Betting 360 Podcast - Betting From All AnglesThere are only a handful of people in the country who could honestly say that they have lived off the punt for the last 25 years.

This week’s special guest Greg Lethe is one of them, having been a professional greyhound racing punter since 1980.

He has some excellent points to share with you on this week’s edition of the Betting 360 podcast. The full transcript is below.


Punting Insights You’ll Find

  • A typical working week for a full-time gambler
  • What he learned being on track with 100 bookies in a thriving marketplace.
  • How on-course and off-course betting has evolved and how he finds value
  • The most important aspects of form study
  • The types of races in which he achieves his best returns
  • Why he focuses exclusively on betting at Wentworth Park

Today’s Guest:
Greg Lethe is a professional punter who provides his full ratings set for our Greyhound Guru package.

Get the Transcript:

>> Click Here to Read the Transcript

David Duffield: Hello. This is David Duffield. I’d like to welcome Greg Lethe to the show.
How are you, Greg?

Greg Lethe: Good day Dave. How’s things?

David Duffield: Really good, thanks, and look forward to having a chat. I’m not a greyhound expert by any means, so we’ve had plenty of discussions over the past few months, but I look forward to sharing some of that with the guys. Just tell the people a bit about your background and where you’re interest in betting came from.

Greg Lethe: Probably about twenty-five years ago, roughly, I was a hobby trainer of greyhounds and I only had a couple of dogs, no more than 2 or 3 at a time. Over a period of time training them, I realised … we won a few races but nothing sensational. Was never going to be our profession. It really worked out. I was making fair money out of other races other than my own dogs, so things just evolved. It was never a day when I said I want to punt for a living, but things just evolved to the point where I was making reasonable return on betting, and specialising just on the dogs, and was very fortunate to … probably the training, I engaged with a lot of people at the track who I learned a lot off. Twenty-five years, I’ve seen a lot of changes in that time and still going strong.

David Duffield: For how many years have you lived basically off the punt?

Greg Lethe: You’d say twenty-five years. Looking back, probably I was training in my early twenties, so that’s been almost thirty years now, so I’d say twenty-five years, surviving quite nicely just having a bet. I’d say twenty-five is a good enough guess.

David Duffield: That makes you a pretty rare commodity. Have you had to change your approach much over the years?

Greg Lethe: Absolutely.
That’s one of the most important ingredients to winning is … When I first started Sky Channel wasn’t around, there was bookmakers, 100 bookmakers in the city and there was even strong non-tab meetings that you could get enough money on, you wouldn’t even have to bet at the TAB meetings.
I’d go to four meetings. Five meetings a week, at least. Attend those meetings, buy the videos at the track. As time goes on, the whole wagering environment has changed and Sky Channel and technology’s … They’re now putting fantastic form in people’s laps.
But, at the same time, the edge that you look for has changed as well. It’s huge differences in the way I’ve changed, even betting, but that’s all about the environment you’re playing. You’ve got to be open to change, because otherwise, your advantage will just disappear very quickly.

David Duffield: We’ll talk a little later on about some of the specifics about how you rate a race, but in those days, being on the track and it was a fairly thriving industry, what did you learn from other punters, both good and bad?

Greg Lethe: That’s a big difference now too is I don’t go to the track at all and very few people do. When we did, we’d engage with a lot of trainers, punters, bookmakers, who are winners and you’d see things that they’d do and you’d see the way they’d handle races, or you’d engage with them and talk and learn a lot. How they analyse videos, even reading the personalities in the betting ring. Reading the moves. Knowing who was who. Things like that. Even trial information.
It’s a totally different beast. At the time, there was reasonable crowds event at and we could always learn from people. As you said there was also people there that you’d learn what not to do. You’d see what they’d do and you’d see the way they’d manage their money poorly or over bet on races. You pick up a lot. There’s not one particular thing. It’s a slow process of absorbing information and methods and then making it your own, in the sense of … You can learn a little bit off a lot of people but then make it your own method. What you do.

David Duffield: What do you consider to be the key characteristics of a successful gambler? A lot of guys would like to have that as their vocation, but very few achieve it and even fewer for such a length of time. What do you consider as just essential to be a successful gambler?

Greg Lethe: Probably finding edges. When I say the edge I mean it’s finding a position in the marketplace that is probably against the consensus, or against what the general market says is going to happen. That’s difficult to find, especially now because the availability of form and all the video evolved online. It’s educated a lot more people. You’ve got to have an edge. You can’t just bet with the consensus.
The old story of knowing what value is. You’ve better know what value is. You can’t create it, but recognising it. I think the only way you can do that is by having market prices for every runner, accurate market prices, and working from there.
They are the two big points. I suggest that people … There’s a myriad of other things like that. Money management and understanding your own risk positions. There’s a whole raft of qualities that you need because it’s not always a smooth path. You need to be able to cope with the ups and downs and just the day-to-day monotony of even the exercise that you’re trying to do. The races are running wall-to-wall each day and seven days a week. Qualities like that are essential to be successful in the long term.

David Duffield: Specifically about greyhound racing. What is it that you love about the dogs and also what makes it a good betting opportunity?

Greg Lethe: I love my job. I’ve always had some knowledge in the greyhounds. Probably the big difference between (and I’ve got no real knowledge of the harness and the gallops) but from from what I can see, the thing with the dogs is that they don’t run in lanes. So there’s a degree of interference that would not be accepted in the other codes. That’s one big difference.
I feel like being able read into the first five seconds of the race is also critical because the first bend comes up after about five or six seconds of each race. Knowing what’s going to happen early spells out the future of the race. If you can get the start right, you can generally determine what’s going to happen in the rest of the race.
The value aspect of the dogs probably … The total volume of the betting should be under what the gallops do. But, at the same time, the consensus market is a lot weaker than say, the Sydney or Melbourne gallop Saturday markets unless big players are involved. The markets that are put out there from the consensus is not as strong because there’s not as many professional players engaging and producing those markets.
Those that do play are not really influencing what’s going up because a lot of times, the corporates have closed those people down.
I think there’s value there. Albeit, you can’t over bet into those pools because otherwise you crush the value back out of it.
From the dog perspective versus the other two codes. That would be what I’d say are the advantages.

David Duffield: From back in the day, when you’re at the track, if was there a hundred bookies and a fair bit of liquidity in the market you tend to have more efficient prices, whereas nowadays, you’ve got a couple of price assessors working for the TAB or whoever and most of the corporates clone those to varying degrees. You say that presents opportunities as a punter?

Greg Lethe: Yeah. No one gets it right all the time and that’s across all three codes.
But, you’re exactly right. When there were 100 bookmakers at the city meeting there were a lot of people and relatively smart people developing that market. It goes up. Not even the opening market prices, but after five minutes of betting, that market’s going to be influenced by a multitude of people; punters and bookmakers. Whereas now, as you’ve correctly said, you’ve got a couple of price assessors that basically dictate the early markets. Because of the restriction on a lot of people actually changing those markets to any large degree as they can’t engage with those people putting them up those markets are basically up there and taken in as a guide when really, you need a bigger pool to develop those markets.
There’s always opportunity there to challenge those markets. As I’ve said, no one gets it right every time. But the beauty is you don’t have to, you just have to make some return on enough occasions across a period of time.
I think that’s versus the other situation where you’ve got so many people at the track that were numerous bookmakers. They did have a lot more solid position in the market.

David Duffield: People listened to this and listening the fact that you did it full time, they might be thinking that you’re betting four, five, six nights a week. But, they’ll be interested to learn you focus solely on Wentworth Park on Friday and Saturday nights.

Greg Lethe: Yeah. Other than those Friday and Saturday’s at Wentworth Park I would have a handful of bets for the rest of the year. At other tracks, I did a handful. I don’t see any need to bet more than the two nights. That can return me a nice income. It’s still quite a bit of work. The way I prepare, there’s still enough work in two nights a week.
I think you have to specialise. You have to have a fairly strong understanding of the dogs that you’re engaging. To do that, it’s going to take time. I could bet far more days a week, but I don’t particularly have the time to prepare to those meetings. And once you start running yourself a bit thin, then errors start coming into play. I’m very happy just to take two nights a week.
It also balances, I mean I’ve got a family and that time is very important to me as well. It gives me that perfect balance at the moment. Saying all that, starting out previously we used to go four or five days a week. When you’re starting out, it’s a totally different kettle of fish than when you’re at my stage now, where two nights a week is quite good to be a specialist in the Sydney market.

David Duffield: Give us an overview of how you do prepare for a meeting. Whether it’s the ratings you do for your databases at the time, videos, directional speed maps. Just and overview of the work that goes into it before you come up with your rated prices.

Greg Lethe: The biggest thing is … Finding markets, it starts way before the drawing’s even done in the sense of … I use video analysis of every dog that races at Wentworth Park. That builds up a database. That’s the starting point in the sense of without that, you can’t even take step one. Once you’ve established a reasonable database … When I say that you’re establishing early speed, directions the dog runs, what they rate across their career and their last few starts. So all that information is in my database. I download all that. Also get some trial information, which is sourced from various people around the tracks. Understand how the box draw, how the dogs are running, what their capabilities are.
Then I do directional speed maps. Speed maps occur in a number of different ways butnless you’ve got the way the dogs are going to run included in the speed maps, they, to a large degree, are not as valuable. I prepare those and rate each dog purely based on their predicted position in the race. I give it a rating number. I look at the trainer and I give a rating number to the trainer.
After all that sort of information has been sourced, I prepare through running a formula to come up with a rating for these particular races as a new events. Every race is a new event. The data comes in from previous information. Once I’ve got all that data for this new event, I create my market based on percentage. I add all the runners of the race up and divide, look at their percentage, and multiply that out to a price to around 100%. Never greater than 100%. But, usually would run in the 97-98%, to 100%. I produce a market around there. It gives a little bit bigger edge on top of the 100% market, but not a great deal.

David Duffield: Is it fair to say you’re more than happy to take on a favourite and that you enjoy what some people might call a tough race?

Greg Lethe: Yeah. I actually love the races where at the meetings, there’s numerous chances in the race. I rarely back favourites. I don’t set out to oppose favourites. Just the way my market’s turned out, I’ve found most of the time I’m rarely on a favourite because, although I’ve marked them as my favourite and all other cases, not always but a lot of cases, I probably mark them a little bit longer than consensus markets follows them. My major results are happening when the favourites are usually getting beat and I’m probably finding that dogs, where the second, or third, or fourth favourite are winning races. That’s just the way my market’s turned out. It’s not something I set out to do. It’s just the way that … I’ve found over time that’s the way falls into place.
There are definitely dogs I would oppose. I don’t go through Betfair to lay them because it’s not really the liquidity for me. At the same time, there’s definitely dogs there that the market finds well under what I find them at. In that case, I don’t oppose them on bets but I oppose them through my own staking away from that.

