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Old 08-23-2021, 09:30 PM   #1
Track Phantom
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Late "Accurate" Betting

I'm sure this has been discussed on another thread so I apologize if it's already out there. I'm wondering what this group thinks about what is happening in the betting pools now. I've been following this game since the mid '80's and I don't remember such large odds swings at the last minute and, more importantly, on such a high percentage of winners (or those that narrowly miss).

When I've read or heard others discuss this, it's often stated that it is "Computer Batch Bettors" that are betting all of their bets at the last minute using some algorithm. I'm sure this is true but what is not being discussed is how the massive odds swings so often accurate.

This phenomenon is the one thing that could push me out of the game. I've tolerated a myriad of irritants to remain a loyal follower but not sure I can withstand this. I enjoy the handicapping process but am starting to feel like the action on the board trumps handicapping.

I know NYRA stopped the last second win pool batch betting (I believe at 2MN to post) but that feels more like a perception correction. In other words, won't the batch bettors just focus on the blind pools more?

Finally, I also read recently that Stronach and Churchill Downs have two of the big CAW teams. Unless I'm missing something, isn't that a serious conflict of interest? Couldn't it be extrapolated that those with the information on blind pools could gather knowledge about inefficiencies and bet accordingly? Something similar to what the DFS issue was with insider knowledge of what combinations of players were taken.

Sorry for the long post. I really would like any opinions on this.
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Old 08-23-2021, 10:36 PM   #2
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I have observed this as well. Updates after the gate opens can be dramatic and unpredictable and seem to have gotten worse. With that said, I don't care as long as no one is getting an unfair advantage in terms of rebates, pool visibility, quicker access to tote feeds, etc. I have no way to confirm or refute this so can't get caught up with it mentally.

Here's how I accept this situation:

1) If I'm on the horse that gets bet down and your presumption is correct that these horses are more likely to be winners, than I likely underestimated the true win probability to begin with.

As an example, let's say I bet a horse who is 4-1 but I think should be 3-1 (25% probability ignoring takeout) based on the information I have. Now the horse gets bet down to 2-1 (from the 4-1 odds). How do you know that the horse shouldn't have been 2-1 and I underestimated his odds? The real problem I think you're encountering is that the handicapping has gotten better (favorites are winning a higher percentage of races) which is depressing payoffs

2) In the opposite situation, if the late bettors are wrong (which per your assertion is the minority of instances) and I'm on the winning horse, my odds just got better so I should be happy?
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Old 08-24-2021, 12:19 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Track Phantom View Post
I'm sure this has been discussed on another thread so I apologize if it's already out there. I'm wondering what this group thinks about what is happening in the betting pools now. I've been following this game since the mid '80's and I don't remember such large odds swings at the last minute and, more importantly, on such a high percentage of winners (or those that narrowly miss).

When I've read or heard others discuss this, it's often stated that it is "Computer Batch Bettors" that are betting all of their bets at the last minute using some algorithm. I'm sure this is true but what is not being discussed is how the massive odds swings so often accurate.

This phenomenon is the one thing that could push me out of the game. I've tolerated a myriad of irritants to remain a loyal follower but not sure I can withstand this. I enjoy the handicapping process but am starting to feel like the action on the board trumps handicapping.

I know NYRA stopped the last second win pool batch betting (I believe at 2MN to post) but that feels more like a perception correction. In other words, won't the batch bettors just focus on the blind pools more?

Finally, I also read recently that Stronach and Churchill Downs have two of the big CAW teams. Unless I'm missing something, isn't that a serious conflict of interest? Couldn't it be extrapolated that those with the information on blind pools could gather knowledge about inefficiencies and bet accordingly? Something similar to what the DFS issue was with insider knowledge of what combinations of players were taken.

Sorry for the long post. I really would like any opinions on this.

The odds swings are "so accurate" precisely because they are being applied by computers (which, I assure you, are way better at anticipating various potential outcomes of a horse race than were your buddies sitting around OTB in 1988).


You basically know in advance where they money is going, and these days even the computers shopping for, say, 4-to-1, have to anticipate how much action other computers will apply just before the bell in order to determine whether they might still get their 4-to-1 target price.


And there are no 'blind pools' in that sense. The only 'blind' elements in those pools are those who were seated around your local OTB in 1988 (and their brethren {or they themselves} today).

The answer that solves all of this, still remains putting the public on the live horses to begin with. The computer pounds the 9-to-1 shot down to 4-to-1 because it is supposed to be 3-to-1 based on its true chances of winning. If you have the horse at 5-to-2 already, the computer isn't going to be interested, and if it is, your OTB pals from 1988 won't be able to see the price drop from $7.80 to $7.20 on the nose.

Far too many people have been for so long part of the problem, that they cannot recognize the solution right in front of their eyes.
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Old 08-24-2021, 02:30 AM   #4
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The odds swings are "so accurate" precisely because they are being applied by computers (which, I assure you, are way better at anticipating various potential outcomes of a horse race than were your buddies sitting around OTB in 1988).


You basically know in advance where they money is going, and these days even the computers shopping for, say, 4-to-1, have to anticipate how much action other computers will apply just before the bell in order to determine whether they might still get their 4-to-1 target price.


And there are no 'blind pools' in that sense. The only 'blind' elements in those pools are those who were seated around your local OTB in 1988 (and their brethren {or they themselves} today).

