Tag Archives: act of kalanisi

The Saturday Sermon – The Lanzarote, Premier League Tips

Good morning from the Major and the compacted frozen fields of Worcestershire.  The hard earth is covered in a whiteness that defies racing to go ahead and the constitutional stroll was in an air crisp and cutting.

Swincombe for the Lanzarote in the Majors eyes

The Major had a bit of a turn around this week, putting up an 8/1 and a 12/1 winner from four selections since Sunday.  Let us see if we can find an angle into the days sports to reap reward from the soulless enemy who awaits our arrival with his devious book.

The key to all gambling is forming an opinion and understanding how that relates to the bookmakers price.  You must base your opinion in research because myth pervades the media and other people.

Thus, opinion may be better expressed as knowledge.  To be a good gambler you need to question perceived wisdom and form your own line of knowledge.  Your ability to do this dictates your profitability.

For example, I have been backing Spurs for some time thinking that behind Manchester City they have been the second best team in the league.  Bookmakers have taken time to catch up to that view and this has given me a price advantage during that time.  Sadly, no longer! 

A good bet should not be struck solely on probability, it should be taken as a combination of probability and price.  You have to mercilessly seek out advantageous knowledge that allows you to make better judgements as to where you think pricing is wrong in a bookmakers market. 

How do you do this?  My advice is always to price your own market up based on your research and then compare it to the bookmakers prices.  This ensures that you do not follow the crowd and perceived logic but instead compare what you actually think to what is available.  This process will also train you to be better at pricing and weighing up probability.  

Most gamblers go on a hunch, think of something they could conceive and then look for a best price.  Not many people back 100/1 shots but you should if it really is a 50/1 shot. 

It is perverse to start with a price and then see how you feel, first you need to understand what you think the price should be and then seek better, so the advantage is with your knowledge and opinion. 

The Saturday Lesson – The Mathematics of Bookmaking

Reading from the Major Chapter 3, versus 12 -18….

To calculate your price, write down the possible outcomes that could occur in an event (3 in a football game) and then write down all of the factors you think should influence that outcome.  This is the research stage.

For football as a minimum you should consider injuries, form, squad quality and home/away form, but add in any factors you like.  

Next you need to calculate the probability of each outcome, as you see it.  The easiest way to do this is to allocate points out of a hundred as to how likely you see an outcome.  I often find a useful question at this point is ‘If this game were to play a hundred times, how often would I expect each outcome’.

Here is an example.

If I consider the Chelsea v Sunderland today, I am taking into account Chelsea’s squad troubles (I do not think all is that well in the camp), Chelsea while having a much stronger squad have won only half of their last ten home games.

Sunderland have now managed five wins in seven, revitalised under a new manager.  Chelsea are without Drogba and Kalou who go to Africa while Malouda is unlikely.  They will have Terry and Sturridge.  Sunderland are missing Brown.

On balance I score it Chelsea 50 Draw 30 Sunderland 20.

So how to calculate odds?  Well, you need to use the formula that the Major has adapted.  Take the probability that you worked out (expressed as a number of occurrences from one hundred) and then apply this formula..

 Odds = 100-(probability/(1-probability))

So for example, I think Chelsea will win, in todays conditions, 50 from one hundred times thus 100-(50/(1-50) = 1 or expressed as a more familiar bookmaking odd evens. 

To show this works in an easy context, consider the same market with all outcomes equally likely.  Therefore your probability (from 100) is 33.3.  In my calculator, the odds of each outcome is 2 commonly expressed as 2/1.  Thus a pound on each outcome would always get your money back in that market. 

Crucially, a bookmaker will not price this way, they need to make a profit.  Thus, they will have an extra step which will be to reduce the number by around 10-25%.  This is called their overround and is designed to ensure they make a profit.  Instead of offering 2/1 in my example, he might offer 7/4, slightly shorter on all three outcomes.  This is why it is always hard to find genuine good value in any punt.

It is useful to be able to calculate how high the overround is, it shows how greedy the market is!

