In last week’s article, we examined how Virtual Sports are developed with a degree of randomness built into the software. Using this as a starting point, we looked at how well betting on the Favourite in Bet365 Sports Virtual Horse Racing game would have served us over a selection of 20 randomly selected races.
We concluded that betting on the favorite to win would have offered us a £36.50 profit, albeit we assumed that we backed one joint favorite to win (at 3/1) which had we backed the other favorites in that race too (as we should have done to follow the guidelines of the test) then that profit margin would have been reduced.
Similarly, betting Each Way on the favorites would have yielded returns in 13 races, but not all of those returns would mean a profit (they would just reduce the loss). Betting each way on those 20 races (again assuming we backed the right horse in the Joint-Favourite race) would have yielded a profit of £18.58, which again would have been significantly reduced or indeed wiped out, had we had to back other joint favorites in that race.
In this second part of the article, we are now going to look at whether backing a certain number of horse in the race would offer a better return, whether betting on selections of between certain odds would yield better results and we’ll even take a look at whether a Martingale style system would work for Virtual Sports betting. Then we’ll compare this to a random selection and see how it compares.
For ease of reference for the reader, I’ve replicated the table of results on which we are basing our calculations on the different betting systems below.
Table of Results (20 Virtual Horse Races randomly selected from Bet365 Sport)
|Race Number||Number of Winner & Odds||Runner Up & Odds||Third & Odds||No of Runners|
|1||8 – 11/4 fav||9 – 9/1||10 – 12/1||12|
|2||1 – 16/1||5 – 7/1||3 12/5 fav||9|
|3||5 – 11/5 fav||3 – 12/1||1 – 25/1||9|
|4||8 – 7/1||7 – 9/1||3 – 9/4 fav||9|
|5||10 – 4/1||8 – 15/2||9 – 40/1||14|
|6||6 – 9/1||4 – 50/1||1 – 4/1||8|
|7||15 – 5/1||6 – 22/1||9 – 9/1||15|
|8||4 – 28/1||7 – 7/1||8 – 11/1||11|
|9||3 – 3/1 J-Fav||4 – 7/1||5 – 9/1||8|
|10||8 – 12/1||6 – 10/1||2 – 11/5 fav||10|
|11||8 – 10/1||9 – 8/1||4 – 9/4 fav||10|
|12||4 – 13/5 fav||7 – 9/2||3 – 28/1||12|
|13||1 – 13/5 fav||3 – 7/2||2 – 7/1||8|
|14||4 – 9/1||5 – 28/1||9 – 10/3 fav||12|
|15||5 – 9/2 fav||14 – 5/1||10 – 14/1||15|
|16||7 – 10/1||2 – 9/1||11 – 11/4 fav||12|
|17||11 – 12/1||9 – 9/4 fav||5 – 20/1||15|
|18||8 – 8/1||6 – 13/2||5 – 16/1||10|
|19||5 – 20/1||7 – 4/1||4 -13/2||9|
|20||7 – 13/2||6 – 16/1||4 – 22/1||14|
Backing the Same Number of Runner each time
The first issue you have with using this method when betting on Virtual Horses is unlike Virtual Cycling, Motor Sports or Greyhounds, there are different number of runners in horse races. The minimum number is eight, so to ensure you back the same number in each race, you would only be able to pick from numbers 1 to 8.
Of course, this now creates an issue in races with more than 8 runners as it means if any horse from number 9 onward wins, then you can never win in that race.
A quick review of the 20 races reveals that only three times in the 20 race selection did this occur (Races 5, 7 and 17 where numbers 10, 15 and 11 won). So let’s assume were happy to select one number between 1 and 8 for our 20 races and we back that selection with £10 to win.
The table below outlines how much we would have won had we backed the same number in each of the 20 races, showing the number of wins, total payouts for that number across the 20 races and the profit/loss you would have received had you picked that number, assuming a total spend on bets of £200 (£10 to win per race) across the 20 races.
|Number of Runner||Races Won||Races Placed 2nd or 3rd||Total Return||Total Profit/Loss over the 20 races|
What we can see here is that there is a massive discrepancy between the best choice and worst. If you’d picked number 2, you’d have lost all your £200 worth of bets, however pick number 4 or number 8, you’d have taken home well over £200 profit.
However, this doesn’t really tell us anything as you’d still have to rely entirely on chance to pick the right number in the first place, but what it does tell us is that picking the right number can be a profitable way to bet, if you are lucky.
