Picking a winner from the largest race in the horse racing calendar is pretty much a lottery. But the beauty of Betfair is that you don't have to as Bet Angel founder Peter Webb explains in his guide to making a profit on the National...
The Grand National is an impenetrable fog of a race. There are 40 runners - the largest field of the year - tackling a massive distance going over a bunch of enormous fences. Essentially, the National is the horse racing equivalent of a lottery.
Picking the winner from a field of 40 is almost an impossible challenge, but by trading on Betfair it's a lot easier to find a profit and you could even make money before the race has started, regardless of the eventual winner.
Profitable trading on Betfair is all about betting on where the odds will move on a sports event. The most common questions I am asked by traders and people interested in sports trading on betting exchanges tend to revolve around 'How do you know where the odds are going to go?"
My first answer to that question is that you don't actually need to know where the odds are going in order to be successful, but that's another article altogether! A simpler answer to explain and understand what happens at the National each year.
During the National each year a theme often runs through the race. In 2011 the 'Housewife's favourite' was Don't Push It ridden by Tony McCoy.
McCoy had been awarded the Sports Personality of the Year in December of the previous year and the money was down on what would have been a remarkable repeat of the 2010 Grand National. Of course it was not to be, but trading is not about picking the winner of the race, more about reading the sentiment of the market. Often the money follows its heart and not the logic of a handicapper, pundit or statistician. In 2011, McCoy's ride was backing steadily during the day from 15.014/1 to start the race at 10.09/1.
In 2012 the story shifted to Katie Walsh and the story of possibly the first female winner of the Grand National. So much attention was heaped on this popular story that her mount Seabass was backed in from 30.029/1 to 15.014/1 by the official off time.
Last year we had a similar level of interest, though the betting market was a little more cautious. Walsh's repeat ride on Sea Bass still saw the price contract from 12.5n/a to 9.08/1 before drifting back to 10.09/1.
This year another rider or horse will spring to prominence and you can be sure the betting market will follow. Pundits will comment and money will end up making the market shorten its price. The media is always looking for a story to generate interest in the race and it usually finds one.
You can get a successful trade through the market by backing at a higher price than you lay at, or vice versa. At that point you can cash out for profit, even before the race has started. In the case of 'Sea Bass' in 2012, backing with £100 at 30.029/1 and laying that back at 15.014/1, nearer the start of the race, would have given you a £1,500 free bet on this horse.
If you opted to Cash Out/hedge your bet it would have guaranteed you a £100 profit regardless of the winner. The Grand National is an interesting race to try it on as the 'money horse' is often fairly obvious to spot. But you can trade on any race.
In the next illustration (click to enlarge) you can see we traded a race at Huntingdon using Bet Angel and netted £183 regardless of the winner. We did this by laying at 2.85 and trading / cashing out at 3.25. The process to spotting moves in races other than the Grand National can be a little more detailed, but the trading process and end result of winning regardless of the result of the race is essentially the same.
If you are interested in what we are doing to generate these results, then please visit our website to explore the world of trading in much more depth. We have free software for you to download and lots of useful advice in the form or articles, a blog and hundreds of videos. Including a special one discussing what we did in the 2013 Grand National.
Bet Angel contains a vast array of tools to allow you to trade quickly and easily. But the market overview screen, as the names suggests, is a good tool to look at the overall market and spot where the money is coming for on any one particular horse.
Identifying this early will allow you to get involved in the market when the odds are at their highest and most likely allow you to trade out as the money starts to flood into the market later in the day.
I hope you have a great Grand National in 2014!
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