TIP OF THE WEEK – ‘Dead Certs’, Probability, and Mug Punter Myths

I’m often seeing people discussing “dead cert” bets both on this forum and other places, and debating whether to lay a bet because of it. Deciding not to lay a bet (or worse, a leg of your accumulator!) because you think it is a dead-cert, is truly a bad idea 99% of the time. I wanted to bring up some important facts now that will hopefully change the way you look at betting.

*** Odds & Probability ***
One of the most under-appreciated things about Betfair is the fact that the odds are deadly accurate and representative of the probability of that selection winning. There have been studies that have tried to prove & disprove this and the results are always that the markets are very efficient – if you placed £1 on 1,000 RANDOM events, you would expect to break even (if commission was 0%)

It is for this reason that making a profit via traditional mug punter aspirations of “picking winners” is a flawed methodology. Over 1,000 bets you will definitely have losing bets, I am sure we can agree on that. So it is not about picking winners, so much as getting the best odds, so that your winners outweigh your losses. The only hope a mug punter has of making a long term profit from betting is by grinding one out by taking above-value prices. Obviously there will be a minority exception to this rule, but the fact that less than 2% of punters make a profit long term, should tell you all you need to know.

Consider 2 people betting on the same tips every week. Person A gets their bet on early and person B gets on later, after everyone else has backed the tip and the odds have come in a little bit. It is quite possible that Person A could end up in a long term profit, and Person B in a long term loss, purely because they’re taking 5-10% worse odds than Person A… 5-10% is HUGE in betting terms.

There is a fairly well-known blogger who follows tips and publishes his results. Over the last 5 years he is $284,890 in profit, at the time of writing (australian dollars FYI) but guess how much he has had to bet, to achieve that?


Yes the comma is in the correct place. Over 28 million. So he is actually only making around 1% profit on every bet he makes. Which is good! But consider if he had taken 5% worse odds, he would probably be in a 7-figure loss.

*** Dead Certs and why they don’t exist ***
Let’s use a quick example – Barcelona playing an average team with Win odds of 1.20 may seem like a dead cert, because hey – it’s Barcelona! And the odds are so low, why even bother laying it? The market agrees that they will probably win, right?

Well this question is flawed for 2 reasons:

– First of all, the probability of a Barcelona Win in this example at odds of 1.20 is 83% which sounds good. You can work out the probability by dividing 1 by the odds (so 1 / 1.20) … but this also means there is a 17% chance they will Draw or Lose. That is nearly 1 in 5 times you are going to be left frustrated at yourself and wondering why you didn’t just lay the bet as normal.

– Secondly, the fact the odds are so low means the actual cost / liability you need to lay is tiny. You can lay a £50 bet and you’d only need a tenner in Betfair to do it! Hardly a problem for most people – it’s not going to be using up vital money you need for other bets, like a horse @ 5.0 might do (then you’d need £250!)

Because the markets are proven to be efficient, if you do 100 bets at 1.20 you can be pretty sure around 17% of them will lose. And seeing as you probably came here to make consistent money, this is a bumpy ride you probably don’t need… but most importantly – NOT LAYING THESE WILL NOT MAKE YOU ANY EXTRA MONEY! Maybe in the short term, but the probability will always catch up with you sooner or later – so why bother?

Lay your bets, follow our advice, and your profit will grow consistently 🙂