The Art of Laying Horses

Expect The Unexpected

We have all witnessed a horse that is fully expected to win only to be beaten without any explanation leaving everyone who backed it scratching their heads. Horses just like people have off days when they simply do not perform as expected and on the flip side of that we often see horses improve out of their skin from an unexplained dismal run previously.  Horse racing is an extremely complex Sport with many permutations to consider, for many the most important factor is recent form. Whilst form is important it is not an exact science and other factors have to be taken into consideration such as pace of race, fitness, pedigree, ground, course, distance, trainer and jockey ability. As in any Sport and especially in Horse racing anything can happen and invariably it does. If all betting markets reflected actual results and finishing positions there would be no betting markets. The only certain aspect of Horse racing is that there will be a winner or on rare occasions a dead heat and many losers. With the introduction of the Betting Exchanges well over a decade ago this outcome has allowed some professional layers to reap the rewards of laying horses for a comfortable living. However, just as the pre mentioned winner and many losers ratio in Horse racing the same applies to layers in the fact that only a small percentage have the expertise to make it pay. 


 Destined To Lose

Why do novice punters bet if they know they can't win long term? The answer maybe for most novice punters who bet to relatively small stakes is that it's regarded as a bit of fun. However, for those punters who have tried and failed waging to large stakes it can and in many cases has left them broke. There are many punters who have been betting on horses and other sports for many years that still do not understand the concept of value and the very important factor of the percentage over round of a betting market. Value in betting terms implies backing a horse, football team or tennis player at bigger odds than it's winning chance would suggest. The percentage over round of a betting market should always in theory be 100% with bookmakers although they would go out of business quickly if they were.     As an example a 2 horse race with both horses of similar form and chance priced up by a bookmaker would offer 10-11 the pair (decimal 1.91) a profit of a 9% swing either way for the bookmaker who may well have thousands staked on both horses locking in a guaranteed profit whatever the result. Bookmakers always lock in a generous over round profit for themselves ensuring novice punters lose in the long run. Not only do punters have to identify a winner they also have to battle finding value and the task of knowing the percentage over round of the market.


 Trade With An Edge

When using the betting exchanges we can see the percentage over round which just prior to a race will usually be very near the correct 100%. This has enabled punters to cut out the bookmakers profits although trading on the exchanges we would still have commission costs to bear usually between 5% and 2% depending on how much is staked. The margins appear to be fine and it is a fact that most traders whether backing or laying horses (approximately 97%) lose on an annual basis. It may not surprise you that the vast majority of the backers are unable to achieve annual profits yet the layers also find it really tough, how can that be as laying horses is the same as being a bookmaker isn't it? No it is not, infact it's nothing of the sort as described in the Destined to Lose column there is no way of locking in a favourable over round profit due to the 100% book always on offer on the Exchanges. To become a successful trader using the betting exchanges one must possess a unique set of trading skills. The most important factor of a successful trader is knowledge of the horse that we intend to lay which probably comes as no surprise as being in the know if a horse has been over estimated by the market which is vital. This is what gives us the edge as a successful and consistently profitable trader. Of course there are other factors to consider which we dsicuss in the FAQ's page.