Archive for February 21st, 2024

Adventures In Betting: Always wait for the bad days to weed out the weak points of a system

It might sound strange to say that I have been waiting eagerly for a losing period on the LayPro88 greyhound system, but it has come and I’m actually very delighted about it. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, my previous post outlining and explaining the system is here.

With any betting system, I always want to see a bad day in action. It’s great to have good days with nice profits, but it is inevitable that betting systems will have bad days, so with any betting system I always want to see it have a bad period so that I can see where the real weaknesses are. It’s impossible to completely prevent days with losses from occurring and one should always be prepared for that, but data gathered on a bad run is invaluable in showing where the weaknesses are and what can be adjusted to reduce the frequency with which bad days will occur. Ultimately the aim is to reduce the bad days so that, although they will result in a loss, that loss is inconsequential when considered alongside all of the good days.

When I set up a system, I always wait for the first bad period to come along and then I analyse the data from those days and determine whether
a) there is a weakness which can be removed, or
b) the system as a whole is the issue and needs serious revision

The greyhound system has been going so well that it has taken a few weeks to get there but now that the bad period has visited, I’m delighted to say it fits category A.

You may recall I have been running with two similar systems running concurrently.
1. Lay the fourth favourite if it is paying odds of $5.00 to $15.00 and is paying at least $2.00 more than the favourite.
2. Lay the third favourite if it is paying odds of $5.00 to $9.00 and is paying at least $1.50 more than the favourite.

The fourth favourites have been steaming along making nice profits, so I’m not too concerned about them but took the opportunity to analyse them a bit anyway. The third favourites on the other hand have been troublesome. It stands to reason that the third favourites would win more often than fourth favourites and would pose more trouble with this system which is betting that they will lose, so this wasn’t unexpected, but was a good opportunity for analysis and revision when the trouble finally provided enough data.

The third favourites have been struggling for a few days. Some periods of profit but mostly small losses slowly accumulating. You may recall I originally set the upper odds limit at $9 because the recovery cycles can fully recover any losses at this amount without needing extra wins. Unfortunately this odds range was not producing a high enough strike rate to always get through the recovery cycles, so the stake sizes increased slowly over a few days until the reached the stop loss limits I had set (the stakes had grown from the $0.50 starting point to over $6). At this point the LayGreyBot accepted the loss, gave up on trying to recover it, and started afresh with a new cycle at the original stake size (it can also be set to stop completely).

Over the course of four days, 17/2 to 20/2, the 3rd favourites system placed 652 bets and had 547 wins, a strike rate of 83.90%. Well short of the 88% generally required to make consistent profits in a LayPro88 system, and short even of the 84.5% the third favourites have previously needed to return a break even result.

I decided the best option was to perform a breakdown of this period by odds range and see if some odds ranges were pulling the whole system down. It did not disappoint. Note that even though the systems is set to $5.00-$9.00, occasionally it will pick up a runner just outside of this range due to variability in the market in the seconds leading up to the race.

Odds range – third favourites Bets Wins S/R
4-4.99 5 4 80.00%
5-5.99 196 157 80.10%
6-6.99 229 197 86.03%
7-7.99 121 104 85.95%
8-8.99 82 67 81.71%
9+ 18 17 94.44%
Total 652 547 83.90%
6+ odds only 451 386 85.59%

Clearly anything under $6 is a problem. The $8 range was strangely problematic too but with a relatively low volume of bets, so not worth removing from the system given the 9+ range which was performing well would also need to be removed in order to do so.

Out of interest I decided to see how third favourites at higher odds ranges were performing. $9-$15 seemed like a good range given the fourth favourites are betting up to $15 odds. As the bot has not been looking at these ranges, I didn’t have data to hand which I could simply analyse in a spreadsheet, so instead I had to go through Betfair’s results pages and check manually race-by-race. I only went back as far as the 18th but got more than enough data to reach a conclusion.

Date Total eligible Total wins S/R
18-Feb 17 17 100.00%
19-Feb 20 20 100.00%
20-Feb 35 29 82.86%
Total 72 66 91.67%
If added to existing odds range 724 613 84.67%
If added to 6+ odds range 523 452 86.42%

The higher odds, while low in volume, add a bit to the strike rate, and even half a percentage point on the strike rate really can make a big difference with this system. The solution based on the data is obvious. I have adjusted the odds range for the third favourites from the previous $5-$9 range to a new $6-$15.

