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Trends in Betting vs Betting on Trends
What is a trend in betting?
A trend in betting is a situation where the odds shift in a particular way such that a trend can be seen in the price movements. If you compare price movements in other markets, like currency for instance, then there are a huge range of analytical tools that are being employed by big names in finance trading to identify trends that they think they can understand and bet accordingly.
There is really no difference from this trend analysis in currencies to that which can be applied to sports betting or any other form of betting like eSports or politics. When a currency falls does this now make it better value to buy or is the downward trend indicative of its continuing decline? This is the continuous question being asked by traders of themselves. Likewise when the price of a horse in a race goes up, indicating weakness, is this based on real information or herd like mentality just fearing that there is something wrong with that selection?

The only real difference between currency trading and sports betting is that the sport in question, in this case horse racing, is real and has real values, however unfathomable, which in an ideal world belong to the horse and is not dependent on the price movement. Certainly currencies have some real world value but most of it is market sentiment based on near and mid-term predictions of economies and interest rates.

So when you see a horse drift in the market it can be quite a large movement, likewise shortening can be dramatic, but both have no effect on the animal itself and whatever analysis you made prior to the movement still holds so long as no unnatural interference has occurred and in nearly all cases this is the case.

A test done by Jack Houghton of betting exchanges some years ago on 65,000 horses showed that backing drifters of more than 5% provided a 231 point profit were as backing “steamers”, those that shortened by 5% or more, lost 350 points! This is not an easy system to put into play but at least it should calm your betting practises when a race is about to be off.

Key point: You are never going to be able to predict where a price will peak, drifting or shortening.

When you choose to take a price is the difficult thing to decide. Look at more than just exchanges, look through your bookmaker list which hopefully you have already acquired by going through somewhere like Some bookmakers are slow in responding to movements elsewhere and have higher prices. Is it 5 minutes before the off, 2 minutes or just seconds? For me it is about 2-3 minutes for I have time to make sure the bet is placed and if I am betting 3 horses in a 16 runner then I will do this 5 minutes before for the same reason. As said previously there is no guessing when the prices have reached their best for your bet.

Betting on Trends
You only have to remember the 2015-16 Premier League which Leicester City won to see what can happen. The bookmakers price at the beginning was 5000-1 (exchanges only go to 999-1) which is saying that winning the league is a once in a five thousand year event. Don't think so. Leicester started well and kept on winning and for most of the year the price for Leicester was way higher than the other teams around them.

This is not to say that all teams or horses that start well and continue for a while will stay that way but it is the price that makes the value. Sure you will bet at value and lose a good number of times but bet enough times at value and you will likely come out on top.

Price is mega important at all times. When looking for trends you really would like a large amount of data but you have to deal with what exists. Lets explain.

Sunday 6th November 2016 Paul Nicholls (top National Hunt Racing Trainer) had four horses running in the UK. The commentators could not stop mentioning that on the previous day he had five winning horses and that “the stable is in great form”. He did indeed have 5 winners on the previous day, one was 1/9 in a two horse race, one was 2/5 in a three horse race. He also had horses that got beat at prices of 4/6F, 11/8F, 13/8, 2/1, 9/4, 11/4, 3/1, 3/1, 7/2F, 7/2, 7/2 and 49/10 (in France).

All bar one of his 12 losers on Saturday came after the 5 wins and the prices were all lower than market expectation. It was a layers party, the money kept coming all day. After his fifth win all 11 later runners lost and all four the next day. This is not a prediction method it is price sensitivity. Knowing that “the word is” that Nicholls is in great form means you know the prices are artificially low if “the word” is based on half-baked analysis.

Of course you could not expect him to have 15 losers in a row with plenty of favoured horses but you did know that the market was responding to a sentiment that did not stack up to analysis. You would normally have paid out on a few of these horses but at below true value prices you were big favourite to come out on top.

Now of course starting Monday 7th November the Paul Nicholls backers are really hurt. In 36 hours the stable has gone from in-form to having 16 straight losers (UK and France). Does this mean the stable is out of form? No. Backing all 20 runners in the UK at SP returned 73.8% and 78% at Betfair SP, level stakes and level win being the same. So this is a little below expectation so no disaster and he has 600 runners a year, condensed in the November to April season. You need more data to decide that the stable has a problem. But what you did see is a short term trend that you could take advantage from.

There are stables which get "in-form" and "out-of-form" so don't ignore the possibility. Out-of-form can be illness in the stable which spreads to all horses and the trainer will be unlikely to make it news. Likewise horses can be springing back from such an event and are back to their best. There are other reasons as well but try and make a sound judgement as to whether either of these are true.

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