IN OVER 30 YEARS of cut and thrust with some great bets and wins and some stupid, senseless losses that defy logic, I have naturally mentally attuned myself to the do’s and don’ts for my betting patterns and if you follow the following ten tips into your betting strategy for the New Year, I can’t guarantee you’ll win but I will guarantee you will be better off.
So here are my Rules of Engagement – some are obvious but when you get the red mist (you know what I mean) you need to be reminded of the right path and some require the reader to understand the nature of the fight - but that only comes from experience.
If a bookmaker offers you a concession over its other rivals then for God’s sake take it. For example, Bet365, Paddy Power, to name at least two, pay on first past the post and official result on all UK horse races. Ladbrokes, among others, do not. So why would you bet with them because you will look pretty stupid when the horse you have backed has won and been thrown out in the Stewards’ room. Obviously Ladbrokes has many advantages, not least in the fact you can get a sizeable bet on but let’s be honest with ourselves, are you reading this column and betting at a £1,000 a point?
Over the course of a year if you have taken the best price on your fancy (consult Oddschecker.com) then all the 15/8s over the 7/4s will add up. To borrow a well known strapline from Tesco: Every little helps. To take full advantage of this you need to open accounts with all the High Street and online bookmakers so you are treating your hobby as a business – which it is!
Bet as late as possible (and therefore over the phone and your PC) because it is amazing how, when the prices shorten, especially at large major meetings, at the death, that particular horse justifies the money being down. Obviously bookmakers shorten odds to limit their liabilities on bets they have taken.
Sometimes value can be a shade of odds on, sometimes poor value is the same shade of odds on, it all depends what you perceive value to be. Too often tipsters discount horses because their price is too short, when in actual fact they might represent value and they put up a double figure selection only for it to disappear without trace. Value is different to a great price.
Always balance the benefit of ante post against the likelihood of participation. To that end I place a lot of ante posts on events where the team is playing (football, American football, golf) but less on horse races where a horse can easily be withdrawn through injury.
Ignore ground conditions at your peril. A horse that is proven in heavy going can improve by an enormous amount because it’s got its conditions.
Every horse, every team can always have a bad run or performance. Look at the price offered compared to its usual run rather than its latest.
I have always found it more advantageous to place a slightly extra stake on my selection at source, in the hope of hedging at the culmination of a tournament rather than blindly bet on a quarter or a fifth or a third each way.
Always read the sporting press and listen to the interviews on TV, it’s amazing what is a positive and what is a negative and how this is translated into results.
However painful it is, keep a record of your wins and losses. It’s amazing how it clears your mind to how you’re actually performing.