The formula to calculate the probability back from the bookmaker odds then first convert the odds into a probability.  To do this, take the odds and apply the following denominator/(numerator+denominator)… so 2/1 becomes 1/3 or 33% and 4/5 becomes 5/9 or 55.6%.  Then add them together and subtract a hundred

So, in our case of three 2/1 shots, each priced now at 7/4, then we need to add three lots of 4/11, which is 36.4%, thus three times that minus a hundred is 9.1%.  To check that works, consider placing a pound on all three outcomes.  Your return is £2.75 and therefore you lost 25p from £3.  25/300 = 8%.  This is slightly short of the overround which calculates on a round basis so for example, to get £3 from 7/4 you need to stake £1.0909.. 

A cursory glance at the pricing for Chelsea versus Sunderland shows that 7/2 is generally available about the draw, 8/1 is available about a Sunderland win and Ladbrokes are best price Chelsea at 9/20.  With these prices the overround =  2.2% – It is lower than it would be with any one bookmaker but we are taking advantage of best odds in the marketplace.  If the overround ever drops below 100% then you can make money without risk using the right staking strategy.


To calculate an easier version to use when pen and paper are not handy, use

Value = (odds x probability)/100

Express  odds as a decimal and probability as a number from 1 to 100.  If the number exceeds 1 then it is a value bet, simple.

Again the probability is you own thinking so for example, the odds for Villa to win at home today are 6/4 or 2.5 (expressed as decimal odds) multiply that by your probability, mine is 50 ( I would fancy them to win half of these encounters v Everton ) so 2.5*50 = 125.  Divided by 100 = 1.25 A VALUE BET.

My Chelsea example would be odds 1.4 * probability 50 = 70 DEFINITELY NOT A VALUE BET.

So if anything can be drawn from this mathematical look at odds remember to convert odds to decimals, multiply by the possibilities of the event occurring in a hundred and divide by a hundred.  Over 1, get stuck in like a lunatic, below 1, leave it for the sheep.

There, you can now price your own markets and talk more knowledgeably about why you want to back an outcome.  If someone tells you something is a ‘good price’, ask them in their view how many times from a hundred they think the outcome would occur.  Then calculate the value based on the odds and their probability and see if they are right!

To the Racing

2.25 Punchestown – Juvenile Grade 3 Hurdle

Clearly Ut de Sivola is thought of in magnificent terms because the 1/3 price when the only Irish or British form is winning a Clonmel maiden looks frighteningly skinny.

Ok that run was in Heavy but you have to be brave taking odds on prices on these juveniles. 

My money on this will always be on One Cool Shabra.  He lost a Grade two last time out by half a length after making an error at the last.  He has a superb attitude and seems to take his racing well, even when in soft conditions.

10/1 does not reflect the chances, have a slice.

The Lanzarote – 2.50 Kempton

There is still some doubt as to whether the Lanzarote will go ahead.  Assuming we get past the inspection then we have a decent little contest on our hands.

 This is the sort of handicap I like to apply trends to, but there is a complication.  This race has been moved to Carlisle for two years and seen two distance changes from 2m to 2m5f, via 2m 1f.  Therefore it is comparing apples and pears.  That said, 6 year olds under eleven stone have a good record which brings to the fore; Drumshambo, Sincombe Flame, Timesawastin, Eastlake, Decoy and Lightening Strike.  Act of Kalanisi and Ohio Gold just fall above the weight marker.

Of them, Ohio Gold looked a great horse with the superb teenager Brendan Powell taking off a further 5lbs (he won’t have that claim for too long!).  Sadly I think this horse needs to get his toe in and so overlooked.

Swincombe Flame will handle the ground and is no doubt well handicapped.  Being introduced at this level is an advert in itself.  13/2 seems very fair and whats more impressive is the record in winning in big fields which is highly impressive.

At a bigger price I like Eastlake too who may continue improving and at 14/1 seems fairly priced.  Timesawastin could run a big race if on a going day, he is one that has hung and reared before now!

I am going to suggest backing both of my main fancies each way.  While Skybet and Bet365 go five places, the prices do not warrant backing them there.  Take Swincombe Flame at 13/2 with Sportingbet and Eastlake at 16/1 with Victor Chandler or William Hill.

Send me a postcard.

To the football…

If you bothered to read the mathematical betting education above then you would know that I am all about Sunderland getting something at Stamford Bridge.  Of all the markets, I think backing, straight, the draw at 7/2 and the Sunderland win at 8/1 gives best value.  2/5 Chelsea is not how I see it today.

