When it comes to racing, betting syndicates dominate the contemporary wagering scene.
Racing pools are often largely made up of the huge sums of money invested by betting syndicates.
The key for syndicates in every sense is volume: volume of data, volume of races and volume of betting. They are managing huge amounts of capital and looking to turn that over – profitably – as much as possible.
This is done by betting into a huge number of races. There’s something like 20,000 thoroughbred races in Australia alone each year. To keep their capital working, syndicates find an edge that allows them to invest into as many races as possible.
This is largely done through data analysis: the breaking-down of every little variable in a race to a quantitative factor, so that each horse’s chances to be converted to a price. Once it’s all set up, this is done automatically: the computer does the form for a race in seconds, which makes it possible to analyse endless events.
If they can find a small edge on the market, the volume allows them to convert that into substantial profits.
As we know, the market is always moving: more and more data is quantified and analysed. The relative importance of each variable changes over time.
So where does this leave the individual analyst trying to carve out his own profitable punting solution?
We asked one: our NSW racing analyst, Nathan Snow.
When I first got into racing, what really appealed to me was the idea of cataloguing horses individually and keeping as much information on each horse as possible.
There is no single recipe for success in this industry.
The common trait that all winning gamblers have is discipline and the ability to find what they do better than the rest of the market and focus on it.
Those that are statistically minded gravitate towards generating ratings based off sophisticated computer models. This is what the major syndicates use. They are the major players in most markets. This can be a very successful approach that can allow betting into many more markets than could possibly be done manually and therefore only needs to generate lower profit rates and much higher turnover to be successful. Like every other aspect of this game it can produce limitless possibilities so can never be perfected. There are thousands of variables in racing that can attempt to be quantified, and each one can be weighted differently. It’s the differences here that will lead to success or failure. With huge amounts of data now available, back testing can be helpful, but that’s only a start.
Some people make a living wagering without knowing the form of a single runner. The ability to read a market and which direction the money is going is a skill in itself. In a game of small percentages, that can be crucial.
Others make a living just by looking at the horses in the yard and comparing to the others in the field and to how it looked in previous starts. Getting to know the horses as individuals can be a real edge. This then leads me to how I like to go about things.
By getting to know a region intimately, there can be advantages over the bigger models betting everywhere. Barrier trials are very important in beginning to build a profile of a horse before the rest of the market can. Trainers have patterns on how their horses trial and how much improvement they have come race time, along with their patterns on how their horses improve through a preparation. There are little things like how certain trainers think about barriers and how that can affect their mindset and tactics.
The same goes with jockeys. Some have a tendency to be more positive and up on the pace, while there are others who prefer to take a sit. Each of the tracks have their own little quirks and the more you get to know them, the better off you’ll be. For instance a Randwick heavy track is very different from a Canterbury heavy and different again to Rosehill.
When there is bias during a race meeting, knowing the horses and their patterns can be a huge advantage in being able to adjust before the rest of the market can. Wet tracks and the variables that produces in form, can be another edge for those that specialise. The downside is you have less opportunity to bet, with the form able to be done properly for fewer races.
So you need to win at a higher rate, and be able to sustain a losing run that is longer time wise than someone having many more bets to reduce the variance, but more about that in bankroll management later.
I’ve always found the old saying of ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’ as the perfect way of describing gambling on racing. There are so many ways to win at racing, and it’s all about finding what suits you, your lifestyle, and even your personality.
Some will treat it more like art than science and succeed, others will be more conservative than others and still carve out a good living. You will find your niche after trial and error.
I took the path of specialisation, because I’ve always found that doing the form was an inexact science.
Others have taken the scientific path with tremendous success, and now lead the market with their ability to bet into every race across Australia (and even the world) with systems they have spent years honing.
I thought that reducing every possible variable in a race to a number, and then weighting them accordingly, was well above what I was capable of achieving. So my edge had to be something different.
I decided to specialise in a certain area: NSW racing, and the key to this sort of specialisation will always be the art of video analysis.
This is the one area where I’ll always be able to have an edge over any computer generated pricing, so it’s an integral part of the way I do the form.
Snowy’s Bets is open for a limited time.
It’s for punters who want to win, but don’t have the time for the full NSW ratings package of prices, speed map notes and the live Q&A page.
The NSW minimum bet rules ensure you can get your bets on, which is great news considering Snowy’s Bets has made $11,000 at 8% Profit on Turnover since launching in January 2016.
A monthly membership is great value at $199.
Get on board or get in touch.