Price movement can be used as a strong indicator of how well a sports trader might perform over the longer term, yet the majority of punters tend not consider the direction the betting market might move in. So why is price movement important when it comes to judging handicapping abilities?

Dynamic Price movements

Pinnacle Lean price movementBetting exchanges, and high volume, low margin bookmakers, have led to much more volatile prices over the last couple of decades. This price movement, among other things, can be used to judge betting performance for individuals looking to ensure they bet profitably.

Odds on any betting market will fluctuate right up until the event starts, and as exchanges and certain bookmakers now reflect that market sentiment in a much more immediate and dynamic manner, the prices at the start of the event should be a pretty accurate view of the probabilities of each potential outcome. The bookmaker’s traders have had their say (and as we know, their mistakes are rare), but any discrepancies will be quickly corrected by the markets, leaving a generally accurate predictor for the action to come.

True Odds

So if the odds at the point the event gets underway are as close to the ‘true odds‘ as they can be, given some room for bookmaker margins, how can they then be used to judge a bettors future performance?

Betfair Price MovementThe key for any punter looking to be profitable over the long term is to identify where odds are incorrect – in the eye of the bettor – and there is sufficient margin to make a bet and offer some expected value. If it is assumed that the final prices are as close to true odds as they are likely to get, then sharp punters will have backed selections at odds greater then those available at the off. Likewise, if bettors are regularly backing selections at odds smaller than they ultimately end up, it suggests they are not getting the betting value they are expecting.

These trends will only be exposed over the long term, but players generally taking prices that subsequently drop, stand a good chance of being profitable over the longer term. Those seeing the odds on their bet drift more often than not, are unlikely to stay in the black for any length of time.

On occasion punters may still feel confident they have secured betting value despite a price drift, but in general terms, shrewd bettors are those taking prices that subsequently contract. If you are one of them, you are on the right track.

Where to monitor price movement

Betfair is the leading betting exchange, while Pinnacle offer the lowest margins and highest volumes, leading to the concept they dub “the Pinnacle lean” which is used to describe the movement they see in their markets. These two firms are key for anyone looking to identify price movements.