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16/1/2004 edition

Betting Tips and Gambling Strategy

In last week's Punt to Win we presented the views of a successful professional, "David", about stopping betting when a set amount has been won on the day. Today we present David's views about betting for the place on the tote.

Is place betting on the tote value?

When asked what he thought about betting for the place on the tote, David laughed and said, "No way. I don't have the slightest interest in trying to beat a betting market of over 120%. I've got better things to do with my money. And to make things even worse, there's no fixed odds which means you can't even control your bet. How many times have punters found they've got odds way below what they expected? What about the times they've won and just got their money back for the place? Even worse, what about the times their horse was running around just to give them their money back if they won, and didn't even place? A bet where you can lose but not win. Not for me."

"But David," I replied, "there are punters who say all you have to do is carefully select your place bets and you can make around 25% to 50% profit on turnover."

To which David replied, "Who's kidding who? A tote place market is the equivalent of being offered odds of $1.65 the win in an even two horse race. To just break even with place betting you have to do 25% better than the average which is a loss of 20 cents in the dollar or a return of 80%. To say, instead of getting a return of 80 cents in the dollar you expect to get a return of 150 cents for every dollar bet is wishful thinking. Sure, if you're a very successful place punter, you may get some runs where that occurs. But from my experience if you are even able to make 5% profit on turnover on place betting over the long term you are doing very well."

"But David, there are plenty of punters who swear by place betting. They say it is safe, they avoid long runs of outs and they make good profits."

David laughed again and replied, "I said if you're a very successful place punter you may get some amazing runs. But if those horses were backed for the win the profit on turnover would be significantly better. Some punters get big runs by going all up with place bets. But let's not kid ourselves. It doesn't add one dollar's worth of value. You're still betting in markets of over 120% and most likely getting unders with your place bets."

"Avoiding runs of outs," continued David, "is the reason most punters back for the place. Never mind if they are getting significant unders with just about every bet. It's possible to go to the casino and play roulette or blackjack at a disadvantage against the house and yet show a profit after hundreds of bets. But the house advantage is only a few per cent, nothing like the tote's. From what I can see most punters would be happy with a 75% strike rate at average odds of $1.30. Even though that means a slow drain of their money. I admit it's possible after a significant number of tote place bets to show a strong profit. But I will add that the result would most likely be a statistical aberration and have absolutely nothing to do with having found a magical formula to making a place betting fortune of 25% to 50% profit on turnover."

"Take the tote place punter or tote each way punter who backs a horse for the place on a Saturday meeting at Sydney or Melbourne. Let's assume there are eight runners in the field and the horse is $5.00 in the bookmaker betting ring. It is possible these days to back the horse each way and get a dividend of $2.00 for the place. That same horse will not be anything like $2.00 for the place on the tote. Nor will it be $5.00 the win. It will more likely be around $1.70, even less. Surely you're not going to tell me that taking $1.70 makes sense, or in any way is going to make you a betting fortune? The simple answer is, you can't take unders and win at racing."

To illustrate David's point, Si Senor won the eighth race at Caulfield last Saturday, started at $5.00 with the bookmakers and for an each way bet paid $2.00 for the place. Yet SuperTab punters got $4.00 for the win and $1.70 for the place. Backing the horse at $20 each way with the bookmakers returned $140.00 and made a profit of $100 compared to just $114.00 backing the horse at $20 each way on SuperTab and making a profit of just $74. But worse still, betting $40 for the place on SuperTab returned a paltry $68.00 and made just $28 profit.

This edition of Punt to Win:
Place betting on the tote - is it value?
Betting favourites in small fields
Money talks - Rosehill, Caulfield betting tips from the track
Handicapping tips - weight and class
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 9/1/2004
Punt to Win index

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