Below are some general guidelines that may help in day to day betting:
- Set aside a pot of money away from your day to day finances for gambling, and set your stakes accordingly.
- Never bet more than you feel comfortable losing. If you bet outside your comfort zone, there is a good chance you will make a decision based on your own personal comfort, rather than your common sense, or the system you have been following.
- Never chase losses. There will always be another race another day, so don’t bet on a poor race at the end of the day because you happen to be down that day and want to make your money back. There’s always tomorrow.
- A big part of winning is to accept losing. Nobody wins all of the time, your aim is to win more than you lose over the longer term.
- Everyone goes through bad patches. It is long term results that count.
- If you are betting a system, set your stakes low enough that you can ride out the down turns. It is very easy to have a long run of losing bets and stop betting the system, just as the long run of winners arrives.
- Be wary of accumulator bets. They are advertised by the bookmakers as offering high returns for small stakes, but they are pushed so hard, because they are harder to win, and the odds get more favourable for the bookie with every extra selection that you add.
- Don’t bet in every race. Some races consist of very weak runners or a lot of unraced horses or large a number of runners, and these can be just a plain lottery as to who wins. These races are the ones that bookmakers want you to bet. Choose the races you bet in carefully and only bet on the ones you feel confident about.
- Look for value in the price of your horse. A top rated favourite with odds of 2/5, may have a good chance of winning but isn’t worth the risk – plenty of 2/5 shots lose.
- Consider betting to the place and aim for races with 8 to 10 runners in it, which pays out for 3 places. More than 10 runners just makes it harder for your horse to be placed.
- Watch the live market in Betfair. If a horse is drifting in the market, it could be a fair indication that the horse is not in good form. Likewise take notice of horses that come in markedly in the betting. There is information out there that is not readily available to everyone, but will affect the way a horse is traded – watch for it in the live market. If a horse is being heavily bet in, there is a good chance it is running a lot better than its form on paper would lead you to believe.
- Be wary of laying horses that have come in in the market, it can be sometimes be wiser to not lay the horse than to ignore the warning signs and take a bit hit.
- The draw in flat racing is very important. Different courses have varying levels of advantage from the draw over different distances, but some draws can almost rule a horse out of the race completely. You can start to learn these at the Sporting Life website – click here
- Soft going (flat racing) and heavy going (flat and national hunt racing) will make a horses previous form unreliable. Be very wary of betting in these types of going.
- Last minute changes in going due to changes in the weather can again make previous form unreliable.
- Bookmakers don’t make their money by the favourites winning, so never let a big price put you off betting a horse, especially if there has been support for it in the market.
- Personally, I find that Saturdays and evening meetings produce far more unpredictable results than weekday meetings.