Have you seen the Stan James TV ad over Christmas boasting that they have consistently given the best prices of any bookmaker in the last 5 years on Premiership football? This gives an interesting insight into the world of odds comparison. Unfortunately it didn’t tell us by how much better they were than anyone else, or whether they were best over the last year, or the last 10 years, but no doubt these ads will attract new football punters to SJ.
Different bookmakers price up major sporting events individually in advance. They might choose to price up the market different from their competitors for a number of reasons:
*To attract more business at a lower margin
*They sponsor the race and want to be seen to give the best prices on it
*They have taken a large bet on one particular horse and don’t want to attract more bets on it
An obvious check for the bettor is to review available prices before placing their bet to ensure maximum returns in the event of a win. For example at the time of writing, a selection of bookmakers’ prices for the major players in the King George on offer are:
|William Hill||Paddy Power||Ladbrokes||Skybet||Stan James|
By choosing the bookmaker offering the best odds as opposed to the worst, additional winnings are available on a stake of 25% on Don Cossack; 600% on Al Ferof; and 100% on the other runners quoted. These are significant amounts and over a long period of time could make the difference between winning at betting and losing at betting. Were all bookmakers considered then even greater differences would emerge.
There are other factors involved:
You need to weigh up these prices in combination with bookmakers special offers (see my blog Making the Best of Bookmakers Offers.) For instance in the above race Corals are offering money back if it falls; and William Hill and some others are offering best price guaranteed.
As the race time approaches, then the diversity of prices offered will diminish.
You can watch price changes on an individual bookmaker’s market. The Magic Sign (Ladbrokes) are well known for being well informed. If they go significantly shorter about one horse than the other bookmakers, then this is generally for a good reason.
In order to take advantage of all the potential prices available then you would have to open or already have on-line accounts with a large number of bookmakers. This could jeopardize your internet privacy; and lead to significant amounts of junk mail.
To make life easier for the odds comparer there are many websites offering this service. A bit like car insurance comparison sites they get paid by referral commission. Be wary of advertising; adbots and “missing” bookmakers.
The shrewd punter must use and understand odds comparison, which offers the opportunity of significantly increasing the profitability of his betting activities over time. He should also understand that odds comparison has its limitations and is not the only driver for placing a successful bet. It won’t matter that you got the best price on a selection if it loses.