Compiling Betting Odds

Odds Compilers 3

FRIDAY The whole point with odds-compiling is that when you price up a football match you are taking three main factors into account: what prices you think the three outcomes should be based on form, what prices you think they should be based on how the market will react, and what prices you think the other bookmakers will be.

In other words, it is not as simple as just going up with prices derived entirely on how the teams are playing, what their head-to-head records are, etc. I might rate a particular home team a 4-6 chance but I know that if I go 4-6 everyone will stick them in their coupon bet and we might end up with liabilities we don't want. Often I can go 8-13, knowing we will still see money for them.

And then there is the issue of what the other compilers will do. I might fancy Manchester United to beat Liverpool for my life and be desperate to make sure I am top price about Liverpool. The skill is to work out how big I need to go to make sure that when the prices of all the bookmakers are published in the Racing Post the following Friday my Liverpool price appears in black type [to indicate it is the biggest or joint-biggest price on offer]. There are times when I will put up a price about a team I want to lay fully expecting to be best-offer and find that other compilers have gone even bigger.

Some games can be priced up in next to no time. If Tottenham are at home to Arsenal I know what I am going to be within 30 seconds. I might do some research to query the prices, but more often than not I will stick with my original feel price. After a while an experienced compiler should be able to price up matches virtually on instinct without making too many ricks.

Other matches are far harder to deal with, and that is when having a team of compilers like we do is so important. Four of us price up every match, but the final call is with me. There are times when I am, say, 8-11 a team and the other three guys are 10-11. The final call is with me but I will discuss the price with the rest of the guys and sometimes it will turn out I have missed something and will go 10-11 whereas on other occasions I will stick to my guns.

There is a particular type of team that I am always happy to lay. I am talking about those mid-table Premiership sides who look so impressive when playing on the counter-attack away from home but who cannot assert any superiority when at home to the division's weaker teams and do not have the game to break them down. In 2003-04 it was a very successful policy of ours to be top-price about the likes of Blackburn and Southampton when they were odds-on at home to the strugglers.

By the end of Friday I aim to have all the next week's prices as complete as possible with just the Saturday results to factor in.

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