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Placepot Analysis by David Renham
I have always felt the placepot is something that I should pay far more attention to. The reason for this I suppose is simple – the placepot is one of those rare bets where you are betting against other people – there is no bookmaker involved, so it is your opinion against everyone else’s opinion. Hence giving a level playing level, and knowing that several ‘placepotters’ treat it as a fun bet, there should be money to be made. However, the Tote make life extremely difficult by taking out about 27% of the pot each meeting. Hence this is the “edge” you are up against. The question is can a knowledgeable and hard working punter succeed? If he works hard enough to stay well ahead of his fellow “placepotters”, can he win enough times to nullify the 27% edge?
Let us firstly look at the payouts at each course for the first 15 days of September 2008:
As you can see there has been a mixed bag in terms of returns – as low as £7.50; as high as £3,048.50. Let us look at the payouts in more detail by tabulating them:
There has been a fairly even spread of payouts and from a positive perspective 21 of the 46 payouts exceeded £200 which equates to just under 46%. The average payout has been around £372.50. Therefore roughly half the payouts have been what I would call “decent”. Now having read Malcolm Boyle’s excellent book “The Toteplacepot Annual 2007” he states the average payout is nearer £600 – there is no reason to doubt this as the occasional huge payout is likely to produce this sort of average.
My next port of call was to investigate the 4 very low payouts – it seemed likely to me that all 6 favourites would have placed so time to check:
1/9/08 Lingfield – payout £7.50 – 5 of the 6 favourites placed, but there were 3 odds on favourites that placed, that many punters would have had as bankers. In the race where the favourite got beat, the 2nd favourite placed. In general the front end of the market took the majority of placepot positions.
3/9/08 Lingfield – payout £8.20 – all 6 favourites placed and once again the majority of the “placers” were near the front end of the market.
4/9/08Salisbury – payout £7.70 – all 6 favourites were placed (there were joint favourites in one race and both placed). In addition of the 17 placed horses, 15 were single figure prices!
9/9/08 Lingfield – payout £7.90 – 5 of the 6 favourites placed and in the race where the favourite did not place, the 2nd and 3rd favourite both were placed.
No great surprises there – the vast majority of “placepotters” seem to make sure they have the favourite involved in every race, or at least nearly every race. To me the value would seem to be the reverse - avoiding the favourite as much as possible. However, I appreciate that you cannot eliminate the favourite from calculations in every race, but when you can find a weak favourite that will surely play massively into your hands. Let us now look at the six payouts of over £1000 and see how many favourites placed – in addition I want to look for other reasons for why the payouts were so big:
3/9/08Brighton – payout £3,048.50 – only 2 favourites placed, but more importantly there were some big priced horses that made the frame. The 2nd race saw a 15 runner handicap which is the worst value for the placepotters with just 3 places. In addition 14/1 and 22/1 shots filled 2 of the 3 spots. In race 3, the seller, none of the front three in the market got placed which would have seen many people stumble, while the 5th race saw a 1st and 2nd at prices of 20/1 and 25/1. Hence one can see why the payout was so big. There were some decent sized fields; poor return for favourites, and plenty of big prices getting placed.
5/9/08 Lingfield – payout £1,170.90 – two favourites placed, but crucially the two maiden races saw both favourites fail to make the frame. Many people use maiden races for their bankers so this is one reason for the decent return. Another factor is that the 6th race saw 2 non runners cutting the field to 7 which meant just 2 horses counted – the favourite failed to place so not only did all the favourite backers lose out, all the punters that had selected the non runners lost out as their selection moved to the favourite.
6/9/08 Wolverhampton – payout £1,005.70 – the first race saw joint favourites place, but they were both 6/1 and the race had 5 other horses in single figures. Hence, this would have been a tight race for many punters beforehand with it difficult to predict how the market would go. Despite both joint favourites being placed I would imagine several punters fell at the first hurdle. The remaining races were not favourable to favourites with just 1 more managing to place. Hence it would have been no surprise to see that sort of payout.
12/9/08 Doncaster – payout £1002.60 – this is more interesting perhaps as 3 favourites and 1 joint favourite placed. Hence only 2 races saw races without the favourite placing. However, two of the races combined to be placepot “killers” – race 1 saw the top 3 in the betting all fail to place, while race 4, despite being a 16 runner handicap with 4 places, saw the four placed horses priced at 14/1, 16/1 (twice) and 28/1. Indeed all of the top seven in the betting failed to get placed in that race. Hence we can see that big payouts are possible even with a good percentage of favourites placing.
14/9/08 Great Leighs – payout £1235.10 – only 2 favourites placed and the key race looked to be race 4 which was a maiden. The top three in the betting failed to place and two horses priced 25/1 came 2nd and 3rd. The winner was the 4th in the betting and that had not placed I am sure the placepot could easily have doubled.
15/9/08 Musselburgh – payout £2,376.80 – the favourite placed in only 2 races again, but interestingly in the 4 of the races where the favourite was unplaced, fancied horses filled 8 of the 12 placepot positions. When I say “fancied” they were single figure prices. Indeed, the second favourite placed in all 4 races the favourite did not. Hence, despite a relatively poor effort from the favourites, the dividend to me is much higher than one would expect.
This is the first of a planned series of placepot articles I intend to write in the coming months – I have simply scratched the surface here, but hopefully it has given you some food for thought.
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