Traditionally, punters have thought of an overlay bet as one that is paying a price equal to or greater than the horse’s rated price. In other words , if your selection is paying say $3.50 and you have rated it as a $3.00 chance, the horse represents value and is thus a bet.
Thinking the same way, one popular method of determining a good value bet is to only back horses that represent a 50% overlay i.e. rated 2/1, say, and available at 3/1. The problem is that this is wrong.
If we consider that a 2/1 rating represents 33% of our theoretical market then to be a 50% overlay the horse must be available at 22% i.e. 7/2 . To be a double overlay, i.e. twice the value it would have to be 16.5% i.e. 5/1 and so on, which is quite a divergence from the traditional thinking.
To assist readers to work this out we have listed a new table of odds and percentages below.
ODDS TAB EQUIV 50%OLAY DOUBLE OLAY
Odds/on 
<$2.00 
2/1 
$3.00 
3/1 
$4.00 
5/4 
$2.25 
9/4 
$3.30 
7/2 
$4.50 
6/4 
$2.75 
11/4 
$3.75 
4/1 
$5.00 
7/4 
$2.75 
13/4 
$4.25 
9/2 
$5.50 
2/1 
$3.00 
7/2 
$4.50 
5/1 
$6.00 
9/4 
$3.25 
4/1 
$5.00 
11/2 
$6.50 
5/2 
$3.50 
9/2 
$5.50 
6/1 
$7.00 
3/1 
$4.00 
5/1 
$6.00 
15/2 
$8.50 
7/2 
$4.50 
11/2 
$6.50 
8/1 
$9.00 
4/1 
$5.00 
13/2 
$7.50 
9/1 
$10.00 
9/2 
$5.50 
15/2 
$8.50 
10/1 
$11.00 
5/1 
$6.00 
8/1 
$9.00 
11/1 
$12..00 
6/1 
$7.00 
10/1 
$11.00 
13/1 
$14.00 
7/1 
$8.00 
11/1 
$12.00 
16/1 
$17.00 
8/1 
$9.00 
13/1 
$14.00 
18/1 
$19.00 
10/1 
$11.00 
16/1 
$17.00 
25/1 
$26.00 
There may not be a huge amount in it but it is worth noting nevertheless. To win at Racing we are up against a tote take out of 15% and this is hard to overcome. Every percentage point we can pick up after that is a bonus. Therefore, it’s important to note every little edge we can get.
You might notice that according to the above chart we would never bet at less than 2/1. This may be a little harsh but certainly, unless a horse is rated long odd ons, in your opinion, you would want at least odds significantly against, say 6/4 or $2.50.
One of our clients has purchased the Winline GTS computer program which displays four rating methods. He bets the top three rated horses from each selection method provided they represent value. Doing this for each service would be a loss making situation, but because several selections always overlap, the number of bets is reduced and a profit is made. The winner is found to be a good value bet in 38% of all races.
It’s food for though and another useful tool for the thinking punter.
What are your views?
