Bookmakers’ Motives in the Ante Post Market:
Towards the end of the ante post market many smaller bookmakers will already have reached their financial liability threshold for a particular match outcome and drop out of the race to be best price.
Others will not have time to re-balance their books if they were to take ‘new money’ on a particular outcome.
The larger, more sophisticated bookmakers will attempt to achieve arbitrage during the in-play market if their book is unbalanced at kick-off, and every firm will consider striking bets with other bookmakers or betting exchanges to ensure a profit whatever the match result.
Ante Post: Definition
‘Ante post’ is a term borrowed from horseracing and means ‘before the event’.
In the online football betting arena, the ante post market for any match exists between the time of the very first postings of odds up until the moment of kick-off, when the ante post odds are suspended and replaced by live, in-play odds.
Unreliability of Average Odds
Because of the time factor and the necessity for financial parity, the average odds across the board for each outcome fall as the market gets closer and closer to kick-off.
Sometimes, the beginning of this fall is noticeable even further back than 24-hours prior to kick-off.
This is especially the case in less popular events where the stream of bets placed is much smaller and more intermittent. With less money arriving at unpredictable intervals it is a harder task to balance the book. This is the main reason why prices are mostly under-valued across the board outside the more popular top-flight leagues.
Therefore, with average odds, the picture at the close of the ante post is usually false. It bears little or no resemblance to what has been happening throughout the entire ante post period.
Stability of Highest Odds
In contrast, the ‘highest’ market odds generally experience much smaller fluctuations throughout the ante post period; there is always a bookmaker willing to offer best price until they can no longer afford to do so or, are replaced at the top by a competitor looking to increase its own market share on a particular outcome.
And of course, there is always at least one bookmaker offering best price on an outcome at any given time. (You will never see every bookmaker offering the same price at the same time).
In the huge majority of games, even higher prices are available at various points during ante post than the highest bookmaker odds that settle as the market closes.
It sounds like a paradox but using highest bookmaker odds to work out a strategy provides a more reliable and accurate benchmark of ‘average’ than using the actual average odds, and also imparts a more realistic picture of what is achievable when seeking to place bets which satisfy your selection criteria.
If you source your historical data from www.oddsportal.com (free), www.football-data.co.uk (free), or www.football-bet-data.com (at a small cost), then always use the highest bookmaker odds in any of your analyses.
NB. With third party data it is essential to know when it has been captured. Football-Bet-Data and OddsPortal are the only ones to our knowledge providing historical odds from a range of bookmakers taken consistently at the point the ante post market closes.
Average Vs. Highest Odds: Excel .xlsx Comparison Spreadsheet
View an annotated 14-day ante post analysis of one full round of matches in the English Premier League showing the differences between average and highest bookmaker odds.
The spreadsheet also concentrates on the final 48-hours of the ante post market, providing perfect examples to support the hypotheses outlined in this article:
Click on the above button – in the new tab click on the ‘Continue Checkout’ button. Enter your name and email address to allow our automatic shopping cart to deliver the file by email to you, free of charge. The .xlsx file size is 112 KB. When you receive your confirmation email, just click on ‘View Purchase Online’ (in the email text) to download the file.
Compile Your Football Betting Systems Using Highest Odds!
Ultimately, even the least discerning of online punters will never look to place bets at average odds. Every punter worth his salt will always look to place bets at the best prices possible for maximum returns.
If you are playing the highest odds you can find, then your strategy analyses should also be based on highest market odds.
We go one step further with our strategies and utilise an ‘Odds Toggle Mechanism’ so that we can compare actual results with the data set used to compile the strategy. Read why here.