Implied odds are the most important thing to pay attention to here. Other than QL you can pretty much ignore everything else. For EPs to be profitable you’ll need to be taking horses with a high implied odds no matter what their back odds are. It doesn’t matter if a horse has back odds of 2.0 or 200, I would still take it as long as the implied odds are high enough. The payout on lower odds horses will be a little less than the higher odds horses but you will need less liability to bet on them, so it’s down to personal preference.
Put simply: implied odds are a theoretical gauge of how “worth it” a horse is to bet on. If a horse has IO of 3 this means you’d need that horse to land one in three times for you to stay profitable. A horse with IO of 20 would only need to land one in every twenty.
EPs aren’t actually about picking the horse you think will land in the extra place, they are about mitigating the risk to your bank whilst you bet on as many horses as you can. If one finishes in the extra place for you then you take a nice profit, but bear in mind you will be placing more losing bets than winning bets so you need to make sure those losing bets don’t chew up the profits you make when you do hit an EP. EPs are a long term game so if you are strict with your limits then you will do well over time.
Pick a minimum implied odds and stick to it (20+ is a popular number, although I take a slightly different approach because Maths). If a bookie is offering more than one extra place then I will be more lenient with my IO minimum.
You can also control your QL so that you take a more consistent/smaller loss on the losing horses. Do this by adjusting your stakes to suit your limits (more on this later).
Keep the catcher open for a bit and see how the back and lay odds affect the implied odds, the QL and the potential profit. You’re looking for horses with low QL and proportionally large profit – these horses will have high implied odds. Once you’ve found one it’s worth saving it (use the save icon on the right hand side – this is a floppy disk so you’re if you’re born after 1995 you might not recognise it) and then manually adjusting the numbers to see how they all relate to each other.
I try to get one horse per bookie (as long as the max QL I incur on that race doesn’t outweigh the min potential profit from the lowest horse), but if there are 13+ runners I will go for 2 horses per bookie.
Do as many EPs as you can. You will not make money if you just back one horse a week and hope it finishes in the right place. You need to be backing multiple horses every day for it to be a profitable strategy.
There are two ways to approach EPs: the long and easy way or the short and stressful way. The short and stressful way is in the last 15 minutes before the race. You’ll spot some big horses but you’ll need to be fast to get the bets on because the odds move quick and you need to get three bets on per horse. The benefit of doing it this way is that you can do one race at a time so your money isn’t tied up for long and you don’t need such a big bank, thanks to shared liability. Once the race is over your money is freed up again and you’re ready for the next race.
The long and easy way is to have the catcher open throughout the day and to check back now and then, picking out any horses that pop up. The downside to this is that you’ll be backing horses on different races so shared liability isn’t going to be much help. If you don’t have a large bankroll you may want to limit yourself to lower priced horses to avoid using all your liability on one big horse which is running later in the day and preventing you from backing any other horses that are running earlier.
The high IO horses are there, you just need to find them. Don’t forget if you have any boosts you can use them to increase the odds. BFSB, Paddy and Ladbrokes boosts apply to both win and place parts of the bet so they’re really handy. Unibet and WH boosts only apply to the win part so whilst I’d still suggest you use them you should bear in mind they will only come into effect if your horse wins the race (if you’ve boosted a 23 horse to 26 and it finished 2nd or lower then the return is still calculated as if the horse were 23, but if it wins then it’ll be calculated at 26 so you may need to do some manual adjustment to your P/L).
Touching on some even more advanced stuff: By manually adjusting your stakes you can work towards a consistent QL, regardless of the implied odds.
Let’s run some examples:
The horse you’re looking at has back odds of 11, win lay odds of 11.5 and place lay odds of 3.2. IO is 24.3 on this, so pretty decent. Your normal calculator would suggest lay stakes of £9.58/£9.38 for win/place. QL on a £10 e/w is -£1.23 here, no matter where the horse finishes. Potential profit is £28.77.
You could quite easily adjust your back stake to £5 and then your QL will drop to -£0.62, but then of course your potential profit drops to £14.38.
If you adjust your lay stakes you can create different outcomes. For example, if you were to slightly underlay – say £9.25/£9.25 – then you’d have three new results:
If the horse wins you’d actually be in profit £2.52
If the horse places your QL would be -£1.10
If the horse loses then your QL would be -£1.50
Potential profit is £28.50.
You can see that by changing the lay stakes just by a few pence you have created two outcomes where you’re in profit instead of just one, reduced your QL in another of the outcomes, and slightly increased the QL for the fourth outcome.
These kind of decisions can be made on whether you think the horse is going to finish near the top of the field or if it’s starting with massive odds and you think it’s not going to get anywhere near the top four. It’s down to personal preference and how much time and effort you want to put into each horse. You may want to consider the type of race and current conditions too, because a 2+ mile wet hurdle will shake the field a lot more than a sunny 6 furlong sprint.
Potential profit and QL are directly proportional to stakes so if you want an easy way to take a lower QL you can just lower your back stake, but bear in mind this also lowers your profit. It’s entirely a personal choice whether you make these changes to your bets and if you’ve got the bankroll to absorb the higher QLs then it may not be worth the effort – unless you’re betting on a 101 outsider, in which case you probably don’t want to be punting £20 e/w when a £1 stake would be enough. Don’t worry if you can’t afford to bet large amounts. Start small and work your way up.
Don’t expect to open the catcher and immediately see four shiny golden horses ready for you to back. EPs need patience and persistence.
Hope that helps.
(content © Redfoot)