David Duffield: Yeah, you’re betting around them.
Tell us about the post-race reviews that you do. We’ve often encouraged people to not let a race go by and they think that’s the end of it. There’s some good learnings that can be heard from analysing those again after the event. Tell us about the work you do because you probably take it to a new level.

Greg Lethe: I actually agree with what you just said. It’s basically vitally important that … I do it for a number of reasons. I look at every single bet. I wouldn’t say every single exotic bet, but every single bet that I’ve had on a dog. After the meeting, I go through every single race and try and analyse where I got it right or where I got it wrong. I try and look at why I did it, because that’s when you learn. You’re making a repetitive error. Even if you’re making a repetitive good decision, you need to reinforce that in your mind.
The other reason I do it, is that I think in punting you need to have a fairly fresh mental approach to things so I, in a sense, put the meeting to bed by doing that. Win, lose, or draw, you don’t want to be dwelling on it, because the next meeting is coming up next week. You need to be ready for that. Even if you have a fantastic night, you don’t want to go around high-fiving yourself all week. You want to put it to rest, move on, and get back to work to look to the next meeting and vice versa. If it’s a poor meeting, you don’t want to be down in the dumps all week because you need to be ready for the next Friday. I find the post race analysis that I do, the post mortem, is basically looking at every single race and every single bet and asking the questions, “Why? What did I do? Why did I do it?” It really helps on a number of levels. It’s a learning curve but also a mental cleansing, in a way, of putting things to rest.

David Duffield: Give me some really good insights into how you operate and your background. It’s exciting news we’ve got you on board as our greyhound guy and we’ve never had a greyhound service before in our communications issues.
It’s been pretty clear of the success you’ve had. I think you enjoyed what you’ve seen in what we’re trying to achieve. Even from our much recent product launch was Ben Krahe and the harness service. I think we can replicate that and he’s been incredibly successful over the last three months. I think we can replicate that here with your set.
Just a run-through of what people will get, it will be the Friday and Saturday night meeting, which has been Wentworth Park for a long time but I believe will include the occasionail Dapto meeting over the next year.
It will be the full ratings for every runner, a comment. We’ll run a live page in the lead-up to the night. On the night itself, Greg is busy punting so he needs to switch that off. Probably, say around 5:00pm to 7:00pm, we’ll have the live page that people can ask any questions on early odds to take and the best way to attack certain races. That’s really exciting news for people who want to get on board to do that. But it’s not going to suit every single punter so I want to ask you Greg, which type of punter do you think would get the most out of that service such as this?

Greg Lethe: I think the person who’s got a long-term vision is the ideal person of probably any service. The person who’s looking for high value because the value will be there.
I’ll try and guide people as much as I can.
It will be Friday and Saturday night, the person who’s best suited is someone who understand the ups and downs and has a long-term vision of making a reasonable return on their money.
I’ll obviously try and help as much as I can to answer the questions, because it’s all about education. That’s one of the things I’ve loved about your service in general. There’s a lot of educational information that you offer without driving it down someone’s throat. It’s for people looking for long-term value and success – I think we can provide that for them. Even in the new marketplace, with the harness release, you’ve had great success there. It gives a new direction, new opportunity for people just to expand things and they can increase their earnings without increasing their bet unit substantially.

David Duffield: Yeah, really looking forward to it.
We’ll kick it off very very soon. Probably tomorrow night, by the time that people are listening to this.
We do need to cap the membership limit once again though. It’s a metro market, but it’s not a massive one. If we’ve got a whole bunch of guys backing the same dog at the same time it can influence the market and we prefer to have a small winning clientele than have a massive amount of people that are basically fighting amongst themselves for a price. We are going to put a strict cap on that as we’ve done for a couple of our other services.
Is there anything else you think people should know before we wrap it up, Greg?

Greg Lethe: No. That sounds like a good overview of what we’re attempting to do.
I think you’re right about the restricting it to some degree, because it’s all about value and it becomes a bit too widespread in the smaller marketplaces you’re just going to be cannibalising each other and the value goes away very quickly. We’ve all got to ensure value as the end mission. That’s great.
I’m glad to have a chat and glad to be on board. We’ll be absolutely out there doing our best to produce some results.

David Duffield: Sounds great. Appreciate your time today. Look forward to working together and getting a bunch of winners from you for the next months and years.

Greg Lethe: Thanks Dave.

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Flemington review from Ray Hickson

Race 1: HKJC Handicap (1200m)

1st Tan Tat Diamond – Luke Nolen
2nd Raposo – Michelle Payne
3rd Beluga Caviar – Dwayne Dunn

Dupe ‘Em jumped awkwardly and went back, refusing to settle early on. Beluga Caviar was one of the leaders on the inside with Lola LuFitna and Lean ‘N’ MeanTan Tat Diamond strode along the widest on the track and Dupe ‘Em eventually found his back. Raposo tracked Beluga Caviar who looked under pressure as far out as the 600m and raced greenly. Gloop made a dash that was short lived and Beluga Caviar responded to hard riding. Fitna was one of the first beaten and only whacked away. Tan Tat Diamond raced to lead at the 200m then hit a flat spot, Raposo got an inside run and Dupe ‘Em tried to go with them. Tan Tat Diamond held about a long neck advantage for the last 100m or so and just lasted to beat Raposo who kept kicking and Beluga Caviar might have beaten them both if the race was much further as he rallied strongly. Dupe ‘Em was right on their heels and they got away from the rest.

Follow: Good runs the first four, particularly the $1.2m colt Beluga Caviar and Dupe ‘Em who should both appreciate 1400m.

Race 2: Vintage Crop & The Curragh (1400m)

1st Written – Katelyn Mallyon
2nd Jessy Belle – Chris Symons
3rd Dainty Miss – Dean Holland

Dainty Miss jumped best and crossed to take up the running, though Davarick tried to hold her out for a while. Jessy Belle was out three wide going forward around Written who kept her out there. It’s One raced in the clear next and the two outsiders trailed. Dainty Miss eventually got to the rail but Jessy Belle didn’t get over to her outside until close to the 800m. Davarick held the box seat and Written took Jessy Belle’s back. Written made the move on the point of the turn to go up three wide and put Jessy Belle under pressure as Dainty Miss tried to kick. It’s One somehow got held up behind them for a run until passing the 200m. Jessy Belle got her head in front at that point and looked to be holding them but Written kept coming and got the bob on the post to win. Dainty Miss held on for third and It’s One probably should have run a place at least. Outstanding ride from Katelyn Mallyon, she made Jessy Belle work with the 60kg and it proved the difference.

Follow: perhaps It’s One back to midweek company.

Race 3: NPT Rising Stars (1800m)

1st Reckless Assassin – Regan Bayliss
2nd Rememba Howe – Harry Coffey
3rd Madam Nash – Jake Bayliss

Madam Nash was the first to break the line and she took up the running with Reckless Assassin close by. Friday Hussy raced handy and Regaliti, who was slowly out, rushed around to be up on the pace. Blue Ribbon was stuck wide around Rememba Howe and Mossmoney midfield. About 1200m out Regaliti served it up to Madam Nash and they broke a good six lengths clear of the field with Reckless Assassin next. Eventually Regaliti got to the lead but had done a heap of work. Madam Nash switched to the outside and Reckless Assassin was closing in with Blue Ribbon. Friday Hussy loomed up early in the straight and Mossmoney was a bit one paced. Madam Nash went for home about 300m out but was quickly grabbed by Reckless Assassin who sprinted past her and bolted away. There was a wall chasing her and Rememba Howe got up to grab second from a very brave Madam Nash. Warwarick finally got going to be close up and Regaliti had the audacity to stick on as well. 

Follow: none.

Race 4: Bruce Gadsden Handicap (1000m)

1st O’Malley – Jye McNeil
2nd Cosmic Lights – Chris Symons
3rd Handsome Tycoon – Luke Nolen

Trevinder went down on his knees as the gates opened but recovered to be up on the speed. Hugo Drax also showed pace to hold the lead on the inside with This Is The Show and Trevinder a bit further out. Handsome Tycoon was next in the centre of the track and Seven Falls outside him. Following them was O’Malley and Stamina was next. Trevinder took over from the 400m from This Is The Show, who was battling, and Handsome Tycoon tried to pick them up. You could see O’Malley angling for the run between him and Seven Falls and it came in plenty of time. Out wider Cosmic Lights started to warm up and Stamina was outsprinted. O’Malley finished the race off strongly and established a break to win impressively from Cosmic Lights. Handsome Tycoon finally got to Trevinder to gain third. Not much to say about the rest other than the well performed Stamina was horribly unsuited in this race and assess him after he races over 1200m and further.

Follow: a good form race it appears. O’Malley is a nice horse on the way up and be forgiving of Trevinder.

Race 5: Ascot Racecourse Handicap (2000m)

1st Backbone – Brad Rawiller
2nd Eclair Samba – Dwayne Dunn
3rd Fulgur – Craig Newitt

Royal Mephisto didn’t show much speed and settled last. Use The Lot fired out with the blinkers on to find the front. Shenzhou Steeds held the fence from Post D’France and Eclair Samba was in the clear. A line of three next withCrafty Cruiser inside Fulgur and Clang And Dazzle while Backbone had a three wide trail behind them. Use The Lot strode along in the lead and Post D’France stayed about a length away. Eclair Samba got onto his back and was flushed out when Clang And Dazzle tried to improve out wider. That gave Backbone a cart into the race on the turn. Use The Lot tried to kick away but was grabbed by Post D’France at the 300m with Eclair Samba and Backbone chiming in. Shenzhou Steeds was battling in behind them and Fulgur was out in enough time to chase them. Backbone sprinted best in the last furlong and while Eclair Samba stuck with him he had his chance. Fulgur got there for third and Post D’France and Shenzhou Steeds battled on. Royal Mephisto made plenty of late ground to be beaten about four lengths.

Follow: these horses tend to take turns, keep an eye on where Royal Mephisto goes next as he was up in class.

Race 6: Ellerslie/Santa Anita Park Handicap (1400m)

1st Free Of Doubt – Craig Newitt
2nd Loot ‘N’ Run – Katelyn Mallyon
3rd Morant – Dwayne Dunn

Even line out and Loot ‘N’ Run headed straight for the fence and the lead. Free Of Doubt came over with him and they held a couple of lengths on Alpha Proxima and Future SolutionRoyal Island found himself trapped wide asMorant stayed off the fence and Hai Lil kicked up inside them. Loot ‘N’ Run controlled the speed and Free Of Doubt stuck right with him. Coming to the turn Alpha Proxima came out three wide to run on and Future Solution and Morant were handy and they started to creep away from the rest of the field, many of which were already under pressure. Loot ‘N’ Run and Free Of Doubt settled down to fight it out for the last 300m as Morant closed on them from behind and Free Of Doubt just did best in the last few strides to win. Loot ‘N’ Run had every chance but ran well and Morant ran on as he always does – he’s not usually as close as he was in this race so he also had his chance. Lord Of Brazilwas the only one to make any significant ground from the back and Royal Island disappointed after a tough run and perhaps he is better in the wet.

