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Tell me something I don’t know

  1. Walk into a bookies and find somebody about to make a bet.
  2. Ask them to hand you a copy of the Racing Post, or similar publication. (Chances are they won’t be holding such a paper, so for the purposes of this exercise you may need to take a copy with you, hand it to this person and then ask for it back again.)
  3. Firmly request that they tell you what they are about to bet on.
  4. Look it up in the paper you’ve just been handed and then challenge the unsuspecting bettor to tell you something about their wager that you still don’t know.

If you emerge from this exchange intact, both mentally and physically, then you will probably have very quickly established whether or not the person that you’ve just surprised is, a) violent, b) quite lonely and receptive to any opportunity to talk to someone, and c) likely to be a winning or losing bettor in the long-term, regardless of the success or otherwise of the selection you’ve just discussed.

The reason for this is quite straight-forward – if making a bet without knowing additional information to the masses or the odds compilers then, in turn, it would be illogical to suspect an advantage is held; if there is no forthcoming reason to indicate that the odds are incorrect due to overlooking one or more relevant factors then such an approach will be simply playing (or, perhaps more appropriately, paying) into the bookmakers hands.

For example, if looking to bet in a match involving Tottenham, it could and should be noted that Harry Kane is currently injured. But, you know this, I know this and you can be pretty darn sure Paddy Power and his merry band of odds compilers knows this and it will be factored into the prices. 

However, if you know that your local non-league side, or their opponents, has hit an injury crisis or has a number of key players unavailable then it is likely you have an advantage because you know something relevant and important that most don’t and, significantly, probably hasn’t been considered in the odds…

If you check the odds’ history and find they have remained the same since the news became available then you’ll know you stand in a position of strength.

In the quest for long-term profit, it’s crucial not to be thinking about what is the most likely outcome, but what is more likely to happen than the odds suggest…

If you can find a reason that a horse, team or whatever outcome is more or less likely to prevail than other punters and bookmakers are thinking, then, by knowing such a factor that others haven’t considered, the odds will be in your favour which is the key to sustained profitability.

This doesn’t have to be especially clever or original but it can be helped by remembering the advantage we have against bookmakers: they price everything and therefore have their resources hugely diluted across thousands of events and markets, but we can be selective and by being more focused in one area or in a little niche, we can spot things that may well have been missed.

In the medical world, we may go and see our GP from time to time. These General Practitioners know plenty about a wide range of ailments, especially certain important ones. But, In the case of specific problems we may be moved onto specialists who are more focused in what they consider.

Their knowledge is narrower but deeper and while you would hope your GP has a sound understanding of the entire body, it’s unlikely a foot surgeon often deals with ear complaints, so doesn’t need to be an aural expert and can instead spend their time deepening their knowledge of two of our cheesiest bits.

In this awkward and probably quite unnecessary analogy, the GP is the bookie, having to know enough about every area whereas we can strive to be the foot surgeon, even if we only become experts on toenails…

If we focus ourselves on specific areas we can ignore ears, elbows and Swedish netball because in our area we know more and therefore can have an advantage.

We don’t need to consider anything else – we’re not going to be betting on it – but we can know what we know well and we can know it better than others who take a wider but shallower approach.

Earlier, non-league football was mentioned and concentrating on one league or even one team could be a way to gain enough of a positive edge.

Similarly, there are so many different types of horse race that to have a solid enough understanding of all of them is going to be stretching anybody’s time and memory to an extreme, but these can be broken down into smaller subsets, from sprinters to stayers, trainers to tracks, to give ourselves a reduced amount on which to build our knowledge and understanding.

One niche example is handicaps for amateur riders. The range of experience amongst the jockeys involved can be huge and by focusing on this we can gain the sort of advantage discussed in this article.

In all of these races on the All-Weather since the start of 2015, horses with an SP of 9/1 or shorter, ridden by amateurs with fewer than 30 rides to their name in the preceding two years, have had a strike-rate of 8.65% and backing each would have resulted in a losing Return on Investment (ROI) of 55% to Industry SP and a loss of 50% to Betfair SP.

However, horses in the same price range ridden by more experienced partners with at least 30 rides in the previous two years have a strike-rate of 23.57%, almost three times that of their less experienced colleagues, and would have been profitable to back blindly at both SP and Betfair SP. 

This makes logical sense – it’s to be expected that the more experienced riders have become more skilled and are therefore more successful – which puts substance to the argument beyond the numbers and it seems it’s a factor that the market underestimates.

This is a simple angle that can be used the next time such a race comes up and there are normally a couple a week…

It won’t provide a winner every time, but it may well put the odds in your favour and if a stranger gives you a copy of the Racing Post and then asks for it back again, before running, you’ll be able to tell him or her something he probably didn’t know and if you can pass that test then chances are the bet you’re placing is a good one.

Miles currently runs an excellent racing service and you can give them a try by clicking the link below…


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