Ever had saver bets on a race? It’s a reasonably common bet and the pros use them regularly.

Saver bets are used by punters when there’s a horse they’re concerned may win, but they don’t want it as a main bet. Pros use saver bets when there’s a small edge (based on their ratings) on a well-fancied horse in the race that doesn’t warrant a full bet, but has a good chance of winning.

In theory, saver bets should be bet on horses with a 0% (or low positive) PoT (profit on turnover). That means you break square or win a small amount on them in the long run, but you don’t lose on them either. It’s never worth taking a saver on a negative PoT – loss on turnover – bet.

Saver bets are good for increasing overall strike rate, which creates more consistent returns, which helps with bank management.

But how do you calculate saver bets? In a nutshell, you outlay however much you need so that when the horse wins, it covers your main bets and your overall profit on the race is \$0.

##### The formula for saver bets

The formula to work out your outlay on saver bets is:

O = T / (P – 1)

where

O = Outlay
P = Price
T = Total amount outlaid on your main bets in the race

For example, you have \$100 worth of bets in a race, but you’re worried about the \$3 favourite. You want to take a saver on the \$3 favourite:

O = T / (P – 1)
O = \$100 / (\$3 – 1)
O = \$100 / \$2
O = \$50

Therefore, you should outlay \$50 on the \$3 favourite as a saver.

If the saver wins, you make \$100 profit on the bet, which covers the \$100 you’ve outlaid on your main bets and your overall profit on the race is \$0.

Every now and then, you might want to have 2 savers on a race. That’s when it becomes tricky! In this case, we need two equations (one for each saver), and the equations become more complicated:

Saver 1: O1 = T / (P1 – 1 – P1 / P2)

Saver 2: O2 = T / (P2 – 1 – P2 / P1)

where

O1 = Outlay 1
P1 = Price 1
O2 = Outlay 2
P2 = Price 2
T = Total amount outlaid on your main bets in the race

For example, you have \$100 worth of bets on a race but you’re worried about the \$4 and \$8 horses, and want to take a saver on both.

The amount to outlay on the \$4 horse is:

O1 = T / (P1 – 1 – P1 / P2)
O1 = 100 / (4 – 1 – 4 / 8)
O1 = 100 / (4 – 1 – 0.5)
O1 = 100 / 2.5
O1 = 40

The amount to outlay on the \$8 horse is:

O2 = T / (P2 – 1 – P2 / P1)
O2 = 100 / (8 – 1 – 8 / 4)
O2 = 100 / (8 – 1 – 2)
O2 = 100 / 5
O2 = 20

Therefore, you should outlay \$40 on the \$4 horse, and \$20 on the \$8 horse.

If the \$4 chance wins, your overall profit on the race is:

Overall profit if \$4 horse wins = Profit on \$4 horse – \$20 outlay on Saver 2 – \$100 main bets
Overall profit if \$4 horse wins = (\$40 x \$4 – \$40) – \$20 – \$100
Overall profit if \$4 horse wins = \$120 – \$20 – \$100
Overall profit if \$4 horse wins = \$0

If the \$8 chance wins, your overall profit on the race is:

Overall profit if \$8 horse wins = Profit on \$8 horse – \$40 outlay on Saver 1 – \$100 main bets
Overall profit if \$8 horse wins = (\$20 x \$8 – \$20) – \$40 – \$100
Overall profit if \$8 horse wins = \$140 – \$40 – \$100
Overall profit if \$8 horse wins = \$0

Whichever saver wins, the overall profit is \$0.

The equations become more and more complicated as the number of savers in the race increases. Luckily though, there is one equation that sums up every saver bet you might like to take in any situation. The basic structure of all saver formulas is:

Outlay A = T / (Price A – 1 – Price A / Price B – Price A / Price C – Price A / Price D) and so on, for however many savers you want in the race.

Good luck playing around with that one!

##### Done for you: Saver bets spreadsheet

The best way to deal with these calculations (like all calculations, I find) is to setup an Excel sheet. That allows you to punch in the numbers you need and know the result without extensive calculations every time you want to bet. I’ve done one for you to use – you can download it here.

Happy punting.

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