Follow: none.

Race 7: Singapore Turf Club Handicap (1200m)

1st Zamorar – Katelyn Mallyon
2nd Fab Fevola – Glen Boss
3rd Smackdown – Jason Benbow

Messy start. Zamorar was a bit slow as was Mr Good CatFab Fevola quickly found the lead from the inside alley and moved toward the centre of the track. Mr Make Believe was right on his back and Smackdown followed him in turn. It’s Poet’s Day was there and General Truce handy to their inside. Fab Fevola ran along and kicked a few clear of Mr Make Believe who was the first under pressure. Smackdown tried hard as well and the only one running on was Zamorar who got to the outside. Fab Fevola was paddling already as they passed the 200m but was three or four clear of Zamorar chasing. Smackdown started to respond as did the grey Mr Make Believe and Flash Of Doubt was closing fast from well back in the closing stages. Zamorar made a dive on the line and got up to win. Fab Fevola gave a sight and Smackdown was excellent first-up. Nice runs also from Mr Make Believe and Flash Of Doubt. Very disappointed with Sea Lord who was always well back and gave nothing.

Follow: Smackdown, Mr Make Believe.

Race 8: Baden Baden Handicap (1600m)

1st Aeratus – Glen Boss
2nd Prizum – Tom Sadler
3rd Chile Express – Michelle Payne

Durnford showed some speed out of the gates but Onpicalo kicked up inside to hold the lead. Aeratus was put into a perfect spot just off them and the jumper Auld Burns was up handy in fourth. Ringo followed Aeratus andMidnight Glory and Flyingconi were next. Onpicalo wasn’t wasting any time and Durnford stuck with him. Aeratus looked the winner before the turn with the cold sit on them he had and Ringo kept on his back but was a bit flat footed coming to the turn. Vizhaka went around him and Chile Express came off his back to run on. Auld Burns was battling away behind them. Aeratus swept to the lead passing the 200m but looked a bit vulnerable with Ringo picking up and Academy Jack making a run down the outside. Chile Express kept coming and Prizum launched from the back down the centre. But Aeratus kicked in and held them all off. He just keeps winning. Chile Express and Prizum hit the line locked together. Ringo had every possible chance and was one paced. Durnford stayed on okay as did Auld Burns.

Follow: nothing outside the winner.

Specials from the meeting: Beluga Caviar, Dupe ‘Em, Smackdown, Mr Make Believe.

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Rosehill Review by Todd Burmester

Race 1

1st Liberation – Tim Clark
2nd Inz’n’Out – Kerrin McEvoy
3rd Harrier Jet – Jason Collett

1200m for the two-year-olds in the first and Double Happy missed the kick by about 4 lengths. Liberation pinged straight to the front from Inz’n’Out, with Harrier Jet and Fastnet Diva getting good runs behind the speed. Around the turn, Liberation traveled nicely and slipped away a bit. Clark went for home at about the 250m mark and the issue was never in doubt. Inz’n’Out kept trying hard and stayed within a couple of lengths of the winner and managed to put about five lengths on the rest of the field in the run to the line. The first two are obviously the ones to follow out of this.

Follow: Liberation, Inz’n’Out

Race 2

1st Cluster – Josh Parr
2nd Rock Sturdy – Jason Collett
3rd Mount Nebo – Taylor Marshall

Great Choice showed the most pace out of the gates from Zin Zan Eddie and Longeron from out wide. When they settled Great Choice had it from Longeron who had moved up on the outside into second giving Zin Zan Eddie the sit in third. The short priced favourite Cluster had gone back to near the rear. Around the turn, Cluster was brought widest but still spotted the speed about 6 lengths. Up to the 300m mark you could see that he was winding up quickly with a run, and always looked as if he would get there. The margin on the line wasn’t big but given he came from last, it is all credit to the winner here. Mount Nebo put in another good run here and a win is not far off for him.

Follow: Mount Nebo

Race 3

1st Cradle Me – Christian Reith
2nd Casual Choice – Jason Collett
3rd Green Beret – Taylor Marshall

Cradle Me was edgy in the gates and missed it a couple of lengths. This probably turned out to be a blessing as I feel she is best ridden off the speed. Zaratone showed its usual pace to run the gates and lead from Green Beret, with Big Bonanza caught on a limb in third. Green Beret looked to have Zaratone covered at the 300m mark, and there was a break to the rest of the field who were virtually in a line, with Cradle Me tracking through nicely and winding up to come after Green Beret. Casual Choice came with a good run down the outside but Cradle Me had too many guns in the run to the line getting past Green Beret who couldn’t quite hold off Casual Choice who ran second, relegating Green Beret to third. Three races down for three impressive winners.

Follow: Casual Choice

Race 4

1st Multilateral – Josh Parr
2nd Black Jag – Serg Lisnyy
3rd Done Nothin’ Wrong – Ty Angland

1900m for Race 4, with Black Jag leading them up as expected and Phrases going around them into second. Done Nothin’ Wrong was in third from Pirate Bay. In the back straight, Done Nothin’ Wrong went around them into second and these two steadied up in front and stayed in the first two spots until the 100m mark when Multilateral wore them down and it was a dog fight to the line, withToo Hi Tek also joining in four wide on the track. Right on the line it was Multilateral who nabbed Black Jag with Done Nothin’ Wrong and Too Hi Tek just peaking a bit on their runs. Multilateral is likely to hold its form now that its fit and over its right distances.

Follow: Multilateral

Race 5

1st Runway Star – Kerrin McEvoy
2nd Cool Ring – Jason Collett
3rd Supreme Joy – Tim Clark

A pretty good line out in the fifth, with Runway Star showing a great amount of speed to come across and set up a two and a half length break pretty quickly. Encostanati was in second with Cool Ring and Arquette in third and fourth with Zaba Zaba Doo in fifth but three wide. Wonderbolt, who was an impressive last start winner was back last. Around the turn, Runway Star had gotten away to lead by three lengths and looked to be going well. At the 200m mark Runway Star was a mile in front and despite getting a bit tired in the run to the line, nothing could get near it in the run to the line. Cool Ring ran into second and Supreme Joy into third. Wonderbolt did make ground down the outside, but it was simply a case here of the winner running them off their legs.

Follow: Wonderbolt

Race 6

1st Generalife – Kerrin McEvoy
2nd Romantic Moon – Christian Reith
3rd Scream Machine – Ty Angland

Under The Sun went to the front with Hidden Kisses moving up into second in The Winter Stakes. This gave Tromso a good sit behind them in third and Generalife had the one out one back trail. The other fancied runner, Scream Machine went back to second last as was to be expected. Under The Sun stretched them out around the turn, and plenty were being felt for. Up to the 300m mark Generalife was quickly on the scene and put the issue beyond doubt. There was a wall of them chasing with Romantic Moon getting there for second and Scream Machine weaving its way through for third after having a bit of a checked passage earlier on in the straight.

Follow: Generalife may measure up in the Spring

Race 7

1st Made To Order – Serg Lisnyy
2nd My Sabeel – James McDonald
3rd Sunday Too Far – Winona Costin

Flying Jet had no pace in the seventh after what was a pretty good line out. Sunday Too Far led them up from Balaclava Lady, which gave My Sabeel and Zuccherina good runs behind the speed.Made To Order and Miss Middleton were next, also getting good runs. Around the turn and into the straight, Sunday Too Far still had it, but My Sabeel was coming off its heals to issue a challenge. Soon after, My Sabeel hit the front, with Made To Order looking to wind up behind it and Sense And Reason trying to come through on its inside. My Sabeel had it with 100m to go and looked like it may hang on, but to the credit of Made To Order it never gave in and got up basically on the line to score. Sunday Too Far held onto third from Sense And Reason. Maluti got going a little bit late in the race to get fifth, but ultimately did not run up to expectations of the market.

Follow: Sunday Too Far

Race 8

1st Evangelist – Kerrin McEvoy
2nd Moral Victory – Jason Collett
3rd Cape Clear – Time Clark

Evangelist having its first run in Australia showed good gate speed to lead out from Moral Victory, with Imperil splitting that pair. Paederos was back behind them on the fence. Eventually Imperil eased into the one out one back trail letting Moral Victory get across into second. Evangelist and Moral Victory were neck and neck up to the 300m mark and they put a couple of lengths on the rest of them. In a tooth and nail struggle to the line it was Evangelist who kept kicking on to get the judges decision. You would imagine the winner will continue to improve and might have more wins in store. Nothing from the rear really came into the race here.

Follow: Evangelist

Specials from the meeting: Mutlilateral, Wonerbolt, Evangelist

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Weekend Racing Reviews – July 12th

by darryn on July 14, 2014

Flemington review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Taj Rossi Final (1600m)

1st Crafty – Mark Zahra
2nd Triple Gold – Luke Nolen
3rd Zebulon – Glen Boss

Vuelta was one of the best out and headed to the lead with Jinx following him over. Lotion raced handy outside La CicciolinaZebulon went forward from his wide gate and was about to get some cover when What A Hoot kicked up and left him stranded three and four deep. Profit Share settled midfield on the fence but ran onto heels and over-raced. The pressure went on early with Zebulon moving up four wide to join the leaders on the turn. Vuelta had a little kick at the 400m and shook off Jinx and Lotion but Zebulon kept coming and loomed up about 200m out. But down the outside came Profit Share, who got clear after being shuffled back nearing the turn, Crafty and Triple Gold. Zebulon finally got past Vuelta inside the 100m but had nothing left after the hard run and Crafty and Triple Gold swamped him with Crafty just holding on to win. Zebulon held third in a huge performance just ahead of the eye-catcher Allergic, who ran home from last. Profit Share probably isn’t a 1600m horse but battled on and nothing wrong with the runs of Vuelta and Lotion who were also close up. It’d be a big surprise if this isn’t an excellent form race.
Follow: the first seven were all good performances but Zebulon and Allergic stood out.
(Click to continue reading…)

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Betting 360 Podcast - Betting From All Angles
In part one of the ‘Framing a market’ podcast last week we had pro punter (and former bookmaker) Ben Krahe explain his approach to rating every runner in the race.

This week we have the contrasting view of Rick Williams, our Senior Form Analyst here at Champion Picks.

He operates very differently to Ben so it’s good to learn more about another way a professional goes about the business of finding value.


Punting Insights You’ll Find

  • Some of the methods and people who have influenced Rick’s approach
  • The process of turning raw data into a rated price
  • When to incorporate subjective assessments
  • How he decides which races to bet into and which to avoid

Get the Transcript:

**Click Here to Read the Transcript**

David Duffield: Let’s have a chat about framing your market and market percentages. How do you explain to people that are semi-serious punters or even just a casual punter, how do you explain market percentages to them?

