Betting isn’t about beating the bookmakers. It is actually about outthinking other punters. The bookmakers just take all the money at the off and then give it – less their take - back to the smartest of us. That’s why they are called Turf accountants.
With this in mind, on this payday, whether you earn a weekly wage or salary, beware the herd braying about this being the most open Premier League in years. It won’t be in the end. One of the usual suspects will ultimately prevail. So ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, have a look at Betfair – which has made the bookmaker redundant – and see if you can lay the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham.
At the same time at the races on occasion it can pay to follow the crowd and support particular jockeys, whatever is underneath, and stables, whether or not their runners are leading the betting market. Horses benefit from the infectious confidence that reverberates round stables in form or through the hands of a rider (and, crucially, odds do not shorten to reflect wholly this). This means the likes of Pat Cosgrave in the saddle and runners trained by Chris Dwyer – with recent winners to rides/runners ratios exceeding 25% and 30% respectively - might reward your support this weekend. Consider that Cosgrave this year would have earned you £35 for a pound stake on every one of his mounts.
Further north in Scotland, this weekend is the Alfred Dunhill Links. This is a peculiar one; rounds at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, with professionals playing with the likes of Sir Ian Botham, Ernie Els’ dad and Hugh Grant, then a final day at St Andrews again. On Saturday night or Sunday morning after the first three rounds, for the winner look for someone who scored well at the Old Course, first time around, and at Carnoustie, the toughest test of the three. In other words if we were talking horses, an in-form, course specialist.
Can you stomach any more politics, amid the conference season? Just to say that spread betting odds are usually a more reliable gauge for who will end up in power. In 1992, traditional bookmakers called it for Kinnock, while markets of the likes of spread betting specialists Sporting Index suggested Major. If you fancy Miliband after his speech this week, check the spreads first. Spread betting on politics reflects where the money has been going – traditional bookmakers take hardly any significant bets on politics - and we all know that money talks.