Success in the punting game relies on getting value odds. So try not to fall into the hype about “market movers” on racing coverage.
Blindly following horses because they have substantially shortened in price is no way to make money long-term.
Market movers: an example
A very successful punter might have rated a horse at $3.50, and will happily take the $4 that’s available.
They might be do this by simultaneously having whatever they can get on with a large number of bookies, or using bowler accounts, or taking what’s available on Betfair. The amount they have on may not be very significant in the scheme of things. But in this age of marked accounts, bookies will know the money is smart and react accordingly.
Often they’ll keep backing it right down to $3.50, if they’re able. By then that horse has momentum in the market. Others might have followed the money. Some bookies will be looking to lay off. So it keeps firming, the public jump on and the horse gets right in to, say, $3. Of course, that means they are now taking unders, because it was only value above $3.50.
Most ratings or form analysts have not marked the horse so short. But it doesn’t stop many punters from taking a low price. By the time the horse is actually advertised as a “market mover”, you can be almost assured that the value is gone.
These “follow the market” punters might back plenty of winners. But not at a sufficient price to turn a profit.
When is it announced?
Another point to remember is that a lot of bigger or smarter punters bet very early (where they’re able), very late, or drip feed in their money.
They’ll try and bet as soon as prices go up during the week if they spot what they consider to be a mistake in the market and have the means to get on. Other times they will bet very late, literally seconds before the jump, so as not to show their hand. This also allows them to bet into the market when the liquidity is at its highest, so they can get set for more.
Some also ‘drip feed’ their bets (particularly at Betfair and on the totes). If they tried to get their entire wager on in one go, it would alert and possibly distort the market.
Announcing a market mover serves the bookies’ own interests as well. Lazy punters take unders and the extra money on the totes reduces the dividends on best tote-related products.
No matter what style of punter you are, the same rule applies: if you keep taking bottom odds, you can’t win.
A similar (though perhaps even worse) feature of modern racing coverage is the “big bets”.
Bookies and media outlets announce that a punter has just had $5,000, or $10,000, or $50,000, or whatever, on a certain horse.
These mildly interesting announcements may encourage some punters to follow the big bet with their own money.
Doing so would be lunacy.
Who on earth placed the big bet? We obviously don’t know. Maybe it was a total mug? Or somebody who’s drunk and has too much money? If so, and you were sitting next to this person, you wouldn’t back their judgment with your own money. Yet under the veil of a media announcement, some might.
Consider this: we live in an age of harsh betting restrictions, where “bookies” needed to be forced by minimum bet limits to let all punters on to win something. If the punter who had the ‘big bet’ is able to get on for, say, five figures, do you really think it’s likely they’re a smart, profitable punter? Of course not.
There’s no shortage of places to get betting advice from. The “market movers” and “big bets” are a couple to ignore.