Betting Blind For Profit

While I'm waiting for this afternoon's racing to begin I thought I'd hark back to my gambling days and ask the question: is it possible to blindly bet on favourites and profit longterm?

I've never been a horse racing fan. The idea of sitting down and ploughing through form figures and stats was the last thing I wanted to do each morning. (Bizarrely though, that's just what I used to do with my favoured sport of footy). Once I discovered Betfair though, my interest in the nags was kindled.

I was wasting away a few hours one afternoon exploring the Betfair site when I noticed a peculiar thing. It was amazing the number of times that a horse, in 6th or 7th in the Betfair coupon list went on to be placed. I was curious as to whether this was a one-off for the day, or if it happened on a regular basis. So I wound up spending a few weeks recording the results.

Sure enough, it happened a lot. But not enough to be profitable to level stakes. Still, I continued my studies.

I should point out that one of the kicks I get from this hobby is dreaming up weird and wonderful systems and staking plans. Indeed, I probably get more enjoyment out of finding patterns in statistics and thinking of ways to exploit them than actually gambling.

With this in mind, I came up with a selection system and recovery staking plan (which I won't go into details with this post) which, on paper, turned £1000 into nearly £500000 in three weeks (14 race days to be precise).

Yes, you read that correctly. £1K into £500K in three weeks.

It all crashed and burn in a prolonged losing streak. But that's not the point. I was re-investing ALL of that paper money simply to see how quickly the bank would grow. It was not representative of any real life money management.

I abandoned the plan for one simple reason. There's nowhere near the amount of liquidity in the place market to allow the system to work. Even less so when one considers that I was looking at horses that where a long way from being called favourite. Still it was a useful exercise which led me to turn my attention to the win markets and the race favourites.

More specifically, I was looking at whichever horse in the top two of the Betfair coupon list was favourite 2 mins before the off AND had odds of 3.5 or greater. This often meant that the selected horse was not the favourite at the time of the off.

The graph below shows the paper money profit/loss performance over a nine month period though I did have a break for nearly two months in the summer due to the World Cup 2006, holidays and other commitments.

Not a bad return for someone who didn't study form, trainer or jockey statistics, course conditions or anything else that may or may not influence the outcome of a race.

So, to answer my original question. Yes, it is possible to profit from blindly betting on favourites. You need a system/staking plan and something that I have never had... a decent sized bank to cover the inevitable losing streaks.

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