In a saturated online market, bookmakers need to come up with ever more creative ways to bring new custom to their platforms.
That’s not to say all bookmaker offers and specials are not useful for us. Over at BetVictor, one of these special bet features has proven to be very profitable for some and that is their innovative ‘Lengthen the Odds’ promotion.
Lengthen the Odds is available on all of BetVictor’s horse racing markets. As well as adding some extra fun into otherwise mundane, small-stakes betting on weekdays, this promotion can actually offer more serious punters a way to maximise profits on confident win bets when they feel their horse is capable, and likely, to win by a wide margin.
Increase Your Odds on a Favourite
This is where we can truly see the value in the Lengthen the Odds promotion. Backing favourites profitably can be quite a task. Only around a third of favourites win, and many of the ones we are confident in on form go off at very prohibitive prices. If you could increase those odds however, that’s an opportunity that should always be grabbed.
Essentially, BetVictor is relying on two things here to make the promotion work for them. Either your horse won’t win at all, which is their bread and butter, or even if you have backed a winning favourite, they are very often handled tenderly by the jockey so as to look after their handicap mark, and that means wide winning margins become less frequent than you may think.
Occasionally however, professional punters can recognise an opportunity. In non-handicap races, especially in Group contests, a jockey will naturally allow his mount to extend as much as possible and win impressively to increase their value.
When you’ve found such a race and you believe the favourite is a very strong proposition, that’s when Lengthen the Odds comes into its own. We’ve taken a real example to show you how the odds increase.
How the Odds Increase
In the race we reviewed, there was a strong 2/1 favourite. These are fairly cramped odds for serious punters, but had they believed the horse would win well, then the price can shoot up to some huge levels using lengthen the odds, such as:
- 11/4 to win by 2 lengths or more
- 7/2 to win by 3 lengths or more
- 9/2 to win by 4 lengths or more
- 6/1 to win by 5 lengths or more
- 15/2 to win by 6 lengths or more
- 9/1 to win by 7 lengths or more
- 11/1 to win by 8 lengths or more
There were even more odds available on wider-margin victories.
However it wasn’t worth listing them, as even 11/1 for an 8-length win doesn’t have much appeal, as such wide-margin wins are uncommon. But, if you were very confident about the ability of such a strong favourite, then 9/2 for it winning by four or more lengths starts to look very tempting indeed.
How Lengthen the Odds Affects the Outsiders
In the same race we reviewed above, there was a 16/1 shot in the field. The lengthen the odds feature offered a win for this horse at these prices:
- 22/1 to win by 2 lengths or more
- 28/1 to win by 3 lengths or more
- 33/1 to win by 4 lengths or more
- 40/1 to win by 5 lengths or more
At the lower end of the scale, these aren’t too tempting in a normal race. 16/1 is a big enough price already, and while it’s possible a horse at that level could win, you could rarely predict confidently that it could do so by more than 2 lengths, and even if you could, an increase to 22/1 wouldn’t really be enough incentive in terms of risk versus reward.
In races such as the Grand National however, things are different. So many horses are offered at double-figure prices and, considering the 4¼-mile distance, whichever one wins is unlikely to do so by a small winning margin.
The time to use Lengthen the Odds then on a bigger-priced horse would be in a jumps race over a more extreme distance. This gives us the likelihood that, should it win, it won’t necessarily be doing so by a half-length and so this promotion can really pay dividends.
What Are the Optimal Conditions for Lengthen the Odds?
As we’ve already touched on, the tougher the conditions the more likely we are to see wide-margin winners. Betting on jumps races over three miles or more, especially on softer ground, would be the obvious choice but it’s not the only way to use Lengthen the Odds.
It’s all relative. While National Hunt racing on the face of it holds the aces here, more of that code’s better races are handicaps and so jockeys may be less inclined to push their horse out all the way to the line and risk a bigger weight penalty. Horses also finish so tired that once the race is in the bag, they tend to be eased off which allows those in behind to close the gap and that’s exactly what the bookmaker wants in this scenario.
On the flat, we can be a little cleverer. On softer going, over a mile-and-a-half plus and in a pattern race, you are likely to see some wide-margin winners. If the horse in question is an entire or a filly and will have some value at stud, it’s in everyone’s interest for the jockey to make the winning performance look as good as possible.
More specifically, tracks with uphill or testing finishes can often exaggerate the winning margin. A horse which stays well and starts to get on top with a furlong to go can really open up at places like Newcastle, Newmarket, Ascot, Epsom and a few others making these places ideal to use this feature.
Other Bet Boosts
Lengthen the Odds at BetVictor is a cracking feature if used right, and it’s only one example of what are known now in the industry as ‘Bet Boosts’.
BetVictor do offer their own bet boosts on top of the Lengthen the Odds feature, but most other bookies will do similar promotions and they will have names that aren’t all that different.
Other basic examples to explore further include:
- Odds Boosts – offered as a special on specific horses, some bookmakers quite literally boost the odds on certain horses, i.e. from 4/1 to 8/1.
- Accumulator Bonuses – those betting on multiple horses will often get an odds boost, for example a 10% or 20% bonus on top of your basic winnings if your accumulator is acceptable.
- Extra Places – in major races such as the Grand National or those at Cheltenham, bookmakers sometimes offer extra places. So, instead of getting only 3 places in races of 8+ runners, the bookmaker may offer 4 or even 5 for each-way purposes.
- Best Odds Guaranteed – now a staple of the industry, at least online, BOG means punters should take the morning price for their horse. If it wins and the SP turns out to be bigger, they will be paid out at the larger price. The cherry on the cake.