Looking Back To The Future

With the Cheltenham Festival having recently finished, and I hope you were following our previews as we came out with a tidy profit, I thought it was appropriate to look at what we need to review in order to improve our betting. By looking back over our past results we can improve our future results. Doing this we learn what areas we should be specialising in as bettors.

Of course, this is not something that you should just do after a festival, you should do it regularly every few months to make sure that you stay on your toes and, more importantly, you stay ahead of the market. Don’t forget that the betting market is a living organism. As new information becomes available it changes and adapts to take it into account. We also need to be permanently adapting to take into account the changes that the market makes. Doing this allows us to stay ahead of everyone else and walk away with a profit.

I’m am assuming that you have kept good records of your betting. If you don’t do this, then this is the first thing that you must tackle. It is imperative to keep an accurate account of every bet that you made, the conditions of the event you are betting in and the reason you made the bet. Without this it is going to be almost impossible for you to improve your betting, unless you are very lucky.

As we aren’t in the game of relying on luck, we tackle our betting from a professional and business like manner!

From now on I will be using horse racing as the example in this article, but you can apply this to any sport that you may be interested in.

Our first step is to break down our selections into conditions. In racing we may choose to break them down by…

  • Race Type
  • Handicap/Non-Handicap
  • Flat/Jumps/All Weather
  • Class
  • Number Of Runners

You get the idea, I’m sure that there are plenty more that you can come up with 😉

Choose however many conditions you want to break your selections down by, just choose three or four to start with. Ultimately we want to do as many as possible but starting with this becomes overwhelming and it is something you can build to slowly.

I want to point out why I have put Number Of Runners on the list above. I believe this to be an important criteria to break your selections down into but it isn’t anything to do with the fact that it is a race condition. It is to do with the ability of humans to analyse a race with a large quantity of runners.

It is very difficult for the human brain to analyse a large number of complex comparisons accurately. The more runners that we have in the race, the more comparisons we have and the harder the race becomes to analyse. In fact often in large fields we use big brush strokes to remove large numbers of runners before we begin our analysis as this is the only way for us to read the form with any degree of accuracy. By breaking results down into number of runners you are likely to find the bracket that suits your and the way your brain works.

Don’t think that it will always be the smallest fields, this isn’t necessarily the case. It is quite often between 8 and 12 runners for most people, but look at your results broken down by this condition and see if you perform considerably better in a certain range of runners than the others. If you do then stick to races with this number of runners in.

Of course when we are analysing our results broken down into different sections we want to look at profit, but actually profit is probably one of the least things we are interested in. Bear with me and I will explain why!

What we are actually interested in our…

  • Strike Rate
  • Number Of Selections
  • ROI (Return On Investment)

The reason that these are more important is that ultimately we can make more profit with bigger stakes. What we want is to have a good ROI and a good number of selections. When we combine them with a strike rate that we are comfortable with then we have a killer combination that has the potential to make us a lot of money.

Start with the NUmber Of Selections. You MUST have enough selections in a specific condition to make your analysis valid. If you haven’t got at least 100 selections then you can’t analyse this condition seriously yet. Ignore it for now and continue using those races in your analysis and then come back to it in three months when you should have mor selections.

Assuming that you do have enough selections, decide the  minimum strike rate that you are happy with. When you’ve done this look at your strike rate under each of the conditions and if there are any that are showing a lower strike rate then remove these race from your future analysis. Of course you may want to take the profit/ROI into consideration when you do this. If you have a lower strike rate than you would ideally want but are making excellent profits then you may choose to be happy with the lower strike rate. Nothing is mutually exclusive in this business but when you are starting out you want to make them as independent as possible so that we can make and implement the important decisions.

Finally look at the ROI. This has to be looked at in combination with the number of selections. Ideally you want as many selections as possible. Personally I will work to selections that make as low as a 3% ROI as long as there is enough of them. Why? Because I am making 3% on every selection on average. If I can bet 1000 selections at £100 per bet a month then that is a lot of 3%’s!

By now, what you will have discovered is the niche that you are most successful in and suits you the most with your betting. This is the very important first step to becoming long-term successful. From now on you know exactly what type of race conditions you should be concentrating your analysis on.

Next time I am going to look at what you do to tweak your analysis in this niche to find the areas that need improvement.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.

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