Advice from the betting experts (5)

The expert under the spotlight this month is American greyhound writer Professor Jones, whose book, Winner’s Guide to Greyhound Racing, was published by Cardoza Publishing in 2003. It is aimed at the American greyhound racing scene, the principle difference from British greyhound racing being the number of dogs competing in a race – eight rather than six. Nevertheless, Jones’s theories and methods are well worth looking at, if only to compare and contrast them with the strategies that have proved successful in the UK.

There is no way you can argue with Jones’s initial premise, which is that ‘handicapping, like any other endeavour, requires a conscious effort’ (the term ‘handicapping’ is used in America to mean picking winners). That means setting aside plenty of time for form study, well in advance of the meeting that you are analysing.

The grading system on a typical American track differs from ours in several ways. A young greyhound will gain experience of racing in schooling races, on which there is no betting. These are the equivalent of our trials. Then the dog will graduate to maiden races. After it has won a maiden it may begin its graded racing career in a Grade E or Grade D race, the lowest grades. The winner of a graded race will automatically be put up one grade until, if good enough, it reaches Grade A. the highest grade. A greyhound will usually be downgraded if it is unplaced in three consecutive starts in the same grade, or if it only finishes third once in four consecutive starts in the same grade.

Jones warns his readers against betting in maiden or lower grade races, as they feature too many dogs at the start or end of their careers, and so their form is difficult to assess accurately. There are former good class dogs that are past their best; maiden winners destined for the top grades; and lots of moderate performers with in-and-out form. Jones doesn’t favour Grade A races either as a betting medium, considering that many of these races are closely graded, with not much to choose between the runners. That leaves Grades B and C as the races that offer the best chance to the backer of finding the winner. The greyhounds that contest these grades are consistent, and some good bets can be found from dogs that have won in the grade above, but have been below par in recent races and have now been eased in grade.

‘Determining each animal’s class or effective grade is probably the most important element in greyhound handicapping’, says Jones. By effective grade, he means the grade in which the dog is competitive and has a realistic chance of winning. He doesn’t think that the six lines of form on the average race card provide enough information to make a judgement on a dog’s effective grade. He advises the backer to save old race cards so that he or she has a dog’s last twelve races.

Using these past performances, Jones advocates noting the number of times that the greyhound has finished first, second or third and in which grade. Then he allocates a certain number of points to each grade (A = 5, B = 4, C = 3, D = 2, E = 1) and works out an average score for that dog. Here’s an example of how his method works:

Greyhound: Aero Control

In its last twelve races, Aero Control won once in Grade C; finished 2nd twice in Grade C; finished 3rd once in Grade B; and was unplaced in eight races.

Points allocated: one win in grade C: 3pts; 2nd twice in Grade C: 6pts; 3rd in Grade B: 4pts. (Somewhat surprisingly, Jones gives the same number of points for a win, a second place or a third place in any particular grade)

Total points: 13. Average: 3.22

Having determined the average points score, Jones then refers to his ‘Effective Grade Chart’ to decide what the dog’s effective grade is. He subdivides each grade as follows: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, etc. So an average points score of 4.75 – 5.00 equates to A; 4.50 – 4.74 to A-, and so on. On the chart Aero Control’s average points score of 3.22 would give him an effective grade of C+.

For each dog, calculate its effective grade and note it down next to the dog’s name on the race card, to be used in handicapping the race.

Jones advises backers not to support dogs that are having their first run in a higher grade after winning in the grade below. He says that such dogs win only 15% of their races, and often start at cramped odds. By contrast, he prefers the chances of dogs that have been out of form in a higher grade and are now downgraded. He argues that they usually are allowed to start at odds greater than their actual chance of winning, and that their superior class, as indicated by their ‘effective grade’, will usually tell in the lower grade.

More on Professor Jones’s approach next month.

September 2018
Focus On Poole
August 2018
Focus On Perry Barr
July 2018
Focus On Nottingham
June 2018
Focus On Newcastle
May 2018
Focus On Monmore Green
April 2018
Focus On Hove
March 2018
Focus On Doncaster
February 2018
Focus On Crayford
January 2018
Focus On Central Park
December 2017
An Index Of Previous Blog Posts
November 2017
Focus On Belle Vue
October 2017
Young Graders To Follow (2)
September 2017
Young Graders To Follow
August 2017
Getting A Clear Run
July 2017
Essential Tools For Greyhound Betting (2)
June 2017
Essential Tools For Greyhound Betting (1)
May 2017
Specialisation (2)
April 2017
Specialisation (1)
March 2017
Qualities Of The Successful Backer
February 2017
Compiling Race Ratings (2)
January 2017
Compiling Race Ratings (1)
December 2016
Racecard Comments : S - X
November 2016
Racecard Comments : M - R
October 2016
Racecard Comments : H - M
September 2016
Racecard Comments : H
August 2016
Racecard Comments : E - H
July 2016
Racecard Comments : B - D
June 2016
Racecard Comments : A - B
May 2016
Form Cycles
April 2016
Keeping An Online Formbook (3)
March 2016
Keeping An Online Formbook (2)
February 2016
Keeping An Online Formbook (1)
January 2016
The Striped jacket
December 2015
The Orange jacket
November 2015
The Black jacket
October 2015
The White jacket
September 2015
The Blue jacket
August 2015
The Red jacket
July 2015
Upgraded Dogs To Avoid
June 2015
Upgraded Dogs
May 2015
Downgraded Dogs
April 2015
Focus on Romford
March 2015
Focus on Swindon (2)
February 2015
Focus on Swindon (1)
January 2015
Exploiting Formline Comments (2)
December 2014
Exploiting Formline Comments (1)
November 2014
Greyhound Racing: Make It Pay (2)
October 2014
Greyhound Racing: Make It Pay (1)
September 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (6)
August 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (5)
July 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (4)
June 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (3)
May 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (2)
April 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (1)
March 2014
The Time Test
February 2014
Recording and Reviewing Your Bets
January 2014
What’s a "grade within a grade"? (2)
December 2013
What’s a "grade within a grade"? (1)
November 2013
Trap Draw
October 2013
Sires To Note
September 2013
Racing Post Summaries (3)
August 2013
Racing Post Summaries (2)
July 2013
Racing Post Summaries (1)
June 2013
Laying Greyhounds On The Betting Exchanges
May 2013
Spotting The Ungenuine Dog
April 2013
Compiling A List Of Greyhounds To Follow
March 2013
Specialisation (2)
February 2013
Specialisation (1)
January 2013
Winter Ground Conditions
December 2012
Front Runners v Strong Finishers
November 2012
October 2012
Identifying Improving Greyhounds
September 2012
Race Ratings (2)
August 2012
Race Ratings (1)
July 2012
Following dogs in form
June 2012
Adopting a professional approach (3)
May 2012
Adopting a professional approach (2)
April 2012
A Greyhound's Win / Lose Ratio
March 2012
Adopting a professional approach (1)
February 2012
Warning To Speed Fans
January 2012
Following Bitches After Seasonal Rest
December 2011
Early Paced Dogs
November 2011
Speed Handicapping (5) : More FAQs
October 2011
Speed Handicapping (4) : FAQs
September 2011
Speed Handicapping (3)
August 2011
Speed Handicapping (2)
July 2011
Speed Handicapping (1)
HawkOwl Web Design