It’s the bane of many a punter who’s trodden the layer’s path since the advent of the betting exchanges. I expect you know the scenario… You’re ticking away nicely with loser after loser, then suddenly in one day, 2 of your selections unexpectedly win at 6/1 and 8/1, wiping out all of your previous work in an instant. Of course at this stage the swear jar is overflowing with the GDP of a small African Nation and you promise to return to traditional punting forthwith.

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

The key to success as a layer is to do what the professional layers do, isn’t it? These professional layers (better known as bookmakers) operate with an over round in every event to which they offer odds and so ensure a profit regardless of which horse wins.

Yes, there are techniques using software such as Fairbot for actually backing at layer’s odds (to guarantee, if odds are matched, a profit regardless of who wins) but that’s not what this article is about.

There is a more obvious way to curb liabilities: LAY SHORTER PRICED HORSES, preferably odds on shots!

That’s all well and good, Clive,” you’re muttering under your breath, but odds on shots are odds on shots for a reason! They have the best chance, theoretically, of winning a race. A fat lot of good that’s going to do me as a layer! Well, I may have a solution. Ever keen to keep my carbon footprint down, I am a ardent recycler of backing systems, which just don’t cut it when they incorporate odds on shots.

I have 2 which have very definite potential as systems that can provide us with odds on shots which, when incorporated into the backing systems, produce sustained 20+ point losses to level stakes. But first, let’s look first at the advantages of laying short prices.

We have 2 options when laying now – we can lay to win a certain amount of money, and we can lay to LOSE a certain amount (if the outcome which we laid actually wins).

Here’s an example from a football match, which clearly illustrates both principles: In the above example, we are laying to WIN £10. At odds of 1.37 (odds on shots on the betting exchanges are all priced below 2.00 in decimal odds) the liability is a measly £3.70 – this is the amount of money we will lose if, in this case, Getafe wins this match. In this example, we are looking to lose a predetermined amount of money if Getafe wins – £10. Can you see the great advantage here? Having laid Getafe at odds of 1.37, should they LOSE this game, we will make £28.60. If they win this game we lose the predetermined £10. (Take a look at the right hand side of the screenshot and you will see the “Liability” button is ticked.) So, what we need now is a selection strategy that provides us with at least 50% losing selections at odds on.

There are a couple of systems on the market which approach laying odds on horses in a very unique manner. But before I tackle these 2 systems, I want to put forward a couple of ideas regarding systems which may (if past performance can continue) provide us with the odds on shots, AND ODDS ON LOSERS, which can turn a profit over the long term, while, of course, ensuring liability is NEVER a worry.

The 3 into 1 System

Yes, this was originally touted by yours truly as the saviour of UK backing punters! Needless to say I felt a bit like Dean Jarvis when he was ‘found out’, when the system decided not to replicate the 3 months foundation results at the back end of 2007. The results that originally had me so excited. So what was the problem?

As a backing system it was producing a 27.7 point loss when odds on shots were included in the selection procedure (of course from a backing perspective we no longer include odds on selections!)

27.7 points loss to level stakes! Now if we were laying these odds on shots, especially with a FIXED LIABILITY, we would profit. SURELY? Well, thanks to and their excellent spreadsheets, I could run the odds on shots through the lay software to determine projected profit. I also used the STAKING MACHINE to determine how fixed liability and any other more obscure staking plan would perform.

The 3 into 1 system odds on selections when used as lays LAYS

Level stakes of £10 per lay produced the lower line. Using 1% of betting bank AS STAKE for laying purposes produced the upper line and another healthy gain (the advantage with this method is the power of compounding as the 1% stake increases with the bank growth).

Fixed Liability Betting

This is where things get very interesting. The strike rate, coincidentally, is exactly 50% from January to May (and likely to increase, I would suggest, with the onset of the winter jumps season). Fixed liability staking really does increase returns markedly. A zero start bank, with £20 as FIXED LIABILITY stake has produced £1,138 profit since January 2008. Now remember this is with a 50% strike rate. This works because when we lay an odds on shot with a fixed liability, it is the equivalent of an odds against back bet!

Cracking Betfair

An unmitigated disaster as a backing system (hmmm I don’t remember that on the website!), could this system be salvaged as a lay system, and MORE SPECIFICALLY, a lay system for odds on shots? Since year start, a strike rate of around 48% has ensured a profit using both basic level stakes and FIXED LIABILITY staking: Input represents £10 level stakes and Bank % is set at 1% of the betting bank as stake. Compared to fixed liability staking, it is clear which is the most profitable:

Betting bank nearly reaching £1,000 from a standing start and just £20 as FIXED LIABILITY. Before I look at the systems on the market, perhaps you could get the old grey matter working to devise your own selection system for odds on lays.

