We’re generally pretty pleased with ourselves when basking in the glow of winning bets..
But if we’ve backed a horse at a price that is under its true odds, we shouldn’t be.
Because if you continue to do this consistently, you will soon become just another losing punter.
Long-term profitable punting is all about finding value, not just having winning bets. Yet so many people overlook this vital fact. If you want to be a successful horse racing punter, you should only back a horse if you assess the available price is greater than its true winning chance.
For example, one raceday you might decide that you like the favourite in the first race. The bookies have it at $3 right now but you decide to wait to back it later. But when the race comes around, the horse is only available at $2.
So is it still a good bet at that price?
A lot of punters would still back their selection. They’re content that others agree with them that it’s a good thing. They’re also thinking they’d hate to miss a winner.
But with odds of just $2 available, you should only be backing this horse if you have determined that it has a greater than 50% chance of winning the race.
Why winning bets don’t always equal profit
Do the maths. If this horse is going to win this race 50% of the time, then you’ll only ever break even getting $2. If you get less than $2, you’ll lose money.
It takes a lot of discipline to not back a horse you think will win, but is poor value.
This kind of discipline is what separates successful punters from your everyday losing mug punter. An old cliché still holds true today – not backing a loser is like backing an even money winner.
The beauty of betting is that in the above scenario, the favourite might still be very good value at $2. If your thorough assessment of the form has rated this horse at $1.50 (based on a 67% chance of winning the race), then even though the horse’s price is much shorter than you had hoped for, it’s still well above what you consider to be it’s true odds and is therefore a value bet.
So before you place your next bet make sure you ask yourself a key question. Is this horse good value at the odds available?
If not, find a horse in the race that is. Or have the discipline to just watch and try to learn from the race as an impartial observer.
Keep a record of these non-bets and although you may miss the occasional winner, I’m sure that you’ll be much more likely to become a winner on the punt.