Betting Knowledge

national hunt racing

What is National Hunt Racing?

3 Apr 2020. In National Hunt Racing, there are obstacles* on the course (as opposed to Flat racing, where there are not). The two most iconic and well-known horse races of any kind held in Great Britain, the Grand National and the Grade 1 Cheltenham Gold Cup, are National Hunt races.

  • The majority of the National Hunt races in Great Britain take place in the winter months, rather than summer. There is a good reason for this, as the race courses should be softer in winter (as of course there should be more rain). As horses have to jump obstacles, this makes it a lot less dangerous than in the summer months.
  • National Hunt racing can take the form of either hurdles or steeplechases.
  • In hurdles races the obstacles the horses must jump are hurdles. There will be a minimum of eight hurdles in any race. These hurdles have a minimum height of three and a half feet. The races are between two to three and a half miles.
    • A well known example of a National Hunt hurdles race is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, which is a Grade 1 race – this race is the first race on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival.
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Grand National facts

What is Flat Racing?

In Flat Racing horses with the best speed or best stamina (or both of these) have the advantage, depending on the distance of each race. Jockeys also play a major part as they have to be able to get their horse to do the right thing (e.g. ‘ask’ them to go faster or slower). Thoroughbreds are the most common form of horse breed you will see in this form of racing. Natural grass race courses (also referred to as turf) are the most common. You will see some races run on synthetic or all-weather tracks (especially for flat races run in winter). Flat Racing generally takes places over shorter distances than National Hunt racing, and there are no obstacles in Flat Racing (as the name suggests).

Flat Racing (in Great Britain, at least) takes the form of (1) Conditions races, or (2) Handicaps.

  • In a Conditions race, horses carry weights. Females carry less weights than males. Older horses carry less weights than younger horses. Less successful horses carry less weights than more successful horses. Conditions races are not handicap races – as the weights are allocated according to the predetermined conditions of the race (not by an handicapper).
  • The most prestigious of the Condition races are the Pattern races (which are usually called Group races).
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horse racing explained

Horse Racing Explained

There are 2 popular types of horse racing that take place in Great Britain: these are Flat Racing, and National Hunt Racing. In this ‘Horse Racing Explained‘ article, we explain the difference between these two types of the sport. We also explain what exactly a furlong is (a common term you will hear in relation to the length of horse races).

  • Flat Racing – run on courses where there are no obstacles present (i.e. it is flat). Distances for Flat Racing are between 5 furlongs 2 miles to 2 miles 5 furlongs 159 yards. Some of the best examples of flat races are the Royal Ascot festival, and the five races known as the British Classics – 1,000 Guineas (Newmarket), 2,000 Guineas (Newmarket), The Oaks (Epsom Downs), The Derby (Epsom Downs), and St.Leger (Doncaster).
  • National Hunt Racing – run on courses with obstacles, taking the form of a Hurdles race or a Steeplechase race. They are generally run over longer distances (2 miles to 4 and a half miles) than the Flat Racing mentioned above. The best examples of National Hunt Racing are the Grand National (Aintree) and the Cheltenham Festival.
    • Please note slightly confusingly, there are also National Hunt Flat Races (also known as Bumpers) – which are run under National Hunt rules, but there are no obstacles on the course (13 – 20 furlongs are common distances for these races).
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starting price

Is it preferable to take the Starting Price?

When you place a bet on a horse race, instead of taking the fixed odds price on offer you might be able to place a bet at an unspecified Starting Price. Sometimes for future races, which haven’t been priced up by your selected bookmaker, you can only place a bet at the Starting Price (SP).

When you place a bet at the SP, you do not know in advance what odds you are getting! So, why on earth would you want to take this option? Odds on horses can fluctuate, in the build up to the race. When the race start time comes closer, it is clearer what the conditions will be like (e.g. is the ground heavy or soft, will it be raining or really hot at the time of the race), if any other horses have withdrawn, and if the horse has any issues etc. Odds can thus fluctuate for many reasons, including the amount being bet on a horse. So, with lots of money coming in, the price is likely to go down and vice-versa. In the UK, a panel decides the starting price (it should be the same regardless of which bookmaker you use), based on how they view the fluctuations of prices.… Read the rest

avoid arbitrage betting

Why should you avoid Arbitrage Betting?

