Value Betting in Action….
My all-time favourite racing tome is Mark Coton’s Value Betting, published back in the early 1990s. He gives a method for calculating the true odds for a race which are then compared with the odds on offer. A value bet is one which has a good ‘true’ chance of winning with a longer bookmakers price offered. For example, if you know the true odds are 3/1 but the offer price is 5/1, you are bound to make money over the medium to long term. American author Mark Cramer has also written extensively on this subject in his excellent book Value Handicapping and James Quinn also, in Recreational Handicapping.
It’s not totally straightforward however – the key is in reading the form well enough to make that estimate. I have spent enough time on this though to be confident that I have some sort of handle on it and am now aiming to make proper money from betting, starting about a month ago (early January 2009). Results have been mixed so far, due to getting back up to speed after so long away. It’s been instructive though, and I believe I am making a note and inwardly digesting these ‘lessons’. In particular, there is a certain configuration which seems to identify longer-priced winners and I will be keeping an eye out for the signs.
As part of the commitment to serious betting, I will keep a note here of all bets and some analysis of ‘value betting in action’.
The Method (16 Mar 09)
1. Preview the race and runners for class, course, pace, weight bias and other requirements. Note roughly any interesting contenders and any non-contenders.
2. Form reading in detail for every runner. Contrarian as well as conventional logics. Any horse not eliminated is considered to have a chance. Assign Form Value scores to all contenders.
3. Fine tuning and adjustments to FV scores.
4. Construct odds line from Form Value scores. Make minor adjustments if neccesary. From this point there is no more form assessment so get it right.
5. List early prices against value prices. Do not use the forecast line.
6. Draw odds cutoff line between genuine value and false value.
7. Bet the longest offer price runner which is genuine value. If equal available odds, bet shortest priced on value odds line.
8. Win singles are the basic play but always note any potential exotics.
13 Oct 09
Various detours in recent weeks but I have now settled on the FV framework as being the most effective approach and will be sticking with that for the foreseable future. This is my adaptation of Coton’s original method.