Bookmakers are constantly looking at ways to encourage their customers to bet. Apparently only 2% of sports bettors consistently make money so the vast majority gamble more than they get back. The number crunchers at bookmakers know that profit margins work in their favour so over the time the house will win. Operators strive to attract new customers and maintain the loyalty of existing customers with offers and concessions and one of those is extra places on major races.
Each way terms are fixed and there are industry standards with which all bookmakers comply. The place odds and the number of places depends on the type of race and the number of runners. The most used terms are one fifth the odds for three places. However, each way bets are settled at one quarter the odds for the first four places for handicaps with 16 runners or more. In general these place terms apply for a handicap with 16 runners and the Grand National which has a maximum field of 40 runners.
The Gambling Commission has got more strict with compliance. Bookmakers free bets must be transparent and achievable. The terms and conditions must be clear and unambiguous and the staking requirements have to be feasible. The headline value of a free bet might look impressive but the odds restrictions and turnover requirements can negate some of the benefits. Bookmakers are moving away from the concept of the free bet and more towards race and sport specific concessions.
This trend is prevalent with horse racing and two of the most common concessions are non runner/no bet and Best Odds Guaranteed. However, these promises are now used across the board and all the major bookmakers make the guarantees. Free bets for new customers attract new players but bookmakers are also keen to keep their customers. In a competitive sector bookmakers are looking at ways to encourage their customers to deposit funds and place bets and offering extra places is part of that strategy.
Extra places are usually offered for the high profile handicaps that are live on television on Saturday. In normal circumstances punters get paid out on four places in a handicap with 20 runners which equates to 20% of the field. If a bookmaker settles each way bets on the fifth horse 25% of the field are covered in each way betting. However, to maintain profit margins bookmakers will offer lower odds than competitors who apply standard place terms. This market adjustment will be subtle but it will take place. Bookmakers do not provide free lunches.
Clever punters can use extra places to guarantee a profit on a race or break even. This involves laying a horse on the place market on a betting exchange when four places apply and then backing a horse with a bookmaker that offers the extra place. The win element of the bet is eliminated by placing an equivalent lay bet at about the same odds. The net result is a free bet in the place market with a bookmaker that offers the extra place. The gains are only marginal but there is no risk.
With the demise of the free bet and the need for compliance bookmakers are looking at alternatives. Offering an extra place or more on big handicaps is one way to generate business. The regular punter has to trade off lower prices but those with experience of matched betting can make a risk free profit.
Today’s Sports Betting Preview – By Rick Elliott
Teams Don’t Win More Points With A New Boss In Charge
A detailed analysis of results in the Premier League has revealed that when a club sack their manager there is no dramatic improvement in results. In fact a team that makes a management change earn about the same number of points as what would be expected for their position in the table with the sacked boss in charge.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has very little experience of managing at the top level but is a former iconic player. He is the caretaker manager of Manchester United and his first match is today against Cardiff City, the club he managed when they were relegated in 2014. Despite being seen as a defensive team under Jose Mourinho United’s away matches in the Premier League this season have averaged almost four goals. BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE is the bet at 10/11 when they visit Cardiff today.
The Arsenal defence will have the look of the second string when they play Burnley at the Emirates. The back line is depleted and Arsenal have lost their last two matches after an unbeaten run of 22 fixtures in all competitions. Burnley’s seventh place finish last season was based on a solid defence but they are conceding goals for fun this season against the better opposition.
Arsenal have found the net two times or more in all but four of their 17 league matches this season. Ten of those matches have been won and in seven of the wins both teams have scored. The home team have conceded in nine of their last 10 matches in the Premier League which means the best bet is BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE again at Evens with William Hill.
The feature race at Ascot today is the Grade 1 JLT Hurdle over three miles and half a furlong at 2.25. It’s a major trial for the stayers’ hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and five horses have won both races. The race has a history of producing multiple winners and Unowhatimeanharry prevailed in 2016. However, on ratings CALL ME LORD is the horse to back at 4/1 with Paddy Power.