Grand National facts

What is Flat Racing?

In Flat Racing horses with the best speed or best stamina (or both of these) have the advantage, depending on the distance of each race. Jockeys also play a major part as they have to be able to get their horse to do the right thing (e.g. ‘ask’ them to go faster or slower). Thoroughbreds are the most common form of horse breed you will see in this form of racing. Natural grass race courses (also referred to as turf) are the most common. You will see some races run on synthetic or all-weather tracks (especially for flat races run in winter). Flat Racing generally takes places over shorter distances than National Hunt racing, and there are no obstacles in Flat Racing (as the name suggests).

Flat Racing (in Great Britain, at least) takes the form of (1) Conditions races, or (2) Handicaps.

  • In a Conditions race, horses carry weights. Females carry less weights than males. Older horses carry less weights than younger horses. Less successful horses carry less weights than more successful horses. Conditions races are not handicap races – as the weights are allocated according to the predetermined conditions of the race (not by an handicapper).
  • The most prestigious of the Condition races are the Pattern races (which are usually called Group races).
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horse racing explained

Horse Racing Explained

There are 2 popular types of horse racing that take place in Great Britain: these are Flat Racing, and National Hunt Racing. In this ‘Horse Racing Explained‘ article, we explain the difference between these two types of the sport. We also explain what exactly a furlong is (a common term you will hear in relation to the length of horse races).

  • Flat Racing – run on courses where there are no obstacles present (i.e. it is flat). Distances for Flat Racing are between 5 furlongs 2 miles to 2 miles 5 furlongs 159 yards. Some of the best examples of flat races are the Royal Ascot festival, and the five races known as the British Classics – 1,000 Guineas (Newmarket), 2,000 Guineas (Newmarket), The Oaks (Epsom Downs), The Derby (Epsom Downs), and St.Leger (Doncaster).
  • National Hunt Racing – run on courses with obstacles, taking the form of a Hurdles race or a Steeplechase race. They are generally run over longer distances (2 miles to 4 and a half miles) than the Flat Racing mentioned above. The best examples of National Hunt Racing are the Grand National (Aintree) and the Cheltenham Festival.
    • Please note slightly confusingly, there are also National Hunt Flat Races (also known as Bumpers) – which are run under National Hunt rules, but there are no obstacles on the course (13 – 20 furlongs are common distances for these races).
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starting price

Is it preferable to take the Starting Price?

When you place a bet on a horse race, instead of taking the fixed odds price on offer you might be able to place a bet at an unspecified Starting Price. Sometimes for future races, which haven’t been priced up by your selected bookmaker, you can only place a bet at the Starting Price (SP).

When you place a bet at the SP, you do not know in advance what odds you are getting! So, why on earth would you want to take this option? Odds on horses can fluctuate, in the build up to the race. When the race start time comes closer, it is clearer what the conditions will be like (e.g. is the ground heavy or soft, will it be raining or really hot at the time of the race), if any other horses have withdrawn, and if the horse has any issues etc. Odds can thus fluctuate for many reasons, including the amount being bet on a horse. So, with lots of money coming in, the price is likely to go down and vice-versa. In the UK, a panel decides the starting price (it should be the same regardless of which bookmaker you use), based on how they view the fluctuations of prices.… Read the rest

sports betting bankroll management

Why is Sports Betting Bankroll Management essential?

Diligent sports betting bankroll management can be the difference between winning sports bettors, and those who are destined to lose all their money.

Here’s an example:

  • Let’s say that you have £1,000 to gamble with in total in your sports betting account with a bookmaker, but cannot replenish this money if you lose.
  • Let’s say you were betting on an event with only two possible outcomes, and the bookmaker was offering 6/5 on outcome 1, and 1/2 on outcome 2 (this is a made up example).
  • Let’s say according to your value bet calculations, you thought the true odds of each outcome was 1/1 – i.e. there is a 50% chance of outcome 1, and a 50% chance of outcome 2.
  • Of course you would want to bet on outcome 1, as you are getting better odds than required. You would never bet on outcome 2, as you are getting worse odds than required.
  • If you bet £1,000 on outcome 1, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the bet in terms of value. After all, you will be making £1,200 profit if outcome 1 happens!
  • However, what if outcome 2 happens? 50% of the time it will, and you will lose your stake of £1,000.
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wisdom of the crowd

How does Wisdom of the Crowd affect odds?

