How to Use Horse Racing Market Movers to your Advantage

If you have watched horse racing for any length of time, then you will have heard the phrase market movers mentioned before, but what are these? You need to know what market movers are, who is responsible for them and why they happen. How to evaluate these, whether to follow them or not and if it’s possible to spot them before they happen; are some other things to be familiar. Market movers can become invaluable to you, as a bettor, if you manage to predict the biggest drifters and steamers before they happen. 

What are market movers in horse racing

A market mover is a horse whose odds for a race have changed significantly one way or the other. When many bettors back a horse to win, this results in the bookies decreasing the price on that happening. However, horse market movers can go the other way too. Just as punters support some racehorses in the betting, others attract no interest or support. These have their odds of winning increased as a result of bets developing elsewhere.

Best market movers betting sites

In the list underneath we present you the top sportsbooks in your country to bet the horse racing market movers. We chose them by checking payouts and how fast or slowly the odds change. 

Why market movers exist

Professional tipsters can shape and influence the betting market and create horse racing movers. Experts don’t publish their fancies until the day of the race. They do this indirectly as bettors, then follow their tips and support certain horses. It’s important to remember that no tipster picks the winner out all the time. A surge of bets placed by punters forces the bookies to shorten the odds on a horse winning. If the prices of individual horses are slashed, then to create a balanced and fair betting market, the odds for other runners must get bigger.

Drifters and steamers: the most significant market movers

The top drifter in a race is the horse that has had its odds of winning increased the most. Say, for example, Denman starts as a 3/1 (4.00) to win a race. By the time of the off, the odds have trebled in price to 9/1 (10.00). Such a big negative market mover may happen because of the way a horse behaved in the paddock or other preliminaries. Horses can defy a drift in the market and still win, so don’t automatically rule out betting on those whose odds get bigger. You get a higher return if they win, but the implied probability of that happening is smaller.

Steamers, meanwhile, are the biggest markets movers in a positive direction. For instance, Kauto Star has the first show of 6/1 (7.00) but is backed off the boards by bettors who support him strongly. A starting price of 2/1 (3.00) means bookies have cut his odds by two-thirds because of all that betting interest. Just because a gamble develops on a steamer, however, is no guarantee that such a horse will win the race. It is only an indication of strong market confidence. Steamers are seen as having an increased implied probability and thus a higher chance of winning, but sometimes a market move of this nature can turn out to be false. 

Should I follow or bet against a horse market mover

It depends. Following in on the gamble means you have missed a better price, but could still make some profit if the horse wins. Only bet on a steamer when you can see why it has been supported so heavily. Sometimes, it will pay to ignore what everyone else is doing and draw your own conclusions. Keeping faith with a horse that has drifted could result in a better return on your bet if it wins.

Where to follow a market mover

How does price movement work in horse racing

If the horse race of interest to you is one of the main events in the sport, then there will be ante-post odds available. Throughout the season, as horses win and lose pivotal trials en route to this big race, their prices will change. This also continues to happen from when the final declarations for a race are announced, and the first show betting markets appear.

Horses with smaller fractions or decimal prices next to them than before in the betting have been backed. Those with higher prices than they had previously are drifting. Once price movement reaches even money (2.00), i.e., an implied probability of 50%, and continues to shorten, a horse is said to be odds-on. For many bettors, there is no value in backing horses at such prices.

Where can I check horse racing market movers

Some horse racing websites have dedicated pages where they list the day’s major market movers. These can highlight both steamers and drifters. If updating from the morning of the race, you can use these to spot early market movers in horse racing. There are also odds comparison services where you can check the prices offered by different bookmakers. What odds checkers do is use a simple colour scheme with horses that are being backed shaded in one colour, and those on the drift in another.