Rick Williams: Basically I think the simplest analogy is … How much it’s going to cost you to return a hundred dollars, so if you had a hundred percent market and you were to back every horse would cost you a hundred dollars to return a hundred, proportionately, or if the bookie’s market were say a hundred and thirty percent, then you were to back all of those horses, it would cost you a $130 dollars to get back your $100. That’s obviously where a wider margin help to make themselves some money. We try and keep it up, our market, around 100% and in our favor.

David Duffield: Do you care whether it’s 108% market in Sydney on a Saturday, or whether it’s 135% on a midweeker. Does that come into your thinking at all?

Rick Williams: Look, I think it does but I guess it’s relative to what your rating the horses, and I guess where you sort of might be getting a lot of value for your money if it is 135%, but you do like one, you might want to go to hard in that race, but if you’ve got a really competitive market such as Sydney where they get down to 108 or 105 to 108 on a Saturday. That’s good value and good shopping, so you might want to attack it and spend up there because you’re getting good value for your money from the marketplace, and if you’re backing horses that you think are value also, then in turn you’re getting value again.

David Duffield: So the markets that we put out are framed to 100%, and there might be some that are 99 and a half or 100 and a half depending on some rounding … I had a chat with Ben Krahe, the harness racing analyst, and he frames his markets to 120% and then uses a spreadsheet to bring that back to 100. A lot of that comes down to pushing the outsiders out to an even bigger price. Do you just work the whole time with a 100% market?

Rick Williams: Pretty much. I mean I’ve got a function where I can make it whatever I want just at the push of a button, I sort of work around that, and I have a couple of prices, so when I sort of create the market, I’ll have a price that will come up on a few different factors, and sort of will help me understand. For example, I might have a horse come up 5000-to-1 or something like that on one particular scale, and then that will, I guess as you said, he will penalize the other horses, while I’ve sort of got those types of indicators in there to tell me rating set A says this is 5000-to-1, rating set B says it’s 100-to-1, well we can probably make it longer than a 100-to-1, so there’s a couple of different ways to look at it, but certainly the longshots should be longer, generally speaking, looking at the markets.

David Duffield: You’ve got a hell of a lot of data there to work with. Some of it’s publicly available form, some of it’s by subscription, like Vince Accardi and then some of it’s developed internally like the class, speed and the base ratings. How do you go from the raw data into a rated price?

Rick Williams: It’s a process that I first got into through reading a lot of books from Don Scott, which is probably something that we’ve said a lot of times, and probably what a lot of people would say. In his teachings, I guess the ratings, the side of how he would develop a rating, one of the valuable pieces of information within those books is a start on how to develop and frame a market, and turn those numbers into a price, and then from going on and doing that and having an understanding of how the maths works and how all the numbers are relative to each other and margins between the ratings, you then get a further understanding and can then I guess have more sleepless nights and develop other techniques! Really I guess it was just for me getting a basic knowledge, which is readily available to anyone if you want to Google and do the research. It’s all online, and from there, you know, building on that and developing your own theories.

David Duffield: Yeah, because it’s dramatically different to what he was doing years ago, not only in I suppose the inputs or what’s considered important, but even the process that we go through. But that’s when you’ve got your L-plates on and a lot of people start there. So you’ve got the data and those various different assessments, and they can have different ratings into the final price. What part does your subjective judgment, your experience, and your opinion, play in the final rated price?

Rick Williams: Look, I sort of run a formula and it tells me at least the numbers, and then I sort of go over and we’ve got an automatic function that could produce a map, but I sort of go over that, and will put in the spreadsheet just to get a clearer picture, and sort of from there you can sort of picture horses that might be advantaged or disadvantaged, so you may make an adjustment there for how much of an advantage or disadvantage you think the horse will have. If it will be leading, or if it will be last, in regards to jockeys or other things, there’s other ways that you could obviously use your own decision making, but pretty much your numbers are your numbers, and you’ve got to believe in them and stick with your processes and I guess as you go along and get a bank of information you can go back and learn more about different things about your numbers and different ranges and zones of accuracy, so they will teach you lessons, as well as things like your general fundamentals. Is the horse going to handle the track? Is it going to run the distance? Is it going to get across from the barrier? So certainly all those things also come into play.

David Duffield: So Vince and yourself have the same mindset in that the data that’s going into it, you’d like to leave … raw’s probably not the word, pure might be a better word in that you don’t want to make massive adjustments for luck in running and the like, but what about when if you’ve come up with the base rating based on the algorithm that you’ve developed, how much room is there to move into tweaking that rated price, or is it more about if you don’t have confidence in whatever the output is, it might just be a race that you pass on, rather than dramatically changing the rating?

Rick Williams: I guess ideally you want horses that stand out on variable factors, and that’s sort of what you’re looking for, so you’re looking for horses that stand out on the different measurements, and they’re sort of the ones you hone in on. You get a lot of races where you might have 12 or 15 runners, and certainly there’s a few runners there that are overlays, but they might not map too well, and on the raw information there isn’t really that big of a gap in ability on what the information’s telling us, so there might be a length or two different over four or five runners, so I guess generally speaking, if you ran the race a lot of times, you would get a lot of outcomes.
We try and isolate where we think that more often than not we do have that edge from a factor we’re looking at that will sort of hold us in good stead in the long term, and I guess Nautical was, just as an example, on the rankings ranked really well, and that was the only horse on our scale that was over 100 and it was well clear of the next, so that’s what we’re looking at, not just the rankings or where they are or the price, but how much better is the information saying the horse actually is?

David Duffield: Yeah, and that’s what we use internally, Tips and Ratings members get the rankings, but we have the actual rating itself, just to see the differential from one horse to the next, or in other races, there might be a couple of standout runners, and then a massive gap to the next horse.

Rick Williams: Yeah the rankings are good because they give you a very quick overview I guess of the race because when you’re looking at 78.9, 68.2, 50.4, if it wasn’t colour-coded and ranked, it’s very hard to get a quick understanding of exactly what you’re trying to deal with, but I guess from a usability point of view, the ranking and the colour coding just really gives you an opportunity to hone in and see the race from a different angle, and then you can go and work with your numbers.

David Duffield: And you mentioned Nautical as a standout, but there are some races where there isn’t a lot between a few of the runners. It’s not often that we or anyone backs a 100-to-1 winner, talk us through the Beeleeup race and how the speed rating was a standout there, and how it came up as an overlay.

Rick Williams: Yeah, it was just a standout. He came through two races where it was beaten by Il Cavalo, and it didn’t rank really that high on class, but if we sort of measured it on class, it was probably too short at 100-to-1, but when I looked at the speed, and sort of how fast the horse had been running, and certainly factored that in, and looking at those two things as purely independent measurements, there was no doubt that Il Cavalo is a horse that had promised a lot early on and sort of had a few issues, but does look to be back in very, very good form, and I think the traditional class methods sort of didn’t highlight the strength of those two Il Cavalo wins, but certainly it was picked up when evaluating how fast the horses were running, and Beeleeup was clearly on top for speed, but we also have to balance it out with the class and factor in other things, so just because it’s on top on speed, you can’t just make it an even money favorite. There’s other things, but certainly it came out around $34 and we’re lucky enough to get it over the line.

David Duffield: So you’ve got the ratings that said there’s an automated aspect and then your own assessments, then what’s involved in the decision making as far as which races to get involved in betting wise?

Rick Williams: I think that certainly you want to make sure that your horses are suited, and I guess suited means there’s no query on them running the distance. They’re going to get a good run, they’ve got a good jockey on them, or I’ve got a jockey you may not rate as high as some of the others, I sort of am a believer that the less decisions a lesser jockey has to make, the better, so if you like a horse with a lesser jockey, you probably want a good draw and a good map, as opposed to a good horse with a lesser jockey, and a bad draw, and a bad map, so you’re looking at different things like that, and certainly where the horses are at in there preparation. Are they able to repeat their recent efforts, or are they over the top, are they ready yet for the trip, or are they half a run short? I guess no matter how much you sort of try and get the computer to do the work for you, there’s still definitely an element of touch, of going over, and it’s hard to escape half a dozen basic fundamentals we are all brought up with, but I guess it’s how we work those fundamentals from to get your final rating.

David Duffield: So you’ve chosen the race to get involved in, what about the decision making as far as backing a full stake on a runner versus wanting it on your side as a saver.

Rick Williams: Yeah, I think certainly to back your top raters is something that I like to do, and I generally like to take on a horse that I rank on top, even if it’s sort of not at a price, generally it’s not a horse I’d like to take on unless there’s some others that are pretty close, I tend to pass on those races, otherwise if they tick all the boxes and the price is there, certainly the top rater would generally get locked in as a main bet, and then quite possibly we’ll look to back another horse or save on the others, keeping in mind that we don’t want to be spending too much money. On each race, the strategy is to try and probably average around two units, but it all depends on what we think the price should be and what’s available, so sometimes it might only be one bet and spend 1.2 units, other times we might be really confident we’ve got the race wrapped up in two, and we might spend a bit more, say 2.8, so generally speaking, you try and keep it around the same level of risk per race, but there are times where you can go either way and spend less or more.

David Duffield: Yeah, and very few people, at least that I’ve spoken to, would look at the odds before doing the form, they wouldn’t look at the market, and then work backwards from there. Almost everyone wants a fresh set of eyes, and they come up with their own analysis and then compare it to the market, but once you’ve done that, do you use the market in any way as a guide? What impact does the currently available odds play once you’ve got the rated price finalised?

Rick Williams: For me, it’s a big impact because I sort of look at it and generally there can be discrepancies, and I like to know why there’s a discrepancy, so what it does is it gives you an opportunity to compare your work to someone else’s. I may have a horse at $16 and the market may have it at $4, and you know it’s interesting to go over and check why. What have we missed? So it’s certainly good for that, and certainly when you’re around your studying process, all of your databases, the closing market certainly is very accurate guide long-term, so I think that certainly once you’ve done your markets, you can’t ignore what the market is doing, and you do need to pay attention to that and make adjustments where necessary, and double-check your work and make sure you haven’t missed anything because sometimes you can miss things.

David Duffield: But in that scenario where you’ve rated something $16 and the market’s $4, if you go back and do all the work, and you’re just confident that your assessments stand up and you haven’t missed anything, you’ll stay rock solid at $16 and let the race decide who’s right and who’s wrong?

Rick Williams: Pretty much. You just want to make sure that you haven’t missed anything and if you think you’re right, then you just sort of got to back yourself. You might think you’re half right and they’re half right, some things aren’t black and white, some things are grey, so you might do a bit of a merge, so not everything’s black and white in racing, so you might not think that the horse lost that much ground when it was held up. The market might think it lost enough ground for it to be that price, so you sort of might agree to disagree and meet in the middle, so there’s a lot of different ways to sort of do it, but I think certainly the most important thing is just really looking at the market before you dive in at the value prices, cross-check your work and make sure you’ve got it all in line.

