Yesterday, I received an email from an individual who had just read my book, The Logical Choice: Tote Board Handicapping Made Easy. He asked me six questions, and I thought I would share them with you, along with my answers.
Question: “How concerned are you with bad ML makers and their effect on the methods selections? I certainly think Jon While is no Jeff Tufts if you know what I mean and there are certainly many more out there across the country that are worse than Jon.”
Answer: First, I assume you meant to type Jon White, not Jon While, but to answer your question, I have never worried about an odds maker’s competency. To work for a major racetrack such as Santa Anita, one has to be somewhat competent, or they would not have the job. At smaller tracks, there could be some nepotism involved, but what does it truly matter?
People have a tendency to over-analyze various aspects of horse racing. If an odds maker does his job correctly, his morning line odds will reflect what the bettors ultimately declare. However good an oddsmaker may be at creating an odds line, he will never get it 100% correct, I cannot remember ever seeing a race where the morning line odds matched the final odds, or, for that matter, where the final order of finish matched the morning line order.
If an odds maker sets a morning line of 4-1 on a horse, making him the initial third choice in the wagering pool, it should be because he believes the horse will ultimately be the third choice of the bettors. If the horse becomes the fifth choice at 10-1 odds, has the odds maker misjudged the bettors’ final decision or the horses’ actual chance of winning the race?
When I first began watching the tote board, I still spent hours analyzing every horse in every race, narrowing the contenders to three or four horses. I then would watch to see if the odds on one of my selections presented a betting opportunity. This is reflected in the first half of the book, which was written many years ago. Today, I let the odds maker perform that portion of my job as reflected in the latter portion of the book, which was written in April of this year.
Question: “Have you researched the show betting aspect on profitability of the method? Something like 1 unit win, 4 units place and maybe 6 to show or some variation of that?”
Answer: I remember looking at this aspect years ago, but the low percentage of show placings, while slightly profitable, did not warrant the amount of money required to turn a worthwhile profit.
Question: “Have you tested different proportions of W/P bet size?”
Answer: Yes, but I settled on the one-to-four ratio because it suited me. You may find a different ratio suits your bankroll, temperament, etc.
Question: “What about using a computer generated odds line instead of the morning line, such as BRIS Profit Line?”
Answer: I would assume results similar to those I obtain could be had using any morning line, be it the BRIS Profit Line or one generated by another computer program.
Question: “Are you playing professionally full time now, and if so how many tracks are you betting each week?”
Answer: I currently wager four days per week, Thursday through Sunday, on the Southern California racetracks. However, if I continue to see three horse fields, I may have to rise a little earlier in the day and wager on the East Coast tracks.
Question: “I ran a one year test on my database of only So Cal track this last year and horses than had a morning line of 4-1 that drifted at post time to between 8-10 to 1 showed horrible losses. How do you explain this? I can share and query different odds ranges with you if you care to see the data.”
Answer: I can only assume your test was based on playing every race. I made a six-figure income wagering on Southern California racetracks last year, but I did not bet every race. Showing a profit betting on every race is, from my experience, impossible.