How to Categorize a Race to Improve Your Wagering
Recently we've been talking about how important it is to look at wagering strategies instead of handicapping strategies. The general idea here is that you make your money at the greyhound races by out-thinking the patrons rather than by trying to out-think the greyhounds! I've had a couple of people ask me about categorizing races, so I thought we could take that up in this edition of the Dog Blog.
The point in categorizing races is to find races where you can exploit problems with how the crowd wagers. You need to find inefficiencies. One of the biggest concepts is that most people handicap every race in the same way, and then they bet on each race in generally the same way. Note that I said "most people" and not "all people." But "most" is all you need!
One of the most effective tests I've found for categorizing races is to use the difference in average time between the fastest dog in the race, and the second-fastest dog. If you are working from the track's daily program pages, then just average each dog's time, and take the difference between the top two numbers. You'll get a spread like .051 seconds, or .029 seconds, or .149 seconds. The bigger this number, the better advantage the fastest dog has.
If you want to save yourself a huge amount of time, you can get these numbers easily using either the "average running time" column or the "variant adjusted times" column from our Stat Attack product. Just find the dogs ranked "1" and "2" in each race, and subtract 2 from 1. Easy as pie. I call this difference the "spread" here, as it is a measure of the spread of talent between the fastest greyhound and the rest of the field.
After you have the spread between the two fastest dogs, you still have to categorize the races. I do this by breaking the races into three roughly equal sets based on that spread. If the spread is less than or equal to .043 seconds, I categorize the race as type 1. If the spread is greater than that, but less than or equal to .119 seconds, I categorize those as type 2. And if the spread is greater than .119 seconds, those are type 3 races. These numbers are for 5/16ths races.
If you do your normal handicapping on the races, and then separate the races into types 1, 2, and 3, you'll see a radical change in your results between the groups. Not only will your winning percentage be different in each group, your ROI will also be different. And that's the trick. You want to find segments like this where you can exploit crowd weaknesses.
This division of races can lead to some startling numbers. For a quick demonstration, here are the raw winning percentage for these categorized race types at several popular tracks:
Type 1 races: fastest dog wins 19.54%
Type 2 races: fastest dog wins 22.59%
Type 3 races: fastest dog wins 32.90%
Type 1 races: fastest dog wins 21.14%
Type 2 races: fastest dog wins 21.86%
Type 3 races: fastest dog wins 28.07%
Type 1 races: fastest dog wins 18.85%
Type 2 races: fastest dog wins 21.29%
Type 3 races: fastest dog wins 29.24%
Type 1 races: fastest dog wins 19.17%
Type 2 races: fastest dog wins 21.09%
Type 3 races: fastest dog wins 29.28%
Type 1 races: fastest dog wins 19.01%
Type 2 races: fastest dog wins 23.44%
Type 3 races: fastest dog wins 34.79%
Type 1 races: fastest dog wins 18.70%
Type 2 races: fastest dog wins 19.76%
Type 3 races: fastest dog wins 29.10%
Type 1 races: fastest dog wins 20.48%
Type 2 races: fastest dog wins 22.45%
Type 3 races: fastest dog wins 33.56%
Aren't those numbers just amazing? By looking at the simplest little statistic--time spread--you can isolate a third of all races, and know that the fastest dog is going to win FAR more often than in the other two thirds of the races.
Then remember what I said about the crowd at the top of this Blog. The crowd tends to handicap and play every race the same. But all races ARE NOT the same! The simple process above shows just how NOT the same the races can be!
And best of all, if you study your results in each third, you'll find huge differences in your ROI as well. And that, of course, is the way to find profits. Take the time to check out the wagering ROI numbers for your own handicapping like this, and I'm sure it will pay big dividends for you. The crowd doesn't know or understand the concepts like this easy trick, and having knowledge not shared by the crowd is your advantage over them.