Through the years, I have gotten many inquiries about fair odds lines — mainly, how can a horseplayer go about creating one and exactly what are they good for?
Let’s kick off the conversation with the last query — after all, what’s the use in creating something without first knowing what it will? (I have seen enough science fiction movies to know this is a bad idea.) Simply put, a fair chances line provides gamblers with a way of earning logical wagering decisions.
As an example, most players know that gambling to win a horse that is 2-5 or less does not make a great deal of sense. To make any money on such steeds, a gambler would need to money at least 71 percent of their time, which is very improbable (not to mention how the location and reveal payoffs will probably be just as high if not higher than the win yield sometimes, creating a win wager look that much more absurd ).
Yet very few punters take the next logical step and assign specific minimum betting odds to all (or even some) of their race contenders.
The point where there comes a fair chances line in this is.
A fair chances line tries to quantify a handicapper’s feelings about a particular race and supply a frame for better money management choices. Statements like”I knew I should have used that horse” are, theoretically at least, foreign to one who uses a reasonable odds line on a regular basis.
This is because bets are made — or not made — based on whether the horse in question is an overlay (post-time chances higher than its fair odds) or even underlay (post-time chances significantly less than its fair odds). Because of this, the angst of deciding whether or not to incorporate a horse in one’s wagers is, in effect, made from the betting public.
So, without further ado, let’s move on to the main course — assembling the line:
A) For every horse, assign odds that you think are fair. If it helps, use the morning line for a guide.
B) Combine these chances to a percentage.
C) Insert all of the individual proportions with each other to acquire the total line percentage. If this amount is precisely 100 percent (plus or minus a few tenths of a point because of rounding discrepancies), you’ve got what is called a”true” line, which is exactly what I personally strive for.
However, lots of value handicappers prefer to mirror the bag board and include takeout and breakage at the equation. In this case, a total line percentage of around 125 percent is OK. Beyond that, though, I would propose re-calculating or massaging your fair chances. Maybe the horse you listed at 2-1 should be 5-2 instead. Perhaps a couple of the horses you tabbed at 15-1 should be 20-1. Continue making adjustments such as this until the total line percentage matches your goal.Of course, I am mindful of how this can be easier said than done and will most likely require training and a fair amount of patience. Underlays you tossed will win — occasionally at or over their fair odds, thanks to an influx of late money to the swimming pool; overlays you wagered on will magically change into underlays for precisely the same reason.
But do not stop trying. Bear in mind, most gamblers lose because they bet a lot of underlays. The mythical punter George E. Smith (“Pittsburg Phil”) said it best when he mentioned:”You cannot be a successful horse participant if you are going to find the worst of this cost all the time.”
Reasonable chances ensure that you don’t.
Now, before I leave this subject there are two major things to consider as you move along the path toward becoming a value bettor:
1) A horse is not an overlay or underlay simply since your fair odds say it’s. After all, your line may be — and in many cases is — wrong.
Don’t get too cocky and dismiss the crowd’s opinion entirely. If a horse that you think should be 5-2 is 20-1 about the board, then ask yourself why. Is there something that you overlooked, a element that you weighted too heavily or too lightly? In other words, start looking for errors on your calculations before you rush into the windows to bet your life savings.
Furthermore, make sure to test your fair chances. They should win at the speed you state they do. What’s more, they should keep winning at that speed (or very near it) since the real odds change. In case your 2-1 shots win a third of the time overall, but just one percent of the period once the horse is a designed overlay, you’ve definitely got an issue.
2) In respect to your fair odds line , it pays to keep in mind something that betting guru Dick Mitchell heard in the course of his honest odds studies. After years of looking for a line that adequately reflected the performance of the top three wagering options (again, contrary to that which racetrack charlatans proclaim, the gambling pools are generally effective ), Mitchell discovered a tv commentator discuss the”80/20 rule”
First advanced by business consultant Joseph M. Juran, the 80/20 principle, or Pareto Principle, is the notion that 80 percent of all consequences stem from only 20 percent of all causes. 20 percent of the world’s population control 80 percent of its own sources, 20% of the folks on Earth have 80 percent of their ability (not necessarily exactly the same 20 percent, mind you) and so forth and so forth.
From a betting standpoint, Mitchell understood that a reasonable odds line should reflect that same fundamental truth. Hencehe started assigning 80 percent of his evaluations to his high contenders and the rest 20 percent to the rest of the field — with great success.
I bring this up as most newcomer line manufacturers will find that their fair odds are too similar — a great deal of 3-1, 4-1 and 6-1 chances — and not too reflective of real-life gambling trends (which should be among the goals). From reassigning 80 percent (or thereabouts) of the probabilities to one’s best options, this can be avoided.
Hopefully this helps aspiring value bettors become more proficient at their craft and, as Pittsburg Phil said, avoid becoming the”worst of the cost all the time.”