False Favorites -
If you had one "boon" - one wish granted to
your race betting life - what would it be? No - it can't be "to know
every winner ahead of time" - let's keep it as near to the real world as possible!
What I'm really asking is this: The knowledge of what
one thing would enhance your ability to make profits more than any other?
A good answer would be, "To
know when the favorite is false."
Think about all the talk and handicapping energy
expended in finding "value" in a race - who is overlaid? - by how
much? - what are the fair odds? - is it smart money or foolish money? -
will the odds change drastically after I bet and destroy my overlay? - et.
Yet - if the average favorite goes off at say 8/5 and
you can eliminate him from win consideration
- you've gained a tremendous advantage - the
kind of advantage that can assure you good profits from now till the cows
How would it affect your play?
First, it would be the absolute
perfect race filter. The decision on what races to bet and what
races to pass would be automatic.
You could pass races with legitimate favorites and
save all the mental acrobatics of trying to figure the "close
call" overlays in the race. You could play races when the favorite is
likely false and get overlay odds on nearly all the other contenders!
Second - your average exotics
payoffs would go way up. The false favorite (or close second
favorite) would never again be used in the top spot - or usually even in
the second spot. You could throw all those "saver" bets with the
favorite included out the window and use that money to load up heavier on
the better paying combinations.
Also - your win % - your race "strike" rate
would go up.
What follows are some off-the-top-of-my-head type
numbers. (Please, those of you with "precise formula" type math
minds - don't take issue with me, consult the writings Barry Meadows or
Dick Mitchell if you want exact figures and formulas).
If all favorites win - let's say 33% of the time ,
but you have a good way of spotting false
favorites so that in the races you bet the
favorite wins only at a 24% clip across all odds - the following would
You are a better predictor of favoritism than the
public by 27% (.24/.33= .72) so - in the races with legitimate favorites
that you pass - the favorite will win 42% of the time! ((.33x.27)+.33=
By passing those races and playing against the
favorite when it will win only 24% - do you think your hit rate on the
mid-range odds horses will increase? - you better believe it - regardless
what type of wager you are talking about.
With that increase in edge - you are
now on a level playing field - the track take has been essentially
Of course, those false favorites will still have some
chance to win, but think about what you will gain. Favorites are always
over bet in the exotics - period. The combinations not including the
favorite are much more likely to be under bet.
If you've decided the favorite is somewhere between
"can't win" and "24% chance to win," yet he is going
off near post-time at 9/5 - if that percentage of the pool money is
redistributed among your other contenders, many of those other exacta
combos will now be at good overlay payoffs.
If you need a conservative actual number - just
subtract the % of actual odds from your projected 24% winning
favorites. Example The "false favorite" is at 8/5 - so
around 38% of the money is being bet on him. If you've established a
several hundred race figure of only 24% winning favorites (across all
odds) in the races you bet - then that leaves 14% to be redistributed
among say, two or three others that you have made as contenders.
This kind of adjustment is for those players who make
a "serious" betting line. For others, the easy way to think
about it (though it won't always be true) is that any of the combinations
that don't include the favorite will be offering fair prices.
There are plenty of computer programs out there that
automatically download the pp's - choose a paceline - crunch all the
numbers and spit out a short list of contenders. All this without any
input from the handicapper. If you spend your time only identifying races
that contain false favorites and then play only the races with those - you
can far more quickly and easily i.d. overlays from the next three or four
Confine your wagering to those and see what it does
for your bottom-line.
In an upcoming article - we'll delve into
just how to identify and isolate those races that contain false and weak