Backing Selections of roughly the same odds each time
Let’s now take a look at how you would have performed had you selected your horses based on their odds alone. Although there are a wide range of odds available in each race and not all odds are available in every race, let’s assume that in each race you backed one horse around odds of 9/1.
Now of course, this immediately makes things difficult as you can have several selections in a race at those odds and you may not back them all. That should be bore in mind when considering the outcome of this investigation.
A review of the races reveals that horses of odds 9/1 won twice during the 20 race selection (in Race 6 and race 14). That would have returned you £200, and meant that you break even. Had you picked 10/1 as your odds of choice, that two won twice in the selection (Races 11 and 16) and that would have returned you £220, a £20 profit.
Odds of 8/1 however only won once (Race 18) and that meant over the course of the 20 races you’d have lost £110. The shortest price winner was 11/5 (Race 3) and the longest was 28/1 (Race 8).
Using odds as your indicator on whether to bet on one of the options isn’t the easiest as there are too many variations and you may need to cover multiple selections in a single race. As such, I’d not suggest you use this method as a way to bet on Virtual Sports.
Can a “Martingale” approach to Virtual Sports betting work?
A Martingale approach is a form of betting where the punter doubles their bet each time until they win at which point they start the system again from a one unit bet. The idea is that when used on games where there is roughly a 50/50 outcome (such as betting Red/Black in roulette) when you win you will guarantee a one unit profit and cover your losses.
This is risky enough when used in a game such as roulette where a run of the same type of number coming out can mean you having to wager higher and higher amounts to keep the system running after a relatively short number of turns.
In the world of Virtual Sports where there are many more options and alternative, a Martingale System can prove to be very expensive, and due to the changing odds of selections, there is no guarantee you will cover your losses even if your bet is successful.
Let’s use an example. Let’s say you decide to back every Number 3 selection in the 20 races using a Martingale Style system and your initial bet is just £1. Number three first wins the ninth race of the selection at odds of 3/1.
However using the Martingale system, doubling your bet would mean that by the 9th race your bet would be £256. And had you picked number 2, you’d have not won in any of the races and the Martingale system then breaks down as you cannot bet enough to make your money back.
As such, using a system like this on Virtual Sports is seriously not recommended!
What about simply picking selections at random?
A random selection could offer you riches untold, or you could lose on every single bet. That is the beauty of picking selections at random. Obviously, the more winners you pick in your selection, the better your returns, but I would hazard a guess that it is more likely you would be out of pocket more often betting randomly, than perhaps backing a specific number, or backing the favourite.
To test this, I ran a random number generator to pick 20 selections at random for each of the 20 races. Here’s how the test turned out
|Race Number||Random Number Picked||Winner – Odds||Winnings|
|1||8||8 – 11/4 fav||£37.50|
|2||5||1 – 16/1||£0|
|3||6||5 – 11/5 fav||£0|
|4||4||8 – 7/1||£0|
|5||6||10 – 4/1||£0|
|6||3||6 – 9/1||£0|
|7||4||15 – 5/1||£0|
|8||2||4 – 28/1||£0|
|9||7||3 – 3/1 J-Fav||£0|
|10||7||8 – 12/1||£0|
|11||5||8 – 10/1||£0|
|12||8||4 – 13/5 fav||£0|
|13||3||1 – 13/5 fav||£0|
|14||7||4 – 9/1||£0|
|15||7||5 – 9/2 fav||£0|
|16||6||7 – 10/1||£0|
|17||2||11 – 12/1||£0|
|18||5||8 – 8/1||£0|
|19||4||5 – 20/1||£0|
|20||4||7 – 13/2||£0|
As you can see, in this selection of random numbers I hit just one winner out of the 20, at odds of 11/4, which offered a return of £37.50, which means that over the course of the 20 races, I’d have lost £163.50.
This is a very volatile form of betting which can yield outstanding results and massive paydays, but also is more likely to see you out of pocket at the end of it. As such, I’d not want to wager using random selections on Virtual Horse Racing or indeed any other form of Virtual Sports.
In conclusion, betting on the favourite is more likely to offer you a better return than other forms of wagering, but it isn’t likely to see you earn big money. The thrill of Virtual Sports comes from landing a winner such as the 28/1 shot in Race 8, and while you can bet this way to recoup more of your cash, it isn’t a guaranteed way to turn a profit.
Instead, my advice is to enjoy betting on Virtual Sports as you would real life horse racing. Bet only what you can afford to lose and accept any wins as a bonus, rather than a necessity.