Odds for the 2011 Premiership title are up on Betfair already. Before we start dive in to the subject of football antepost odds on Betfair first lets look at what this post will be about. For those who are unsure what antepost odds mean or for those who need a refresher we’ll look at the definition. As the post title suggests antepost odds can be helpful for people who want to be there own bookmaker. In this post we describe how ante post football betting on Betfair can be used by budding bookmakers. There is something for everyone here. Professional gamblers may pick up a tip or two and the novice will get one step closer to making a regular income on Betfair.

In a recent post discussing what steps to take to become your own bookmaker we discussed the theory of how to be your own bookmaker. One of the difficulties with making this work in practice is balancing the book. Real bookmakers balance the sports book in order to guarantee themselves a profit. On individual events they may either be in profit or in a loss. In a sense they are taking a gamble. But the overall result of all the events they price should secure a profit. Anyone wanting to be their own bookmaker needs to have the same goal.

The amateur bookmaker’s sports book will concentrate on much fewer sports and events than the traditional type. Although, this is only limited by your bank balance. In the previous post, which you can link to below, we looked a some simple steps to making a sports book. Here we concentrate on using antepost odds to kick start a sports book.

What are ante post odds? The term originated in the horse racing industry. Bookies would price odds before the horse got to the post for ‘the off’. Now being used in more general terms, ante post odds can be found on various sports, including football. After the Premier League title fight ends bookmakers post their ante post odds for next season.

Why use ante post odds? Ante post odds can be priced very early. For example, from now, bets placed on the the winner of the Barclays Premiership title won’t be settled for a whole year.

Why use ante post odds? Time is the reason. In the example above there is a whole year before the bet is settled. Just imagine all the things that can happen to effect the likelihood of a team winning the tournament. Injuries, problems with the manager, new players entering the team from the transfer market, the club running out of money (sorry Pompey fans), and the list could go on.

What’s the venue? If you didn’t know already Betfair is a great place to start your own sports book. Betfair members bet against other Betfair members. You can offer odds or except odds from other members. It is beyond the scope of this post to go into detail about Betfair but there is loads of information on the topic if you are unsure of how the website works.

Post below is an image taken to show the Premiership football ante post odds on Betfair.

Football ante post odds Betfair betting system
Football Betfair ante post odds betting system

Not surprisingly Chelsea are the favourites at 2.66 or 13/8 for retaining their premiership crown. Followed closely by Man United at 3.4 or 12/5. Unusually normal bookmakers have got Chelsea priced slightly more favourably than on Betfair. This is often the case when the bookie wants to attract lots of early money to that outcome. Visit the website for the latest ante post premiership football bets on Betfair.

Before we delve into the various ways of pricing a sports book on Betfair there is an important point to remember. The book must balance. If it don’t balance then you are just gambling. To make it balance the net return from all your bets must be positive (it needs to be balance in your favour).

To balance the book you must back high and lay low on as many teams as possible to ensure that you get a positive result from all your bets. If the back bet odds over an average of all your bets are larger than the lay bet odds the difference between the two is your profit.

In the image above you can see that all the teams have odds backing them as winner. To see all the teams go to Betfair. This is because there are people making money being their own bookmaker on Betfair right now. This is what they do. They get in early and offer odds on all the teams to win the tournament. In some cases their odds are not matched at that price. That is why you can see back prices in the left (blue) column and no corresponding lay odds for some selection in the right column (pink). An easy way to decide to choose what odds to offer is to use traditional bookmaker’s ante post odds as a guide.

Ante post football betting method number one. For the more experienced betting enthusiast.

Offer outright win odds on every team. The key to this method is that you price your own odds. Don’t even Google normal bookmaker’s odds just concentrate on your own opinion. Although, it can be a good idea to take a peek at the favourite. Attempt this only if you know your numbers and can calculate probabilities. Your bets may not get matched straight away depending on how they relate to the bets that have already been matched. The bets will only get matched when the odds in the market move into proximity. From there on you need to adjust your odds and liability on the fly to ensure the book is balanced. Read our other posts for an explanation of how to balance your book. If you get too exposed (the liability is too large) on one team either take more bets on the other teams and / or you can hedge your bets by greening / reding up. The desired outcome is that the total of the percentage probabilities represented by your bets needs to be larger than the true probability of all the selections. In bookmaking parlance this is called the over round and represents the profit margin.

Method 2

Back every selection at the current odds. The theory here is that the earliest odds are hopefully going to be too long. Traditional bookmakers may offer odds that are far to generous due to a mistake or to attract money to the market early on.

Sit back and wait for something to happen which acts to shorten the odds so that you can lay the team to lock in a guaranteed profit. It will probably feel like you are taking a leap of faith because you must hope that there will be more teams which have odds that shorten than ones with odds that get longer. If they get longer then you can profit. If the ante post odds move against you it’s advisable to find out why. Will it be a trend? or is it just temporary. If it looks like a trend you need to hedge your self out of the bet as quickly as possible. This is done by ‘laying off’ the selection to lock in a small loss. The idea is to get more winning selections than loosing ones or winning selections with bigger profit margins than loosing margins.

It is evident after looking at the picture above that two thirds of the table has been backed by greedy members, because no one is willing to match those odds. This could be a form of bating. The Betfair member is chancing that someone will accept their massive back odds. They can then lay the team when the odds shorten which they surely will from such a lofty figure. This is something you can do to.

Method 3

This method of being your own bookmaker involves being selective about which teams to use based on the current price. The premise of this method is that you choose teams to back which have odds that are more likely to shorten and lay teams where the odds are more likely to lengthen.

Choosing pairs based on teams that will be fighting for a similar place in the table can be a good way to highlight profitable positions. Take Chelsea and Man United for example. For sometime during the 2010 Premiership they where running neck and neck. This would have moved the odds in both directions allowing profitable bets to be made. Don’t concentrate on one pair only, chose a number of pairs. That will increase the chances of getting more winning positions than loosing positions.

Looking at the picture above members think that Man City is more likely to win than Arsenal. Could this be because Cesc Fabregas is leaving? Probably. But that isn’t the end of the world. Wenger will be 3 steps ahead; over the next year it is likely that he will make changes that will change the opinion in the favour of the amateur bookmaker. A back bet on Arsenal and a lay bet on Man City could be a good choice.

Entry and exit. If the odds move in your favour you have to make a decision. How long should you wait before hedging the position for a profit? This depends on your confidence and skill level. You can either target a certain percentage profit and hedge at that level. Or vary your exit strategy on a team by team basis. If there is a trend either of good or bad news moving the odds in a favourable direction you can wait to see how far it takes you. The choice is yours, and, the decision is the same for hedging loosing positions of course.

Next you should check the health of your sports book regularly. Say once a month. This will give you an idea of what you need to happen and where you need to take more bets or hedge positions. This can be done by working out the current over round if you are using method one. Or by working out the net profit or loss from all positions which have a corresponding back and lay bets matched. Profitable bets on each team result from backing high odds and laying low odds. Laying high and backing low will produce a loss.

In summary, football ante post odds are a great starting point for setting up your own sports book. Adjusting positions and odds on the fly is how bookmakers guarantee themselves a profit. The key is to make sure you balance your book. The sports bookmaking methods here can be used for various sports and various events. There is a constant supply of opportunities enabling the amateur bookmaker to skim small profits off the top of the pool of money being wagered on Betfair.

Betfair gives some very good video tutorials guiding members how to use their website and they offer a free bet that can be used to start an amateur sports book.

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