And on the fourth favourites I ran a similar analysis and received some interesting results which also led to a change.

Odds range 4th favourites Bets Wins S/R
4-4.99 0 0 N/A
5-5.99 13 8 61.54%
6-6.99 118 97 82.20%
7-7.99 158 136 86.08%
8-8.99 159 142 89.31%
9-9.99 77 71 92.21%
10-10.99 58 51 87.93%
11-11.99 86 82 95.35%
12-12.99 65 62 95.38%
13-13.99 41 41 100.00%
14-14.99 45 39 86.67%
15-15.99 19 19 100.00%
16 0 0 N/A
Total bets 839 748 89.15%
7+ 708 643 90.82%

Anything under $7 seemed to be performing quite poorly here, and although the system was running profitably, an extra percentage point or so on the strike rate doesn’t hurt at all (quite the opposite actually!!) so I have revised the odds range for the fourth favourites from the previous $5-$15 to a new range of $7-$15.

And now the new ranges are underway and the monitoring continues.

(Update: Further revisions on 29 February)


Add comment February 21st, 2024 at 12:30pm

Nine gets the Melbourne Cup

Yesterday it became official, Nine is the new free to air rights holder for the Melbourne Cup. They take over from Ten who have been the main free to air broadcaster for the last few years after they defeated Seven for the rights a few years prior.

Unlike previous deals though, this one is a bit different. To the casual viewer it probably won’t be noticeably different as the coverage will probably be very similar to what viewers have seen on Ten and Seven. The difference is more behind the scenes where Sky Racing is actually the main rights holder, not Nine, and Sky gets to dictate terms for some of Nine’s content. Sky actually won the rights for this year’s cup onwards last year on the condition that they on-sell free to air rights, due to the fact the Melbourne Cup is on the anti-siphoning list and free to air television must legally be given the opportunity to air the event, and the Victoria Racing Club wanted to ensure the event remained prominent on free to air television.

Sky Racing is owned by Tabcorp, which in turn owns and operates the TAB brand in all states and territories except Western Australia. Tabcorp’s main incentive in buying the broadcasting rights to the event is in limiting the advertising of their rival betting outlets during Melbourne Cup broadcasts which, year-in-year-out, remain the horse racing broadcast with the largest audience of people who don’t regularly follow horse racing and probably take recommendations from the advertising as to where to place a bet. In the betting industry, obviously it is in Tabcorp’s interest to maintain and grow their market share, as it is for any operator, however they do make some money out of their rivals as many of their rivals offer products based on TAB totaliser pricing and TAB offers those rivals certain discounts to put money into the totaliser pool, which helps TAB maintain liquidity in the betting markets. That’s a whole other topic but the point is that Tabcorp won’t want to completely lock out their rivals from advertising, just limit them a bit.

This was one of the sticking points in Tabcorp’s negotiations with the free to air networks. Tabcorp insisted on some limits on non-Tabcorp betting advertising as well as less focus on “the colour” of the event such as fashions on the field and more focus on the racing itself and the betting markets. This is a problem for the free to air networks because casual Melbourne Cup viewers tend to like to see “the colour” of the event and watch for longer when it is shown, while the TV networks see horse racing as an advertising cash cow due to the fact it is one of the few events where almost all of the gambling advertising restrictions which apply to television cease to apply. Limiting the amount of gambling advertising during the event limits its appeal to the bean-counters who run TV networks these days.

This led to Ten and Seven withdrawing their bids for the event. Ten barely made any money on the last few years (probably due to producing very little else these days, thus increasing the production costs overhead on producing these four days of coverage) and Seven have horse racing from around the country every Saturday with existing betting partners and broadcast style, so changing that for a few days is simply not worth the hassle. Nine became the free to air broadcaster almost by default.

How much Nine are paying is unclear, but undoubtedly with all of the other sports they have at the moment, they see it as an opportunity to promote all of their other sports and other programs to viewers. The wording out of the Nine and VRC press releases is vague, but it seems that the compromise reached on gambling advertising is that TAB will be the only betting outlet mentioned during coverage and the only one whose odds will be displayed on screen, but other betting outlets will be allowed some advertising during commercial breaks…I would hazard a guess that TAB will get at least 50% of the commercial break gambling spots though.

