matched betting: cheltenham diaries part ii
I have many more pictures of horses in store for you 🙂
Welcome to part ii of my Cheltenham diary, inada matched betting styleeeee.
Apologies for that and any subsequent outburts… It’s getting late into Day 2 evening now as I write and my brain is frazzled with bets and offers.
It’s certainly been a tale of 2 different days for me so far so let’s look at how the results have gone so far, but first a bit more about what I was trying to attempt, which I explained briefly in part i
earlier today yesterday
no lay dutching mega strategy ™*
Just to give you a better idea of my strategy as briefly laid out in part i, I was aiming to dutch the field on the first race as that is the one each day that has the most offers on, and then hoping to hit as many free bets on that as possible to just use for the rest of the days races. I also then randomly put some other bets on when I felt like it and when there were good odds or I thought a particular offer might cop.
Dutching is where you back more than one horse, normally to get an even win. For example you might put £10 on a horse at 5/1 and £5 on one at 10/1 to give you a £50 win if either wins. Dutching the whole field does obviously not guarantee you a win (otherwise everyone would do it and the bookies would go bankrupt) but instead guarantees you a loss (similar to how when you back then lay you normally guarantee yourself a small loss). However by dutching the whole field I don’t have to bother laying any of the bets.
This saves me one headache of putting the odds into the lay calculator, going to the exchange, and laying, but gives me another, possibly even bigger, headache of working out exactly what stakes to put on each horse to make sure the qualifying loss is as close as possible.
In short… This is impossible, mainly because I am working in the max free bet increments for most offers of £10, £20 and £25. I just decided to get it as close as possible and make sure there wasn’t too big a loss on any given horse – when there was and I’d run out of offers to do, I just stuck a few quid on the exchanges to level things up a bit better
*Other no lay dutching mega strategies are available
cheltenham day one results
Enough of the theory already, onto results…
Please note winning prices are official SP 1 not necessarily what I backed them at (if I did at all). Also some of the race names are a right old mouthful so I’ve shortened them to what I deem a less stupid length.
13:30 – Supreme Novices Hurdle – winner Labaik 25/1 – P+L: -£72
So the first race of my dutching career! Exciting.
My Average qualifying loss on this race was actually in the positive at an £8.90 win, I am guessing this is because the bigger odds horses are easy to get into the positive (i.e. winnings) and with the double odds boost from Grosvenor sportsbook, it makes it possible to get a win rather than a loss here. I also had a free bet with Coral which helped too.
However the good news ends there because the horse that won I actually left a gaping hole with the horse that won it in the end with a joint largest loss of £72. Damn! And as I said it is so easy to get the higher price horses into the “profit” zone with dutching so lesson learnt there. This horse was 50/1 on Betfair exchange when I was looking at it so it would have only taken a £2 bet to take me into profit on that horse, but hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it.
Anyway not the best start but not disastrous, as I copped a few free bets on the Betway and Skybet offers to use for the rest of the day.
14:10 – Arkle Novices Chase – winner Altior 1/4 – P+L: -£70
I backed Charbell each way because it was an each way arb, it duly fell at the 2nd to last (I think) while right in the mix. Also backed another horse with William hill for their High 5 offer but no joy there either.
14:50 – Ultima Handicap Chase – winner Un Temps Pour Tout 9/1 – P+L: £0
This was one of those races with a huge field and many bookies paying out extra places on it, so I backed a few each way here including some with free bets. Managed to get Noble Endeavour (10/1) and Young Master (22/1) in the top 6 so a bit of cash back there. Also did the Betstars offer (laid this one of due to the high £50 stakes which was good as none of those bets won!). All told this produced an outcome of breaking even, but 2 x £50 free bets scored from the Betstars offer. If you can’t remember each offer by the way please refer to part i again where I explained them all briefly.
