Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The Cheltenham Festival 2018: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Cheltenham Festival 2018
Regulars of the Cheltenham Festival will have grown used to, perhaps even sick of, the debate that occurs every year as to whether the festival represents too much of a good thing. In the last few years, the festival has expanded, going from a three-day event to a four day one. Some punters think that, in adding this extra day, organisers have had to fill the extra time with sub-par races.

The debate took a new turn this year when none other than James Knight, who occupies a senior position at the bookmakers Ladbrokes Coral, took to Twitter to vent his frustration. Knight referred to some of the festival's races as being “ridiculously hyped” and “done-to-death”. His remarks have divided punters and observers, but it seems that even those who might be inclined to agree with him won’t be put off from attending the festival.


Too Much of a Good Thing?

One of the most common arguments made in defence of the festival is that it draws in attendees who would not normally concern themselves with racing meets, thus helping to broaden the appeal of the sport. There is also a concern in some quarters that, were organisers to reverse the recent changes, the appeal of the festival would be limited and the corresponding drop in attendance could have significant ramifications for its future.
There is also the concern that if Cheltenham shrinks in size then many of the competing jump horses will be fielded at other events earlier in the year. Jump horses, like all animals, have a finite lifespan and the more they compete, the more chances there are for them to become injured, potentially ruling them out of appearing at Cheltenham when the time comes.


Other Races

From the beginning of November, the jump racing calendar enters its golden months. Every week, racing fans are treated to high-quality events. For example, there is the ever-popular Betfair Chase, the Tingle Creek, and the December Gold Cup, to name but a few.All of these events have proven to be popular and for many, they provide a useful indication of who to watch out for at Cheltenham.

As far as British flat racing goes, there is simply no equivalent to Cheltenham, as much as we wish there was, despite massive investment from the industry in trying to make this happen.


Bets and Tips

Of course, one of the main attractions of Cheltenham will always be the betting. The excitement of seeking out the best racing tips and the thrill when they pay off is an integral part of the experience. In amongst the punters who have devised their own proprietary system, there are also a number of keen observers, armed with an arsenal of statistics and observations from other race meets. And, of course, now that technology is playing an important role in the world of sports, and gambling, there are a number of websites who claim to offer the best bets and betting tips for Cheltenham Festival 2018.


The Cheltenham Festival remains one of the most popular events on the British jump race calendar. Its sustained popularity, as well as the inability of other sectors of the industry to replicate its success, suggests that it is an event that we should cherish while it is around.

Friday, 8 December 2017

The Concept of Value Betting

It is one of the oldest arguments in betting: are you better off looking for value or looking for winners?

To me, it is a no-brainer. Value is king. I am amazed anyone considers it a matter of debate, yet many do. Their thinking goes like this: what is the point of backing something because you think it is a big price if it has little or no chance of winning?

They will hold up as an example a football team that is playing away to the opposition that is generally accepted to be superior. Fulham against Manchester United at Old Trafford, for example. Fulham may be 12-1 but if you dare suggest that is too big a price, you are liable to be shot down in flames by those who believe that because the Cottagers are such big outsiders there is no point even contemplating whether or not they actually represent a value wager.

There is no point backing a string of big-value losers, they will reason. Refrain from getting embroiled in a debate with people who think this way. They are irrational and cannot possibly be winning punters in the long run. In betting, and in football, in particular, the value lies more often than not in the bigger-priced contenders. This is largely because of the average punter's fixation with the very shortest prices on the weekend football coupon.

Bookmakers can usually tell whether they will have a winning weekend simply by looking at the results of the top teams in the English Premiership and Scottish Premier League.

In the autumn of 2003, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Celtic and Rangers all won on the same weekend eight times out of 11.

This caused a drop in bookmakers' profits as punters landed some significant accumulators. By the start of December, a blind £10 weekly five-timer on the quintet was showing a profit of £310. With their profits being dented, the layers reacted by strangling the match odds of the five teams that were hurting them.

Predictably, it did not prevent punters steaming into the so-called Big Five, even when they stopped winning so regularly. And with the hotpots shortening, their opponents were offered at even longer odds, leading to some decent paydays for those punters who took the rational view that the value lay with the long-shots.

The bottom line is that everything becomes good value if the price is right. You may head out of the house one day armed with £20,000 with the intention of buying a Mercedes. On the way to the showroom, you pass the Toyota dealership where the comparable car in their range is on offer at £14,000.

Your heart was set on the Merc but here is a car every bit as good for £6,000 less. You don't know why it is being offered so cheaply, but it is. You buy it and, whether you bank the six grand or use it to take the family to the Caribbean, you have made a value investment. So it is with betting. You intended to back Manchester United, but when you saw the prices and realised Fulham were so big, you backed them.

Many punters would, quite rightly, not dream of having a bet without searching for the best possible value, yet there are plenty who have no grasp of the concept of price-sensitivity and just back their fancies with the same bookmaker, be it on the phone, the net, or, more commonly, in the shop (internet punters tend to be more sophisticated and more aware of the basic premise that if you take the trouble to root out the best possible price you have a far greater chance of being successful over a long period).