Build a successful Lay strategy with Tipstronic
One of the great benefit betting exchanges have brought is the ability to bet against a runner. Critized by some in the industry, ignored by many, Lay strategies have so often been overlooked and misunderstood that we thought we would explain them more. Let’s burst the myth!
What is laying ?
Laying is betting against an event, for instance you bet that runner 2 won’t win. It is in essence what bookies do all day. One of the great benefit of betting exchanges is that they allow punters to also lay the selections they think aren’t going to win, something that is usually not possible with traditional bookies.
Is it (just) about guessing who will lose?
Yes! It is best to bet on a dog that is less likely to win but first and foremost it is about how much you get paid for taking the risk as laying a winner can be expensive. Losing dog need to pay you more than the winning ones you have laid cost you to earn money in the long run.
Is it risky ?
Yes it is risky because gambling is risky ! You should never gamble more than you can afford as a principle ! But it is not riskier to bet a greyhound will lose than to bet a greyhound will win a race. One thing to understand is the concept of liability on betting exchanges.
Assume you Lay £10 on Trap 1, £10 on Trap 2 and the same on Trap 3 out of 6 runners at prices (decimal odds) of 5, 10, 15. The worst case scenario is that the highest paying dog wins in which case you would lose £10 * (15 – 1) = £140 (i.e. you keep the £10 of the backer and pay him £150 once the greyhound wins). Reasonable betting exchanges will require you to set £140 aside and not the sum of each individual liability as not all dogs will win the race. That is a benefit of laying: the same amount deposited allows you to multiply your positions (by the way… it also increases the probability you will have to pay out for a winner so let’s stay cool). If you had backed £10 on each though you would need to set £30 aside as it is possible that none of them wins !
How do bookies earn money as they in fact lay the entire field ? Can I do the same ?
Overround is the answer! In short they pay you a lot less than they should if the price was properly reflecting the winning chances of each runner. Assume 3 dogs (theoretical case for simplicity) enter a race and ignore the very rare cases of multiple winners. Let’s assume that Trap 1 has a “true winning chance” of 50%, Trap 2 has 20% chance and Trap 3 has 30% chance. The sum of the winning probabilities is 100% (in other word there has to be one winner and only one).
The fair price of each greyhound should be (in decimal odds, have a read at this article for the technical explanation):
Trap 1: 2 (or 1 / 50%)
Trap 2: 5 (or 1 / 20%)
Trap 3: 3.33 (or 1 / 30%)
Bookmakers would most likely offer these dogs on prices along those lines:
Trap 1: 1.54
Trap 2: 3.85
Trap 3: 2.56
These prices equate winning probabilities respectively of 65%, 26%, 39%. Their sum is 130% but there is not 130% chance to have one winner, there is 100% chance. 30% is the overround or in layman term what the bookies put in their pocket provided they have a relatively flat book (same liabilities on each runner).
Yes, you could try and do the same but you are in practice uncertain to earn money because odds move very fast on exchange. If you find a way to “green your book” ie match all selections with odds such that the sum of their probabilities is less than 100% then you should go for it. It’s called an arbitrage if you do it all at once. They do exist but are hard to catch and predicting price movements on betting exchanges is not an easy task (and fundamentally quite different than traditional gambling).
So what can Tipstronic do?
Tipstronic helps you select a subset of runners to lay and give you target odds (i.e. odds not to lay above). This can be achieved via our Pro or Platinum packages.
The graph below shows the realized performance of Tipstronic platinum model if you had laid selection with a Quartz score (the dog rating in Tipstronic jargon) of less than 30% and odds equivalent to an expected return of 25%. The performance is shown against the Betfair SP and includes exchange fees (this small detail that so many tipsters forget to mention…)
The beauty of Tipstronic is to let you choose your own strategy. For instance with such parameters you would lay about 5 selections per day.
Not enough ? Feel free to use our tool to simulate the past performance with different parameters. For instance you could accept greyhounds with a Quartz score of no more than 35%
You would then lay around 11 times a day.
You could also require lower odds (i.e. higher expected return of 35% instead of 25% )
And if it is not your thing to build your own strategy or that you don’t like having to deal with such data you can use our “ready made” strategies in the Pro family.
You can select three risk levels in the Pro strategies and fine tune the liability you would like to risk on Back and Lay sides.
The Pro strategies simplify the process by giving you Back / Lay directions as well as target odds. If you like backing and laying you can implement them all or you can pick and choose the races you like. We cover most if not all UK races so there is choice!
How can I implement my strategy?
We show our strategies against Betfair Starting Prices because the information is freely and readily available on their website and can be verified but if you spot good prices before the off go ahead! Have a read at this article