1: It is based on pure supply and demand without outside influences.
Pre-race prices on the favourite horse are much more tradable than In-Play prices without being as susceptible to outside events as In-Play prices are. When trading an In-Play market you cannot safely nip in and out of the market stealing single tick profits and doing scratch trades without the danger that the price can suddenly scream off in one direction when, for instance, a goal is scored. Pre-race trading, on the other hand, is much safer and allows you to do just that without worrying that all your hard work in scalping the price will be wiped out by an event totally out of your control. The beauty of scalping the favourite’s price before the race is that there is nothing actually happening. The price still moves about enough to make money due to the lack of confidence in horse racing’s integrity, but the price, generally, won’t suddenly scream off in one direction by several full points.
2. Pre-race trading is less volatile allowing for bigger stakes.
Being volatile enough to make money on but not to volatile that it can wipe you out means that you can safely put bigger amounts of money on each trade when pre-race trading. Bigger stake sizes make the small single and double tick profits well worth having, and the small size of these profits make them very attainable at all times on every race. The scalper doesn’t have to correctly predict what’s going to happen in a sports game and then correctly position himself to make money, he can make money every 2 minutes without anything needing to happen.
3. It is consistent enough to make a living from.
The nature of these small profits and the frequency with which a good trader can make them means that it is far more stable and realistic a prospect to make a living from scalping pre-race prices on the favourite than it is to make a living from trading on your opinions of sports matches. And not only are scalping profits generally much more consistent than sports trading profits but also the frequency and times of the markets themselves are more regular and consistent. Sports games and matches can happen at all times of the day, with some days being busy and others having nothing worth trading on. Depending on the time of the year there may be days or even weeks at a time when a sports trader has nothing of any quality to trade on, making it very difficult to rely on for a living. UK horse racing on the other hand is about as regular as any job could be. 7 days a week for 3 hours at the same time every day you’ve got 20 volatile, liquid, 2 sided markets settling one after the other in 10-minute intervals.
4. There is no delay on bet submissions.
And the mechanics of scalping the favourite’s price are better than in Play trading. Betfair markets before the event has started don’t have any time delay imposed on the submission of your bets meaning that you can read the market and act instantly, taking advantage of small movements and price patterns that you recognise. In-Play sports markets on the other hand have a five-second delay imposed on all bet submissions. You may see short term price patterns but you are powerless to exploit them because of the restrictions in place. And even worse, once you have submitted your bet and are going through the delay you cannot cancel that bet submission until the full delay is up. Seconds may not sound like a long time but in a fast market, it can seem like an eternity and something that I have always found extremely frustrating on the occasional times I give In-Play another go.
5. There is no need to watch delayed pictures on TV.
Not needing to know anything about the horse or the horse race means that the scalper can trade away without being reliant on watching the television for his information. The In-Play trader needs to watch the game or match unfold on the screen and this brings in the added problems of more delays for him because sports pictures on television aren’t live. Sports pictures on TV can be delayed from anywhere from a few seconds for the fastest channels up to as much as 20 seconds for pictures shown over the internet for instance. Not only does this mean that some people are behind others but it means that all In-Play traders that aren’t watching the event live are seeing and reacting to the game several seconds behind those that are watching the game live and who are also trading on Betfair. Combined with the five-second delay on bet submissions the In-Play trader is limited to longer-term position plays on his opinion of the game because the mechanics of In-Play trading make any short term scalping impossible.
6. There is no need for any knowledge of sports, ignorance of horse racing is an advantage.
Scalping of the favourite’s price before the race has started doesn’t require any knowledge of that horse or even horse racing in general. As the race hasn’t yet started it’s the other traders and gamblers that the scalper is trying to predict, not what the horse is likely to do or not do. In-Play trading, however, you are trying to predict how the game or match will unfold and so requires a lot more knowledge of the sport involved.
7. Get involved in a new market every 20 mins
As you can see from the screenshot below, on this day we can be involved in 28 markets allowing us to close down losing trades quickly and move on, we have a large number of opportunities to end our day in a profitable position.