Author: 'The
Man In The North'
Spread betting
firms such as Sporting Index offer individual horse betting on every
AllWeather race throughout the winter season. The ‘Man in the
North’ examines the individual race bet and his individual approach to
determining stakes and systems...
Betting a race spread in
single figures
.....................................................................................................................................
I have been betting spreads for about a year now, and
the primary reason I consider spread betting for individual race betting
is for eachway value.
The advent of the spread betting firms and online
exchanges has meant that place betting is once again something which can
be considered worthwhile. The difference with betting a spread for
an eachway shot is that you can potentially win far more if the horse
over performs.
There are certain situations where spread betting of
this type appeals. Usually this is when a horse has been quoted a spread by
firms like Sporting Index at under 8. At this point it may be worth explaining
how the system works. Take the race below, in which the Sandform analysis pointed
towards Mallard being good eachway potential from both the ratings and
analysis:
Lingfield 7f Handicap
Here Sporting Index are quoting
Mallard at 68. They are also quoting the spread down to 4th place (top left),
with 50 points to the winner, 30 for second, 20 third and 10 fourth. Therefore
the potential returns are:
Mallard's finishing Position
Returned odds
1st
42 times stake
2nd
22 times stake
3rd
12 times stake
4th
2 times stake
5th or higher Loss of 8 times stake
The returned odds are
the difference between the points allocated to the horse and the spread
which was quoted. So if Mallard were to finish third, the
calculation is 20 (points) minus the spread (in this case 'Buying' or
'backing') at 8 points. This provides a win of 20  8 = 12 times
stake profit.
The attraction of this spread
is that you are able to win all the way down to fourth place, with a win or
second placed result providing very favourable odds.
All of this is fine,
and looks very good on paper, however, we need to determine whether this
mode of betting actually represents value. This is entirely
possible, using a simple calculation and comparison.
My particular way of looking
at an individual race spread such as the Mallard example, is to consider it
as four bets in one  each with different odds. So in the example above, it
could be argued you are actually having the following 4 bets:
Mallard to finish 1st @ 42/1
Mallard to finish 2nd @ 22/1
Mallard to finish 3rd @ 12/1
Mallard to finish 4th @ 2/1
I calculate the cost
of this bet as 8 stakes  because this is what I lose if Mallard is out of
the first four (remember, I buy at 8 points, so I lose 8 times my stake if
Mallard fails to make the first four).
When potential stakes are
taken into account the real odds can be calculated at 2 points per bet (8 stakes
divided by 4 bets), which halves the odds you are receiving:
1st 21/1
2nd 11/1
3rd 6/1
4th Evens
Now you need to compare with
other bookmakers  what would the returns be if you staked 2 points the win
and 6 points the place? The best place for this is Betfair, where you can bet
separate stakes for both the win and place markets. 15 minutes before the race
Mallard was trading at 18/1 the win and 5/1 the place  and you would only to
paid if the horse finished in the first three.
Therefore on this occasion
the Sporting Index spread appears to offer better value than the best alternative
 providing a small profit on the 4th place as well.
However, there is one more
twist to the calculation. With Betfair you have the possibility of a double
payout if Mallard were to win  the win portion would return 36 points (18/1
@ 2 stakes) and the place would return 30 points (5/1 @ 6 stakes), giving a
combined payout for the win of 66 points to your 8 point stake, compared to
the 42 points provided by the spread bet. The full return on investment comparison
is:
SportingIndex Return Betfair
Return (after commission)
1st 42
points
62.7 points
2nd 22
points
28.5 points
3rd 12
points
28.5 points
4th 2 points  8 points
This shows that the win bet
provides a far superior payout with a conventional approach. However the payout
for fourth place cannot be ignored, as there is much to praise the 10 point
difference that Sporting Index provide.
That is why I adopt a hybrid
approach to my individual race spread betting. I look upon it at betting for
the place. Consider the following staking pattern on the same race, with the
same overall stake of 8 points:
Betfair win bet at
18/1 to 2 point stakes
Sporting Index: buy at 8
points to .75 unit stakes (total stake 6 points)
Now the potential
returns from the same stakes are:
SportingIndex Return Betfair
Return (after commission)
1st 31.5
points
34.2 points
2nd 16.5
points
3rd 9
points
4th 1.5 points
Now the win actually
provides a higher points return of 65.7 (+3 points) and although the place
win is less than Betfair, the inclusion of the fourth place actually means
I have a return on investment on a more frequent basis. If you keep
a diary of bets, you will find that this payout of fourth place is very
valuable in the long term.
As a synopsis of the rules
on individual race spread betting, here is my hit list. As has been demonstrated,
to get the best value needs a hybrid approach, but here are some basics to play
with:

Only bet on spreads if you intend to bet eachway.

Only bet to a spread in single figures (usually equates to a 10/1+
shot)
 Split a win portion
of your stake (20%) with a Betfair win bet
An easy way to
calculate the bet stakes is shown below (to £10 stakes):
Betfair win bet of: £2
Sporting Index buy of £1 per point at
8.
or
Betfair win at £2
Sporting Index buy of £1.33 per point at
6.
or
Betfair win at £2
Sporting Index buy of £2 per point at 4.
Click to investigate
a Spread Betting Account at Sporting Index
Click to investigate
a Betting
Account with Betfair
Important. The views and recommendations
expressed in this article are provided for information purposes only.
None of the commentary constitutes a recommendation to bet or open a betting
account.
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