How close is the Starting Price to a horse’s true price?

Just a quick introduction…

My name is Shane Adair and I’m a keen punter, a fan of stats and racing and sports information. For a while now I have been writing Champion Bets’ Saturday reviews for Sydney metro racing.

So I thought I would pen a couple of my thoughts for your entertainment. I hope you get something out of it.

We have all heard of the term value in betting….“You can’t eat it but need it to survive”.
So I decided to go through my database to see what the true winning chance of the starting price was and if the $2 chance actually won 50% of the time.

After going through over 10000 races on my dodgy Commodore 64 the results were in and unfortunately for us a $2 shot didn’t win 50% of time. It actually won 43.66% of the time or the equivalent of a $2.30 chance. At first I was quite surprised by this and it got me thinking how did this rate against all starting prices and did this trend continue as the starting prices were higher?

Without dragging you through the detail, some of the main starting prices showed quite a significant percentage difference between the starting price and the true or actual value of the winning chance.
$3 – true or actual value $3.50
$5 – true or actual value $6.50
$16 – true or actual value $31

As a rule the difference between the starting price and the true or actual price ranged from 7% to 8% on odds-on and even money chances down to 3-4% on chances around the $10 range. This almost doubles for the price of every horse starting over $15.

These findings show that taking $1.90 on a $2 chance may seem in theory only a 10 cent difference however you are taking gross unders. You might miss the odd winner however your punting bank will love you after 12 months if you bypass these betting opportunities.
The game is all about percentages and getting them into your favour was advice a far smarter punter than me passed on.

One of the more interesting outcomes of this exercise is that it produced a small profit if you backed every runner under $1.30! Who said odds on look on? Maybe Eddie ”The Fireman” Birchley was onto something.

It also shows how favourites are under-bet and outsiders are over-bet. This is known as the favourite-longshot bias and is something Dave and many others have written about over the years. It boils down to punters over-estimating the chances of roughies, by looking for that huge windfall trying to land a 50/1 shot. Successful punting is a lot about the grind and being patient, chipping away with small consistent profits.

These results also show how you can simply not back a horse blind and expect to win in the long run if you are willing to accept any price for it. What’s the saying “What good is a tip without a price?”

So how can we use these findings to benefit our punting going forward?

Firstly we need to back in low percentage markets like for example Betfair . They are already ahead of the SP in most cases or corporates offering sub-110% markets will give you a fighting chance. We can also use the true value of the price as our overlay marker for when we should bet on our horse.

For example: We have done the tapes and form, it’s time to bet! We have assessed the price of our horse to be a $10 chance, if we believe our prices are more accurate than the starting prices on offer (and we sure hope they are) then we will be willing to place a bet should we be able to get $15 for our horse. If we can continue to get $15 on our $10 shots and this is the true or actual percentage of this chance then in the long term we will come out in front. Plus it gives you a little buffer should your prices not be 100% correct or accurate in some races or events.

I’m a firm believer that the key to successful punting is firstly bankroll management (something I will cover in coming weeks) and secondly the price you take for your selected bet on either a horse or a sporting match. Taking value on what you have rated or what the Champion Bets experts have priced it at and then placing that bet at the top end of the market will give you the best chance of coming out in front.

Why waste all that effort on finding a great chance or pricing a race, only to take the incorrect price or not have the patience and discipline to carry out the final yet crucial step of placing the bet? I know I’m guilty of it, where you can’t see it losing only to jump in at a low price and then see it gone on the turn.

If you are interested to find out more about the real percentage chance of starting prices please hit up Champion Bets and I will be more than happy to discuss further.