If you're not making as much profit from your horse racing betting as you'd like, it maybe you're not backing enough winners, or it's just as likely that you're not obtaining good enough odds on the winners you do back.
For years the majority of bets on UK horse racing were settled at Starting Price (SP). These odds are determined by the on-course bookmakers and represent prices available in the betting ring at the time the race started.
Many punters still place their bets at SP, not aware they can achieve better odds and more importantly, not realising the difference achieving better odds can make to their betting bank.
That's all very well, but I Don't have time to Look for Better Odds.
A common excuse used by punters for not getting better odds, is they don't have the time to compare different bookmakers odds. In the past that would have been a valid reason, but with all the online resources at your disposal, it is simply no longer the case.
I'll start with the simplest way of achieving better odds.
Rather than taking the industry standard starting price, place your bet on the betting exchange Betfair and take their SP odds. You can place your bets as early as you like and there's no restriction on the size of your stake (although if you place really large bets, it may affect the Betfair SP odds).
The BSP is determined by balancing bets from customers, who want to back a horse, with those who wish to lay. You are not guaranteed to get better odds than the regular SP, but as there's no bookmakers' edge built into the odds, it's likely you'll achieve better odds than those returned at SP.
At the time of writing, looking at proofed results for tipster services that had proofed for the past 6 months, 100% achieved better returns by backing their selections at Betfair SP prices than at regular SP.
As an example if we take a look at the following graph, taken from the Tipster Proofing Area. Over a period of 217 win bets, a profit of 11.5 points was returned at SP odds, to 1 point level stakes. Backing the same selections at Betfair SP odds would have increased the profit to 53.1 points.
A lot of bookmakers offer early prices on some or if not all UK and Irish races. It can therefore pay to shop around and take the best price available. You can compare odds for all the races via our Odds comparison service.
Taking an early price doesn't guarantee you'll always obtain better odds than SP, as the price of a horse may well drift in the market. However bet365, betinternet, Stan James and William Hill bookmakers offer guarantees that if you take an early price and the SP is greater, they will pay out you bet at SP. Betfred offer a similar guarantee on select races each day.
This means you can't lose by taking the early price and can improve your odds significantly if backing a horse that gets well backed in the market.
On Betfair, or any of the other Betting Exchanges it's also possible to take an early price, by accepting the odds on offer for the horse you wish to back. You can get better prices, by offering your own odds, but this will require you to monitor the bet to make sure your odds get taken up.
In this situation your selection may receive support in the market and its odds reduce. You then need to decide whether to chase the price down and accept lower odds or hold on in the hope the price increases again and your bet gets matched.
There are a number of betting bots available to you, such as BF Bot Manager and the Grey Horse Bot that will place your bets automatically on Betfair at the time you specify. These are good, but require your computer to maintain a link to the Internet so that the bot can place the bet. Also most incur a monthly subscription fee, which will offset the increase in profits. So you'll need to factor that in when working out your profits, especially if you're only betting to small stakes.
Getting you to see the benefits of achieving better odds has been the primary goal of this article. Hopefully it's accomplished that and made you realise it's really not that difficult to get better returns on your horse racing bets.