Last week I spoke about trebles and why I personally avoid them. I was surprised to get a few e-mails about how I’d got my maths wrong! I can assure you that wasn’t the case at all and having been in this game for a long time I like to think I know what it is I am doing. I promised last week that I’d talk about a bet worth doing that can have large returns for smaller stakes but that will have to wait for next week now.
The reason I’m waiting for next week is because I felt I needed to clarify a few things about what odds actually mean and whether something has a “chance.”
If a runner is priced up at 4/1 it does in fact mean that, that horse has a 20% chance of winning its race. That means that in five races under the same conditions that horse would win once in those five attempts. Now I know one reader did helpfully point out that I had written 1 in 4 and of course it should have been 1 in 5!!
So back to the importance of understanding odds. They are in a sense a commodity. When you place a bet you are indeed “selling” the horses chances of winning that race. The bookie is “buying” off you the chances of that horse winning.
Let me break that down for you. Let’s go back to the 4/1 horse which means that its chances are 20%. That of course is the bookies opinion and is dependent on market reactions i.e the buying and selling of the horses chances. The bookie buys your bet off you for whatever stake you are selling it for. In this case you, the punter are selling it at 20%. The horse wins and you get paid out, the horse losses and you don’t. That last part is simple enough.
Let’s break this down further into “value” and look at why this word “value” is so important.
The 4/1 you took then gets gambled on and the horse goes off at 2/1. At 2/1 this now means that the horse has a 33.33% chance of winning the race. You sold the ticket at 20% and now the horse is worth 33.33%. You’ve effectively sold the horses chances at a reduced rate! The bookie still has to pay you out at the 20% but to him he’s sort of been ripped off as he’s having to pay out more than the true market value!
I hope that makes sense and you can now see more clearly how that market works and when your backing a horse think of it as selling it’s chances to the bookie. Do your homework and you can rip them off for a change!!
I’ll be back next week with this bet that is actually worth doing.