Once upon a time you could largely divide bookies into two groups: those who actually wanted to write a book, and “punting bookies”.
While all generally employed a mix of tactics, you could often tell the difference: the former would throw up his prices and let the punters move them. He wanted to write a complete book and let the market percentage supply his profit.
A punting bookie, meanwhile, was more willing to back his own opinion and form analysis. If he didn’t like a runner’s chances, he’d be willing to “take it on”… leave the price wound out and take far more money on it than he should in a whole-of-market mathematical sense. If his form was good, the rewards were rich. If not…
These days, with the market dominated by large corporate bookies, that’s all gone. As is, more generally, the art of pricing a market. Basically, everybody just engages in parallel pricing – they just copy what the other bookies have and shadow their fluctuations. A bit like petrol stations!
So it’s interesting to hear of a new operator in Europe that’s looking to wind back the clock and trust their own judgement. VSODDS.BET is a new sportsbook doing a couple of things very differently.
Firstly, it’s focusing purely on pre-match betting, rather than in-play action. That won’t mean much to must Aussies given in-play betting is banned online here anyway, but overseas it’s huge. Company founder Dalius Dabashinskas explained the approach to SBCNews.co.uk:
“Pre-match and in-play bets are two very different entities,” said Dabashinskas. “Of course, over the last few years, live betting has grown exponentially and now accounts for around three quarters of all wagers for many major sportsbook operators. But there remains a large market for pre-match betting that is not being well serviced by current products.
“It is no secret that operators are suspicious of pre-match bettors. These customers have more time to analyse the match, whereas in-play betting tends to be based primarily on emotion. As a result, live betting carries a resemblance to casino gaming, and the margin for operators is usually higher.
By ignoring massive in-play markets, VSODDS.BET are focusing their resources elsewhere: namely on building their own form databases and algorithms to price markets themselves, offering yet another differentiator to others in the market.
“The aim of VSODDS.BET is to offer pre-match betting odds that don’t simply follow the market,” said Dabashinskas. “Despite the huge range of operators offering sports betting these days, there is very little variation in the odds available to punters. In most cases, they differ less than five percent.
“By providing pre-match, fixed odds and steering clear of the traditional marketing, bonuses and other promotions, we can ensure that VSODDS.BET offers the best value on the market.
“With our sophisticated trading team and models, we are not afraid to put our neck on the line and offer the odds we believe are correct for the event – regardless of what other bookmakers are doing. This means we will consistently beat other bookmakers when it comes to price on one side of a bet.
“We carefully select the tournaments, games, matches and races for which we offer odds, and only offer markets that are of interest to genuine punters.”
A check of the markets for some Champions League matches confirmed this difference in approach, with most other bookies within a few cents of each other:
How will they go? Who knows… but it’s refreshing to see somebody taking a different approach in an industry where more and more operators are looking almost identical.
It’s tough to know if this sort of thing could spread down under. Largely, it’ll depend on if it’s successful. If it makes money, you can rest assured somebody will give it a go! Before being swallowed by BetEasy, William Hill Australia tried a similar thing of sorts with their relaunched Centrebet, where some prices varied from the market and limits were higher. So it’s not without precedent.