How to Use Odds Boost (If You’re Allowed)

Two of Australia’s largest corporate bookmakers, Ladbrokes and Sportsbet, introduced a new promotion in 2016, Odds Boost and Power Play.

These promotions were innovative and generous, allowing customers to access inflated fixed prices. However, the generosity continues to be watered down.

The devolution includes reducing the Odds Boost percentage, removing it from most betting markets and profiling clients who use it. For those clients who haven’t been banned yet, we’re going to show one of the last remaining ways to exploit it.


How it Started

Corporate bookmakers are consistently trying to invent new promotions, to drive new customers and hold onto their existing ones. To make an impact, their marketing departments need to tread the fine line of perceived generosity, profitability and innovativeness.

Ladbrokes were able to do this in 2016 when they introduced something new to a market.

Odds Boost was born. Once per day you would be able to click on any fixed odds product and have the price increase. A $4.20 priced horse might become $5.00, a $3.00 away team in the AFL that week might be pushed out to $3.50.

Corporate Bookmakers love recycling more than the state of South Australia. Sportsbet loved the idea and functionality so much that they introduced their Power Play (which was later copied by William Hill, Crownbet and Neds). This marketing war was a win for the punter as both bookies left themselves open to arbitrage.

However, it seems that once Ladbrokes and Sportsbet had captured market attention they put in measures to reduce the generosity. Systematically, Odds Boost has become less and less relevant.


Generosity Rescinded

The first thing Ladbrokes and Sportsbet did was to reduce the boost, depending on the profile of your account.

For example, an account that contributes significant profit to Sportsbet may be able to boost a $10 horse to odds of $13. A less lucrative account (for the bookmaker), however, may only be able to turn a $10 horse into an $11 proposition.

The Odds Boost generosity is tiered, depending on an account’s value.


No More Futures

Another restriction that was brought in was removing Odds Boost from futures markets. That means you can’t boost the Melbourne Storm for the NRL Premiership during the season. The only way to get a boosted price on the Storm to win the flag would be to back them on grand final day, should they be there…

This was another defensive mechanism by Ladbrokes, forcing their customers into low volatility or high margin markets.


USE YOUR BOOST HERE PLEASE

Two markets that Sportsbet and Ladbrokes are less restrictive with are the first goal scorer and first try scorer. These 150% markets can be cash cows for bookmakers. The heavy margins mean that even after boosting the odds the price is less than the probability. Let’s look at an example. In Round 18 2017 vs St Kilda, Lance Franklin was (at one point in time) $6 with Ladbrokes to kick the first goal. If you boosted those odds, $6 became $6.50. That’s the bookmaker equivalent of a coupon discount to David Jones. Meanwhile, Lance Franklin had kicked the first goal in only two of the first 17 games to that stage of the season. His 100% odds, based on the probability of that small sample size, was $8.50. A recreational customer backing Franklin thinks they have received value, unaware that they’re contributing to bookmaker profit. Punters should never assume that an Odds Boost instantly gives them above market odds.


Always Compare Your Odds

Let’s look at the Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather mega fight from August 2017. McGregor’s odds (at one point in time) with both Ladbrokes and Sportsbet was $5.00.

When you boosted those odds, you received approximately $5.50.

Meanwhile, on Betfair, McGregor was $7. No Odds Boost required, just a 100% market with a 5% win-based commission.

That’s a staggering difference.

Boosted Odds: Approximately $5.50

Betfair Odds: $7 – 0.36c (commission if McGregor won) = $6.64


A Better Way To Use Odds Boost

Now that we know just how frugal these bookmakers are we can see how hard it is to find value. It used to be easier.

There is a way. We need to find markets with either low bookmaker margins or pricing errors.

Some markets to look at are:

  • Horse racing events that day, after 9am or close to the race jumping (SP)
  • Weekly golf tournaments
  • Fixed price greyhound racing
  • The outsider in half time / full time match markets
  • Method of victory markets on boxing or mixed martial arts
  • Correct score in tennis, soccer or series betting
  • Test match cricket

The goal is to find a fixed price that matches or exceeds the Betfair ‘Lay all’. If you do that, you’re getting odds that match or exceed their true probability. You then have the option to lay your bet back on Betfair and potentially create a risk-free investment.


Betfair is a low margin exchange, just like Airbnb. We create markets for punters to take on punters. And we want winners.


One Last Problem

As some of you would know, these opportunities can feel like a mirage. If you show sophistication with your betting, particularly with promotions, your account may be restricted.

Ladbrokes and Sportsbet employ risk teams to profile clients and remove access to promotions or certain products from clients who aren’t losing enough. Even a new account can be shut down after just one sophisticated bet.

There are two ways to approach the bookmaker vigilance. Bet under the radar and mix up your account with legitimate bets as well as marketing promotions. Or know that you’re only getting one large opportunity and maximise your return.


Conclusion

The best way to use Odds Boost and Power Play is to find odds that exceed Betfair. That gives you the flexibility to potentially create risk free opportunities or have confidence that your odds exceed the true probability.

However, that can be easier said than done. Corporate bookmakers rarely compete on price and the reduction in the Odds Boost percentage means that it’s hard to find over market odds. It’s just as hard to have a winning account that’s allowed to bet on promotions.

Rather than focus on promotions that continue to be watered down, it pays to seek value with every bet you place.

Don’t Lose When You Win.


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