“I’d rather paint my eyeballs”

Reporting from Bet Chat HQ, north London…

Last night saw the culmination of the World Snooker Championship and, while it’s not a sport that’s to everyone’s taste (and most definitely not a sport that’s to Bet Chat Bec’s taste) it is one that you can learn a lot from when it comes to betting.

Here are three pointers that were re-emphasised for me during this year’s event and that can be applied to a multitude of sports…

1. Hype = Bad Value

In just about every single snooker tournament over the last 20 years, Ronnie O’Sullivan has been either favourite or second favourite at a very short price…

Had you bet on him every time, you’d have lost an absolute fortune.

The simple fact is that – while Ronnie is undoubtedly the most naturally talented player of all time – he a) has a major weakness when it comes to mental strength (a bigger deal in snooker than most sports) and b) is now past his best.

Why then was he no bigger than 4/1 second favourite coming into this event? Well, that’s solely down to reputation, coupled with his army of fans placing bets and bringing the price down.

Before last night, Mark Selby had won three of the last eight World Championships, while Ronnie had won one. Yet pre-tournament, Selby was almost three times the price at 11/1.

I backed Selby, I won. Ronnie backers saw their bet go down in just the second round.

Of course, the bet could have gone the other way but that’s not the point. The point is that from a value perspective you are ALWAYS better off opposing a ‘hypey’ favourite.

For a very similar example, just take a look at the Euro 2021 odds…

England (yes, England) are 11/2 favourites ahead of all and sundry including the actual World Champions, France (6/1), the actual world number ones, Belgium (6/1), and the actual team that knocked England out of the last major tournament, Croatia (40/1!).

2. Horses for Courses Really is a Thing

The first and third favourites for the Championship were Judd Trump and Neil Robertson (at around 3/1 and 5/1 respectively). Trump is the world number one and has won the most tournaments this season, while Robbo was the ‘form’ player going into the event, yet both were also poor value…

Why?

Well, just like horseracing, there are ‘horses for courses’. In other words, different players are suited by different playing conditions.

While most snooker tournaments these days play a ‘best of 7’ format up until the final, the Worlds is a gruelling competition, which starts with a ‘best of 19’ and finishes with a ‘best of 35’. It’s unique and clearly suits some players (like Selby) and doesn’t suit others.

Despite being the best player in the world for some time now, Judd Trump only has one World Championship to his name (2019) and one runners up medal (2011)…

Neil Robertson also has one win (2010) and hasn’t even reached a semi-final since 2014!

Again, these are quite obviously poor value bets, especially compared to Mark Selby, who has consistently performed well in the competition even when not winning it, such as losing 17-16 in the semis last season.

3. Think Before You Bet In-Play

Lastly, I want to cover an in-play scenario from yesterday which I hope hammers home why you need to really think about the odds you’re taking if you’re serious about making a long-term profit.

The score was 17-15 to Mark Selby, in the first to 18 final. Selby’s opponent, Shaun Murphy, was priced at 11/2 to win, which undoubtedly would have attracted some money, however…

For pretty much every frame in the match, Murphy’s odds of winning that individual frame were 1/1, as indeed they were at this point in the match…

Murphy obviously had to win three frames out of three at this stage to secure the title…

Odds of 1/1, 1/1 and 1/1 equals a 7/1 treble…

Ergo, the 11/2 win price on Murphy was a bit of a con. 

Had you fancied him for the win you’d have been far better simply backing him to win each frame individually, rolling over your stake and winnings each time…

A 7/1 pay-out is 21.5% bigger than an 11/2 pay-out and that right there is the sort of difference that separates a winning bettor from a break-even/losing one.

Before I go…

We have two more Bet Chat Fantasy Football League prize winners! 

April’s first prize goes to Ian Wright’s (that one?!) Runner Up Ian.

April’s second prize goes to Michael Cambridge’s Klopps & Robertsons.

Congrats Ian and Michael. Please email clients@thebetchat.com to claim your prizes.