I’ve noticed that many punters are accustomed to backing multiple selections in one sitting e.g. the night before a race. For practicality reasons it makes sense; not everyone is able to bet when they’re at work or on-the-move.
However, there’s several weaknesses in restricting yourself to ‘early’ selections rather than checking in on the markets periodically.
1. Early Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Value
It’s reasonable to theorise that there should be more inaccuracies in odds the earlier you bet. The problem is that it’s a restrictive approach for sports like horse racing with little market activity until the raceday.
Many punters swear that they pick off early value odds and correct the lines. This may well be true for some. However, I personally have little evidence to support that the early odds for horse racing are any more effective at beating the SP and obtaining value than odds identified on the raceday. So why is this?
I believe that it’s probably due to the fact that a lot of professionals operate bots on the betting exchanges from the earliest point possible. They market-make, set the prices where they want them, and capitalise if keen punters come in and take the available face-value odds. With such low liquidity, bots have less competition from other traders, and don’t need to offer decent odds. This isn’t good news for the early punter on the betting exchange.
Now for the Bookmakers. Well, with such low liquidity on the betting exchange Bookies have little intelligence to go by. So as a result they’re often cagey with their pricing. For example, a selection which should have long odds might be severely under-priced. Again, in this scenario the value isn’t there early on for the average punter.
When the betting markets are more active on the raceday the Bookmakers have the public’s “wise” opinion as a basis for their prices. As the betting exchanges experience sudden movements, value betting opportunities arise both on the exchange and at slow-moving bookmakers.
So while prices are constantly correcting, there are frequent opportunities taking place throughout the day in bursts of activity. Being around for those is important.
2. Stake Sizes Are Likely To Be Limited
Low market liquidity on the betting exchange (the day before the race) prevents traders from placing large stakes early on. Meanwhile Bookmakers are somewhat dependent on information gathered from the exchange — so they’re likely to limit maximum stakes on the same markets, too.
On race days Bookies monitor various factors on the exchange — such as the odds, the total betting volumes on each horse (so far), and the currently available money. These can be used independently, or in conjunction with their own bookmaking methods, to determine precisely what volumes they’re willing to accept on different outcomes.
With more information to go by, Bookmakers are likely to allow larger stakes on the day of the race than before it.
Read more about Bookmaking from my post: How Do Bookmakers Earn? How Big Is Their Edge?
3. Market Trends Are Non-existent
On the lead up to a sports event there’s always a flurry of market activity.
The Weight of Money (WoM), the volumes backed on each selection, the drifters & steamers — even the estimated SP price — may contribute to a your decision to Back or Lay an outcome. You could, for example, decide to discard some of your proposed selections — of hedge against them — if the market suggests the odds will move against you.
But if you’re only placing early bets and leaving them to run then you won’t have the ability to use market trends as a way to strengthen your betting selections. There simply isn’t enough movement the day before a race to trade: no movement means no insight.
The techniques mentioned here mark the distinction between a regular bettor and trader.
4. It Puts Convenience Before Value
Many punters turn to Tipsters in the expectation of earning some quick & easy cash. It’s often thought that Tipsters provide ‘inside knowledge’ or ‘dead certs’ (which is highly unlikely, in truth).
Tipsters usually release tips to their eager clients in batches. Or all at once (on a daily or weekly basis), as part of their subscription service. But think about it: what are the chances that the prices all have value odds at the time of release?
It’s highly unlikely.
Therefore I’m inclined to think that the “all at once” Tipster format prioritises convenience over value.
For more on this subject read the posts:
- A Poor Experience With A Well-Known Sports Tipping Service. I thoroughly analysed a year of tips (a sample of over 27,000 bets). This supported my view that the industry has many scammers.
- The Risks in Following Tipsters. The truth about the tipster industry and what they really offer to punters.
- How To Avoid Tipster Scams Here’s everything you need to know in order to dodge scams, avoid disappointment, and find a legitimate Tipping Service.
- Best Sports Betting Tipsters. A list of the very best tipster sites.
To determine the profitability of a tipster service yourself, I recommend logging bets using Betting.com’s Portfolio Tracker. This way you can select the live odds from the market at the moment you place the bet, and the winners/loses will be automatically updated.
5. You Won’t Benefit From Market Volatility
Backing early odds (especially at the Bookies) doesn’t help punters to capitalise on the volatility of the sports betting markets.
A much better approach is to back horses individually at different stages — whenever their prices represent value.
The successful Betfair trader aims to use volatility to:
- Back at good value odds i.e. those which are above their ‘fair’ estimate for a selection.
- Lay selections which have shortened too much.
- Trade in and out of selections as they rise and fall throughout the day.
By monitoring the prices on the raceday traders have more scope, and greater ability to capitalise on volatile price fluctuations. So I’d avoid locking yourself down to those early prices.
A Betfair trading tool or Betfair Bot can help to capitalise on prices at the precise moment they reach a predetermined value. This is a smarter, more advanced approach to placing bets all in one hit.