David Duffield: Good stuff, alright. We’ll leave it there for now. I just thought it was interesting to get some insight into the way you go about it. A lot of people operate differently. I’m not saying that there’s one right way of doing it, it’s just to give some insight into our approach, and hopefully people gain some insight from that.

Rick Williams: Yep, no problems.

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Caulfield review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Ascend Sales Trophies (1100m)

1st Royal Snitzel – Dale Smith
2nd Zeletto – Brad Rawiller
3rd Berlutti – Glen Boss

Berlutti pushed through along the inside to take up the running from stablemate Royal Snitzel with Tudor caught three wide. Zelettowas also stranded deep when Tudor eased and Kilim kicked up underneath him. Tan Tat Sun didn’t jump the best and was in the second half settling. Berlutti ran them along in front and Royal Snitzel had a dream sit behind him. Tudor and Kilim were under pressure and Zeletto travelled okay peeling out wider to run on. They broke the field up a little, Tan Tat Sun was the widest running on and lost a length being checked nearing the turn. Royal Snitzel claimed Berlutti early in the straight and after racing a bit greenly put her mind on the job and broke away. Zeletto was also a bit wayward but made a strong late bid. Berlutti clung on for third ahead of the eye-catcher Tan Tat Sun who made a heap of ground. Nothing else ran on as Tudor held on for fifth, well clear of the rest.

Follow: Zeletto may have been beaten by the barrier. Big run Tan Tat Sun. 

Race 2: The Cove Hotel Handicap (1100m)

1st Thiamandi – Joe Bowditch
2nd Jemerica – Chris Symons
3rd Maroon Bay – Dwayne Dunn

Jemerica had played up in the stalls prior to jumping but broke pretty well. Maroon Bay showed speed from her inside alley to leadThiamandi, who wasn’t pressed to find the front as usual. Miss Procyon sat three wide outside them and Astro Miss even further out.Just Too Hard held the box seat and Mezeray Miss was in that bunch. Whistle Baby had no speed and was being hard ridden at the tail a long way out. Maroon Bay had it comfortably coming to the turn and was being stalked by Thiamandi. Those chasing the leaders were under some pressure. Mezeray Miss got through in plenty of time and she was followed by Jemerica. Judicial Rock tried to run on ouyt wide but her run was short lived. Thiamandi went straight past Maroon Bay about 250m out, Mezeray Miss was flat and Jemerica made ground inside her, Just Too Hard stuck on but never threatened. Thiamandi held a clear margin on Jemerica with Maroon Bay holding third. Thiamandi looked strong chasing a leader but have to question the depth of the race. Whistle Baby, who was in the margin, didn’t give a yelp but did pull up with an issue.  (Click to continue reading…)

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Betting 360 Podcast - Betting From All Angles
Ben Krahe spent many years framing markets as a bookie and backing his judgement against some of the big players.

In recent times he has made his living as a professional punter focusing on harness racing.

So he’s in a great position to share his insights into how to frame a market and rate every runner in the race.

Punting Insights You’ll Find

  • Market percentages explained in layman’s terms
  • Why framing a market as a bookie requires a different mindset to that of a punter
  • Some of the most important factors he considers when doing the form
  • Why he starts with a 120% market before bringing that back to 100%
  • The reason he backs every single overlay

Get the Transcript:

**Click Here to Read the Transcript**

David Duffield: All right Ben, how are you going?

Ben Krahe: Good thanks Dave, yourself?

David Duffield: Yeah, going really well, thanks. I just wanted to get you back on the podcast to talk about framing your market and percentages. I had a few questions along those lines recently so if you’re talking to a novice punter or more of a weekend punter, how do you even explain market percentages?

Ben Krahe: That’s a good question. To put it in layman’s terms, if a bookmaker is betting 120%, in theory the bookmaker should win 20%. I mean, that’s in theory and all things being equal and that’s if they lay the same amount of money to lose a certain amount on every horse, then the bookmaker will in theory make 20%.

This never happens because a bookmaker will never lay every horse for the same amount of money but in theory, that’s the basis behind it.

David Duffield: All right so when they talk about a 100% market, in theory you can back every runner and come out square.

Ben Krahe: Correct.

David Duffield: So 120%, the market’s framed in favor of the bookmaker. What about, as an analyst or putting together a market where you’re trying to find overlays, what percentage are you framing your market to?

Ben Krahe: I always do a market to 120 or 130% originally. It’s just because, being an ex-bookmaker it’s just the way I was brought to do it and that way the other bookmakers usually go up about the same.
What I do then is I convert it to a 100% market and that way anything that we get which is over the odds, we theoretically should be making money. As long as, of course, I’ve rated it correctly.

David Duffield: All right, is it just the bookmaking background or how have you found that to be a better system to do 120% and then bring it back to 100 as opposed to just starting there?

Ben Krahe: The way I do it is, I’ve also developed a spreadsheet which sort of changes things. If you just do a straight 100% market, I’ll give you an example. I might mark something 100 to 1 but when I put it through my spreadsheet it might spit it out at 500 or 600 to 1, which is probably it’s real chance in a 100% market.

If you’re just going to frame a straight 100% market, are you really going to mark something for 600 to 1? I’m not too sure that you will so I like to do it at the 120, 130%. I whack it through my spreadsheet, which has got a couple little secrets in it involving the long-shot favorite bias as we’ve discussed on this program many times.

It’s not a straight conversion 100% but what it does is, it stretches the long-shots out a little bit more and it brings the favorites in a little bit more.

David Duffield: On the punting side, did you have a look at framing 90% or 95% or is it more, always do it at 100% and then just back all the overlays?

Ben Krahe: Look, there’s a few ways to do it. I’ve got a couple of friends who are professional punters that frame markets 80% and that way they have a lot less bets. It’s just whatever suits you and the way that we’re doing it at the moment, I’m happy just to, I like to have a bit of a play every race. This way we have a bet in every race.

If you’re doing 80%, you’re probably only going to have 2 or 3 bets a day. If that’s the way you want to go, that’s well and good but for the purpose of I suppose a little bit of entertainment as well, this way we get a little play in every race.

At the moment we’re making 15% on the first 2 months. If we can continue to do that and be able to have a bet in pretty much every race I think we’re going to make some money and have a bit of fun doing it at the same time.

David Duffield: Yeah, 15% is an excellent result. When you talk about betting into every race, just in case people missed the earlier podcast, you’re really specialized though, in terms of what is it, 3 meetings a week and a very restricted number of tracks that you focus on?

Ben Krahe: That’s correct. I only bet in the city area of New South Wales so that’s predominantly Menangle. Then we’ll go to Newcastle and Tamworth where the pool of horses, there’s only a certain amount of horses there and they run around against each other every week.

It’s pretty much like Hong Kong racing, where there might only be 200 horses in that area and they just run against each other all the time. If we concentrate on the one area, the form lines are going to stack up.

I do some work also for Victoria trots but it’s a lot harder to price because there’s probably 20 tracks in Victoria and they can come from everywhere. They could never race against each other again. Whereas, where we do them on a Tuesday and Saturday at Menangle, they’re racing against each other all the time and then we go to Newcastle and the Tamworth area where the same horses run against each other.

That way, we’re not worrying about anything out in the Western Districts, out Bathurst way. We’re not worrying about anything down in the Riverina. We’re just sticking to the same pool of horses 3 times a week and we can have some fun and make some money.

David Duffield: Sounds like a good plan. That’s the market percentage side of things but how do you even turn the form or raw data, into rated prices? What’s the process that you go through when doing that?

Ben Krahe: This is something that takes a lot of practice. I mean, I can pretty much do a race in 10 minutes and do it pretty accurately if not even quicker now. It helps to know the horses inside out and that’s why we do stick to those tracks.

I’m sure the clients we have now will, even if they were trot people, they’ll be hearing these same names and watching them and now even getting an idea of their form these days so knowing the horse inside out is the first thing.

The 2 main things I really look for are speed maps and I also look to see what price they were and whether they were backed in the market last start in a similar type class. First of all I’ll do a quick speed map and look for what horses are going to be in the top 3 because it’s 80% or something of the top 3 horses will win every race. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter what track you’re running on, if you’re running around the old Sydney Showgrounds or you’re running at Menangle.

Most of the time the winner will come from the top 3 horses. They’re the ones I want to look at. Secondly, I’ll go through the field and I’ll pull out what I think are genuine winning chances and I’ll pull out what I think are absolute no chances. The ones in between, we’ll worry about them later but what I want to do is try and pinpoint which horse is the favorite or the top 2 or 3 chances and I want to pinpoint the ones that have got absolutely no chance whatsoever.

David Duffield: With 120% to distribute amongst the field, are you thinking in terms of percentage chance as far as allocating 30%?

Ben Krahe: Correct. Yeah, exactly. Like if you think, let’s just use some names that we know, if you think Smoken Up’s running on the weekend and you think it’s a deadset 50% chance to win the race. In theory, if you’re firming the market at 120%, you’ve got to make it whatever 60% is. If you know what I mean so you want to have … That’s the way it works. You’ve got to judge on how much percent you think that horse has a chance of winning.

Basically, without sort of getting too involved in it, what I will do is I’ll go back to its last start and if this horse was even money against the same horses, it won the race, it’s got a similar barrier. There was no bad luck stories behind it, it was just a normal race. It was even money and it won the race and it’s got a similar barrier again.

This week, I imagine it’s probably going to be $1.60, $1.70 without even reading too much into it. Then similar with a long-shot. If it was 50 to 1 in the same race and it drew barrier 2 and it’s got barrier 2 again this week against the same horses and it ran 8th, I’m probably going to make it 100 to 1 this week or even 200 to 1, if you know what I mean.

I’m sort of hoping that the form sort of stacks up and I will go on whatever happened last week with its price in a similar class and I will adjust accordingly.

David Duffield: Okay and then what part does your own judgment or your own experience play in it? Because some people are quite reliant on what the data is telling them but with your approach it sounds like it’s a lot more just the years experience you’ve got punting and bookmaking.

Ben Krahe: It is and that’s something that’s probably 10 or 20% is just, I know it’s a stupid thing to say, it’s probably just feel if you know what I mean. You can just have a feel about a race. You might know that a good driver’s on for a bad driver and you’ve got to factor something into the price for that or the barriers are switched this time or the pace was run wrong, slow last time or the pace was fast last time or this horse has come from winning at Penrith which is a small track, to Menangle.

These are sort of things you’ve just got to factor in and judge whether or not to make this horse that was $3.00 last week, to make it $3.50 this week or to make it $2.50 or vice versa.

I place a lot of credence on what price the horse was last week but I also decide on whether that was the right price last week, if you know what I mean. If something went around at $2.00 last week, should it have been $2.00 last week? Yes or no. Then I’ll judge what it should be this week, pretty much going on what it did last week and what price it was.

I also like to, I think where there’s smoke there’s fire. If something was 5 to 1 in the even money last week and it only ran third, there was probably a reason they backed it so I will take that into account when I price it this week.