15:30 – Champion Hurdle – winner Buveur D’air 5/1 – P+L: £101
I went to town on this one with the Paddy Power (PP) and Betfair (BF) offers along with doing some each way shots with Betway free bets. I managed to hit the winner with one at 11/2 with BF, so got a £25 on top of the winnings, and also got Sceau Royal (33/1) and My Tent or Yours (price?) in the frame as well for a decent profit on the race.
16:10 – Mares Hurdle – winner Apples Jade 7/2 – P+L: £202
A friend of mine who knows far more about equine matters than I do tipped up Apples Jade at 9/2 so I backed it with both PP and BF, which came in! Thank you friend! A decent profit and another £25 free bet acquired.
16:50 – Amateur Riders Novices Chase – winner Tiger Roll 16/1 – P+L: -£45
Backed Genie in a Bottle on advice from said friend (no joy this time, came 5th) with BF and PP again. Did both the Betstars £50 free bets on Beware the bear and Edwulf both of which came nowhere although were pretty much the favourites. It’s annoying when I do this sort of thing as normally pick higher prices for a higher potential win, although the safer option is always to try to go with say, the first three in the betting as you will get winners more often and smooth out the variance. Of course this is just gamblers remorse kicking in and there is no evidence to suggest I would have picked the winner if the stakes of the free bets were not so large and I were left to “my own devices” (so to speak) `anyway, although I really do like Tiger Rolls so maybe I would have ;). If I get another £50 free bet though I will probably use it on a much smaller field race, or one with better each way value at least, or I might even just lay it off and take the easy £35-40.
17:30 – Novices Handicap Chase – winner Tully East 8/1 – P+L: -£60
Backed a few for the Betway offer and also PP, none of which came anywhere. A damp squib to end the day on.
Final Day One P+L: £56
I have to say I was a little disappointed with this result having spent a good 4 hours putting bets on Monday night then sneaking a few more throughout the day at work. However the main thing was that it wasn’t a loss! And to just keep thinking, variance, volatility, whatever you want to call it, if you aren’t laying, you have to eat shit like that for breakfast.
cheltenham day two results
This is where things got interesting! 🙂
13:30 – Novices Hurdle – winner Willoughby Court 14/1 – P+L: £20
Went hard at it again with all the offers and dutched them a bit better than yesterday (helped by using up some of the free bets I had from yesterday) and didn’t leave too many glaring holes, especially on the higher priced horses! I also decided to go each way on the Grosvenor double odds ones as realised this give you massive value on the each way part as well (but you can only do £5ew). Anyway the winner wasn’t the best (that would have been Bon Papa for a £300+ win!) but wasn’t the worse either so I made a very small profit while importantly triggering a few Skybet, Betway, and also a Paddys (Neon wolf 2nd) and BF (backed the winner with them) free bet.
14:10 – RSA Novices Chase – winner Mite Bite 7/2 – P+L: £52.50
Realised I’d totally forgot about the Sunbets free bets from yesterday, luckily they are valid until Friday unlike what it made out to be from their T&Cs which made it sound like you could only use them on the day they were issued. Phew! Anyway I managed to back the winner which was the favourite and came away with a nice profit.
14:50 – Coral Cup – winner Supasundae 16/1 – P+L: £68
Did the Betstars offer again but no joy there so lost a bit on the qualifying losses. Used my Skybet free bets on some bigger each way prices as they were doing extra places again (this seems to be the strategy to go for with free bets if you can, use them in the extra place markets!). Managed to get Scoir Mear and Taquin du Seuil in the top 6 for a modest profit.
15:30 – Queen Mother Champion Chase – winner Special Tiara 11/1 – P+L: £800
Yes you read that right… eight freaking hundred pounds!!! How!? I’m glad you asked.
There was a very short priced horse in this race called Douvan, which skews all the other prices and means there are loads of each way arbs on offer. I read on OddsMonkey that you can often dutch the rest of the field backing them all each way and guarantee a profit, this technique is sometimes called each way scalping. If you need more info then I’d advice signing up to OddsMonkey 2 and checking out their forum! They also have a tool called the each way matcher which you can use on specific horses rather than dutching the field if that works better.
