In February 2018, HBF published the findings of a study relating to the Starting Price (SP) overrounds by racecourse. Those findings can be viewed here.
We have now completed work on a similar exercise looking at SP overrounds throughout 2018.
The over round is a measure of how much shorter the offered odds are than if the odds were equally fair to the bettor and bookmaker. On course bookmakers have a living to make and have to pay fees to racecourses for allowing them to bet there so clearly they need to make a profit in order to continue their business; thus they will offer odds that include a profit consideration, or mark up, as will all businesses in all walks of life.
While it is perfectly possible, and indeed very common, to attain a better price than starting price both on and off course, a majority of off course wagers are still settled at SP, either because no price was taken or because of a Best Odds Guarantee combined with the SP returned being bigger than the price taken.
More information on the mechanics of overround can be found on this wikipedia page.
During our research we conducted two distinct reviews, one using overround per horse (i.e. the race overround divided by the number of runners), and one using a field size ‘factor’ to acknowledge that overround per runner is affected in a non-linear way by the size of the field. Specifically, smaller fields are likely to have larger overrounds per runner.
We discovered that, generally speaking, there was a correlation between the two approaches.
Looking first at the ‘field size factored’ research, which allows for direct comparison with last year’s study, the following are some conclusions:
- In 2018, there were 33 courses above the value ‘par’, two at par, and 25 below the value par.
- The best value courses in 2018, as measured by ‘field size factored’ overround per runner, were Catterick, Cheltenham and Southwell.
- Catterick and Southwell, as well as Musselburgh, Wetherby and Newbury, repeated their ‘top ten’ performer status in terms of starting price value from last year’s survey; and Catterick deserves special praise for being best value this year and second best value last year from the sixty racecourses analysed.
- The poorest value courses in 2018, as measured by ‘field size factored’ overround per runner, were Ffos Las, Newton Abbot, Chelmsford and Lingfield.
- Ffos Las retains its number one position as the poorest performer on the metric, and again by some margin. However, it should be added that there was a moderate improvement in the year-on-year value offering of that course’s starting price overrounds. Chelmsford, Lingfield, Cartmel and Taunton are also consistent under-performers.
The full list of ‘field factored’ overrounds and ranks can be found in Table 1 below, where a negative adjusted score implies value above what might be expected – in other words, courses offering good value to bettors.
Alongside this work, we also reviewed a larger sample of years (2015-2018) based on the slightly more simplistic measure of overround per runner. That is, in a ten horse race where the overround is 120%, the overround per runner is 20% divided by ten runners, which equals 2%.
From all UK races run in 2018, we have removed those where a horse was withdrawn thus incurring a Rule 4 deduction; and we have further removed races where there was an odds on favourite, such events tending to higher overrounds.
Tables 2 and 3 below show the best and worst performing courses, in terms of value as measured by overround per runner. The right hand column is the average overround per runner. Click this link for the full methodology and findings.
TABLE 1: ‘Field Size Factored’ Performance, by 2018 Rank (poorest value ranked #1, best value ranked #60)
|Course||Ave of |
Table 2: Last four years, top three value courses, purely based on overround per runner
Table 3: Last four years, bottom three value courses, purely based on overround per runner
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