The ‘odds-on, look on’ fallacy

In our recent Q&A recap we said that “Odds-on, look on” is just another punting myth that has no basis in fact. We mentioned (yet again) that the favourite/longshot bias is alive and well; as a general rule longer priced horses should in fact be even longer and shorter priced horses should actually be shorter. Many punters are surprised to learn that their money will last longer backing favourites than any other segment of the market and that odds-on horses are the best performers of all. But at least one reader wasn’t convinced: Odds on look on a myth??!! You really have to be joking. The quickest way to the poor house and fatten the bookies is to bet odds on. Think Eddie the fireman for one. I really find it hard to comprehend a professional site as you claim to be can mislead punters this way. Gavin. Well when someone like Gavin has believed something to be true their whole life, they are not easily persuaded to acknowledge that what they have been told as a fact is actually just a myth. So let’s go through some irrefutable facts: Favourites are clearly the most profitable market rank (or if you prefer to think of it the other way, they are the least unprofitable) as you will see from the results for the almost 47,000 races run at TAB meetings in the 2009-2011 period.

 SP = Starting Price
Win % = winning strike-rate POT = Profit on Turnover

So let’s break it down further and look at price brackets for favourites:

 Gavin and many others may be surprised by these results, but it is obvious to all that the odds-on price bracket outperforms the others and that there is a very clear progression in profitability as price increases.
Of course the standard disclaimer applies and that is don’t just go out and blindly back all odds-on shots. But don’t be afraid to take odds-on if all of the work you have done points to that being a value price. For example $1.90 is a good price so long as the horse has at least a 53% chance of winning the race.And question everything, because a statement repeated often enough can come to be accepted as the truth. But repetition is just repetition, it doesn’t make it true and that applies to ‘odds-on, look on’ and many other punting sayings.