How To Make Your Own Betting System
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Article by The Secret Betting Club
There are many ways to make money betting, the most popular being to follow a tipster or follow a system. Good tipsters operate as a service provider, passing on their expertise in return for a fee. It is arguable that you could do just as well yourself if you had the time to research an approach, however there is no telling how long this might take, and whether you’d be able to make it pay in the long run.
There are many subtle extras that a tipster provides with the benefit of experience. Services such as Equine Investments combine a methodological approach with the tipster’s subjective feel for a particular horse.
On the other hand you might like to follow a system which has easy to follow rules that allows you to identify your own qualifiers each day. Systems are attractive because unlike tipsters they often involve a one off fee, thus substantially reducing the cost. Long term readers will note that we review few systems for the principal reason that there are very few that are actually any good. Few commercially available systems provide a breakdown of historical and live results.
In many cases we are meant to take the system vendor’s word for it that the approach works, which might be fine in any other field, but in betting there are far too many sharks who operate without scruples. In our experience there are just as many naïve system vendors who put something out truly believing their system works, even though they haven’t done any live testing, or taken into account commission on Betfair lay odds for example.
There are a number of systems that make use of the racing post information like the RP rating or trainer form. These systems may have merit, but unless at least a year’s worth of past results are provided with accurate pricing, we’re not interested. Like you, we only have a limited number of free hours in the day, and hate the idea of spending 6 months live testing a system only to find it doesn’t work.
Not everyone takes this approach, but between running the SBC newsletter and placing the bets for our own portfolio, there is very little spare time in the day to waste. Running a live test of a system you have tested using historical data is different. The past is indeed no guarantee to future returns, but we’d rather spend time looking at something that has worked in the past, rather than something that hasn’t or has no historical data.
When testing a completely new system with no historical or theoretical data to go by, you ideally need at least 6-12 months worth of results to be sure you’ve got something profitable, anything less than this and it could simply be left to pure chance. Over time you could make a substantial profit simply picking horses at random. Over the long term of course, such an approach would lose money, but lady luck can do strange things with a small data set.
There was a thread on an internet forum recently with people picking one horse a day with different first letter to its name and rotating through the alphabet. It made money, but it was all luck of course!
To summarise, our system testing rules are as follows:
1. System with no historical/ theoretical proof: 6-12 months of live testing required to ensure that your idea has legs.
2. System with theoretical records, no live records: 3-6 months of live testing required to ensure that theoretical results are robust. If your live results are in line with your theoretical results, then you have a potential system on your hands.
3. System with historical live records (proofed or reliable): 1-2 Months if you have purchased a system with at least 9-12 months worth of live/ proofed returns, and the vendor is updating you with his ongoing returns, then just as with tipsters a couple of months worth of live testing should be enough.
Creating your own horse racing system
Creating your own system from scratch can be at times confusing, and using a tipster can work out to be expensive if you want to follow multiple services. A more than acceptable compromise is to use a ratings system that allows you use variables outside of the usual Racing Post tick box strategies employed by many systems. We’ve mentioned in the past that in our opinion the best way to create a horse racing system is to use a bespoke rating system that allows you to get a head start.
Bookies price up horses based on various factors, such as the horses form and stable expectations. In our opinion, picking horses based on form alone makes it hard to generate significant returns because for the most part, the form data you are looking at will already be factored into the price of the horse.
If a horse has placed in 7 out of its 10 last races, the bookies already know this!
Often the bookies get it quite right and betting on favourites alone will bring you a loss of about £8 for every £100 bet. That’s actually not too bad and shows that the odds of favourites winning are very close to their true probability of success. This efficiency doesn’t mean you can’t spot value though.
The beauty of bespoke ratings programs is that they offer a perspective on a horse where they will assign each horse a score that is often independent of the odds on offer. This might mean that the ratings service has a different ‘favourite’ to that implied by the bookmakers, often at a bigger price. It works the other way too; a bookmaker’s favourite might have a low rating, thus making it a weak favourite. The Ratings services often use complex algorithms that are computer generated, with the underlying computations often kept secret.
It is rare that backing the top rated horse alone will be enough to make a profit, however quite often the ratings perform better than the odds implied by the betting order. This means you have a much better starting point from which to create your own system.
