How to make sure the price is right

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Value. What is it? How is it identified? Everyone has a different opinion, but never mind what anyone else thinks, it's hard to enough for the punter to pin down what they really think themselves.

One way to clarify that personal state of mind is is to set private prices for a contest before looking at the bookmakers'. For example, before seeing the prices for Wednesday's Champions' League encounter, the view was taken that they should bet: Evens Juventus 11-5 the draw and 3-1 Manchester United. At the best prices: 8-11 (Coral) Juventus 12-5 (William Hill) the draw and 100-30 (Coral and Hills) Manchester United, Manchester United at 100-30 and the draw at 12-5 are the bets to consider.

Serious punters can learn from an system used by a professional greyhound gambler. He prices up races in advance but, rather than setting odds to make an overround profit as the bookies do - if the layer thinks all six dogs have an equal chance he offers 4-1 each of six. To get pounds 100 back a punter has to bet pounds 20 on each dog and six multiplied by pounds 20 = pounds 120 staked, pounds 100 returned. pounds 20 profit for the bookie. The pro prices up each dog at 9-1 - he would have to stake just pounds 10 on each (a total of pounds 60) to get pounds 100 back. pounds 40 Profit for the punter.

No bookie bets like that, but, if in the betting ring proper any dog touches 9-1, the pro backs it, knowing that, in his book, he is betting with a 40 percent margin in his favour.