Although not much has really happened, and there is a long way to go, I have managed to get a decent trade in.
At the start of the year I am always looking to get a large priced contender on side away from those at the head of the market who tend to be too short based on their actual chances.
Essentially that is the key to successful betting – consistently backing that whose chances of winning are greater than their odds imply. If you can consistently back say 5/1 shots who really should be 4/1 shots, you will have a significant edge in the long run and make profits. Finding that edge is the key.. and with a bit of planning (and luck) can be done.
In SPOTY betting (as with all betting really) it’s important to get on before the masses clock on to a lively contender. So at the start of the year looking at the sporting calendar and picking out those who are likely to excel is a good place to start. In this respect I had Mo Farah (who has seemed a mainstay of my SPOTY portfolios for a while now) and, a few weeks into the year, Ronnie O’ Sullivan on board.
Around February and March Liverpool were extremely impressive and, on thinking there was a good chance they could win the title, I got stuck into Steven Gerrard. I started backing him at 25s, through 16s, 5s and down to 7/2. In the end I had £88 pounds on to win £1,200.
The key to a good SPOTY bet is your assessment of what you think that person’s odds will come into if they win the main competition that they are in. I was very confident, with all the publicity that Gerrard would get and the large number of Liverpool fans, that if Liverpool won the Premier League then Gerrard would be pretty likely to win SPOTY. At worst I thought he would go evens money for SPOTY maybe shorter on Liverpool winning.
To provide some security and reduce risk I covered my self by simultaneously laying Liverpool for the title – if Liverpool didn’t win it then I did not see Gerrard winning SPOTY (unless England did v well in the World Cup).
Some examples of the differentials in price:
30 March 2014: Gerrard was available at 16/1, Liverpool were available to lay at 2.96 or 2/1 on Betfair.
13 April 2014: Gerrard was available at 7/2, Liverpool around 1.83 or 5/6 to lay.
Given that I had a strong feeling that Gerrard would be evens or shorter for SPOTY if Liverpool won the league then I was satisfied I had a significant edge here. (There was a slight risk that Gerrard could get injured and miss some matches and be less likely to win SPOTY. As it was though, I thought it would take something very special to deny him SPOTY after him lifting the trophy, 20 years on from the Hillsborough disaster.)
So, for example, on 30 March and 13 April I could fairly safely back Gerrard and lay Liverpool without eating much into profit. In fact the edge was so significant here that I layed Liverpool to make a profit either way. I also did similar in the Gerrard SPOTY top three market. My thinking being it would likely be all or nothing for Gerrard – either win SPOTY if Liverpool won the league or not even be nominated if they didn’t.
While my punts didn’t work on Ronnie and Mo, with Stevie I am now in a profitable position by trading accordingly. Hopefully there will be some similar situations to come this year that we can exploit when they appear.
As ever, please feel free to comment or flag up any potential interesting markets situations.