David Duffield: All right so you do your market to 120%, you then use the spreadsheet to bring that back to 100%.

Ben Krahe: Yep.

David Duffield: Then, I was going to say how do you decide which races to get involved in but your approach is different. Once you’ve done that work, you’re happy to bet into every race and back every overlay.

Ben Krahe: Look, if I’ve priced the race, for me there’s a price for every runner and there is a price for every runner. If you’re confident enough to price the race why should you not bet in it? It doesn’t matter if it’s a 2 year-old trot or it’s the Inter Dominion.

For mine, if you have bothered to take the time to price a race and you’ve given every horse a price, then you’ve got to be confident enough that those prices are right. It doesn’t really matter who’s running or what type of race it is.

David Duffield: You’ll take 1 cent over your rated price but you won’t take 1 cent under.

Ben Krahe: Correct because it’s a 100% market we’re doing so would you take $1.99 about a coin flip? Even if 8 heads had just come up and you reckon tails is about to come up, would you take $1.99 about it?

David Duffield: No.

Ben Krahe: Exactly.

David Duffield: What about the perspective of punting versus bookmaking. When you’re framing your markets, is it a different process or a different way of thinking from what you were doing in the bookmaking world? Being the first to go up on a number of events to what you do now as pretty much a standalone punter?

Ben Krahe: It’s 100% different, bookmaking and punting. Not that there’s actually much bookmaking done now these days anyway but in a real world, if something’s $1.10, even if you think it’s over the line, you still want to be laying that because that’s your best chance of making money but you still need to lay it at the right price.

As far as the bookmaking perspective goes, if you think something’s an even money chance, well you’ll put up even money. Then you’ll get a nibble and you’ll go $1.09 and you’ll get a nibble and you’ll go $1.08 and you want to average that price down as far as possible.

If I’m punting, I’m a very aggressive marker when I punt so like I said, if I think something’s a 100 or 200 to 1 chance when I put it through my spreadsheet, I’m not going to back it until it’s … I probably wouldn’t back it because you’re not going to get 1000 to 1 but as a bookmaker, do you really want to be laying 50 to 100 to 1 shot? Because there’s just no upside for you.

If someone had $10.00 on a 100 to 1 shot, do you really need the $10.00 that much that you’re willing to give away $1000? For me, I always didn’t want to lay long-shots too much because the up-side is just not there for you.

David Duffield: You mentioned earlier that even at a 120% market, the bookies never get their dream of laying all runners and just claiming their over-round.

Ben Krahe: Look, it can be the Melbourne Cup where everyone in the world’s betting and they might have 3 or 4 horses that they’ve actually probably really laid you know, the days of real bookmaking are gone. It’s more of a trading thing now and that’s why you’ll find that nearly every bookmaker’s banning a lot of people because all they do is play heads.

If anyone’s smart they’ll get rid of you and this way it doesn’t really matter if they lose $10,000 on one race because they know that the punter’s going to give it straight back. That’s more trading now, there’s hardly any bookmaking goes on whatsoever.

David Duffield: Yep. What about market intelligence? I think some of the bigger players in the horse racing field have come up with their own rated prices but they will factor in what the market’s telling them.
You’re happy just to back your own judgment and ignore the market’s not the right way because you’re backing your overlays but there’s no component of what you do … The currently available odds don’t play any part in that.

Ben Krahe: No, look, you have to back your prices. If I’ve marked something $5.00 and it comes up even money, I’ve got to hope that I’ve got it right and that there’s a reason why. With the way that the bookmaking [quorum 14:09] is at the moment, we will probably get that stuff right more than wrong, because inevitably you’ll find the TAB might be the one going up even money and it’s basically, every one will copy them.

They might go $2.10 or they might go $1.90 but they’ll pretty much copy their prices so what you’ll find is you’re actually just playing one-on-one. It’s one person’s opinion at the TAB versus my opinion and if we get it right and they get it wrong, we’re going to come up with some good spoils.

It’s not like the old days where everyone was doing form. You’d go to the track and there’d be 30 bookmakers and they’re all doing form and 1 guy might be even money, the next guy might be $3.00 and whatever else. Now the TAB will go up and everyone will just follow 5 cents either side so if the first person who was doing the prices has got it wrong, if we can expose that, that’s where we’re going to make money.

David Duffield: It can be in the trots world, probably more so than Metro Races, it can be quite a bit of volatility in the prices.

Ben Krahe: It’s nothing like the races. The races are, if something is $7.00 into $5.00 on a Saturday at Flemington that’s a big go. The TAB has no problem with going $6.00 to $1.50 for the trots, it just happens. Basically that’s just the way it is and that’s because there is no one doing form anymore. That’s the simple reason.

There’s one person doing form and like myself, if I stuff it up we’re going to get it wrong and if I was bookmaking stuff it up and I’m the only person in the world putting a price up, of course you’re going to get it wrong half the time and the TAB are going to get it wrong half the time too.

Hopefully that’s when we find the ones that they get wrong. We’ll get some wrong as well but if we find the ones they get wrong and really punish them for it, that’s where we make money. What we want to do is eliminate those horses that have got no chance.

The TAB will put up… There was a prime example yesterday. It was a 6 horse race, the TAB put up 25 to 1 about a horse that I marked 300 to 1 before I even put it through my spreadsheet. For mine it had no chance of winning. They could have ran that race 300 times and it might have won a race. Now the TAB’s gone up 25 to 1, they’re saying it’s going to win 4 races in 100. There was no chance it was going to happen.

If we can find 2 or 3 of those per race, that’ll add up to 10%. Now, that’s 10% error the TAB has made and if we’re going to make 10 to 15% every month, that’s where we’re going to make it. We’re going to find the ones that they haven’t priced right.

David Duffield: Good stuff. We’ll leave it there for now. Hopefully that’s given guys a good insight into the market standards and also how you go about forming a market. Not saying that suits everyone but yeah, I think it’s been really insightful so I appreciate your time.

Ben Krahe: Look, it depends however you want to do it but I think the first thing you’ve got to do is, you’ve got to find what horses are up the front and you’ve got to find what horses are in the market and then you build your market around that.

I always try and … You go though the race, you have a look what’s in the race, find out what you think’s going to be favorite. Work out a price from that and then you can adjust your prices around that.

David Duffield: Makes perfect sense. All right Ben, appreciate your time, thanks very much.

Ben Krahe: Thanks Dave, have a good day mate.

David Duffield: Cheers, bye.

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Racing NSW & AWC in standoff for punters dollar
 
By Scott Woodward

So we have Racing NSW and the Australian Wagering Council swapping media releases in an endeavor to each maximize their booty from punters.

Both boards would not be in existence if not for punters but nobody has actually asked a punter what he thinks. It would be ideal if a punter like Ken Callander or Kingsley Bartholomew was invited to sit on these boards so there would be some objectivity and balance then perhaps a mutual agreement could be reached, even better, a bookie who fields at a race track and a non-professional punter.

RNSW are doing their best to kill off every bookie by taxing them on turnover so that they only have their beloved TAB, and the bookies are re-acting by limiting bets and sacking winning punters. The losers here are the punters, or the authorities the “Goose that lays the golden egg”.

You would think that the industry authority would encourage bookies to turnover more cash and grab their slice of the pie based on the profits, but the more any bookie grows their business the more they will be taxed. This is the brain child of RNSW, the same “brains” that have allowed the TAB to market their digital sports and racing product called TRACKSIDE and take market share off the industry.

That’s right folks,” Trackside is an animated racing product that combines thoroughbred and greyhound racing with fixed returns on Win, Place, Quinella, Trifecta and First 4 on make believe digital races.

There is only so many punting dollars available and “Trackside “is a direct competitor for it, but due to the incompetent negotiations between RNSW and the TAB, a zero product fee is paid, which means that no money comes back into the industry, in fact, it takes market share and RNSW will only allow the TAB to advertise on their tracks. Go figure the logic in that!

While RNSW have shown a total lack of vision when applying a product fee to bookies as well as giving the TAB a dream rails run with “Trackside”, which will strip hundreds of millions from the REAL industry, they have at least finally started to listen to the many complaints from punters and have put in place a policy that will force bookies to take a bet from any punter and bet to lose a set minimum amount.

The Australian Wagering Council or maybe I should call them the “Overseas Online Bookmakers Council” because they do not have any punters on their board with no affiliation to a bookie and the bookies represented are all from the United Kingdom.

I know most of the guys on the Board and would call some mates, but at the end of the day, they know where their bread is buttered and they feel they can discriminate who they do business with.

The dictatorship of RNSW has implemented an added tax that does not encourage growth, but at the same time they want to tell the bookies who to do business with.

The bookies are saying that this is Australia (even though they are owned overseas) and you cannot hold a gun at our heads.

“If there has been an increase in the practice of AWC members restricting bets, this has been necessary to maintain commercially viable operations since the fee levied by racing authorities on online wagering operators moved from a gross profit model to a turnover model”, according to Chris Downey, the CEO of the AWC.

The AWC are concerned that they will be forced to trade with clients “with whom they do not wish to trade”, or is simple terms “winners”.

Racing NSW, in typical arrogant fashion, clearly do not recognize the AWC and sent out the proposed change in a media release on Jun 12 without any consultation from the bookies.

Mr. Downey, a former Minister of Sport, rightly points out: “Any new policy affecting wagering must be developed in a way that properly assesses its impact on the long term viability of the racing industry; protects the integrity of racing and stems the leakage of customers to illegal and unregulated offshore providers.

The possible implementation of a minimum bet rule is better addressed as part of a broader discussion on nationally consistent regulation of the wagering market”

So we have a standoff.

RNSW want more turnover and they are forcing bookies to hold more bets so they can collect more tax and product fees, and the bookies are saying to the punters that we don’t want to bet you if you are a winner.

This is what I don’t get!

When I walk into a fruit shop and they have apples for $5 a bag, I assume that they wish to sell that product at that price. So if I go online and I see that my bookie is offering $1.90 for Hawthorn I also assume that they wish to make a sale at that price. The only problem is that if I am assessed as a “smarty” then I would have my bet reduced to only a couple of apples. If I am too smart then I would have already been sacked. They are happy to sell the apples to someone else but not me.

RNSW are saying that it does not matter if the punter is Zeljko Ranogajec every bookie must bet him at least “a couple of Apples”.

What RNSW and the bookies need to understand from us punters is that we don’t like being discriminated against and they are not the only game in town. It is not difficult to bet in other territories where they have huge limits. Take the World Cup for instance, in the Group stages of the WC overseas bookies will bet you an outcome to win $250,000 and in the Final being $1million. They don’t care who you are and you never get knocked back.

Isn’t that what bookmaking is?

Try doing that in Australia! RNSW need to be very conscious of how far they can push the envelope or that arrogant smug could turn to rotten apples and the bookies need to do what they are given a licence to do – be a bookie and make a book with all punters.

