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Bookies how and why they profit and how you win.

Everyone knows that most Bookmakers make a profit and that the vast majority of punters lose money to them.  It is said that bookmakers give back to the punter roughly 80% of what they take.   So 20% is gross profit.  Most of these organizations are huge and turn over millions of £ per year.

Before you have a hope of beating the bookmaker you need good selections but that isn't the end of it.  You also have to get a price that is better than the horses actual chance.

The truth is, the Starting Price Odds (SP) expressed as percentage chance the horses have of winning is very accurate.  Why? 

This is the answer

Wisdom of the Masses theory.   This is not really a theory as it is has it has been shown to work out  day after day.

If you get a very large jar and fill it with beads and then get people to guess how many beads are in the jar, and then average out all guesses, you will find that the average is close to the actual figure...... accuracy depending on how many people you asked. That is the more people that guess the more accurate it is.  In horse racing bookmakers use this theory to create their odds based on the amount of money coming in for each horse.  This is an astonishing accurate way of measuring a horses real chance, over many races it is a stable and secure way of ensuring a nil sum game.  That means no one wins because the punter would be getting odds at the true chance or very close to it.  So the bookmaker adds his over-round. This is his margin for profit and it serves him well.  You get the SP and more times than not by a long way, you are not getting value, especially on the first 2 or 3 in the betting because more money on means more accurate odds.  As the money supply for each horse gets less the very minor inaccuracies in most cases appear. 


So how can you beat the bookmaker.  

1.  Your selection should have a better chance than the SP predicts.  Hence you need good selections.

2.  You should get a price better than SP.    You can win at SP on very good methods but you will always get less than you would by beating SP but almost exclusively SP backers lose.  SP is for gambling mugs.  You can see why you shouldn't do it.  Also consider if you go and back a horse at SP that is currently say 6/1 and put £100 on it.  Watch the price fall.  You have just made a MUG MOVE right into the bookmakers hands.

3.  BSP Betting.   Various Exchange bookmakers offer BSP, or similar odds.   These odds are virtually always better than SP.  Why.........because it is match betting  and people tend to want better odds than they would get off a bookmaker and won't bet on Betfair if they can't.  So the layers have to make sure they offer decent odds.   Also the betting odds are warped to hit the shortest prices most, meaning the longer priced horses are often much bigger than what is on offer at a bookmaker.  Most pro layers, lay every horse in the field, so they are acting like bookmakers but in any event the overall result is the BSP is on average better than SP.    The Exchange makes it's money off the money you win, whether you are laying or backing. So whatever happens the Exchange is getting paid.  BSP starts at 5% and drops based on how much you bet over time.   Many methods can make a profit at BSP but this is still not ideal.  It is still based on the Wisdom of the Masses Theory and still provides reasonably accurate odds.  The more money staked in a race, the more accurate those odds will be and the less likely you are to win overall.  Bsp works best with methods that pick quite big odds as the prices can drift to very big prices indeed but be warned, Bsp is still betting against yourself. Again for example, lets say the exchange price is 9d and you plonk £100 on it, the price  will almost certainly go shorter and the more you put on at Betfair the shorter it will go.  Betting at Bsp or SP with decent stakes is like putting water in a bucket with someone else taking it out again.   So what is the best way to win at Bsp.   If you are staking small, say up to £10.00 then there really isn't a problem but once you start getting above £20.00 there can be an issue, especially if the the race is in a minor meeting that isn't supported very well.    Also remember if your tips are coming from a Tipster, yes the Tipster can show big profits at BSP if the method is new but those profits will fall if many of his subscribers start putting substantial monies on. The same is true of SP of course and the Tote.    With Bsp it is best to bet at the main meetings that are well supported, not some windswept course midweek with 6 people at the track.   Conclusion you can win at BSP but it is not the best.

4.  Best Odds Guarantee.  Now this is an interesting way to bet and I always calculate the odds at best Bog available at the time of sending out my selections.  I always send the selections out way before racing.   The truth is BOG is only rarely better than taking the price without BOG.  Why?  Because 75% of horses that win contract in price and only 25% of winners go out in price.  Now from that 25% your horse has to be the winner to benefit from Bog, which it very well may not be.  If you have a strike rate of around 30% then you have at least a chance of catching a drifter occasionally.  As your strike rate goes up the likely hood is that you are selection are more shorter priced horses and if they drift don't drift by much.  The truth is Bog is only better than taking a price when you get a selection that wins and drifts. Rare. That is why bookmakers are not fearful of offering it.

5.  Taking a price.   The key actually is taking the best price possible as early as possible, whether it is Bog or not.   Yes this means that you may be unlucky and the horse may go out a bit or even in some cases a few points.   A general guide is, if the price is big, Ie  25/1 or more at Bog and not much better at best possible odds, take the Bog because this is a horse that is more likely to drift.  Yes sometimes you will back a horse at say 5/1 then see it go out to 8/1 and be miffed because you didn't get the best price but the the fact is such a horse is more likely to lose.  If it loses the price doesn't matter.   From November 2019 I am going to start showing BPP, Best Price Possible and then we can compare the Bog, BSP and BPP returns.   You will soon know the absolute truth of it.  BPP will be a mix of Bog and non Bog, because one is simply taking the best price whatever.

6.  Dodging the bullet.   Bookmakers exist to make themselves money not you.   They don't like it if you consistently take money off them.  I am banned from Betfair for example. They said I was misusing offers, but I never do offers.  I suspect it's because I used to do multi bets on Betfair Exchange and the payouts from these are paid by Betfair not other punters.  I don't know but their explanation was nonsense.   I have known some bookmakers shut people down for winning just a few pounds regularly.   You are not under the radar whatever you do.    They don't seem to mind so much if you only take from them occasionally but make it a habit and you are probably gone.  So use as many bookmakers as you can.  You will naturally do this if you are seeking the best price.  If you have a fav bookie and keep hitting them, then sooner rather than later they say enough!   One thing that can help is don't do all your betting online, go to the shops but not the same one time after time.  Keep moving around.  If you are staking £50 or more per bet, then you must do this or the shop will also bar you.    If you are staking large amounts then split your stake across numerous bookmakers.   Same with the Exchanges.  Because you want to get on early it is almost impossible to get a substantial lump on at the prices shown on the exchanges.  So you have to stake across the exchanges. 

7.   Late comers.       You may have seen this countless times in a bookmaker shop but you can also see it happening on line.  People betting just before the off.  There is barely a more stupid thing to do.  The best prices have already gone, they probably went hours ago.  Yet people hang on thinking that the odds just might drift out a bit before the off.  Yes they might and like I said earlier, most drifters what's the point.


Take your price early, the price is very likely to contract.

Don't ever, not ever back at SP.  It is stupid beyond measure and shows complete ignorance about how the market and the bookmakers work.

If backing at Bsp, then take note of the points above to try to maximize your returns.

If staking substantial amounts, then spread your money across bookmakers if you can.

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