The only other bet for today for me is at Ipswich where I expect Blackpool to take the spoils.  The Lancashire team are mounting their promotion charge while Ipswich, whom I fancied early in the season, don’t seem to be firing.  6/4 is more than fair.

May your dinner be Italian, a broth of clams and mussels with Swordfish perhaps, much like the Major enjoyed this week.  Take a voluptuous sort with flaxen bountiful hair and a smile to match.  Tip well and be discreet as your wallet thuds to the table.  Her eyes widen just the tiniest amount and you know the game is won.

Courage and shuffle those cards.

The Majors Saturday Service – Welsh National Tips, FA Cup Third Round Tips

Last expedition of Robert Falcon Scott. The im...

These boys would have taken 14/1 like real men - Each way is for the Norwegians!

Good morning fair punters of Britain from grey and dreary Defford where the early morning study is complete and the Major brings you the best sporting tips from the weekends action including the Welsh National.  FA cup weekend too as the famous third round weekend throws together some intriguing clashes. 

Can the Major draw your attention to two recent updates – Firstly, you can sign up to the email alerts.  This will simply email you immediately as the Major posts afresh, see the left column.  The other update is that all of the Majors posts now immediately post to Twitter @tdl123.

What a shame Villa could not hold on for the Major whose 14/1 tip looked good at 82 minutes.  This is exactly the kind of instance that I take succour from as per my own betting New Year Resolutions.  The fact the bet did not come off did not make it a bad wager, it should not have been 14/1 and if you could take the price again for them to play this evening, you would!

 Let us join forces and take the enemy for all of his ignorant worth.  The Majors good friend Mike turns 30 today and so a wager of £10 is placed in his name on the nap.  Lets hope it buys a round of drinks at the party later!  Happy Birthday for yesterday Mike.

Today the Major offers himself up to be your Captain Robert Falcon Scott.  Bravely leading our expedition into the frozen wastelands of sporting gentlemens opinion that few other dare venture into.  This time it will be the enemy who perishes from starvation and exposure as we raid him mercilessly and expose his inferior yet mischievous ways.

Let us start with the Welsh National and a brief soapbox moment from the Major.  This race gets BBC coverage today and while I intend no disrespect to Chepstow or the sponsors, why does this race warrant a Balding led BBC team and yet they are putting the Arc behind the red button in October?  Answers on an angry postcard!

Todays race is intriguing.  Again in the betting resolutions (linked above), the Major indicates that going form at Chepstow is crucial as the ground tends to get extreme, good can be firm and anything with Heavy in it is borderline unraceable.  It’s the later in today’s case and so we need an animal who likes it bottomless and stays forever.

O’Neill and McCoy, winners of the Grand National with Don’t Push It team up with Synchronised who has been relentlessly backed and you can understand why, you need only consider Jonjo’s ability to ready a stayer.  However, it looks the wrong profile to the Major, slightly over-exposed.  I want something at the sub eleven stone sort.  The Welsh National goes to less exposed sorts with a lighter rating, no double digit ages or experienced pros.

Maktu is of significant interest as I think this one likes it the deeper the better.  Clearly the horse has something to offer, the horses four runs have come over a mixture of ground from good to heavy.  The excellent Michael Murphy claims three pounds giving a racing weight of 10-3, on the shortlist but not the one for me. 

Theatre Dance would bring the house down if he won and with a slight sign of revival last time out, the Arbuthnot stable probably have not had many better chances to take a graded contest – Hard to evaluate.

The one the Major really likes is Watamu Bay.  Now OK, I know it is a novice chaser and this is a mighty ask but there is so much to like.  Ryan Mahon takes an excellent 5lbs off meaning the racing weight is under eleven stone.   Let’s remember though that this is a Nicholls horse and he would not be in a graded race without a chance.  Nicholls had this to say ‘He will stay forever, he will love the ground…..’ Get involved.

Praise where it is due, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes go 5 PLACES on this race, that is surely a great deal and makes the favourite a low risk bet to nothing you would have thought.  The Major however is going to put up Watuma Bay – Take your pick – 14/1 with Stan James at 4 places or 12/1 with Paddy and get the fifth place….. The Major advises the Stan James bet on an each way basis.

