The question of how efficient pre-off racehorse racing markets on Betfair is one that often crops up and for most people, their first response is that they are very efficient. While this is true at a general level, at the same time the markets are also seemingly very inefficient, so how can it be both?
Markets are only efficient if they act rationally
When you watch the pre-off horse racing markets on a daily basis you’ll frequently see charts like this, where a runner just drifts like crazy, yes there may sometimes be a good reason like if it’s playing up or sweating excessively near the start, but more often than not there is no apparent or valid reason for the drift and certainly not on this sort of scale.
Well, this is in part down to the increased volatility we’re seeing in today’s markets, but it’s this volatility that can present traders and even outright bettors the opportunities to still carve out a profit.
In the chart on the left, the price has moved from 5.0 to 12.0, it’s a big drifter. When you get price movements like this, the market is now saying its chances of winning now have a 12% less implied percentage (IP) chance of winning than a few minutes ago, in the one on the right it’s moved from 5.5 to 20.0 so here the market is now saying its implied percentage chances of winning is now 15% less than a few minutes ago.
When drifts like this happen and the race does go in play the pre-off traders responsible for pushing the price out or at least starting the trend are no longer active in the market, instead the price of this and all other runners are now driven by in-play trader how the horse is actually running, what this means for those that drifted pre-off for no reason is usually a quick return back to its true price shortly after the race starts, and if the horse is running OK the price would continue to shorten even further, had you backed it when the price was trading at or near its highest point it makes for a very simple but effective trade or bet.
Creating a Betfair Automation file on Bet Angel
Using Betfair trading software like Bet Angel you can not only catch but profit from these opportunities without ever being near your PC or whilst concentrating on other markets, by using a simple automation rules file. Automated betting or automated trading has many advantages, accuracy, speed but also lacks the emotive impulsion of manually interacting with a betting exchange.
For example, you could create an automation file that will monitor the top three runners and starting 20mins before post time continually stores each runner’s highest traded price, then at post time back any runner IF its last traded price is still within a percentage of its highest traded price.
To begin with, you’d require three ‘Set/Modify Stored Value’ rules (one for each of the top 3 runners) to store the initial lay prices of each 20mins before the off, with the stored value, for the purposes of this example I’ve named the stored value ‘high’.
You’d then need another three ‘Set/Modify stored value’ rules (again one for each of the top three runners) these need to be armed from 20mins up to post time and set to re-arm every second so that it never misses a new high price. Each of these rules would then need a stored value condition to test if the last traded price is ‘greater than’ the current stored value named ‘high’, if it is the rule can trigger and restore the new highest price with a stored value named ‘high’, this is done on the stored value tab using the same stored value settings as in the above right image.
The final three rules are all armed from post time till 59 secs after post time, each rule also uses a Stored Value condition, this time the condition has been configured to test if the last traded price is greater than the stored value named ‘high’, adjusted by minus 10% – it’s this condition and adjustment which ensures the last traded price is within 10% (or whatever percentage you want to use) of the highest stored price during the last 20 mins, if it isn’t then no bet will be placed. If it is a back bet is placed and you know you backed it within 10% of its highest traded price. (ie, if during the final 20mins a horse traded as high as 4.4 the rule would only trigger and place the bet at post time if its price is trading greater than 3.95 at post time or within 1 minute after post).
These rules also have an in-play condition, this is to test the market is NOT in-play, just in case it does go in-play during the 59 seconds the rule is armed for after post time.
If you’re interested in automating the scenario discussed in this blog but struggling to follow the steps and instructions above or want more details on how the rules file works you can read more and download the file from the following page on the Bet Angel forum
Or visit following section of the Bet Angel forum where there are over 150 ready-made automation files covering all major sports, all files are completely free to download, use and edit to your own requirements.