The answer that solves all of this, still remains putting the public on the live horses to begin with. The computer pounds the 9-to-1 shot down to 4-to-1 because it is supposed to be 3-to-1 based on its true chances of winning. If you have the horse at 5-to-2 already, the computer isn't going to be interested, and if it is, your OTB pals from 1988 won't be able to see the price drop from $7.80 to $7.20 on the nose.

Far too many people have been for so long part of the problem, that they cannot recognize the solution right in front of their eyes.
I agree (and was tracking) with your points until the last two paragraphs.

What do you mean by 'putting the public on the live horses to begin with'? Are you essentially saying the answer to the problem is for the public to get better at handicapping? Isn't that obvious?

Also, what do you mean by 'far too many people have been for so long part of the problem that they cannot recognize the solution...'?
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Old 08-24-2021, 03:59 AM   #5
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Far too many people have been for so long part of the problem, that they cannot recognize the solution right in front of their eyes.
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Old 08-24-2021, 07:09 AM   #6
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the late money is not always correct and if a horse gets heavily bet down, everyone else goes up.
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Old 08-24-2021, 08:55 AM   #7
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I wish I knew why NYRA implemented their new law but its something they should take a step forward and show the rest of racing that its the right thing to
do....

Lets see after this Saratoga meet how far it goes...
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Old 08-24-2021, 10:40 AM   #8
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I know NYRA stopped the last second win pool batch betting (I believe at 2MN to post) but that feels more like a perception correction. In other words, won't the batch bettors just focus on the blind pools more?
That's what I would do to keep my volume up.

This is anecdotal, but in the Alabama I liked Clairiere to finish 2nd behind Malathaat. Clairiere was the 5th choice (albeit close to 3rd choice) in the win pool but in the exacta pool she was the clear 2nd choice to finish 2nd behind Malathaat. Those kinds of things happen for a variety of reasons, but I've see a few like that lately. To me it's starting to feel like the win pool may be a little less efficient than the exotic pools now.
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Old 08-24-2021, 10:43 AM   #9
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The real problem I think you're encountering is that the handicapping has gotten better (favorites are winning a higher percentage of races) which is depressing payoffs
Personally, I have no doubt that's the case but I'm not sure how much of that is better handicapping at the top (computer guys) vs. less dead money in the pools from places like OTBs and more casual bettors that have been lost. It may be both.
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Old 08-24-2021, 10:51 AM   #10
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Personally, I have no doubt that's the case but I'm not sure how much of that is better handicapping at the top (computer guys) vs. less dead money in the pools from places like OTBs and more casual bettors that have been lost. It may be both.
Good point!
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Old 08-24-2021, 10:53 AM   #11
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Personally, I have no doubt that's the case but I'm not sure how much of that is better handicapping at the top (computer guys) vs. less dead money in the pools from places like OTBs and more casual bettors that have been lost. It may be both.
I agree that casual money has reduced dramatically over the years which does contribute. I just find it hard to believe that any computer algorithm or program could use the shared data that we all have and hit at 80%. If that is true, the game will cease as more and more will have access to this program and a longshot will end up being an $8.80 winner.

When this batch betting came on the scene, people said that the programs would look for inefficiencies in the win pool at 30 seconds to post and bet accordingly. If that were true, we'd see a much higher percentage of horses that were 2-1 in the gate actually win at 4-1. I know it happens but it feels like I can count those on one hand while the amount of 9-1 in the gate, 7-2 winner across the line, is staggering.
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Old 08-24-2021, 11:24 AM   #12
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I may be wrong, but I think inside money may be even more of a factor than it used to be. For all we know some information is being sold to select clients.

Defining "inside" is a little tricky because these days there are clocker reports and sales workout times available to everyone, but I do think trainers, daily workout observers, and others more directly involved with the horses know more about their current condition and sometimes quality than the rest of us. That screams at you in races with a lot of first time starters and sometimes with layoffs also. But that same kind of money is impacting the odds at the margin is almost every race. It's just less noticeable.
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Old 08-24-2021, 11:55 AM   #13
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NYRA might have done a great job of making a few pools now fairer than before, but the change has done me in. i figured out a system to beat the CAW and I never did anything wrong. the new non-jackpot pick 6 was the greatest bet I have ever known and I beat the takeout on a very consistent basis. now it's over. i am now back to win betting only for NYRA, and that has been a struggle.
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Old 08-24-2021, 11:59 AM   #14
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I've never been intimidated by algorithms or deterred by the opposition raking in rebates. For every yin, there must be a yang. That is not to say I am blissfully unaware that beating the windows has become more difficult with the continued rise of computer syndicates. I more attribute that rise, by the way, to increasingly better handicappers feeding the circuitry than to more inspired geekery. Brilliance in =brilliance out. There was a time, fellow board members, when guys like ourselves could rely on better knowledge of the game and the seasoned, intuitive computer between our ears to level the playing field. But that "edge" may have all but evaporated.

Excellent thread...much more to say...but my day job calls as we strive to close entries for Sunday................
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Old 08-24-2021, 12:00 PM   #15
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NYRA might have done a great job of making a few pools now fairer than before, but the change has done me in. i figured out a system to beat the CAW and I never did anything wrong. the new non-jackpot pick 6 was the greatest bet I have ever known and I beat the takeout on a very consistent basis. now it's over. i am now back to win betting only for NYRA, and that has been a struggle.
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