Do bookies want the favourite to win? This is not a question that can be answered with a simple yes or no. The art of bookmaking isn’t as easy as simple as laying all the selections other than the market leader and then cheering the favourite home. Equally, bookmaking is much more complex than laying all the favourites for as much as they can and then simply waiting for them to be beaten to get rich.
How Bookmakers Make A Book
Bookmakers tend to have a policy when compiling a book or a horse race or other sporting event, which is building as much of a percentage of themselves in that book as they possibly can. To understand this, you need to understand what a 100% book is.
If all 10 runners in a 10-horse race are priced-up at 9/1, this would be betting to 100%. That’s because, if all selections were backed to equal money, the bookies would pay out all the money they had taken on the race regardless of which of the 10 horses won. If £100 was bet on each of the 10 horses, the bookies would have £1000 in his satchel. No matter which horse wins, they would settle that bet at £100 x 9/1 = £900 + £100 stake returned = £1,000.
That’s why bookies make a book where the odds are in their favour. By pricing-up all 10 runners at 8/1, the bookies would then only have to pay out £800 + £100 stake = £900… guaranteeing a profit of £100 or 10%.
But bookmaking is still much harder than this, as not all horses are backed to lose the same amount. Heavily backed horses will also be cut by bookmakers whilst some odds will be pushed out to encourage punters to back them.
Because of these potential market fluctuations, bookies will try to build an even bigger percentage in for themselves when compiling a book. Using our 10-horse race as an example again, bookies may well price-up all horses at 7/1 to start with to allow then to cut and push out odds according to demand and supply.
Odds Are Just Opinions
Another thing to consider when betting is that the odds offered by bookmakers are just their opinion of a horse’s chance of winning a horse race. As a punter, it’s your job to decide whether those odds are correct, under-priced, or overpriced. Odds that you think are under-priced or correct should mean you don’t have a bet, as you’ll lose by backing selections that offer no value.
If you’re a serious punter looking to make an income from betting, you should only have a bet when a horse you fancy is a bigger price than you think it should be. For example, if you think a horse should be even-money and it is 6/4 you should back it.
The idea of even-money is that you’re right 50% of the time and, if you are, you’ll break even. However, if you have £100 on two horses that you think should be even-money shots but are offered at odds of 6/4 and one wins, you’ll get £250 back and make a tidy profit.
Why Do Bookmakers Offer Different Odds?
Bookmaking is a competitive industry and bookmakers are all trying to get a bigger share of the betting industry’s multi-million-pound turnover. In an ideal world, bookmakers would compile books on races that would allow them to make a profit no matter which horse won. But that’s not as easy as it sounds.
The fact other bookmakers offer better odds on some selections means those bookmakers will take the most money on those horses. They must also compete with betting exchanges where punters are free to offer odds to other punters. That’s why many modern bookmakers must take more of a chance on some races than they’d like to.
Modern bookmakers often must stick their neck on the line more than they used to, taking a strong opinion on a race and watching their satchel swell or empty on the back of their judgement.
This is especially true of on-course bookmakers, as racecourse crowds can often vary wildly at different racecourses. Crowds at the likes of the Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot will often be made up of real racing buffs, ones that will part with place big bets on favourites that have proved themselves at the top level.
In this instance, bookmakers may have to lay the favourites heavily, which means they won’t want the favourites to win. Meanwhile, smaller meetings at seaside courses such as Brighton, Yarmouth, and Cartmel are more likely to be filled with holidaymakers that may be attracted by selections at bigger odds. That means bookies may struggle to lay short-priced favourites, so they can cheer them home and profit from them.
When Should I Back Favourites?
The art of backing favourites is backing them when they’re a bigger price than their actual chances of winning. That doesn’t matter if they’re 1/5 and they should be 1/6, 6/4 when they should be even-money, or 5/1 when they should be 4/1.
What Determines The Odds Of A Favourite?
There are lots of factors why a bookie may decide to take on a favourite. These include weather forecasts that suggest the ground conditions may change. The draw can also have a dramatic effect at some flat racing courses, as can the pace of the race. Bookmakers also consider trainer form, jockey bookings, and lots of other criteria.
If a bookie thinks that everything is in favour of the favourite and not his rivals, he’s much more likely to keep the favourite on side and cheer him home if he wins.
Of course, if a bookie is considering these things, so should you. If you don’t have the time to study the form-book as much as you’d like to, you may wish to consider using a proven profitable tipster who does. A good tipster knows when a favourite offers value or not.
We hope that answers your question, do bookies want the favourite to win?