loss and move on, knowing you have your bank behind you. If you’re lay betting and have a bad day, the damage to your bank can be much greater.
“I know of other punters who do it well, but they’re more the types who have a bookmaking background. So they’re well used to that approach and, I guess like me, are a product of what they’re comfortable with.”
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