Anyway, I decided there was bigly each value on offer here so was going to try my hand at dutching all of the horses. I’ll give you an example, the second favourite, Fox Norton was backable at 9/1 with place terms of top 3 and 1/4 the odds, which implies a chance of placing is (9/4 +1 = ) 3.25, but this was available to LAY on Betfair exchange (in the “top 3” market) at about 2.1 if I remember correctly. This is a huge, huge arb. Obviously you have to back the win part as well to get the each way arb so its only worth going for it if there is mega value on offer, and in this case there was. Every single horse was pretty much double the price on the Betfair exchange place market, so I steamed in and backed them with Boylesports, BF sportsbook, PP to also take advantage of their 2nd/3rd place and 3/1+ winner offers, as well as Betstars who offered fallers insurance.
Anyway the result could not have been better, as well as getting a huge priced horse Sir Valentino in the top 3 which is what we’re really after here (you assume the fav is going to win of course!) it turned out that the Fav did not win and did not even get into the top 3!
I couldn’t believe my eyes, and always thought he’d make a come back until the race was pretty much over with. I did some quick calculations and I’d backed the winner at 20/1, Sir Valentino at 40/1 and Fox Norton at 9/1 for an amazing profit of £800 and also kicked in a couple of free bets as the icing on the cake (Fox Norton PP 2nd place offer, BF sports book 3/1+ winner offer).
There is one important piece of advice here which is get your bets on early using this strategy for races like this, as I noticed that when it got nearer to the race the prices went totally rubbish! (Hence me getting the winner at 20/1 when it went off only 11/1!)
16:10 – Cross Country Chase – winner Cause of Causes 7/2 – P+L: £125
I used up a few free bets here and fancied the second fav Cause of Causes (got on at 4/1) for no particular reason really, as well as a few other ones which lost of course, and came away with a nice £125 profit.
16:50 – Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle – winner Flying Tiger 33/1 – P+L: £0
Used up the rest of my Sunbets free bets but didn’t hit any winners of places. Gamblers remorse time again… I had flagged up Flying Tiger in my brain earlier in the day when I looked at this race but when it came to place my free bets I totally forgot about it! Gah! I felt like I missed out on a 33/1 winner but of course I know that this is just a silly cognitive bias at work, so I quickly chilled out afterwards especially given the bigger picture of the days events.
17:30 – Champion Bumper – winner Fayonagh 7/1 – P+L: £25
Placed a few bets with Betway for their First/Last race of the day offer and managed to hit the winner so made a slight profit and got a few other free bets to use up tomorrow as well. A very nice end to day two of the festival!
Final Day One P+L: £1,022.50
Whoo! That’s all there is to say really. And, I just realised I forgot to do the Stan James free bet offer today but I can stomach losing out on a couple of free fivers I think in the grand scheme of things 😉
It is probably worth noting that all of the above P+Ls are pretty rough, I am too lazy to record exactly every bet but have done so by very quickly noting bets down in a spreadsheet, sometimes I forget the price etc so the profits are estimated, but should be in the right ballpark (+/- £10 we’re talking about I reckon) and if in doubt I am being pessimistic on what returns I had rather than trying to paint a rosier picture than what might have really happened.
the final furlong
Although I undoubtedly got lucky with my first each way scalping attempt, if I were to have laid all those bets off it would have been a lot harder work and a much smaller profit, so I think the no lay thing has been at least slightly validated here. It will now be pretty much impossible to lose on the festival as a whole (unless I go crazy and turn into a rampant mug punter all of a sudden, which I won’t!!!!) but it will be interesting to see if I can grind out a profit on the final two days, or even hit another big win with some of my free bets etc… Stay tuned to find out!
Good luck again for the final two days and let me know how you’ve all been getting on in the comments below?
- Starting Prices ↩
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