So, as the dust settles on yet another hectic Cheltenham Festival, how successful was it for Matched Bettors? Well, better than last year, that’s for sure!
Despite some initial fears due to the lack of bookmaker offers, the odds boosts and extra place offers (particularly from Bet365) more than made up for the slight reduction in offers.
That said, whilst 2018 was more profitable than 2017 for experienced matched bettors, it could be argued that for those new to matched betting it was slightly tougher. There was, as we’ve already mentioned, a huge amount of value on offer (particularly in the extra place markets) – however, getting your hands on this required a degree of experience and knowledge. Something which those with less than a year of matched betting under their belt probably lacked.
This seems to be mirrored in the fortunes of our members over the 4 days of Cheltenham. With our experienced members strolling into the thousands, sometimes as early as day 2! Whereas some of our more newer members struggled to break £400, as they stuck to just the offers, rather than the extra places or odds boosts.
Whilst £400 is certainly not to be sniffed at, we understand it can be a tough pill to swallow for those newer members, as they watch the veterans push towards £2,000 in profit. There is no quick fix for this. Ultimately, learning the tougher tactics requires you to jump in and learn. As one of our members commented on our forums “Cheltenham is not the place to learn” – perhaps a little harsh but essentially true. Cheltenham is truly a mad house with odds swinging all over the place. Our advice here at Heads&Heads is, that if you want to hit the £000’s next Cheltenham, get some practice on E/W / Extra place offers on weekend racing (not during a big event). Get a feel for when to underlay the place part of your bet and when not to – things like this will make the difference when the next big horse racing event rolls around.
One thing you can be certain of is that this Cheltenham indicated a change in the bookmakers’ thinking. Free bets may become even more sparse in future Cheltenham Festivals and each way betting may be the only way to make strong profits. This is not to say that free bets will disappear but the lack of them in 2018 was noticeable and as a result Heads&Heads will be focusing a lot more on improving our each way matched betting offering in 2018.
So, Cheltenham had less offers but more value, but what of the bookies themselves? How does their report card look for the 4 days?
Well the stand-out performer was Bet365 – by a big margin. Their ¼ place odds on 3, 4 and 5 places during the festival were dripping in value if you knew how to unlock it.
William Hill made a distinctly shakey start for the first two days with some utterly embarrassing odds boosts. However, the odds drastically improved in the last two days and their High5 bonus really came into its own towards the end of the festival.
There were, unsurprisingly, no shortage of embarrassing showings from other bookmakers. BetBright and Betstars didn’t even show up to the party, offering next to nothing. In addition, whilst not quite as bad as the former two, 10Bet and Netbet also offered little in terms of value.
Then we have Betfred. Frankly, they would have been better taking a page out of BetBright’s book and not showing up. Their offers at times were laughable – TWO £10 in-play bets on the Champions league for a free £5 on Cheltenham. Really Betfred?
Below are, in our opinion, the Top 5 best and worst bookmakers during Cheltenham:
Top 5 Best
2) Sky Bet
3) Paddy Power
4) William Hill
Top 5 Worst
So, all round, a great festival for matched bettors. The real takeaway for us is the need to focus on each way betting moving towards the Grand National. Also, with less offers and more of a focus on big e/w arbs, a strong bankroll is even more crucial moving forward.
We’ll end on a very high note. The average profit for all members over the 4 days broke the £400 mark, which is fantastic. But even more amazing was the total from our top earner – who bagged £2,087 profit!
Well done to all those that took part. Let’s go again for the Grand National!!