If you’ve ever watched television or attended a horse race with your friends, you no doubt have heard of the concept of ‘backtesting’. It’s where the name comes from: You backtest a theory or a scheme by trying to predict the outcome of an event, using previous data to inform your prediction. It’s a key concept in probability and statistics, which are integral to every branch of science, including medicine and finance.
Let’s take a quick look at the factors you need to consider before using backtesting in your betting strategy.
Horse Betting: Risks And Rewards
Horse betting is both exciting and rewarding, but also has its share of risks. Just like any other sport or gambling activity, there are numerous ways to lose money when betting on horses. The most obvious way is the classic ‘betting on favourites’ strategy, which can leave you with a big shock if they don’t perform as expected. There are also the ‘penny pinchers’ who bet on the smallest odds, only to find themselves in a situation where they’re forced to put money on the nose of their favourite – which in the long-term can really hurt their bankroll.
On the flip side, there are also genuine opportunities to make large amounts of money when betting on horses. It usually comes down to which side of the scale you’re on: Are you a risk-taker who is looking to reap the rewards of a successful betting experience, or are you cautious and trying to avoid any possible losses? Keep those two opposing thoughts in mind as you navigate the world of horse betting, and you’ll be able to make the right choice for you.
Type Of Horses You’re Betting On
The first and most important factor to consider when betting on horses is the type of horses you’re using. The main contenders are:
- Classic: The classic is the granddad of every horse race, dating back to the 1800s. He is the undisputed king of the racecourse and has been the subject of countless books and movies.
- Fluke: The fluke is the great-granddad of every thoroughbred. He is known for always coming in at the last moment, causing massive upsets and leaving his opponents bewildered. His hapless opponents are usually the ones who suffer the most, as they’ve usually bet on the favourite and lost big.
- Midget: The midget is a very popular racehorse, and not just because he’s short. He is known for his speed and high-jumping ability, which makes him a great competitor in the mile-and-a-half race. Unfortunately, all their fame often comes with a price, as he is the smallest horse to ever win the Kentucky Derby. His short stature also makes it incredibly difficult for him to walk, causing him a lot of discomfort and stress. He is also prone to health problems, which eventually lead to him being put down at age six.
- Pacer: The pacer is a little brother to the thoroughbred, and although he isn’t quite as fast or as high-jumping as the thoroughbred, he is known for his consistent speed. As a result, the owners of a pacers have a much more comfortable time at the track, since they don’t have to worry about their horse slowing down or getting injured. The downside is that pacers aren’t as talented as thoroughbreds and often end up as workhorses or show ponies.
- Thoroughbred: The thoroughbred is the great-granddad of every horse breed, dating back to the 1700s. He is known for being elegant, intelligent, and highly-productive. However, his fame comes with a price: A team of eight thoroughbreds can cost as much as $16,000, which puts them out of reach of most people. Plus, they require a lot of special attention and are rather difficult to breed.
Another thing you need to consider is the sports books. The most popular ones are:
- Paddock: The paddock is where horses are kept before and after their races. You can usually find some shade under which to sit and watch the activities unfold, especially useful during the hot summer months. The downside is you have to be close to the track to access it, and even then, it can be rather noisy.
- Trotting Park: This is the place where horse racing in England is held. It was originally built in the 17th century and is still used today. It is the largest of its kind in Europe, holding up to three miles of tracks and having a capacity of up to 7,000 people. The downside is that it’s rather far from most places, making it rather difficult to get there without a car. Still, it’s a lovely spot for an afternoon tea or a summer evening stroll.
- Red Park: This is the oldest continually used sports facility in the world, having been built in 1762. It is located in Dublin, Ireland, and is still mostly used for horse racing and field sports, including soccer and rugby. It is also well known for its fantastic beer garden, which serves as the perfect place to watch the world go by.
- Futbol: The word soccer comes from the Spanish word for football, which is called ‘fútbol’. It is a game that has been around for centuries and is mostly played by professionals in European countries. However, it has recently become an extremely popular sport in South America and North Africa, with the World Cup being held every four years. The downside is it requires a lot of coordination and practice, as well as being rather expensive to watch.
- Cricket: Another ancient sport that continues to charm and amaze people around the world, cricket is considered the King of Sports in England. It was originally played on farms and in the woods back in the 1800s, with wooden bats being used to smack the ball around. Since then, it has become a full-fledged sport with several professional leagues following the English game. It is still the second-most popular sport in England, after football, due to its incredible international appeal and the fact that it can be easily followed on television. The downside is it is rather expensive to play, as well as being a fairly hard sport to track and follow. Therefore, it isn’t commonly followed in places outside of England.
- Racquetball: This is a game that combines badminton and tennis, which is why it has become so popular among the well-heeled set. It was first played in the 1930s and has become quite the social event in some parts of the world, played by royalty and Hollywood celebrities. You can play in teams of two or four, with the objective being to shoot the ball past your opponent in the other court. The downside is it is rather expensive to play, and you need special equipment to do so. As a result, it is considered an ‘elite’ sport and is not necessarily for everyone.
There are a number of factors that you need to consider before using backtesting in your betting strategy. First off, do you want to use real-life or theoretical data? The latter is much easier to come by, as it doesn’t require you to pull any real-life data from the web or your personal life. Theoretical data is much more useful, as it means you’re not tied to any one set of circumstances. In addition, are you using a manual or an automated approach? The former is much easier to use, as it requires less work on your part. The downside is that it’s much less effective, as it means you have to review all your bets regularly, checking to see if they are producing the desired results. Plus, you need to keep careful track of all your winning and losing streaks, as well as the amount of money you’ve won and lost overall. Finally, consider which books you’ll need to use in order to perform effective backtests. Ensure you have the required data in the right book, and you’ll be able to pull off some truly amazing results.