Take the following findings from the excellent Adrian Massey ratings website for example.
According to Adrian’s website, if you were to simply back horses based on their order in the betting market, you would get the following results:
1st Favourite: -8% Return on Investment (£8 lost of for every £100 wagered)
2nd Favourite: -11% Return on Investment
3rd Favourite: -15% Return on Investment
However if you were to bet based on Adrian’s ratings you would get the following results since 1991
Top rated: +3% Return On Investment
2nd Rated: -5% Return on Investment
3rd Rated: -12% Return on investment.
Although historically, backing Adrian’s top rated horse was profitable alone, in recent years it has been much less so (though still better than backing the favourite alone). This might be a function of people following Adrian’s ratings and pushing the prices down so the SP returns a lower profit. This is a case of the market place still being efficient and adjusting to what was valuable information.
Still, this should demonstrate that there is still value with his ratings system, although loss making, the losses are certainly less than betting on the corresponding 1st 2nd or 3rd favourites. The 2nd and 3rd top rated have held up well in recent years, and it should be noted that these are often available at higher prices, which makes betting on them attractive with early prices with best odds guarantees or Betfair/ Betdaq.
Rather than studying a form card which thousands of other punters are doing, it therefore could pay to base your studies on bespoke ratings. From here you have a much more solid base for system building that will hopefully stand the test of time.
We’ve covered a few system builder/ rating services in the past, the notable standout services being Adrian Massey, Footy Lays, Flat Stats, Racing System Builder, and Winabobatoo.
1. Adrian Massey: http://www.adrianmassey.com/home.php
An excellent website with years of data on favourites and his own customer computer generated ratings. It’s completely free which is fantastic, but it has been a victim of its own success in recent years and the top rated selection no longer has the same potency that it once did to SP. Still, by making use of the free system builder tool and the friendly members forum, there’s plenty of profitable betting angles to be had. Adrian doesn’t display all the ratings for each day, as he holds some back for members who have donated to the charity he is raising money for in the London marathon. Donation doesn’t guarantee access and the donation must be seen as just that, a donation.
2. UK Horse Racing: http://www.ukhorseracing.co.uk
Malcolm, the customer face of UKHR is a very pleasant chap to deal with and you get to deal with him every day via their vibrant forum. The ratings themselves were devised by Dave Taylor. The UKHR ratings have some complex mathematics behind them, but the site itself is easy to navigate. You can view the ratings for every horse in every race each day as well as checking out the performance of various systems that members have come up with. To make things easier for you, each of these systems has their daily qualifiers displayed from early in the morning.
A useful resource with a friendly community around it.
3. Proform Professional: http://www.proformracing.co.uk/
Proform features a fully fledged system builder that you can download and use to explore your own racing systems. In addition, you can make use of Simon’s unique ratings for each race. Once you create your own systems, you can have the system reveal the daily qualifiers automatically for you.
4. Flat Stats: http://www.flatstats.co.uk/
Bespoke ratings for flat and all weather racing. Their system builder allows you to track a number of backing and laying systems at once. These might be the ones you have created or one of the ones that have been suggested by other Flat Stats members. The daily qualifiers are then automatically generated for you. The cost is £25 per month.
5. Racing Systems Builder: http://www.rsbweb.com
A complete horse racing system package with a number of different rating programs. Again, similar to Adrian Massey, it has been a victim of its own success in recent years and the top ratings are now less successful to SP, though when released early in the morning they can sometimes still move the early markets. RSB is used by many professional gamblers thanks to the vast amount of data available. The price reflects this, it will cost you around £700 to get all the data going back to the 1980s then downloading the day’s qualifiers will cost you around £2 a day.
6. Winabobatoo: http://www.winabobatoo.co.uk/
Winabobatoo rates football teams not horses like the rest of ratings services mentioned, but it is worth highlighting this excellent publication. You can follow Mike’s highlighted star bets, but there are reams of statistics for you to get your teeth into, should you wish to create your own systems based on his data. You can read an original, full review of Winabobatoo in our past SBC editions or on the www.moneymakerreview.com website (SBC members only).
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