It’s not often that a totally new bet type hits the market, and TAB’s new “Odds & Evens” has received plenty of attention.
So how does it work? And most importantly, should you play it?
The premise of the bet type is reasonably simple: the punter selects the saddlecloth numbers of the first and second placegetters in the race: you can choose to back odd numbers, even numbers, or a “split” (one odd and one even number).
If there’s a dead heat for the win, those two runners make up the winning Odds & Evens combo. If there’s a three-way dead heat, or there’s a dead heat for second, the pool is divided into as many different combinations as required.
There are no refunds for Odds & Evens bets in the event of scratchings, except where the scratching results in there being less than two “odd” or “even” runners in the race.
A much-publicised aspect at the launch of the new bet type was the “spinning wheel” feature – you click on “Spin” on the website or app and a selection is made for you at random: either Odds, Evens or Split. This is really just a gimmick for mug punters, and similar to a mystery bet… you’re able to make your own selection as well, which most punters will based on the chances of the respective horses.
Currently, the bet type is only available with NSWTAB. So you can either play it in a retail or pub TAB outlet in New South Wales, or online if you have a NSWTAB account.
The race is available on all Australian thoroughbred, harness and greyhound races.
Racing Victoria chief Giles Thompson last week told RSN Radio that Odds & Evens would be available to Victorian TAB customers, once “the legislative hurdles have been cleared”. They hope this will be prior to the Spring Carnival.
Other than the usual reasons – boosting turnover, etc – Racing NSW say proceeds from Odds & Evens will be used to fund their latest big-money race, the $7.5 million Golden Eagle for four-year-olds, to be run in November.
The first thing to note is that Odds & Evens is a pari-mutuel bet, not fixed-odds. So the same as any tote bet or exotic: all funds go in the pool, TAB take their cut, then the remainder is shared among the winners.
That cut – the takeout – is interesting for Odds & Evens in that it’s much lower than other pari-mutuel bets. This is how it compares to other NSWTAB bet types:
Odds & Evens: 7%
First 4: 22.5%
Big 6: 25%
This is a good thing for punters. The less the house is taking, the more that goes back to punters via dividends. This potentially makes Odds & Evens attractive to serious exotic players who may otherwise take a quinella.
It’s early days of course, but here is pool sizes and dividends for last Saturday’s meeting at Rosehill.
We should note that the Odds & Evens pool is merged with the Quinella pool, with the TAB’s Merged Pool Technology. This makes the overall pool larger and the dividends more stable. It’s a fairly complicated process and we’ll do something more on it. In the meantime, read about it here if you’re interested.
(Of course, you can’t just compare the Quinella and Odds & Evens dividends… they’re very different! There’s only three possible combinations on Odds & Evens, while the winning quinella can be the combination of any two horses in the race.)
Like all good punting decisions, it all comes down to value.
If you have a rated market for a race, you can calculate the likelihood of any 1-2 finish, and see if the your probability of any odds, evens or split result offers greater value than the dividend available.
A big issue with this, of course, is the fact we’re dealing with a pari-mutuel bet type… so we don’t actually know what the dividend will be! This makes it difficult to ascertain value, though the Merged Pool Technology does make dividends a little more stable.
We asked our resident NSW pro punter, Mark Rhoden, about Odds & Evens…
“It’s not something I’ll be playing, as I’m not a big player of exotics in any case,” said Mark.
“I concentrate on what I’ve had success in, and that’s picking winners. That’s important for any punter to do, I think.
“It may appeal to some beginner punters because of the simplicity, but I think the lower dividends – compared to what you can get with a win or other exotics – won’t be attractive to them.
“The low take-out rate is the interesting factor. I think that will definitely appeal to big and professional exotic players, who will try to pick the eyes out of it. Anything with a lower takeout will attract them as they get more, and the house gets less.
“You’d want to be fairly well set-up for exotics to beat it.”