Betting The Favourites For A Profit

I was reading through an old racing magazine last week and came a cross a 'system' that concerned betting favourites in an exacta bet and the person who wrote the peice believed that he had found a way of making a profit.

His suggestion was to take all races of ten runners or less where the favourite is 2/1 or bigger and place an exacta bet on the favourite to beat all other runners in the race.

For example the betting in a nine runner race may be:

Horse A 11/4, Horse B 9/2, Horse C 6/1, Horse D 6/1, Horse E 15/2, Horse F 8/1, Horse G 12/1, Horse H 12/1, Horse I 33/1

The suggestion would be to bet eight forecasts (or Exacta bets as I prefer these and they generally pay out more), on the favourite to beat all of the other runners into second place. A total of eight bets at an easy to use £1 makes £8 in total.

If there were ten runners there would be nine bets at £9, six runners would mean five bets totaling £5.

In such races the favourite wins about 25% of the time where there are ten runners or less and the starting price is 2/1 or bigger, so in the long term you will get a payout once in every four races.

All okay so far, however the profit that is made does depend on the price of the horse that finishes second. So if the horse coming second is 12/1 you will get a much bigger payout than if the horse is the 9/2 second favourite.

Some real examples.

Looking at yesterdays results at Hamilton, Plumpton and Uttoxeter, there were actually 13 qualifying races and a total of six winning favourites meaning six winning bets.

The total profit from betting £1 on all Exacta bets as stated depending on the number of runners was a fairly handsome £60.50, with two races at Hamilton making a profit of £11.80 and £37.30, three at Plumpton making £14.70, £6.60 and £31.30 and just one at Uttoxeter making £7.80.

When betting forecasts or Exacta bets, you don't get your stake back, so if you place five bets in a six runner race and the payout is £17.30, you actually get back £12.30 as it is the total less your stake amount.

Also when you do look at the payouts after each race they are shown to a £1 stake so if the payout was £17.30 and you had bet £2 for each bet, you would get back £34.60 less your £10 stake.

So a total of £60.50 to just £1 stakes on an afternoon of racing doesn't sound too bad at all but it got me thinking, was this the best way to play these races?

Just betting the favourites to win.

I then worked out what would happen if you used the same stakes per race, (a £1 stake per runner less one) and placed that on the favourite in each race.

Well the total profit this time was even better at £79.30 but whether betting this way or an Exacta bet clearly does depend on how much the Exacta pays out and is down to the price of the favourite and the horse finishing second.

The biggest profit made on the Exactas was for £37.30 in the last race at Hamilton where the 4/1 favouite beat a 10/1 shot into second.

The Exacta paid out £46.30, less £9 as it was a ten runner race making £37.30 as the profit made.

Had all of the winning Exactas paid out this amount, then you would have made £175.80 on the day.

However had they all paid out the lowest amount which was £6.60 from the 4.00 Plumpton, you would have lost £8.40.

Where does this leave us?

Clearly just backing the favourites to win with a stake amount that of one less than the field, paid out more on this occasion but we did have a 46% strike rate of winning favourites on this day, nearly double what you will get in the long term.

Backing all favourites to win at level stakes we know does not work so is there a way we can incorporate the Exatca bet idea to make money on certain occasions?

Well as we know, you do get a better payout when the second horse has a decent starting price and the payout of £37.30 profit in the Hamilton race was because the second horse came in at 10/1.

So what about betting the favourite to come first and then only horses at 10/1 or bigger to finish second? This way you will probably have less winners but there will be less outlay for each race and when an outsider does finish second to the favourite, you will get a very good payout indeed.

Recently an 11/4 favourite beat a 33/1 shot in a nine runner race at Chepstow where the Exacta paid out £102.70 for a £1 stake. Less the £8 bet that is a profit of £94.70 and a few of these each week would make the effort well worth while.

I am always looking out for these angles that can be used to make a profit, quite often they may need some tinkering around with the rules to get the best from each idea.

For example maybe stick to low grade handicaps where the outsiders have a better chance of finishing second, or just pair the favourite with the two outsiders in the race.

This is of course more of a fun bet than a serious betting strategy, but there are quite a few ideas that you can play about with here and it could be worth some time looking into this if you can narrow down the bets to those that do pay out over £100 or so each time.


James Dawson

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