Numerous websites and software tools have popped up which claim to allow you to spot guaranteed profitable betting opportunities, by taking advantage of the differing prices on outcomes in the same market between different bookmakers. We explained how you could start to find the best value markets at your favourite bookmaker. This involves working out the overround on a particular market. The lower the overround the better. However, these websites and tools take this a step further, and claim to be able to find opportunities (by placing bets at multiple bookmakers, on different outcomes in the same market) when there will effectively be no overround, and in fact the book will be less than 100%. This is called arbitrage betting. We strongly recommend you avoid arbitrage betting. Although, the opportunities they spot will be real (if you are using a reputable service), we still recommend you avoid this form of betting. There is usually a fee involved to use these services, and even though the opportunities to make a profit might be there in theory, in practice they are difficult to profit from.

Why avoid arbitrage betting? Your account may be closed, or bets revoked.

  • Bookmakers generally hate arbitrage betting.
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value betting gut instinct

Why is Value Betting superior to using Gut Instinct?

If you keep placing bets on outcomes of events, just because you fancy teams/players to win (Gut Instinct), without considering the odds fully then you will likely be losing money in the long run. Value betting involves independently considering if the odds offered are better than the true probability of the outcome happening, and only placing bets if that is the case. Let’s start our Why is Value Betting superior to using Gut Instinct? article off with an example:

Let’s say you are considering placing a bet in an event in which there are two outcomes only, e.g. the final of a competition where either team/player A wins, or team/player B wins (no draws possible). You need to calculate the true probabilities of the outcomes. This requires taking into account a lot of factors (prior results, injuries, officials, form etc. – variables will depend on what event you are betting on), and coming up with a statistical model (which may require, amongst other things weighting the factors).

Let’s say you calculate A wins two-thirds of the time, and B wins one-third of the time:
Two-thirds of the time is the same as odds of 1/2*, i.e. for every 1 time they don’t win, they will win 2 times.… Read the rest

wisdom of the crowd

How does Wisdom of the Crowd affect odds?

  • Wisdom of the Crowd refers to the phenomenon that a large number of individuals in a group, will usually be able to make better decisions than any individual in that group.
  • For example, at a funfair say their was a big jar with an unknown amount of marbles. People were asked to guess the number of marbles (with the closest getting a prize). If you took all the guesses and averaged them (provided there was a sufficient number of people in the group) it would usually come close to the actual number of marbles in the jar. Obviously, the more people who participated the closer to the actual number you would get.
  • This happens, because individual noise is filtered out.
  • In the case of betting odds, Wisdom of the Crowd also has an effect as bookmakers are forced to lower prices getting a lot of betting action (and increase prices not getting a lot). So, highly backed outcomes get their prices lowered, and less well back outcomes get their prices increased.
  • However, for Wisdom of the Crowd to work people have to be making rational and independent decisions. In the case, of marbles in the jar at the funfair this may be the case.
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betting tip scam explanation

Betting tip scam explanation – don’t be a victim!

There are many variations of this scam. Hopefully you will fully understand this betting tip scam explanation, and so will be able to avoid such scams. If you didn’t spot this betting tip scam, you were a victim of survival bias (you were only thinking of the people who made it through a selection process, and ignored those that didn’t). Don’t worry, here’s the betting tip scam explanation:

  • What has happened here is the ‘tipster’ sent say 10,000s of e-mails – some of which backed all the possible outcomes in the first event. You just happened to be in the group that the correct tip was sent to the first time.
  • The second time, the ‘tipster’ e-mails only the group that he had previously sent the 1st winning tip to, and divides them into new groups backing each of the outcomes in the 2nd event.
  • Again and again, this process is repeated.
  • Provided the ‘tipster’ started out with a sufficiently large number of recipients to begin with, to a certain number of people it will look like the ‘tipster’ got a large number of tips in a row correct from the start.
  • The people who received a wrong tip at any time were no longer e-mailed, and they probably didn’t think much of it.
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