Your Key Greyhound: Only Play Him 55% of the Time!
Is this you? Handicap a race. Find your key. Bet on her.
If it is, you can do a lot better!
First, you need to understand a background study. Suppose you bet exactly the same way as the crowd. Your key is the crowd favorite. Your worst dog is the longest shot on the board. What happens when you rank the dogs by crowd odds, and then make a win bet on each? Here's the answer for one track for one year of 4,518 races:
Lowest Odds: hit 29.02%, -15.92% ROI
2nd lowest: hit 19.01%, -16.39% ROI
3rd lowest: hit 14.54%, -16.04% ROI
4th lowest: hit 11.13%, -22.43% ROI
5th lowest: hit 8.39%, -28.04% ROI
6th lowest: hit 7.24%, -23.67% ROI
7th lowest: hit 5.87%, -22.39% ROI
Longest Odds: hit 4.81%, -14.04% ROI
Typical stuff for crowd-ranked selections here. The favorite wins a lot, but loses money. One interesting point. You might as well bet on the longest dog on the board as the crowd favorite. You'll lose less money on the longshot! Also notice that you would lose just about the same amount betting either the favorite, the second favorite, or the third favorite. All are within one half of one percent of the same bad ROI number.
I have a basic handicapping method that I can apply to any race. It ranks the dogs from best to worst. If I made a win bet on each one last year at this track, here is how they would have performed:
Top pick: hit 26.63%, +4.70% ROI
2nd pick: hit 19.54%, -0.71% ROI
3rd pick: hit 14.59%, -7.88% ROI
4th pick: hit 11.93%, -14.57% ROI
5th pick: hit 9.03%, -23.12% ROI
6th pick: hit 8.08%, -26.32% ROI
7th pick: hit 6.02%, -39.51% ROI
8th pick: hit 4.16%, -51.69% ROI
The first thing to notice is that my top pick makes a flat win profit betting every single race for the year. Yippie!!!! It's a small profit, you say? Picky picky! Can you make a win-pool profit betting 4,518 consecutive races for a year? ;)
The next thing to notice is that as I go deeper down my list, as each dog gets worse and hits less, the ROI gets worse. Notice that this ISN'T true when you rank the dogs on crowd odds? Not even close.
Next thing to see... My top pick hits LESS often than the crowd favorite. I hit less often, but make a profit. Actually my top pick hits about 2.5 less per 100 races, but makes 21 more ROI points. That's kind of a "wow" thing. But it begs the question: If I were to hit EVEN MORE winners, would my ROI go up or down? Given that the crowd hits more than I do, and loses more than I do, the answer to that question isn't necessarily a 'yes.'
But I know how to radically improve my ROI. And the method will just blow your mind! How do you make more profit? By playing fewer races, and hitting a lower percentage of those that I do play.
WHAT?! You think I've lost my mind, right? Read that last paragraph again. I can make more money by playing fewer races, and by hitting a lower percentage of those I play.
How? That's the big question, isn't it?
Easy. First, let's look at my picks and hits, but let's only look at a special subset of the races. We'll only look at the races where my top pick matches the crowd's top pick. Here is the same kind of table, but only for races where I agree with the crowd on which dog is best:
Top pick: hit 34.83%, -8.14% ROI
2nd pick: hit 17.51%, +4.33% ROI
3rd pick: hit 11.99%, -11.94% ROI
4th pick: hit 11.11%, -12.41% ROI
5th pick: hit 8.84%, -16.54% ROI
6th pick: hit 6.86%, -23.83% ROI
7th pick: hit 5.63%, -38.29% ROI
8th pick: hit 3.21%, -58.32% ROI
Hot interesting is THAT study? When I agree with the crowd, my hit percentage skyrockets to 34.83%. Better, even, than the win rate on the crowd favorite! Can't beat that! But wait, what happened to my ROI? It's gone down. I hit way more winners, but my 4.7% profit turned into an 8% loss. And now you're asking what happened to that concept I mentioned of hitting a lower percentage and winning more money?
Think about it for a minute. If my ROI gets worse when my handicapping AGREES with the crowd, then what must happen when my handicapping DISAGREES with the crowd? Has that light bulb gone on over your head yet? Here's what happens when I only play the races where my handicapping DOESN'T agree with the crowd favorite:
Top pick: hit 19.95%, +15.15% ROI
2nd pick: hit 21.20%, -4.82% ROI
3rd pick: hit 16.70%, -4.57% ROI
4th pick: hit 12.61%, -16.33% ROI
5th pick: hit 9.19%, -28.47% ROI
6th pick: hit 9.07%, -28.36% ROI
7th pick: hit 6.34%, -40.51% ROI
8th pick: hit 4.94%, -46.31% ROI
And there you have it. When my top-ranked greyhound isn't the same as the crowd favorite, my hit percentage drops to only 19.95%. But my ROI skyrockets from less than 5% to more than 15% profit! That's a lower hit rate, but a much larger ROI. Just like I said earlier!
Just for your general information, my top pick agrees with the crowd a little under 45% of the time. And I disagree with the crowd favorite a little over 55% of the time. So I'm rejecting less than half of all races.
So what is the lesson to be learned here? If you have a decent general handicapping methodology, you can improve it a ton. Figure out if your top pick matches the crowd's favorite. If they match, either pass the race, or maybe you can bet on your second-best pick. With my method, that second-best dog makes a 4.33% profit.
And if your top pick doesn't match the crowd's favorite, play it! Your winning percentage will drop quite a bit, but you will make far more money.
Of course, people will say that with the win pools so small, this can't work. You can't tell if the crowd favorite will match your top pick. But you're not looking at this correctly when you take that position. Remember, my method had a profit making a flat win bet on EVERY race, skipping none. So the point becomes, eliminate as many races as you can that you identify as matches. Every one you find and don't wager will improve your ROI number a little. If you miss three or four or ten per hundred races, so what? You're still making a larger profit! But by getting rid of ANY of the matches, you will improve your ROI.
So don't give up on this idea because you don't think you can identify the favorite. If you are pretty sure they match, skip the race. Otherwise, play away!
You have to admit, that's a counter-intuitive idea. To make more money, you have to play fewer races, and hit less often. Not what you expect, but this is one of those handicapping "secrets" that will improve your play (and your profit) over the guy at the next table. Enjoy your racing this week!