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The pros and cons of betting early fixed odds

The majority of corporate bookmakers have markets available on a Wednesday evening for the Saturday metropolitan meetings. This makes it very tempting to jump in and snap up early odds. I thought I would outline some of the pros and cons of doing this and how to weigh up if you should take the early price on offer.

Positives of taking an early price:

The obvious benefit is obtaining a higher price about your selection if you believe it will start a lot shorter. There are myriad reasons why it may jump shorter come race time:

  • Key jockeys or trainers (or the combination of both) who have had a lot of success.
  • Track conditions and/or bias will suit your particular runner more than the others.
  • Form has been franked by other runners from the time markets went up until the race time of your selection.
  • Key runner to the pace of the race is scratched meaning your selection can now obtain a better run.
  • They have just simply priced it wrong.

When you have been able to obtain a good early price about your selection and it has firmed dramatically in the betting, this also opens up more positives and opportunities for jumping in earlier. Since your own book will be running at a lower percentage than what the current betting shows, it now gives you the opportunity to back more runners in the race and still make a healthy profit. It also brings back the opportunity of trading on the race through the Betfair exchange. You can choose to lay the horse at a shorter quote on Betfair to lock in a smaller profit that is now risk free. Or you could hedge it back so if the selection wins you make a good profit. If it loses you still get your stake returned.

Cons for jumping in early:

  • The markets that go up on a Wednesday evening are usually of a very high percentage, often around 120% – 130%. So being patient you should be able to obtain a higher price on that runner come Saturday as the percentage of those markets need to drop to 110% range or less with fixed odds providers.
  • The conditions and/or bias have changed and will no longer suit your selection, so the price goes the other way and your horse drifts.
  • Scratchings to key runners now meaning the pace and race shape has now changed and won’t suit the selection.
  • Scratchings result in dreaded deducttions
  • Your own book is now running at a higher percentage than the market, which means you are also limiting opportunities to back more runners and take trading positions through Betfair on the selection.

By waiting until raceday to place your bet you can factor more things into your prices and alter your markets through the days as the factors change. Sticking to what you thought was going to happen when you did your initial form on a Wednesday is fraught with danger if the circumstances have now dramatically changed.

For example, if rain unexpectedly arrives and a horse is no good in the wet, then the starting price will almost always have to be longer. Or maybe a senior jockey has been replaced by an inexperienced rider.

Considering more factors with scratchings, conditions, bias or change of riders can only help make your price more accurate when you come to making the bet.

In summary, like most aspects of punting there is no magic formula.

You need to know what combinations of factors are likely to be popular for punters and ask yourself the question “Come race time will this horse be shorter in the market than what is currently on offer?”

If you can accurately predict this and regularly read the market correctly, your opportunities to win will greatly increase and you’ll be well on your way to punting profits.

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