Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Value Betting - Finding that hidden edge...

Well my last post didn’t get quite the number of comments I was hoping for – something I’m sure Graeme will point out to me on his return !! LOL

Having tried my best to start a debate on value betting, it’s difficult for me to know where I went wrong… Maybe I went into too much detail; maybe I didn’t go into enough; maybe my ‘style’ turned people off; or maybe it was just the content (I know that most of Graeme’s readers are traders – but what I know about trading can be written on the back of a postage stamp !). If nothing else, I would appreciate an idea of why people didn’t comment on the last post – if only so that I can adjust things accordingly, if I ever decide to do a blog of my own…

Anyway, thanks to Maggie and Markomar for their comments, and I will soldier on along my path until Graeme returns…

My particular method of value betting, sees me worrying less about specific races and more about trends. There are two areas in particular, which I focus on in order to achieve this: the Betfair market and trainers…

With regard to the Betfair market; I pay particular attention to prices available on particular horses and the weight of money waiting to back/lay at various times during the day. There are clearly key times during the day, for each race market on Betfair: the lead up to prices being available with bookmakers (normally around 9:00); the hour or so prior to the off of a race (presumably when some book balancing takes place) and the 10 minutes immediately before the off (when the on course markets are formed). Key indicators are given out at the each of these times – the tricky part is being able to interpret them…

With regard to trainers: There are particular racehorse trainers, whose horses I will never bet. This is because, if a horse of theirs is going to win (or at least run well), it will be backed; if it is not going to run so well, it will not be backed… (this doesn’t sit well with my ‘value’ philosophy !)
I have found the yard of Peter Chappel Hyam’s to be particularly transparent in this respect – but the same is true of a number of the Newmarket yards (I tend to avoid many of the Northern yards because I suspect it is rife here also).
Conversely, there are other yards, whose horses I will back if I fancy their runner, even slightly. Historically, my favourite yard has been that of Geoff Wragg – but that now seems in terminal decline, so I have switched my prime allegiance to John Dunlop.
I’m sure it is no coincidence that both of these trainers are well established ‘old school’ – the sort who don’t need to land a touch in order to keep the yard going…!

The key thing to note with both the Betfair market and following specific trainers is that once you start to understand how they work, you can pick up clues which the average punter will not see. In the search for value, well masked clues are gold dust…

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good post Andrew, and apologies for the lack of a response to last nights, which incidentally, i did want to comment on but couldn't think of anything worthwhile writing as you seemed to have pretty much covered any methods I have ever used!!!
Anyway an interesting point regarding the timings, I have certainly never looked at the pre 9am markets closely before but feel that this is something which is worth a shot at! I agree with the "gambling yard" tag and this is something which always seems to apply to the following yards, S C Williams, Jim Best, Tony Martin, (there are many more but I can't put my finger on them at the minute) whose horses always seem to be heavily supported when they are in with a winning shout but drift like mad when they're obviously not!!! It would be interesting to know what the success rate on these well backed horses is?
Anyway keep up the good work, I find this blog the most interesting on here, so between you and Graeme your keeping me entertained at the very least!
Regards
Gags

Graeme Dand said...

Gags,
Thanks very much for the comment.
I have been a bit fearful that I am writing my posts in such an assertive style, that people are not prepared to challenge what I say. It’s a problem that both Graeme and I have experienced in the past. We have very strong views on things – and are not afraid to express them ! That said, I really don’t think that this is a game of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ methods. There are hundreds of different ways of making it pay (as Graeme knows – he’s tried most of them in the last 6 months !). I’m continually tweaking and tuning my method - and often with the help (sometimes inadvertently !) of comments on this blog .
All I have tried to do with my posts, is give an outline of the way I operate. My intention is certainly not to preach – but I feel that if don’t put some well reasoned views up, then nobody has anything to comment on…!
Anyway, thanks again for the comment – if I do ever start my own blog, I would certainly like to use readers to help me create a list of stables who put the money down. But I guess that’s for another day…
A.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I don't think it's in the spirit of the blog to be too critical but I find your analysis reads a bit like the stuff you get from professional tipsters or "How to find Value" books and as we know those people can't make it pay (as Hemingway said "those who can do; those who can't teach).