We’ve come a long way since the days when Seven (and before them Ten) had absolute exclusivity over TV broadcasts of the Melbourne Cup. There was even a time there when Sky Racing could only show the race as a replay and nobody was allowed to stream the race live. If you weren’t near a TV, radio was the only option. Choice of where to watch has grown and that continues to be the case with the new deal, while radio continues to be pretty much a free-for-all with most stations running coverage of some sort.

Nine has the rights on free to air TV and will be able to stream on 9Now. They will broadcast all four days of the Melbourne Cup carnival live and free in HD. It seems they may be required to geoblock the 9Now streams to block viewers from outside Australia.

Sky Racing has the rights on subscription television (Foxtel and Kayo) and through pubs and clubs, as well as exclusive rights to international distribution and exclusive rights to distribute the race (via the Sky coverage) to the streams provided on the websites and apps of the various betting outlets. In previous years, Sky’s coverage has been quite limited, showing the race itself but otherwise mainly showing full-screen graphics of odds in the minutes leading up to the race while a handful of studio hosts pontificate on the outcome (my Melbourne Cup tips don’t give me bragging rights by any means, but I’m sure my strike rate on Cup Day is higher than Sky’s “expert” David Gately!). Presumably Sky will have an expanded presence this year, and possibly even utilise their Sky Thoroughbred Central channel which tends to focus on one or two meetings in more detail, compared to Sky 1 and Sky 2 which rapidly jump from the end of one race to the start of the next race all day and night.’s position in all of this is a mystery. This channel (available free to air and via streaming, and recently upgraded to HD on Foxtel) is a joint venture between Seven and Racing Victoria (not the Victoria Racing Club which owns the four days of the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington). Since inception, has had broadcast rights to every race in Victoria (having since added South Australia and Hong Kong, plus occasional other events) so when Seven had Melbourne Cup rights there was no issue with continuing its more analytical coverage (compared to Seven’s coverage of “the colour” of the event) in parallel to Seven. When Ten got the rights, they allowed to continue coverage on the proviso that none of Seven’s regular horse racing hosts were involved. Nine might not be so charitable considering Seven and Nine being closer rivals than Seven and Ten were, plus is effectively a competitor to Sky Racing and has strong ties with a few Tabcorp rivals.

I have generally found’s Melbourne Cup coverage to be superior to that of Seven and Ten for someone who actually follows the sport, so it will be a shame if they are unable to continue to cover the Melbourne Cup. That said, Seven have some high grade Sydney racing to compete with the Melbourne Cup carnival and there’s plenty of Victorian and South Australian racing on the same days as the Melbourne Cup carnival so I’m sure will find something to cover.

Radio is interesting. There seems to be no real change here with who will cover the race. The racing stations continuing coverage as normal; Nine Radio remain the official distribution partner for the official VRC race call by Matt Hill (the same one you hear on TV); SEN has Gerard Whateley call the race across their national network; ABC Radio has its own call broadcast nationally; and various other stations around the country either buy access from Nine Radio or have their own commentary. The bit that is interesting is that Nine Radio (2GB, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR) now have TV coverage of their own to promote so it will be interesting to see how much extra coverage these stations provide this year compared to previous years where the coverage was limited to a few minutes before and after and a couple crosses throughout the day. Nine Radio tends to heavily promote whatever their TV arm is doing so I’m sure this will be no exception.

In terms of coverage of the race itself, behind the scenes it’s actually the Victoria Racing Club which runs the production, funded by their broadcast partners, so race coverage itself probably won’t look any different to most viewers regardless of where they are watching. Different advertisers and a few more Nine personalities as talking heads, but otherwise the same as every year. And undoubtedly the fact that Seven has racing every other week of the year and shows Sydney races on Melbourne Cup day will lead to a few people watching the wrong channel and complaining that the big race wasn’t shown, as happens every year.

For me, I’ll probably end up watching the Sky Racing coverage and hope they’re actually hosting from the track and not their chromakey studio in Sydney, unless by some miracle is allowed to broadcast.


Add comment February 21st, 2024 at 08:25am


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