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Place Betting Strategy

mad_scientistMore Profits, anybody?

Sometimes it's good to have a contrary attitude.

Sometimes it's nice to go looking for one thing and, almost by chance, find something completely different.

For example, I like mushrooming.

I may go into the forest expecting to find some Ceps and, instead, come across a patch of Trompettes de la mort (Horn of Plenty) just by chance.

And that's a nice surprise; Fresh Ceps are worth about €25 a kilo but dried Trompettes de la mort are worth €400 a kilo.

And, by all things good and great, they taste wonderful! A bit like truffles.

So, when I got an email from John, I had this feeling that he'd found a patch of Trompettes de la mort where I'd been looking for Ceps.

But, before I go on and explain what John had come up with...

I thought that it might be an idea to quickly explain my personal philosophy.

My Philosophy

I've had a number of emails over the last few weeks...

Actually, quite a large number of emails,

Thanking me for this new strategy.

Now, I have to admit that I do have an ulterior motive...

I'm not particularly generous but, at the same time, I don't think that I've overly mean.

However, if I have the choice between going for a walk round the lake (or going mushrooming in the forest) or slaving away over a hot spreadsheet then,

The spreadsheet might get put off until tomorrow (when the same decision will have to be made all over again.)

But, occasionally people do cancel their subscriptions to Focus Ratings and, when they do so, they often say that they love the ratings but they just don't have the time to use them every day.

And I know what they mean. For me to go through the ratings on a quiet day like yesterday (33 races from five meetings), just to choose the 5 or 6 races that I want to investigate further, might take me half an hour (please bear in mind that I don't have your knowledge or experience - things take me longer.)

And then, to actually choose the potential winner from the top three rated from those races will take another half an hour.

Now, I know that it would take me far longer if I had to use The Racing Post or The Sporting Life but, even so, it can take time to get the best out of the ratings.

I've tried very hard to make things easier and faster.

Like, creating the Builder so that you can do your research once (perhaps on a wet Sunday afternoon when there's nothing good on TV) and then get the selections sent to you every day (rather than you having to work them out yourself.)

Still, I feel that if I can also offer a profitable strategy for free (or, a few of them) then, even if people don't actually use the ratings as ratings every day (some people can only use them as ratings at the weekend or when they're on the late shift at work), they still get a sort of "tipping" service for free and that might aid customer retention.

So, it's not all about being generous, it's a sort of way to ensure that I have enough money to satisfy my liking for red wine and smelly cheese.

Well, at least I'm honest.

In the end of month round up of the Place Betting Strategy I'll suggest that the way that I'd use PBS would be to bet to £5 stakes on the selections using the new rules.

I'm not sure what the right size of the betting bank should be but, let's assume that I have a bank of £500 and am betting to stakes of 1% of that bank.

I've got a feeling that, with a £500 betting bank I could be using £10 stakes (based upon July's performance) but I'll need to do some analysis on that, based upon the 23 month's data that I based the strategy on.

However, even if the next few days (until the end of the month) are neutral, then that would give me about £115 profit for July.

I'd take £32 (including VAT) out to pay my subs and then take half of the remaining £83 out to pay for a meal out and then...

I'd up my stakes proportionally by what I've left in.

For July this would mean that I am increasing my bank by about 8.3% (after paying my subs and having a meal out.)

In effect, I'd get the ratings for free, get a meal out once a month and I'd also be building my betting bank.

Win, win, win!

So, that's why I have come up with the Place Betting Strategy and why I'm sharing it for free (please bear in mind that the strategy is a result of suggestions from members, in the first place. So, it would be a bit rude to charge for it.)

And it also explains what I would do with any winnings that the strategy might accrue.

We're all different, but that's just what I would do - you may have other priorities or strategies - I can only explain my own.

And, anyway, working on the Place Betting Strategy has been an awful lot of fun for me.

And, in itself, that's worth all the money in the world to me!

And, now that I've kept you in suspense for long enough,

I think that it's time that I talked to you about...


John sent me an email asking... "Why not lay the PBS selections?"

At first I thought that that was crazy but, when I took a look, I realised that it wasn't so crazy after all!

