horse racing tips june 4, gareth phillips, value betting

Picking winners is one thing. But if you actually want to make money on the punt, then the key is value betting.

Here is a common raceday scenario for most punters…

You have done the form on a race and there’s a horse you’re keen to back. But a few minutes from the jump you have realise it’s probably under the odds, or not going to be favoured by the way the track is playing, or maybe it is a big question mark at the distance.

In this situation most punters will still place their bet, because they’re scared the horse will win without their money being on. Or they make a last-minute switch and back the mounting yard mail. Or the market mover at rock bottom odds.

However, what successful punters are quite prepared to do in this type of situation is to pass on the race and not bet. They understand that over time, the risk in placing these bets far outweighs the potential gains. The maths of market percentages mean that anyone betting without an edge will lose. Value betting is the only way to make money. If you back every horse that is ‘close’ you are going to commit the punting sin of having too many bets. So you simply have to accept that you are going to like horses that win without you.

Professional punters look to cull poor value horses rather than worry about missing an occasional collect. While it can be painful to miss a winner you seriously considered backing, it is more painful to make bad decisions and lose.

Value betting: No emotion!

Try to treat horses the way Wall Street’s Gordon Gecko treats stocks – that is, to never get emotional. To be really matter-of-fact. A horse is actually just a number with a probability attached that is represented by the odds available.

Don’t get emotionally attached to a horse that you have won on in the past. And don’t think that a horse you lost on in a photo last start now owes you something. So much can change from one race to the next such as the quality of the field, race pace, track conditions and a lot more. Instead of loving a horse for any reason, what you really have to do is love a price because it is value.

Bets that are in the maybe / almost / fun categories can really eat into your profits. The sooner you can learn to avoid betting on a race and instead just watch it as a future form reference, the better your betting balance will be. If you don’t believe me, then let the results speak for themselves. Go ahead and record your ‘almost’ bets in a spreadsheet or notebook and look back on it each month. I am certain that these bets will under-perform relative to the rest of your selections and you’ll be better off without them. By managing the downside you are protecting the upside.

Most punters are not operating on margins so fat that they can afford to make poor value bets. Take for example a punter who outlays $200 a race and has five bets on a Saturday. If he could achieve 10% profit on turnover long-term he’s doing very well. But he can very easily wipe out a ‘normal’ day’s profit with just one or two small bets. So be very wary of ‘almost’ and ‘fun’ bets. Don’t think you have to bet every race and don’t beat yourself up for missing a winner.

Instead, you should adopt the mindset of congratulating yourself every time you miss backing a loser.

Punt like a pro with Trevor Lawson’s Melbourne Ratings.

As well as a full set of rated prices, speed maps and suggested bets, you can spend each and every raceday with a pro punter: the Melbourne Ratings Live Page gives you direct access to Trev himself to ask whatever you like.

If you're keen to win, it’s the only way to punt.

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