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Beating the Odds

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Understanding HBD Odds

HBD’s Pro Sheets offer the ability to find and determine potential value of any horse compared to their real time odds.

The easiest way to think about Fair odds line is using an example that we can all relate to; the flipping of a coin. We know that a fair coin flip has odds of 50/50 to come up either heads or tails. Now let’s say that you wanted to bet on heads you know that over a long period of time you are going to win 50% of the time. If someone were to offer you even money or in the horse racing world 1/1 odds then you could expect to break even over the long run. It can also move in either direction, if someone were to offer you less than even money, let’s say 4/5 odds you would be making a bet with a long term negative expectation. On the flip-side, if someone offered you 3/2 odds on the same bet, you could expect to make money over the same time period. There is value when the odds produce an overlay over the expected outcome of the event. The fair odds of a coin flip would be 1/1 while the value odds would be anything 3/2 or better.

Want to know what the odds of a win bet will pay? Check out HBD’s Calculating Odds Page.

Now of course, there will be times when given a single race or a single coin flip that the 4/5 bet would be profitable. If the coin is being flipped once and it lands on heads one would argue that I returned $3.60 on my $2.00 bet, it was a good bet. I would argue that this is not the case, yes you won the bet, and yes you would have $1.60 more in your pocket than you did before. But you made a bet that had a fairly large underlay, meaning you made a bet that over the long run would produce an expected loss. Contrarily not every bet with value is going to be a winner. If someone offered you 2/1 on the coin flip and you only flipped the coin once, you are expected to lose money half of the time. But this is still a bet with a positive expectation.

The exact same theory can be used in a horse race to determine where the value is in betting a single horse to win. Let’s look at a race that has a total of 10 entries, if all the horses where exactly the same and could somehow magically start from the same post each horse would have a 10% chance to win the race. As post time approaches and the odds are moving around some the horses that have less than 10/1 odds would be considered to have an underlay, the horses right at 10/1 would have fair odds, while the horses that are more than 10/1 would have value odds. The best value for your bet is on the horse/horses that have odds higher than 10/1.

Now of course I have yet to see a horse race with 10 horses who all have a 10/1 fair odds line, but the same can be done with any number of horses in any race that we want to look at. HBD has done just that, on every one of our HBD Pro Sheets we now include a Fair odds line of each horse. Let’s take a look at an example from this past weekend.

Harbor Stakes for 3-year old Fillies at Aqueduct on Sunday, April 26th

Harbor Stakes 0426

Our top pick was the 5 Paulassilverlining who was moving route to sprint had a solid run last time out coming in a close second here on the same track and was the deserved morning line favorite. While she was our top pick overall there was likely very little value come post time as her expected Value line was 4/1.

 Post Horse ML HBD Post
1 Danzatrice Scratch Scratch Scratch
2 Perchance 5-2 4-1 3-2
3 Lakeside Sunset 5-1 4-1 4-1
4 Lindisfarne 3-1 5-1 11-2
5 Paulassilverlining 2-1 4-1 3-2
6 Irish Jasper 15-1 4-1 13-1

That being said right away we can see where the potential value is likely to land. The 6 Irish Jasper had a morning line of 15-1 and an HBD Fair Odds Line of 4-1, setting up what could potentially be a huge overlay. Come post time we were still getting more than 13/1 on our second choice who had a value odds line of 4/1 creating more than a 300% overlay, this was an easy win bet to make. A quick glance at the place and show pools can show us that our horse is the last choice in both and without having to do much calculating we can assume value in each of those pools as well. Seems like a perfect opportunity for a $20 w/p/s ladder.

Looking at the rest of the field our third choice overall the 2 Perchance was also an underlay with post time odds at 3/2 and HBD Fair odds of 4-1. The other overlay of the race was the 4 Lindisfarne who had HBD fair Odds of 5-1 and went off at 11-2 may be easier to read as 5.5-1 giving us a small 10% overlay.

The race finished on a bright note as our value came home a length ahead of the field and produced a nice score paying $28.40/$7.90/$4.40. Our basic 2/6/12 ladder bet produced a profit of $58.50. While the 6 Irish Jasper wasn’t our top pick to win the race he was the best value and produced a solid winning ticket.

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