I stand corrected if you make a decent living from it but making claims you have a 1 in 10 strike rate on 25/1 shots is probably pushing it for people who take betting seriously and if your methods are effective then why nullify them by posting them on the internet?

I did post a comment on one of your first post's saying I found the term value a bit hackneyed, so maybe it's a bit of a red rag word for me but I find it's so overused by newspaper tipsters and gives an air of undeserved authenticity - the bottom line is long term profit - how you do it is irrelevant - it probably has something to do with value in a very broad sense. I think the term value when applied to specific selection also relies on the existence of "real" odds in anything outside a casino (but I won't bore you with those views).

There's every chance what you've written doesn't give justice to your betting so apologies in advance as I feel a bit of a twat critising somebody whose made the effort to cover somebody's blog , so feel free to critise my postings,

Good luck, Nick

Graeme Dand said...

Hi Nick,
Please don’t apologise for the comment – I asked for some light to be shed on what I was doing wrong – and you’ve obliged !
You make some very valid comments – and I’ll respond to them one by one:
Firstly, I’m aware that my posts have been reading a bit like a ‘how to’ book. This was not my original intention (in truth I didn’t have an original intention !) – but it is really difficult stepping into someone else’s blog for a week. I’m not Graeme – so I’m not going to write like Graeme does – but I’ve also not had proper opportunity to set my own ‘scene’. I’ve tried to race through roughly what I do and how I do it – but maybe that wasn’t he best thing for me to do…
I don’t make a decent living from betting – I fit it in between all my other responsibilities. It was purely a hobby/relaxation thing until a couple of years ago when I stopped working. Since then, I’ve had opportunity to put more time into it and have managed to tune various angles… That said, I do make it pay (my returns are actually crazy – but probably not scalable) – and it is true that I average a winner every 10 or so selections at odds of around 25-1 ! I can see even writing it, that this sounds ridiculous – but it is true… I think what I exploit, is my knowledge of racing and the fact that the Betfair market often gives crazy prices at the top end. I think there is also another reason for this – but this is going to be the subject of tonight’s blog post !!
I did wonder long and hard about publishing my methods – but I don’t think I’ve given away any secrets (Markomar said as much in the comment he made). In truth, I don’t think I’ve got any secrets to give away… Follow racing closely for 30 years and have the judgement to spot incorrectly priced horses – that’s it !!
I completely agree with your comment about value… Graeme struggles to understand why I don’t feel any more confident about one selection that I do the next (he has a confidence scale: strong fancy to absolute cert !). I only feel confident that I can get value over time. History has shown me that every time I think I‘ve found real value on a particular selection, I’m wrong ! I’ve mis-read that market - or someone knew something I didn’t… I should have a more disciplined staking method – but I don’t (yet !).
Anyway, thank again for the most provocative comment yet – hopefully one or two others will now feel able to make similar points…
A.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew

I'm quite new to this blog and really enjoy it. Why didn't I feel like commenting on your value post? I've been following horse racing for a very long time but have only recently jumped into the Betfair ring. Quite odd really because I've been into computers since I can remember, but have stayed away from the internet betting phenomenon. Historically my style is completely different from yours.
I don't bet that regularly, preferring to wait for what I consider to be (yes I'm going to say it) "certainties." This season I've saved large punts for horses like the Duke, Promising Lead and last Saturday Ravens Pass. Hardly value bets!
Having spent a lot of my time around horses I also place great importance on seeing the horse before the off. I've lumped more on or I've completely backed out after guaging the horse's body language, mood and attitude.
Form, breeding, the trainer, the jockey, then it's the ethereal stuff: intuition and horse watching.
How far away is that from what you guys are doing, LOL? Hardly scientific.
Sometimes however I do bet for fun, and love to look for patterns which may combine my preferences. For instance at Glorious Goodwood I choseto put smallish stakes on all of Murtagh's rides, but putting a largish one on when he rode for my favourite trainer, Haggas. That particulat horse,
Enticing must've been about 12-1 on the SP but I got 16s on Betfair. Betfair gives me the opportunity to get good prices and bet at the last second
(after seeing horses going in). Why I'm interested in this blog is because I get a chance to see how others pick their horses and why.
I'm also new to and keen on laying and trading. There you go, that's my comment on why I chose not to comment!
All the best,
Chris

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew,

Glad you've taken the comments in the way they were intended...

