Wednesday, September 8, 2021

What Racing Analysts Should Be, And Do

If I was King of Racing (stop the hate mail now), I'd think I'd implement some standards for our friends analyzing the races at each meet, every day. 

Let me say, I believe analysts do a good job, certainly for the most part, analyzing races. And frankly, I believe little has to be done to improve this aspect. People like Marcus Hersh cover a meet, follows it and does it well. David Aragona, Andy Serling; I mean the list is long. 

These people provide excellent information to folks getting ready to watch and wager on a card of racing. 

Where I'd change the "picks"crowd is in how it's reported, and what are given out as plays. 

I'd love to see, each day, every day, a spot play with an odds minimum. If Andy picks one or two horses a card, set minimum odds. This works twofold, in my view: i) it can be tracked over a season and ii) it gets players thinking about minimum odds. As well, I think it makes the analyst a better one. When they're thinking about profitability, the casual fan will as well. It also allows them to convey to the watcher their thoughts in coming up with a mathematically sound play. Teach a man to fish. 

They can also add a "most probable winner" or anything else they want. But fair odds are so important in sports gambling, we need to ensure it's a part of this game as well. 

Secondly, navigating a casual fan versus a seasoned one in broadcast is an age old debate, and I am the first to admit this can be a minefield. I think however, especially with the sport trying to attract more sophisticated sports gamblers, it needs a refresh. And it can be accomplished by speaking to both sets of bettors. 

The TVG crowd, in my view, should be making multiple pick 4 tickets to share. One can be a "stay alive ticket", which is dutifully explained as a sequence that might get you through the legs, but the ticket might not pay. The other ticket could be a lean on a horse they like, a ticket with less chance to win, but one that's mathematically sound. This ticket would be the one that shares the most insight into how the game is supposed to be played. 

Some might say tickets like this are difficult to share because analysts do not appear to have the skills to do so. In some cases I am sure that's correct, but it's already being done. In the Timeform US package, for example, David and Marcus share this insight with their tickets already. They'll often take multiple tickets in a pick 5, or 4 or even 3, with their price horses used heavily. If your analyst doesn't have the skills, find one who does. 

I agree much of this is difficult, and not intuitive. The sport of horse racing has lived with newspaper picks for so many many years. And the customer base - at least on the surface - seems to want "winners" so there is very little reason to pivot. But I think we're not looking below the surface. Give people more info, strategy and insight; talk up to them, not down. That's the market that might lead to more and more users, and more and more handle. 

Have a nice Wednesday everyone. 

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