Punt to Win
It's amazing how often tote odds are significantly inferior to bookmaker and Betfair betting exchange odds for plenty of horses in small fields - say up to about eight runners.
Here's an example from April 2004 which is just as valid today:
Punters who backed Zum on the tote on Saturday were in high spirits as jockey Jim Cassidy and the 4YO gelding won a close three way finish in the field of eight horses.
For the win they got between $6.70 and $7.30, depending on which tote they backed Zum.
However, some of those punters were feeling a little sick after sitting down to relax with a read of their Sunday papers. Because when they had a look at the racing results they saw that Zum's starting price was $17.00.
There are two main reasons why tote odds are often significantly inferior to bookmaker odds for plenty of horses in small fields.
1. The bookmakers bet to a much better percentage than the tote. The tote is always near 120%. But the bookmaker starting price market in Zum's race was significantly better for punters at 110%. At bookmaker top fluctuation odds it was an amazing 100%. Absolutely brilliant for punters!
2. In smaller fields tote punters often put money on the roughies, trying to find something to beat the favourite. Because they are always betting in a market near 120% some roughies can be significantly shorter than with the bookmakers, but the tote favourite will still be no value compared to the bookmaker odds. Zum at $17.00 compared with $7.30 is only a 7.8% difference.
(To work out the percentage odds of a horse divide 100 by its price. So a horse at $2.00 is 50%.)
If you are serious about giving yourself a chance to make some money from betting on the horses, or reducing the amount of money that you lose, then you cannot automatically bet horses on the tote. The search for best odds is probably nearly as important as the selections themselves.
This edition of Punt to Win:
2008 Melbourne Cup Day
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