Nick

Steve said...

Hi Andrew.

I think you have done a sterling job in Graeme´s absence but I chose not to comment on the last post as I didn´t want to be overly critical.

However, having read Nick´s comment and your reply, I feel I should now comment.

I laughed when I read your quote of 10% of your 25/1 picks win. I´m not sure if you fully grasp what you are saying. If you are correct, your ROI in the long run is 150%. Do you really mean this?

If you placed 100 on every selection over an infinite period, you are saying that you would win 1.5% times your bank in the long run. I think you need to reconsider whether you really mean this.

Also, from reading Graeme´s earlier posts, he seems to think his edge is very small (maybe 5-10%?). However, you are saying that you have an edge 15 times grater using a method which to me looks far more unreliable and involving much more guesswork.

Why would you ever trade if you have this sort of edge which you appear to think you have. Just gamble level stakes and sit and watch the profits roll in.

I wrote on one of Graeme´s very early posts that he came across as quite arrogant at times and thankfully, he took on board my comments and tweaked his writing style. I´d make a similar comment here...

Steve

Graeme Dand said...

Hi Chris,
Great comment – thanks ! A bit like Nick’s, I think it deserves a full response – so here goes…
Firstly, I don’t think we are as different as you might believe… It sounds to me like you are a bit more disciplined in your betting – and consequently feel comfortable backing with bigger stakes. But it also sounds like you do look for value – and you have got an edge…
Just because the horses you mentioned traded at odds on (probably) – doesn’t mean they weren’t value… You might have noticed, but the one group race I didn’t preview on Saturday, was Ravens Pass’s. That’s because, provided the ground was right, I like yourself, thought him a certainty ! Getting virtually the same price on him and Patkai was crazy IMO… Your edge sounds like it’s your knowledge of the actual animal. This strikes me as a really valuable edge simply because the vast majority of punters won’t have it…
Again, like you, I’ve spent many hours reading blogs. It’s fascinating to see how others operate and I’ve found you can pick up little snippets from the most obscure paces, which enable you to tune your own method. If I’ve had a mission with my value posts, it has been simply to provide an insight for others into how I operate. I would never dream of telling people how they should bet - but I would hope they might be able to pick up one or two things from my posts which they might help them with their betting…
Finally, it’s interesting you specifically mention William Haggas. He’s trainer that I’ve intended taking a closer look at – perhaps you could provide me with a few hints and tips on when to follow and when to avoid…!
A.

Graeme Dand said...

Hi Steve,
Interesting comment ! I’ve noticed that you’ve made a number of very pertinent comments on Graeme’s Blog posts I the past, so you deserve a proper reply…
First things first: I don’t trade and I have no intention of trading. I sometimes put a bit more on a horse than I intend to, with a view of hedging either before the off or IR – but that’s it !
Whether you believe it or not, since I started to take my gambling a little more seriously, I do average 1 winner in approx every 10 selections at odds of around 25-1. I have a P&L stretching back over 12 months, which shows this to have consistently been the case…
The part that you may not have fully grasped, is that I don’t have the quality time to fully focus on the racing – gambling simply could not currently be a full time occupation for me. I have 4 children of varying ages – and consequently limited control of my time (I fit in racing as and when)… I regularly place bets with my 3 year old sat on my knee colouring a picture of ‘Sporticus !’
My average stake is about £5 – I normally bet in £2 units – but I’m quite happy to get up to £20 on a selection (occasionally more if I lose my discipline !). Over the past 12 months I am around £3,500 up. I’ve no idea what my ROI is – but 150% wouldn’t sound ridiculous…
With regard to guesswork: you call it guesswork, I call it judgement: All I know is that my ‘guesswork’ improves significantly, the more time I am able put in !
Generally, I do just sit back and watch the profits roll in . As I mentioned, I put in Lays (primarily IR) to even out ‘luck’ – but that’s about it…
However, as I also mentioned earlier, scalability is an issue. I often struggle to get even a fiver on my ‘best’ bets - also, would you fancy betting in higher amounts with the domestic constraints I describe !
Finally, I can only apologise if I come across as arrogant – it is certainly not my intention…
A.