RNSW and indeed all authorities must provide an environment where our bookies are encouraged to grow and they can be competitive with fair and reasonable limits to all punters.

All the major bookies have invested heavily in risk management teams and have sophisticated tools, models and stats all available to them as well as odds comparison websites including betting exchanges so they can maintain competitive prices and importantly not make a mistake.

There is no reason why they would not want to accept any bets in this day and age. It is not like every race is a maiden at Gulgong with unraced runners, these are prices and lines that are very accurate and come with a nice fat margin to the vendor.

If you don’t want to lay something then shorten the odds, but if the price is up then it should be a fair go for the punters, regardless of colour or creed or their expertise.

How’s them apples?

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Weekend Racing Reviews – June 28th

by darryn on June 30, 2014

Flemington Review by Ray Hickson 

Race 1: Murray Cox Handicap (1410m)

1st Zebulon – Linda Meech
2nd Profit Share – Dean Yendall
3rd Allergic – Steven Arnold

Nobody wanted to lead early and there was a line of five up front before Skellig eventually found the fence. What A Hoot, who probably jumped best, sat on his outside ahead of O’Fennessy  who was three ride around Roundaboutand CraftyProfit Share had plenty of cover behind them. Heavy  was forced out four wide a long way out and Zebulon was on his back. Allergic and Total Control  were held up for runs in the bunched field. Skellig turned in front of What A Hoot and they’d had a pretty easy time. O’Fennessy was under pressure as Profit Share made his move at the top of the straight. Roundabout also started to struggle as a run opened for him between the leaders and Crafty also got into the clear in plenty of time. Profit Share loomed to the leaders at the 300m but you could see Zebulon was about to swamp him and he did passing the 200m and raced well clear. Nice performance and left the others with no excuses. Allergic worked home very well late, lacking the sprint of the first two home, and La Cicciolina  hit the line okay without being a serious threat. Crafty had every chance. Roundabout proved disappointing though did pull up with an issue.

Follow: Allergic appears to have some upside.

(Click to continue reading…)

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Randwick Review – Saturday 21st June

by darryn on June 23, 2014

Randwick Review By Todd Burmester

Race 1 – 2yo Plate

1st Delectation – Ty Angland
2nd Proactive – Josh Parr
3rd Statton – Kerrin McEvoy

Sweet Sensation had the front early in the first with Delectation over racing a bit and going up inside Sweet Sensation to take the front. Statton and Va Va Veni settled third and fourth, with Va Va Veni throwing its head about. The pace dropped mid race, and Delectation looked to be doing it easily enough as they turned for home. Up the rise, Va Va Veni had the measure of Sweet Sensation, Va Va Veni was the first horse beaten and Proactive was coming with a strong run down the outside. Delectation found enough to hold off Proactive and these two gapped the rest with Statton holding down third. Who knows what happened to Va Va Veni, but it was very disappointing dropping right out after finding heavy support in betting. Although beaten a space, I thoughtBrewery could be a sharp improver out of this, his last 100m looked ok.

Follow: Proactive, Brewery (Click to continue reading…)

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Wimbledon betting preview with Dan Weston

by David on June 19, 2014

Betting 360 Podcast - Betting From All Angles
Daniel Weston returns to the Betting 360 podcast this week. He’s a tennis betting expert who runs Tennis Ratings and produces a lot of stats and analysis that can help punters. He is also an expert contributor to the Pinnacle website.


Punting Insights:

  • How to approach betting on the unique grass court surface
  • Why big servers often under-perform in Grand Slams
  • Why there tends to be more upsets in the Women’s game
  • Early value opportunities in the Men’s and Women’s tourneys
  • Some big name players that are well under the odds

Anyone that quotes ‘Champion’ when ordering a Tier Two Daily Spreadsheet can get 40 days subscription for the price of 30, or 4 months for the price of 3.

All product information can be seen on the Tennis Ratings product page.

Today’s Guest:

  • Dan Weston

Get the Transcript:

**Click Here to Read the Transcript**

David Duffield: G’day Dan and welcome back to the show.
I just want to get your take on grass court betting and, of course, Wimbledon. Grass is a pretty unique surface, so what’s your approach in looking at value bets when it comes to the grass court season?

Daniel Weston: Grass is a completely different surface to the other three surfaces in the ATP tour, which are clay, hard court, or indoor hard. Grass is probably the closest to indoor hard in terms of the court speed. Grass being the fastest surface on tour, indoor hard being the second fastest, hard being the third fastest, and clay somewhat fourth.

It kind of brings some different tools to the part of the players. What they need to be good at. With grass, serve-volley game is a predominant tool, whereas on clay it’s more focused towards base-liners.

You’ve got a player like Nicolas Mahut who’s got a serve and volley game who’s very effective on grass. He’ll be a dangerous player in the draw for a seeded player. Could cause an upset, for example.

The fastest surface does make for very different conditions. Obviously the big servers are rewarded, they get a lot of big points on their serves, a lot of aces, a lot of unreturnable serves.

Looking at the stats on grass on the ATP tour, 82.4% of service games were held in 2013. That’s a quite a bit up from the 78.6% all surface figure. That actually drops to the 75s for clay. You can see that grass is about 7% higher service hold than clay, which obviously has a slower speed and the biggest discrepancy between the two.

Wimbledon actually, conditions have been on the fast side of average in the last couple of years. In 2013, 83.7% of surface games were held, and 83% in 2012.

Conditions looking to likely be quite fast. Weather’s been good in England in the last few weeks as well. Very little rain. The courts will probably be quite dry. I don’t see that changing in terms of the conditions this year.

David Duffield: In the past you’ve mentioned that at Grand Slam events, the big servers can under perform? How do you marry that up against the fact that having a decent serve on grass can be such a bonus?

Daniel Weston: Well, it’s a tough one. I think I still stand correct that a big server hasn’t made past their quarterfinals, or… maybe it’s one if you count Janowicz at Wimbledon last year, in recent memory.
I don’t see that changing. The fact that it’s a very fast surface with very few service breaks means that the big servers will actually have more variance in their matches, because they’re going to be playing a lot of tie breaks. They’re going to be playing a lot of one break sets.

Those kind of sets are determined on one or two key points a lot of the time. The variance for those guys is really high. You can see someone like John Isner losing like a 6-4, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 kind of match, where there’s really few breaks but he’s just on the wrong end of a couple of key points.

Actually, he does play the key points quite well, but that was just an example that I was using. But then by the same token, you’ve got Ivo Karlovic, who could cause an upset, take sets off bigger name players, because they’re not going to drop their serves as much on other servers as well.

So, looking at a player like Karlovic against a top seed on the handicap betting would probably be quite a good proposition. He’s actually got a really good record as an underdog of covering set in-game handicaps.

That could be… say he’s playing a Top 8 player. He’s going to be a heavy underdog, but you could back him, plus like 2.5 sets or something to try and nick a set off of a high-level player when he’s a heavy underdog.

The surface means for the big servers that they won’t break barely at all as well. If we look at the statistics for John Isner on grass in the last three years, he’s quite similar with the likes of Lopez and Karlovic on grass in these conditions.

Looking at Isner, he’s won 17 out of 22 on grass in the last 3 years, which is highly impressive and better than his overall full surface average. He’s held an incredible 95.3% of the time. But he’s only broken 11.9% of the time. His breaking of opponents is as consistently low as for other surfaces.

You can say that he’s going to benefit from a lot of free points, because obviously his service hold is ridiculously high. He’s not going to break his opponents much either, so he’s going to face a lot of tight sets.
That’s where it’s going to be symptomatic with the likes of Lopez, Raonic, Karlovic, all the big servers on grass. The chances of them playing a set where it’s more than one break is absolutely minuscule.

Another angle I’ve been looking at recently is William Hill, a UK bookmaker. You can’t get a lot of money on them and they will restrict you quite quickly. But, there’s a bet that they offer, which is unique. It’s no service breaks in the first set. They offer some crazy odds on that, they’ve really made some big mistakes. I managed to get 5/1 on Querrey-Edmund the other day as no breaks in the first set. I think there was only 1 break point in the first set, which got saved, and that was a good winner.

Looking at Isner in the stats as well is really interesting. He’s won 22 out of 25 tie-breaks on grass in the last 3 years, which does show he has the capability of winning tight matches. However, playing 4-5 sets on a regular basis is going to screw him physically, and that’s going to be a big problem.

We’ve seen with Murray at the French Open how two 5-set matches in the space of 3 or 4 days ruined any chance that he had against Nadal in the semi-final. Then, coming to Queens last week, he underperformed at Queens. It had a big, lasting effect on his physical condition.

David Duffield: With that, I can understand why long rallies on clay and long matches can really take it out of you, but is that still the case on grass? I would’ve thought with some of the big boys the points are so short that it might not be as taxing on the body?

Daniel Weston: The points are quicker, but it’s a hard surface as well. It’s harder on joints than it is on, for example, clay. I’ve done some research recently and clay had the lowest percentage of retirements out of any surface, and that follows with that. The softer surface is going to be easier on the joints.

It’s still going to be 5 sets, still going to be playing long matches. One other thing with Wimbledon as opposed to US Open. US Open, I think it had tie-breaks in the fifth set, whereas Wimbledon never does. That’s something that’s important to know as well.

Also, I do believe, I’m 99% sure, that the men’s qualifying final round at Wimbledon is best of 5 sets as well, as opposed to other slams, which is best of 3. That potentially could fatigue qualifiers as well for their first round matches. That’s something that’s worth knowing for sure.

David Duffield: Certainly. It’s why you’ve got a heavy stats-based approach, but you’ve also got to allow for all the changing variables.

Daniel Weston: Definitely. Back testing the stats for 5 sets was something I was really keen to do. And, at the recent French Open, players who won a previous 5-set match in their previous round had a very poor win rate in their next round. Murray was the last who was done and dusted by the semi-final.

If you can oppose them pretty much full-stop, then that’s going to be a good strategy as long as the market hasn’t taken into consideration which is kind of happening more now. I kind of regret writing about it sometimes.

David Duffield: Fair enough. Sometimes you give away your trade secrets.

But, on the men’s side of the draw, the form really holds up and the elite players dominate. I think in the last 10 years there have only been a couple of guys outside the Top 5 that have made the final, and only 4 guys in total who’ve actually won the tournament.

Do you expect the same this year?

Daniel Weston: I can’t see it being any different, to be honest with you. As you say, it’s a very favorite-dominant event. If I recall correctly, Wimbledon also has the highest percentage of favorites winning matches compared to other slams as well.

Last year was a real big anomaly there, but on the whole over a long period of time, that does hold true. I can’t see that changing. Federer has got the best record at Wimbledon. I think he’s won 68 out of 75 matches, and 6 out of the last 10 events.

But, I have real doubts about him in a 5-set format against … he’s got no problem against the lower-rank players or players who are sort of around that Top 10 area. But, as soon as he ends up playing an elite player, even someone like David Ferrer he could struggle with. David Ferrer could make an early set against him in a long match. Federer is quite vulnerable, physically, in a 5-set match.