  • Wisdom of the Crowd refers to the phenomenon that a large number of individuals in a group, will usually be able to make better decisions than any individual in that group.
  • For example, at a funfair say their was a big jar with an unknown amount of marbles. People were asked to guess the number of marbles (with the closest getting a prize). If you took all the guesses and averaged them (provided there was a sufficient number of people in the group) it would usually come close to the actual number of marbles in the jar. Obviously, the more people who participated the closer to the actual number you would get.
  • This happens, because individual noise is filtered out.
  • In the case of betting odds, Wisdom of the Crowd also has an effect as bookmakers are forced to lower prices getting a lot of betting action (and increase prices not getting a lot). So, highly backed outcomes get their prices lowered, and less well back outcomes get their prices increased.
  • However, for Wisdom of the Crowd to work people have to be making rational and independent decisions. In the case, of marbles in the jar at the funfair this may be the case.
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value betting gut instinct

Why is Value Betting superior to using Gut Instinct?

If you keep placing bets on outcomes of events, just because you fancy teams/players to win (Gut Instinct), without considering the odds fully then you will likely be losing money in the long run. Value betting involves independently considering if the odds offered are better than the true probability of the outcome happening, and only placing bets if that is the case. Let’s start our Why is Value Betting superior to using Gut Instinct? article off with an example:

Let’s say you are considering placing a bet in an event in which there are two outcomes only, e.g. the final of a competition where either team/player A wins, or team/player B wins (no draws possible). You need to calculate the true probabilities of the outcomes. This requires taking into account a lot of factors (prior results, injuries, officials, form etc. – variables will depend on what event you are betting on), and coming up with a statistical model (which may require, amongst other things weighting the factors).

Let’s say you calculate A wins two-thirds of the time, and B wins one-third of the time:
Two-thirds of the time is the same as odds of 1/2*, i.e. for every 1 time they don’t win, they will win 2 times.… Read the rest

Each-Way Bet

What is an Each-Way Bet?

The most standard bet you could make is a win bet. You will only make a profit if your selection wins. So, if you make a £5 bet at 7/1 at your favourite bookmaker you will make a £35 profit if your selection wins (and get your £5 stake back, if you win). Another common bet, is an Each-Way Bet. If you place an each-way bet on a single event, you are effectively making two separate bets. One bet is on a win only basis, and one is on a place basis.

  • A place bet, allows you to make a profit if your selection finishes not just first, but also in a certain number of other places (e.g. 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. depending on what the bookmaker is offering). Usually, you will receive a proportion of the win odds.
  • So, if you have £5 to bet with in total on an Each-Way Bet, you could place a £2.50 each-way bet – this means £2.50 goes on the Win part, and £2.50 goes on the each-way part. Let’s say you bet on an outcome offering 7/1 odds if its wins, and 1/3 the win odds (in this case 7/3) if it places in the top 2.
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moneyline odds

How do Moneyline Odds work?

We have already explained how to understand the Fractional Odds system used by UK bookmakers, as well as the popular Decimal Odds system. For completeness, we thought we would also explain the ins and outs of Moneyline Odds. This system is popular in the USA, and as such we will use dollars in the examples below (but of course the same principles apply whatever the currency). To understand Moneyline Odds, first look at if the odds are positive or negative. Then, look at the odds. Moneyline Odds are expressed per $100 staked (although of course, you should be able to bet any amount, subject to minimums or maximums).

  • POSITIVE Moneyline Odds show how much profit you will get if your bet wins, for every $100 staked (if you win you will get back your original stake too).
  • NEGATIVE Moneyline Odds show how much you will have to stake, to get $100 profit if your bet wins (if you win you will get back your original stake too).

Let’s look at two actual examples:

  • +500: this means for every $100 bet, $500 profit will be paid if your bet wins (i.e. if your bet wins they will return you original stake of $100, and pay you another $500).
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