Tim’ is a 33-year-old Melbourne-based greyhound punter who came to this endeavour partly by chance in his mid-20s. Tim bumped into ‘Bob’, who shared his experiences on Betfair with Tim.
“He had an old computer program focused on betting on the dogs. He said he’d be happy to show me. He also said he’d shown it to others before but they hadn’t been able to make it work but it really pricked my interest.
“I’d spent a lot of time working in pubs and having the occasional bet and found that I was generally able to win on the dogs but not on the horses, so obviously his approach struck a bit of a chord with me,’ Tim said.
The approach centres on profiling each greyhound via video and times analysis.
“I want to know the idiosyncrasies of each dog and generally they’re not that difficult to read. When you see a first starter, drawn out, go straight to the fence you can be pretty confident that will be its pattern throughout its career.
“You can work out early whether the greyhound is chasing the lure or chasing other dogs. Many will go to the leader and not go past. Maybe one in ten of that type will go past the leader but if they’re 6/4 pops I’ve got an edge taking them on,’ he said.
The video analysis is married with clocking the first splits of a race and having a feel for overall times at the various tracks.
“Rule one is never miss a run. If I don’t know a certain dog, I’ll watch all its videos. The computer spits out a printout of my ratings and then I frame a market which will be adjusted according to the box draw. For example, the best dog might be drawn in three but if those drawn in four, five and six are all ‘fence crashers’ you have to reassess and would immediately look to those drawn seven or eight,” he said.
A typical meeting sees Tim spend two to three hours creating his markets; doing the videos between races and perhaps just five minutes in actual betting.
“You’re generally waiting until the last couple of minutes for the liquidity to build in the market and it can be strong enough now on Betfair even on a greyhound race, with as much as almost $20,000 matched. I’m a ‘picker’ of the market rather than a price setter and I’m happy to wait.
“Betfair’s vital for me with the tote diminishing and limited access to the corporates. The Betfair market is strong enough for me to get on a favourite. I can have a decent bet, in the last minute or so, on a favourite,” he said.
Tim’s fundamental bet strategy is to back two or more runners in every race he bets on and his bet size is usually instinctive.
“The object is to consistently make money so I’m happy to hedge. I’m happy to back two at, say, $4 and be content with the evens. I’m 90% win betting and 10% quaddies. I know my sweet spot which is dogs around the $2.60 to $3.0 mark. Betting up is usually instinctive but there are two key factors. The first is that I expect the dog will get a clear run, according to my map, and the second is that the dog is at its peak.”
“They’re animals, not robots, so your maps will not always work out. The map might be right three or four times out of 12 but that’s enough if you’re opting to play the right races. I also keep my betting statistics at each track. It makes sense to spend more on the tracks where you’re having success”
His methodology typifies that of most successful punters – as it’s based on hard work, discipline and finding an edge. But, in his case as he candidly admits, his edge is no secret.
“My edge is out there for everyone to see. Understanding the racing pattern of the greyhound. Plenty of people do the form but they need to do more in terms of videos. It’s not hard. Just go to The Watchdog at GRV (Greyhound Racing Victoria). It’s about 30 seconds a race to watch a greyhound race video.
“There are other factors of course as it’s one thing to read a race and another to make money out of it but it can be done,’ he said.
Another of those factors is discipline which is vital according to Tim. “I had a very good mentor who taught me to shut down the computer. If there’s a couple of races to go but no perceived value, then just shut down and walk away. I’ve also learned that many crumbs equal a loaf.”
“THE FAIREST OF THE THREE CODES”
“Patience is a virtue. I started with a small bank and bet modestly but gradually increased and even now, if things aren’t rolling my way, I’ll pull back,’ he said.
Tim takes an interest in the thoroughbred code but bets almost exclusively on greyhound racing and is a great advocate of the sport.
“I think greyhound racing is the fairest of the three codes. I think the integrity’s very good. I’m never second guessing myself. The prize money is too good, relative to costs, for trainers or owners to worry about trying to be ‘tricky’,’ he said.
He would like to see some innovation including greyhound match races. “There hasn’t been too much evolution in greyhound racing. Match races might work given that young punters seem to prefer to bet on things like the footy where it’s simple, A versus B,’ he said.
The Melbournian has no regrets about his chosen path or abandoning his earlier pursuits which might have led to a grander sporting stage. “I guess you could say this is my sport now,’ he said.