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Percentages - The Bookies Favourite Subject

Bookmakers aim for a percentage profit on every race!
The object of the game is that however much money is taken, less money should be paid back.

The race percentage (or margin) can be calculated by finding out how much money must be placed on every runner to return 100. If the stakes total more than 100 the bookmaker is looking good, as after paying the winners, some money will be left, the book he has made is said to be 'over round'. However, if the total stakes are less than 100, the bookmaker is in trouble, he will have to pay out 100 but his takings will not cover it, this book would be 'over broke'

A Bookmaker would not offer 2/1 against each runner in a 3 horse race
There would be no margin for the Bookmaker on such an event
(2 divided by 1 plus 1 = 3) (100 divided by 3 = 33.33)
Therefore to return 100 units the stake must be 33.33
If this amount is staked on each runner, the Takings would be 99.99
But whichever runner won the race, the Payout would be 99.99
This would not pay for his fast cars, holidays and cigars!

He would be more likely to offer 7/4 against each runner
(7 divided by 4 plus 1 = 2.75) (100 divided by 2.75 = 36.36)
If this amount is staked on each runner, the Takings would be 109.08
But whichever runner won the race, the Bookmaker's Payout would be 99.99
Therefore the Bookmaker's profit is 9.09 or 9%, regardless of which runner wins.
Multiply this by every pound staked on every race and guess who is laughing?

That is why if one runner is well supported that runner's odds are decreased,
e.g. 6/4 from 7/4, to make punters less attracted to the runner.
However, another runner's odds may be increased, e.g. 2/1 from 7/4,
to try and attract more money on this runner and so "balance the book"
Remember, the Bookmaker wants a payout of 100, with takings as high as possible
The higher the takings are over 100, then the more the Bookmaker wins!

Before placing any bet always check the percentages on the event
This can indicate if/when it is the time to place the bet
Watch how the percentage is moving up or down
Typically bookmakers add around 2% for each runner in a race
Therefore on an 8 runner race the percentage could total around 116%

Remember these principles can be applied to any betting event, Golf, Football, etc.
Comparing different bookmakers best prices on each runner in the same event
can indicate which event is worth a bet or even which event is worth two bets!
For example, if it is known a Home Football team has bad injury problems,
calculating the percentage based on the best available price for the draw & away,
shows how much percentage profit could be made on the event, if betting against the home.
If a 9/4 draw (30.77%) & 5/4 away (44.44%) could be found, then 75.20 could be staked to return 100.
A profit of 33% on stakes for a draw OR away win (100 return minus 75.20 stakes = 24.80 profit) (24.80 profit divided by 75.20 stakes = 33% profit) - find a tax free bookmaker!

Always consider having a bet on more than one selection in any event - why not - in a 10 competitor event why should the bookie have 9 running for him?
The example above details betting on 2 selections guarantees the same 33% profit, whichever one wins. However, you may think that the 'away' win was the more likely possibility, in this case the 'draw' could be backed just to cover the stake on the 'away'.

You could stake the same 44.44 on the 5/4 'away' but cover that stake with just 20 on the 'draw' to return 65. If the match finishes as a draw nothing is won or lost, as 64.44 is staked for a 65 return. But if the 'away' obliges the return is still 100, but as the stake has dropped to 65 the profit is now increased to 35 (100 - 65 = 35).
A Stake of 35 divided by a profit of 65 gives a profit of 54% on stakes.

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