4-1 turning for home in the 1st at Remington, win, get $5.60...tough game.It's annoying. But part of the game, so they tell us.
— Craig Milkowski (@TimeformUSfigs) September 11, 2014
The problem is, it strikes right at the heart of what a true gambler needs to do to survive.
CJ is (presumably) betting a TimeformUS horse he likes at 4-1. At 4-1 he is making his play on the assumption that this horse will win more than 20% of the time; probably thinking he will win 25% of the time, so it's a green light. Instead at 8-5, his horse - to break even - has to win 38% of the time. In other words, he made an absolutely terrible bet.
This is like betting a 4 point line on a football game and realizing you have just bet an eight point line. "Hold it, I like the other team at 8 points!"
Several years ago Mike Maloney lobbied to have the odds shut off at one minute before post, so the real odds could be shown with that late money. This would help with past posting and offer the consumer a better odds board. That died because handle would be hurt. It's true it would, in the short term anyway. However, if racing cares so much about gaining handle, one wonders why the take of 22% blended is not lowered.
Regardless, there are some things players can do. Look at the pick 3 payoffs and do a quick calculation. Is this horse who is paying $32 in the pick 3, really 5-1, when the 8-5 horse is paying $44 in the pick 3 with two minutes to go? Also, check the exacta payoffs and see what you can come up with.
It's a shame we have to do this to make a bet in this day and age, but without fixed odds betting (don't hold your breath, racing here hates the idea) it's not going away any time soon.
I guess I am one to get a little worked up with the industry, but it's simply because I want players to enjoy the game more. People who play once a week can be enticed to play much more if their ROI approaches flat, of course. That's basic. And it can attract more dollars.
When asked about playing into a high rake pool when you think you have a good bet, versus a lower rake pool where you are not sure, I choose the latter. Why? Because in the long run, the odds board is very close to fair. If you think you have an edge into a 20% win takeout pool, you might that day, or a few times that week, but over time beating 20% is almost impossible. This is because we truly do not know if that 5-1 is an overlay because we have him at 2-1, or he is dead on the board, or we read the race wrong, or literally 1000 other reasons why we are wrong. We can't predict the random. We only have our long term edge numbers to go by.
Conversely, with low rake pools money can be made much easier.
Take Peter Webb playing into Betfair. He knows nothing about "circuits" or riders, or trainers. He just knows some math. Trading and betting into a pool with 3% takeout he bets $500 million dollars per annum. At 20% at Turf Paradise, he bets zero dollars because he knows it's unbeatable.
This is why rebated action takes off exponentially. It has nothing to do with handicapping knowledge (I know dozens of better handicappers who are betting $10 a day than a few that make a living at horse racing), it has to do with math. You can bet so much more when you get a lower price, because your edge goes up. When your edge goes up, you can bet more money.
Ask yourself why there are so few long term (probably none, quite frankly) winners who bet into track owned ADW's here in North America. It's because even the best players in a world of 7 billion people, with all the technology, skill, know-how, knowledge and everything else, can't beat track owned ADW rakes of 22%.
Have a great day everyone.