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Old 08-12-2019, 10:51 AM   #1
mick
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Betting with an Edge

I've just finished Mike Maloney's book and it's an enjoyable read. I had heard about him 15-20 years ago when he was pushing $10 million a year through the windows at Keeneland, so they gave him a free office. He was something of a mystery man back then. Glad he decided to write a book. While it's entertaining, it also gives you an idea of what it takes to be a big-time professional player.

When Maloney's not betting with both hands, he's making his own speed figures, watching replays and making trip notes. Then there are the track biases, clocker reports, trainer and jockey statistics, etc. With all that information, he adjusts his figures to come up with something he calls "ability" figures and those are the basis for his betting. He must work 60 hours a week to create his "edge" and not many of us want to do that.

There is an easier way to play with an edge though. You can use something as readily available as the BRIS Prime Power ("BPP") rankings. Here are some win percentages I found for BPP and dirt races:

BPP #1 31%
BPP #2 20%
BPP #3 14%

Convert those percentages into odds and you get something like 2-1, 4-1 and 6-1. If you want to make a profit over time, bet those horses at higher odds, e.g. 3-1, 5-1 and 7-1. If the win pool isn't giving you those odds, then don't bet. If you're a two-horse bettor and your win percentage is 50%, make sure the total odds are more than 6, like 3-1 and 4-1.

That's basically how I play. I start with #1 and if the tote board says 9-5, I don't bet him and move to #2. If he's something like 9-2 or 5-1, I will bet him. If he's lower than that, I'll move to #3. If I'm getting my odds, I'll play. Otherwise, it's an El Paso for me.

There are two caveats though. Firstly, I don't bet races with an odds-on or even-money favorite. (You can always make a "Dr. Z" bet if you see a big discrepancy in the place or show pools but I'm talking about win bets here.) Those horses skew the odds on the other horses and they win more than 40%. I can't make money betting on them and I can't make money betting against them either, so I pass.

And secondly, I seldom bet horses going off at 10-1 or more. I need a really good reason, like a potential pace melt down with a bunch of earlies and a presser-sustained with a good late kick.

So, that's how I bet with an edge and I don't work 60 hours a week at it. You have to be patient and you won't get a lot of action but over time, you'll make money.
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Old 08-12-2019, 05:32 PM   #2
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Mick, nice post. You have come up with a quick and easy way to make an odds line based on you4 stats. Overlays will show a profit long term. One question, is this your stats for one racetrack and do you break it down further by distance?
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:22 AM   #3
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Charlie, these are the percentages I've been using for Saratoga and they've worked well (six winning days out of the last seven) at all distances. I have not done the research to "sharpen" them for specific distances and surfaces but that would certainly put a much finer point on the pencil, so to speak.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:53 PM   #4
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I'm looking forward to Ted's new release with a working "Export to Excel" feature and a new template that captures both BRIS Prime Power and Profit Line rankings. You can put a month's worth of races into a single Excel spreadsheet/template, then import the data into Access and run queries to pull out very specific information pertaining to track, distance, surface, etc.
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:38 PM   #5
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Hey, is anyone familiar with Benfords Law? Strangly I read about it in a Tom Clancy novel this summer. Its a statistical stat that says in any valid statistical set of information that the number one ranked factor will appear 30% of the time, the 2nd 17.6%, third 12.5%, fourth 9.8%, then 7.9%, 6.7%, 5.8%.

The BPP info roughly follows that information, but from my old records so does RX3, Favorites, VDC and certain aspects of the EL data developed by Dave Schwartz (best Early by 5 percentage points in this case), also the morning line ratings.

I was wondering if anyone could use this data in some form of algorithm to produce a factor that used many if not all of these factors to predict winners?
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:46 PM   #6
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Too many factors spoil the sauce, one bad factor tears down all the other factors percentages. You just can't apply factors hap hazard. I don't find at all that Benfords Law accurately predicts the percentages of BPP.


The only way to include many factors is if they have very similar or near similar percentages. No two people collect data the same way, I.e. they don't have the same contenders, pace lines, or choices of races played etc. etc.


Most have a very high percentage of errors in their method of data collection, especially inconsistency.


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