 It could be a good day for Nicholls as in the preceding race, Sam Winner has an excellent chance to pick up a Grade One.  On a strict line of form, Smad Place is not far of Sam Winner but the Major thinks this is deceiving and that Sam Winner will prove the better of the two animals and a festival hot favourite. 4/5 – Have a slice at DOUBLE STAKES – Yes a 2 point tip from the Major.

Mister Carter is taken to beat Fearless Falcon in the 12.45 juvenile hurdle in Punchestown.  I would take the selection on a watch list too as I think it may go on to be impressive.  The experience of winning on soft ground will put this one just right and it seems to me that is far more on the up than the Falcon.  15/8 with Boylesports and the Paddy Power.

What a shame only 5 go to post in this years Tolworth hurdle.  Toubab is the market fancy after impressing at Haydock, defeating some useful types.  The Major did not expect to see better than evens and so 6/4 with Corals is a great price.  It is a dangerous contest to get too stuck into though, who knows if the pace will be on and if it gets tactical, Act of Kalanisi is not a 28/1 shot – Although the 6/4 appeals, the Major will take a chance on Kalanisi each way with Victor Chandler. 

The Major likes FA Cup 3rd round weekend because it gives some fine prices. 

Villa go to Sheffield United in apparent bad touch.  Following a feisty 3-3 draw at Chelsea, the tepid display at home to Sunderland angered fans and has put Houllier in the firing line.  Unlike some of his colleagues, Houllier will field his best team as this competition has a new meaning to Villa.  If they were playing a team whose motivation was high then I would be against them but Sheffield United are pretty much in the same boat.  On sheer quality, Villa at 15/13 is a must take price with Corals online.

Blackpools pricing reflects the fact that Holloway is going to use the competition to play a second string.  However, 29/10 that they get a win at Southampton is absurd.  Blackpools second string have already ground out an impressive result at Villa Park and there is no doubt that they will be game to get a result out of the south coast.

Middlesboro threaten to improve now Tony Mowbray has bought his attacking line up to the team which has been improving since he arrived.  A boro win at Burton is a great bet as it is odds against – Get stuck in.  Can you see Leroy Lita not scoring at that level??

Preston have suffered a double blow.  In recent weeks, they have lost their manager Darren Ferguson which was followed (apparently unconnected) by all 4 Manchester United loanees returning to Old Trafford.   It appears that daddy was less pleased with the Preston boards decision!  This also follows the recall of WBA loanee Zuiverloon who returned to cover the defensive crisis at the Hawthorns.  Managerless, thin squad and bottom, Preston look there for the taking when Forest visit.  Forest have won 4 from their last 6 and are a confident 11/8 selection with Totesport.

I would also take organised Birmingham City to get the result at Millwall.  There is a gulf in class between the two outfits and 2/1 on Blues to win is a must bet.

The Major always feels that the quality in Premier League squads is underestimated when bookmakers put together pricing on 3rd round weekend.  I expect a lot of ordinary championship teams to be knocked out convincingly by premier league visitors who are longer shots because of their apparent lack of top flight form.  I would favour the quality all day long.  Lets see if the theory holds when we get to tea time!!  I would also advise a tickle that at 200/1 with Bet365, no premier league outfit is eliminated in the third round by a lower league team.  OK, its a long shot but it is value.  Have a tickle and thank me later.  This is classic territory where the value is opposing the majority view that because (for example) Villa look in trouble, they will struggle against a lower league team.  Remember the betting resolutions and this is exactly the type of opinion to oppose.  In most seasons between one and three top flight teams are eliminated at this stage, this makes none at 200/1 at absolute must bet scenario. 

One further bet advised with Totesport is a 3/1 enhanced multiple on Chelsea, West Ham and Villa at 3/1 – I like the look of that!

Let us plunder the enemies satchel for those red beautiful fifties.  Allow yourself to be carried on the moment and bet with a stake that reflects a desire for the thrill.  Be less than responsible is the Majors advice for a fulfilling and regret free existence.

The Nap is a Villa win doubled with a win for Birmingham City.  The brave should chuck in Mister Carter and Notts Forest and make it a lucky 15.

I leave you with the great Scotts quote which I believe to be a good rule by which to live…. ‘Every day some new fact comes to light – some new obstacle which threatens the gravest obstruction. I suppose this is the reason which makes the game so well worth playing.’