Do Market Percentages Matter?

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There is a lot of talk about market percentages when it comes to betting on Thoroughbred racing of late. In part this is because over the last few years these have steadily increased as bookmakers have to contend with higher costs including the introductions of Point on Consumption taxes as well as higher turnover fees.

With that in mind, it prompts the question; do they matter? The answer is unfortunately not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Of course lower percentages are better, but given the current market levels, does it make sense to focus on them too much?

First things first, it is important to really understand what the market percentage means. The percentage can be viewed as the cost of placing a bet, but if a bookie has a 25% margin, it doesn’t mean it is spread evenly because of rounding. That 25% could be applied to one runner at 1% or another runner at 3%.

However, regardless of the individual bookmaker margin, you should be looking at the percentage when taking the best odds available to you.

For example, at 9.26am today (14th December), according to the bookie percentages for Flemington race 2 varied between 123 and 127%.

However, if you formed a market based on the best fixed odds available for every runner, that generates a 115% market.

What that means is you could save a considerable percentage on turnover on your bets (assuming all markets were equal percentages). That percentage can be huge across the year.

Bookmakers have different approaches to forming a market, some look to have a smaller percentage across the board whereas we take a different approach. doesn’t focus on reducing our percentage to make us look better, we take a view on runners which means we can offer the best odds on selected runners in a race but conversely will have other runners under the rest of the market.

Flemington R2 – 9.26am 14th December 2019

Take Flemington race 2 as an example. In the above, you can see that Sportsbet and Palmerbet have the lowest percentages at the time of the snapshot. With that in mind it would be easy to decide to bet with either of them. However, have the best odds in the market on #2 and #3 (the two favourites). So if you wanted to back either (or both) of those runners, then you should bet with us.

Conversely, if you fancy the #1, we’re offering the worst price in the market so placing the bet with us does not make sense if you want to get the best return for your bet.

We encourage punters to be smart and shop around and to always take the best odds. If you take the best odds on a runner, your winning bet generates a bigger return. It makes sense to have multiple betting accounts so you can ensure you’re taking the right odds on every bet. Using odds comparison services are a sensible way to ensure you get the best odds on your bet which in turn gives you a better chance of making profit when you bet.

Ultimately successful punting requires discipline and you should only bet when you are getting what you believe to be the right price, commonly referred to as ‘overs’. Higher percentages may mean there are not as many opportunities to grab these prices as before, but you don’t need to bet in every race – just the ones where you find a bet at the right price.

Of course, the above does not take into consideration promotions such as Surge*, a product which allows you to nominate a runner and applied increased odds to it on demand. Some promotions, such as Surge or our Special Lays when used effectively improve your odds and generate an increased chance of a return.

*Eligible customers only. View promotions page for information.