Looking at some underdogs, it’s hard really to recommend. Someone like Nishikori, but then, he’s physically not great in a 5-set, so you could never really look at betting on him as a future outright for the tournament, whether it be trading it or backing his opponent in later matches or something like that as a hedging tool. You couldn’t do it. It’s difficult.

You’ve got a few players who are dangerous on grass. They could take sets of off players like Lopez, Mahut, there’s a few others. Maybe even Bernard Tomic as well. It’s really difficult to see a player who’s outside the top few in the world making a big impact here. Really difficult.

David Duffield: So, amongst the big boys, Djokovicis around $2.80 at the moment. At that price would you say that’s a back or a lay?

Daniel Weston: I’d say that’s fair. I’d say that’s neither.

You’ve got to massively respect him on grass. Slam-wise though, he hasn’t really convinced me recently, but he’s going to be the main threat and he’s justifiably favorite. The other players who have got comparable stats to him on grass are Federer and Murray.

But obviously they’ve got their respective doubts over both. Federer, like I said, the 5-set issue. Murray with his general fitness, whether he’s playing as well now as he did last year. Big question mark.

I think Djokovic is a reasonable favorite. I don’t think that he’s bad value or good value really, I think that is what he is. I think that that’s very justified.

Players I am looking to take on are probably Nadal and Wawrinka in individual matches.

David Duffield: Why do you want to take on Nadal?

Daniel Weston: Because his grass record’s really poor recently. I’m just going to bring up his stats now.

David Duffield: While you do that, I think he’s lost at 100-1 on the last couple years?

Daniel Weston: Yeah, he’s lost to 100-1 in each of the last two years. And he also lost to Phillip Kohlschreiber in Halle in a warm-up event in 2012 as well at long odds-on. Then obviously, I think he lost to Dustin Brown in Halle as well. I don’t think he maybe put his best efforts in at that match particularly.

It just goes to show that he’s vulnerable. Looking at his stats, in the last 3 years, he’s actually got a lower percentage win rate than John Isner. So he’s 63% win rate, 10 wins from 16 matches. He’s held 84.6% of the time. Broken 22.4%, and that’s not elite stats by any means.

For me, he’s very vulnerable on grass. Again, that might come down to the fact that he’s got long-standing joint problems and the surface isn’t great for him either in that respect. Looking at his recent history, his 6 defeats all came when he was favorite as well. So actually, in those last 3 years, every single match on grass he’s played, he’s been favorite for.

One match where he was like 3 to 1 on. Djokovic when he was slight favorite, about 8 to 11. Kohlschreiber when he was 1 to 7. Russell, 1 to 100. Another 1 to 100. And Brown, 1 to 5. So, he’s got a big history for losing as heavy favorite.

David Duffield: What about Andy Murray, then? You mentioned the injury problems, and he’s also changed coaches. At around the $5 mark I think he’s second favorite. Would you want to be backing or laying?

Daniel Weston: I think that that really comes down to his draw and seeding. I think that it’s impossible to say until that point. I think if he’s seeded fourth, I don’t know how likely that is, personally I think he should be seeded above Wawrinka but whether that would drop Stan two spots down, I don’t know.

I think that’s a good possibility, for backing him as a future if he can get to the third or fourth seed so that he doesn’t have to face Nadal or Djokovic until the semi-final as opposed to potentially in the quarter-final.

I think a lot depends on the draw for Murray. That’s a big thing for him. The other important thing is to get through those first couple of matches without dropping a set, or more than one set.

If you’re looking at his recent grass court activity, the last 3 years, In 2011, in the first round and in the second round he was 1 to 100 and 1 to 50 in those first two rounds.

Second year in 2012, he faced Davydenko and Karlovic. Davydenko was 20/ 1 to win. Dropped one set against Karlovic.

And last year he played Becker and Lu, was 100 to 1 on as well, both matches.

What I’m trying to say is that you take very little risk in that price dropping by waiting for them opening two rounds. So you might as well see how he’s playing in those first two rounds. If he’s winning comfortably, then that would be the time to back him as opposed to now, before a draw, before those first two matches.

David Duffield: On to the women’s tournament, then. Do you want to start by explaining why there can be more upsets at Wimbledon for the women?

Daniel Weston: There’s obviously 3 sets as opposed to 5. That’s a big difference for me. Having to win 2 out of 3 instead of 3 out of 5 is a completely different proposition. We’ve seen in men’s matches, in slams forever, the underdog going 2 sets up and losing.

Well, in the women’s match, that’s done and dusted. They’ve won. That’s why there’s more shocks in women’s tennis. And obviously the format in women’s tennis is exactly the same as the general tour events week in and week out. That’s the main reason why.

You can compare it to snooker match. A general tour event might be best of 9 frames, first to 5. But then in the Crucible, they have crazy matches where it’s like first to 20 or something like that. That gives a better player time to get into a rhythm, time to call back a potential shock early deficit.

That’s the reason why the women’s has more shocks than the men’s. I actually think that the bookmakers price up the women’s matches quite defensively and probably offer a little bit more value for underdogs than what they do in the men’s matches.

David Duffield: On the women’s side of it, Serena’s I think around $2.50 at the moment. She’s won 3 of the last 5. Do you think she’s anywhere near her best? Actually she probably can’t be at her best.

Daniel Weston: She’s not.

David Duffield: How far is the gap between her and the rest?

Daniel Weston: First of all, across all surfaces and particularly on clay, it’s gigantic. It’s huge. Like, 20% difference in combined hold and break percentages between her and the next best. It’s stratospheric.
However, her stats have declined in 2014. Of that there is absolutely no doubt. If you compare 2013 to 2014, in 2013 she lost 4 matches all year. She held 83.5% and broke her opponents 53.4%.

In 2014 so far, that 83.5% has dropped to 81%. And that 53.4% has dropped to 47.2%. You can see that’s dropped combined hold / break about 6-7% between 2013 and 2014. Already she’s lost 4 matches in 2014 in less than half the year, compared to 4 matches she lost the whole of 2013.

She’s definitely not as imperious as what she was last year. Is she still the player to beat? Absolutely. No doubt about it. But, her grass court stats are a lot closer to the rest than on other surfaces.

Looking at her grass court record in the last two years, her combined hold / break percentage is 124.9%, whereas you’ve got someone like Li Na, who is 119.3%. That’s a lot closer than the 20% differences plus she has on other surfaces. Also, Sharapova and Kerber also have fairly similar 5-6-7% deficits on grass as well.

Azarenka actually has better stats, albeit from quite a small sample. But with Azarenka you don’t know how fit she is. She lost to Giorgi yesterday. She’s not fit right now at all. She’s going to be one player who’s really going to need to get some rhythm in the first couple of rounds before you can really assess how she might play at Wimbledon this year.

There’s definitely a much smaller gap between Williams and the rest on grass as there is on other surfaces.

David Duffield: And we are chatting before seedings and, obviously, the draw is known.

What overall suggestions would you have if people are interested in having a bet right now or maybe following a player for the first couple of rounds and seeing how they’re going? Is there a certain player you’d like to be on, or even is there one that you’d take on?

Daniel Weston: Looking at the odds now, I’m just trying to get the latest ones up on the laptop right now. I like Kerber at 100/1. Before her draw. I really like that price. That makes her a bigger price than Lisicki, Stevens, Venus Williams, Ivanovic.

I actually think that she’s better on grass than any other player. The 100/1 is actually a standout price for Sportingbet right now. She’s 50/1 everywhere else, and I think if you can get her on that 100/1, that is a good price on Kerber pre-draw.

You can look at her stats… prior to this season’s grass, she was 11 and 4 on a surface, holding a really impressive 78.3% of the time. Actually it’s fourth highest out of the Top 20 in the WTA, behind Williams, Azarenka, and Maria Sharapova.

She’s broken her opponents 40.1% of the time, which is also well inside the Top 10. Combined break / hold of 118.4%. That ranks her pretty similar to the Sharapova and Li. And I really like Kerber as a 100-1 outsider. If you get on that 100.1 with Sportingbet that looks like a good price to me.

David Duffield: So if people do want more information on the service that you offer. They may have heard the podcast earlier in the year around the Australian Open time. How can people get more information about your site and your service?

Daniel Weston: What I do, on the website I have daily previews for the matches. That’s absolutely free for anybody to look at. I’ll write some trading previews, I’ll give my thoughts on a few matches.

I specialize in game trading and that’s something that I write about a lot. But, I also give my opinion on which players I think will win. I put a lot of stats up as well so that people can make their own judgments. I post stats of the day up as well. All this is free. I’ll say like, John Isner has covered over 9.5 games in X out of Y matches, but he’s available at 1.6 today. To cover that again, and that would be like a value proposition.

All of that is absolutely free of charge for any visitor. They can come have a look at that any time. Feedback on that’s always welcome.

I also offer some services as well. I’ve got the daily spreadsheets, which has projected holds for each player, really detailed stats on service holds, service breaks, how often players lose break leads, how often players regain break leads, how often they win / lose break points, how good they are in that situation. Vital notes, like injury notes on each player for that game. Head-to-head records, et cetera.

I also have a model price for each match as well. I price a match myself and then compare it to the market prices. That allows you to see how much value there might be on a player pre-match. I look from a betting or trading perspective.
I’m also introducing a new product very soon, which is going to hopefully be of great interest for those people who like pre-match betting in tennis. I personally feel that the most value in tennis comes from backing players on the handicap, because the bookmaker tends to derive their odds from starting prices as opposed to player tendencies to cover handicaps. I think I mentioned earlier in the podcast about Karlovic. He’s quite good at covering handicaps as underdogs. So is Isner actually as well. When they’re priced like 5/1 underdog or bigger, they’ve got good records of keeping matches close at least.

What this new product focuses on, it’s going to be a database of how often players cover handicaps. We’re looking at various game handicap lines, various set handicap lines, correct scores, over / under 9.5 games in the first set, et cetera.
All of this is going to be filtered by a price range as well, so you can see how players’ tendencies change based on starting prices as well. For example, you’ve got some players who are really good at covering handicap lines when they’re underdogs, but not so good when they’re favorites, for example. That’s what the new product’s going to focus on.

Hoping that’s going to be released really soon, before Wimbledon. If not it’ll definitely go out by the first of July. If anyone’s interested in that, I would definitely recommend keeping an eye on the website and joining up the mailing list as well because I’ll e-mail everyone as soon as that’s released.

David Duffield: Sounds great. We’ll make sure we link out to that in the show notes. Thanks for joining us again, Dan. Wimbledon snuck up on us in a little way down here. There’s just that much sport going on, but everyone’s looking forward to it. Really appreciate your time and sharing your information today.

Daniel Weston: Definitely. Cheers Dave, thank you.

David Duffield: Thank you.

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