What factors should I consider with racing market movers

There is so much to consider before wading into the market and getting behind a horse that is on the move. Careful betting decisions can often be the difference between winning and losing. You should always bear the following factors in mind when assessing whether to back a mover or leave it alone:

Strength of the market: How strong is the support or drift relating to a horse? The shorter the odds, then the higher the gamble. The market is a reflection of how much money other bettors are placing on certain horses. In a wide-open competitive race where there is little consensus, you should pay particular attention to market movers.

Timing: When precisely does a market mover occur? Is it on the morning of the race or just moments before the off? Some gambles on steamer horses develop more quickly than others. Drifts can also happen soon after the market has been formed, or at the last minute. If you want to get involved with backing a horse to win or laying it to lose, choosing the right time to place your bet is vital.

Previous odds: What is the precise change in price on a horse for a race? Is it half-a-point or a bigger move? Be on the lookout for bookmakers who are slow to respond to gambles developing, as you might still get a better price out of them. It’s also worth remembering that other things such as non-runners and jockey changes can also result in a change of odds. Always keep an eye on the prices.

Class: There are different classes and grades of horse races. If a positive market move occurs on a horse with proven form at a certain level, then that is a sign of confidence. Other than young, inexperienced horses having their first few runs, the official handicapper will provide ratings that highlight how good they are. Watch out for progressive horses taking a step up in class and classy horses moving down into an easier grade.

Bookmaker manipulation: It should come as no surprise to you that the bookies shorten horses up in the betting just before the off. This is to protect their liabilities. They are more than happy to get a favourite beaten. Bookmakers do manipulate markets, especially if the trainer or jockey of a racehorse has already had a good day with other runners.

What do I need to be careful of with horse racing movers

If money comes for a horse that, in your opinion, is a false favourite, then following such a market mover may not be wise. It is good to have your view on the race if possible, without the influence of the market. Just because a horse is backed or starts to drift, that does not automatically mean it will win or lose. Bookies will put some horses in the market at shorter prices than is their value because they fear them.

Precisely what value is, remains a relative concept varying from bettor to bettor. One commonly held belief, however, is that there’s little or no benefit in a market mover who has gone from odds against to odds on. You cannot even double your money off such a gamble. Never just write a horse off just because it drifts. They can defy those bigger odds, also if other punters have deserted them by betting on alternatives.

How can I best evaluate horse market movers

With market movers in both directions to consider, the best way of evaluating horses in the betting market is to ask whether the new price available is value. Bookmakers may have taken the value away and now put a horse in at too low a price relative to conditions and its best form. If two-thirds of favourites fail to win, then it could be worth laying them to lose even if it’s a steamer.

When considering what a value bet looks like, you also need to think about the size of the field and the nature of the event. How competitive is the race? The market is also a guide, though. How big is the drift on a horse no longer favourite to win? Why was it initially prominent in the market, but has now got bigger? The evaluation has much to do with your opinions and if your views are in line with the betting.

How can I predict market movers horses myself beforehand

Be prepared to do plenty of research. Early market movers in horse racing happen after less well-informed bettors read horse racing publications. They look up the form themselves and follow that advice. If you can think like a tipster, then you have pre-empted a likely market move. You may have a horse spotted even before the experts do and, with experience under your belt, can’t see the horse being that price in the immediate build-up to the race. You can not only predict a mover in the market but get a value bet on too.

Can I make money backing market movers: by Book Spy

Yes, if you pick out the right gambles to follow. If you cannot understand why a horse has become a steamer, then it is probably one to avoid. There are times to support a market move and other occasions to oppose it. Like betting on a favourite, it will not always pay. You don’t have to follow the crowd piling in if you think the better value lies elsewhere. It all comes down to what your view on a race is.

Market moves work both ways. Capitalizing on a horse drifting and still winning can be as satisfying and rewarding in terms of profit. You spot a gamble before it develops. You need to consider many factors and be aware of the danger of false favourites to evaluate a market move properly. With enough research and knowledge, you can even predict which horses bettors will back, and the bookies shorten up before they do.

Full list horse racing betting sites

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