You see, for July (so far, up to an including the 27th of the month) we've only had 7 winners from 114 selections (taking Non Runners into account) and that equates to a 93.86% strike rate (for a lay system.)

For the 23 months of data that I used to create the original PBS strategy, we had 248 winners from 2612 races (taking non runners into account.)

That equates to a strike rate (without any filters) of 90.51%.

And that's a pretty good place to start from if you want to build a Lay Betting strategy (I think so, anyway.)

I created a new spreadsheet based upon the final data in the original strategy spreadsheet.

This ensures that we are using exactly the same data for both strategies.

You can see this spreadsheet at... PBSLay.xls.

The raw data is shown in the Data01 tab. These are all the horses that would have been selections for the basic Place Betting Strategy from July 2013 to June 2015.

I then went through the 248 winners from July 2013 to June 2015 and manually entered the BSP for each of them.

And what a job that was!

I then did a pivot table to look at the raw P&L.

This is shown on Analysis01



Now, the task is to remove those big priced winning horses so that we can make the system profitable.

I sorted the data in order of BSP descending to see if anything stood out.

The first thing that I looked at was the Forecast SP; obviously, we'd expect to get more high priced winners (which we don't want) from horses with a high forecast price.

The results are displayed on the FC SP Analysis tab.

However, this doesn't really help us as, generally, the higher the price, the less likely the horse is to win.

There is a sweet spot where the forecast SP is between 15.0 to 29.99 but, if we only used this as a filter, we would only get 600 bets for the 23 month period and those 600 bets would only yield 185 points profit.

That works out to about 8 points a month. Not really enough.

Runner Analysis

I then decided to different logic.

In theory, a horse has a better chance of winning a race, the lower the number of runners in that race.

So, I did some analysis of this and displayed in on the Runner Analysis tab.

If we concentrate on races with more than 12 runners then we get 663 races for the 23 month period and make 105.75 points profit.

Race Type Analysis

Finally (for the moment), I decided to look at the results for different race types.

I displayed the analysis on the Race Type Analysis tab.

Now, here I am taking a pause but, to my mind, a sensible approach might be to take out the really badly performing race type and then see if I need to apply some additional filters such as FC SP and Runners.

For example, I'd take out AW Sellers as they cost us money but, I'd leave in the AW Claimers as they only lose us a little bit and, by applying some other filters, they might become profitable.

However, as this strategy originated from suggestions from the members, I thought that I'd pass the data over to you to see if you can come up with some solutions or ideas to point me in the right direction.

To be honest, even if we just filtered by forecast SP we would get 26 bets a month and a profit of 8 points a month.

But, and perhaps I'm being greedy...

I just want more.


What I find absolutely amazing is that, from a successful Place Betting System, we've also come up with a potentially profitable Lay Betting System based upon the same selections.

That sort of blows my mind but, the numbers don't lie. The data sample is pretty decent; thousands of races over the best part of two year's data.

I'm struggling to get my head around the question that, if we lay a horse to lose, how, if at all, does that affect the place price of the horse in the Place betting market?

If we were just talking about the Win market then, if enough people lay a horse, surely its Win price will increase (just as if we all go mad and back a horse, its Win price will decrease.)

I'm just not too sure what the overspill into the Place market will be, if, indeed, there will be any overspill at all.

If, as I suspect, we lay a horse (in the Win market) and then back that horse to place (in the Place market) the lays may actually improve the price in the Place market. Which would mean that we win more on our Place bets.

However, that's way beyond me, at this point in time (and could be absolute rubbish.) But, there is a sort of logic there, at least, to my eyes.

I'll carry on working on the spreadsheet but I'm feeling that I on the right track to get us at least 10 points a month (and perhaps more) by applying some logic to the data that we have.

Once again, I am looking forward to your comments.

I feel that the key issue is to get rid of the big priced winning horses (10.0 or above.)

Now it could be that you can do something on Betfair to ensure that you don't get matched at a high price or...

And this is probably far too simple, not use Lay to Liability and just get matched within a specific price range (not too low but certainly not too high.)

As always...

My kindest regards


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