Friday, May 7, 2021

Public Cappers Cap for the Boss

Unless you are off the twitter grid (God bless you), you've no doubt witnessed the feud of the month(s) between ITP and some public racing handicappers and racing analysts.  It has not been unentertaining. 

ITP, profiled here in the antithesis of an average-quick-hit-interview-with-an-owner-or-breeder, clearly makes sound and logical points. Namely, why are you giving out negative EV bets, because your and the sports' future depends on helping your customers win more money (and those suggestions do the opposite). 

The comeback - again with some validity - is about making sure your customers have a better chance of winning that sequence or day, by giving them higher hit rate outs. They don't care if their tickets will pay 70 cents on the dollar long term. 

It's been like this forever, of course. Your newspaper handicapper would get a raise with a 37% hit rate, fired with a 18% one, even if the latter was $1.07 after crunching the numbers. 

The difference (chasm) between the two points of view lies, in my opinion, on a pretty simple fact. 

ITP is offering suggestions to help the customer beat the game. The public handicapper is offering advice to cash a ticket. The former is the sole reason you and I and everyone who may be attracted to the game do so; the latter is following a dogma that has existed for generations. 

What dogma? A dirty little secret (that's really not one in this business to anyone who follows it) is that the racetracks have never been focused on you making money. This statement is not even debatable. If it wasn't true, takeout would be lower and/or rebates would be more readily accessible. Where's yours?

With a focus that's not on you, many public track handicappers have no choice in the matter. When you see them offering a spread ticket with chalks, telling you absolutely positively without question should be taking a 74% takeout jackpot ticket, or using all three favorites in the first leg of the double, they're handicapping for their bosses. 

I don't want to paint a broad brush, so I'll make that clear. I believe there are several excellent racing analysts giving out gems of wisdom, presenting some good ideas and that do their homework. They do want you to win, and coming to work is more than just a paycheck to them. But they're the outliers; they're the ones bucking the trend. And they're the ones quietly nodding that ITP is making a strong point. 

Have a nice weekend everyone. 

1 comment:

Wayne Crimi said...

Some people believe that if you have a few good value oriented opinions in a sequence, you can use some overbet favorites in the other legs in order to stay alive and take advantage of the value you have identified elsewhere.

I think there's some merit to that line of thinking.

The flip side is that throwing out very overbet favorites creates the very value you searching for. Why wouldn't you want to take advantage of that by tossing the horse from the sequence?

However, the bigger problem with adding them in is elsewhere.

Unless you are singling or playing very tight tickets to your value oriented opinions, combinations that include a very overbet favorite are typically going to be EV-. That drags down the value of the overall ticket and could turn a potentially winning player into a losing player.

It's all math.

Part of that math is ensuring you hit enough tickets, can deal with the variance and not go bust. However, adding in EV- tickets to ensure you cash more bets and lower that variance is a bad idea because it could turn you into a loser.

IMO, if the variance of an appropriately constructed ticket is too high, you should simply avoid that pool. Don't make bad bets trying to lower the variance.

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