It may not exactly be alchemy but the idea of risk free betting must be the next best thing. There are plenty of books and systems on the market claiming to show the horse punter how to achieve just that.
Besides the term “risk free” you may also come across the words “arbitrage” and “trading”. The dictionary describes arbitrage, which is a stock market term as, a traffic in bills of exchange or stocks to take advantage of rates of exchange in different markets”. In betting terms arbitrage, or trading, freebet means backing a horse at a higher odds and laying it for a larger amount at lower odds. This guarantees that what ever the result you will make a profit on the bet.
Risk free betting is different in that rather than aiming to make a profit on every trade you are just ensuring that you do not lose. It is also different in the fact that with arbitrage you do not really care whether your selection wins or loses as the profit is ensured. With risk free you are looking to try and pick the winner but are also covering yourself in the event of your selection not winning.
Usually you will back either a first or second favourite with a bookmaker or more commonly on the betting exchange. There are two factors you will be looking for, firstly a horse you believe can win and secondly one whose price on the betting exchange is likely to fall.
If you have ever visited the Betfair betting exchange online you will know how volatile the prices can be, especially just before the off. If you study the site you will realise that it is the weight of money being wagered that controls the rise and fall in the odds of the respective runners.
In an over simplification, if there is more money waiting to back a horse than there is to lay it then the odds are more than likely to fall. If the reverse is true and more cash is waiting to be laid than backed the price will rise. By studying the markets it is possible to anticipate these moves and this is basically the premise on which “risk free betting works”.
For example, you think the favourite will win a race. It is priced at 3.0 (2/1) so you back it to win at £100. If it wins you will get £200 if it loses you lose £100. The horse price then drops to 2.5 (6/4) and at this stage you lay it £100 top lose. Now if it wins you will get £200 less £150 you lose on the lay bet (£100 at 2.5 = £150) and you make £50 profit. If the horse loses you lose your £100 win bet but make £100 on the lay so break even..
Betting in this way will make you small but steady profits once you become proficient at reading and predicting the betting market. However, there will be occasions when you do get it wrong. The price of your horse goes in the opposite direction to the one you anticipated. It is then going to be a judgement call as to whether you cut your loses or ride with the original bet in the hope that it comes off.