1) Have you kept records of those really bad backing systems that are predominantly favourite based and incorporate odds on selections? If so, perhaps you should dust them off, invest in the Fasttrackplans and see if a lay system can evolve.

2) The place only market is the only other real market where we can find odds on shots as they relate to horse racing. So where to start? Well, races of less than 8 runners generally pay out for the first 2 places so immediately there is greater competition for fewer places. Handicaps by their very nature offer a competitive environment where the prices of one or 2 of the horses are around 1.7 with a number of other horses around over evens. The bigger the field, and the bigger the price of the favourite in the win market, the more competitive the event

3) Irish racing can be an effective market, although you have to be mindful of the lesser liquidity in these markets.

What’s on the market?

Well there are 2 very similarly matched systems that are on the market at present which have their focus firmly on odds on priced horses.

As the name suggests, the way to ensure profit with odds on shots is, in this case, with the staking. This system uses Fibonacci numbers as the basis for a progressive staking strategy regarding odds on shots qualifying via the selection system advised. Now we are all familiar with progressive staking aren’t we? Used properly it is a great weapon to have in the armoury, and I suppose the fact that selections are, without exception, odds on, means that liability will always be below stake.

As long as the strike rate remains around the 50% marker, then this system will work as a mathematical fact. It will prove worrisome if a winning run of 8 odds on shots win on the trot.

Most certainly, we have probability on our side, and as yet, I have not encountered a losing run of 8. The author advises £10 stakes with a betting bank of £1,500.

Using £10 stakes and, for example, 8 odds on shots in a row who go on to win their races at odds of 1.8, we will lose in total around £700. It is important I feel, with all progressive staking systems, that we should prepare ourselves for a worse case scenario, so if the above can be prepared for (and hopefully never encountered) then this methodology has a chance of success long term. The key to success would be in NOT blindly laying all odds on horses that we encounter but rather being selective. This is the case too with the LITTLE ACORNS Low Liability Laying formula from ADK Publishing The author gives us a background:

I developed the formula in late 2002 when I was first looking to see if I could gain an edge actually ‘Backing’ Odds On’ favourites to win by using every conceivable staking plan, progressive staking, Fibonacci etc. I always came into trouble due to the very high stakes after 5 or 6 losers. So if the backing method did not win, then of course the laying method would, as I would lay equal to or below my lay stake. I then would gain an edge even after 5 or 6 losing lays. Not great amounts but it does builds up. I then pulled this publication out of the dormant files when you had an item in your newsletter regarding making just £2 a day everyday and compounding. I thought even from small amounts made frequently sums could build up. I’ve even had many ‘Odds On’ horses losing their races in sequences of up to 5 or 6 using the filters outlined in the e-book.”

This system is actually a precursor to gofibonacci and results for May can be inspected below: All months this year have been profitable and it was interesting that the author referred to 2% compounding as something that can be achieved using this strategy. Again, as with gofibonnaci, it is in the actual selection of the odds on shots that ensure success and a strike rate that is compatible with long-term profits.

Bottom line

I hope you can see that there may be something in the laying of odds on shots. Those using the systems out there on the marketplace will be aware that, if there are multiple selections in a single day, there will be a need to be reactive to the previous results. Using my fixed stake or fixed liability method, there is no need to be reactive as we are not operating progressive staking or any form of loss retrieval. I think it would be a worthy exercise to look for a betting bot that can lay my short listed horses at a price below 2.00 to either a fixed stake, or preferably a fixed liability.

(NOTE – the results shown using the 2 backing systems advised were increased considerably by a successful lay of Harry Ormesher at 1/12 – yes 1/12. I suppose the old adage ‘you have to be in it to win it’ springs to mind. So, for those of you thinking this 1/12 horse who lost his race is an anomaly, take around 10% of returns from the figures quoted). For anyone who wants clarification regarding the methodology of the 3 into 1 system, let me know. As to the gofibinacci and little acorns systems, both look eminently workable and profits for the year gone back this up. Slow and steady are the watchwords for these systems.

As to a choice… well Little Acorns was the ORIGINAL low odds Fibonacci based staking system and it would seem that gofibonacci is a derivative of this original.