Bet365’s 4/1+ Feature Race Offer is my favourite gambling promotion and provides a major contribution to my bankroll.
This page is devoted to explaining my matched betting strategy for this offer and the related Channel Four 4/1+ and Sky Greyhound Racing 2/1+ offers.
You will need:
1. An account with bet365
2. An account with a betting exchange such as Betfair, Betmate or WBX.
3. A spreadsheet to help calculate the matches
My strategy is to place a bet with bet365 and lay the same horse on one of the betting exchanges. Most of the time the horse loses but my loss at bet365 is covered by my win on the exchange. But whenever my horse wins, the loss on the exchange is covered by the win at the bookmakers and I also get a free bet from bet365.com.
One win a week should add $$ to your annual profits. However, it is not risk-free and there are several traps for the unwary punter.
How Bet365’s 4/1+ Offer Works
Each day Bet365.com nominate a number of races to be part of the 4/1+ Feature Race promotion. Back a winner at a price of 4/1 or more (decimal 5.0 or greater) and Bet365 will give you a free bet to the same stake on the next feature race.
If this free bet also wins, it is carried forward to the next race in the series (provided it was also placed at 4/1 or more) and so on.
Like any offer you must check the T and Cs on the website:
• The offer applies to a maximum stake of $/race
• Only your first bet you place on each feature race counts for the offer
• Your bet must be a single
• It must be placed at odds of 4/1 (decimal 5.0) or more
The 4/1 qualifier relates to the actual odds used to settle your bet after any adjustment for a deadheat or Rule 4 deduction.
If you take 4/1 on a horse and later the price contracts to 7/2 or 3/1 you will be OK. Your bet will be settled at 4/1 which meets the criteria.
If you take 4/1 on a horse and it deadheats for first place, then you will be paid out at 2/1. You don’t qualify for a free bet.
• Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to protect against this. However, deadheats occur so infrequently that an occassional loss just has to be accepted. It should only have a tiny effect on your long-term results.
If your selection deadheats when priced at 8/1 or above, then you will still be OK because even with the 50% deduction you are getting 4/1.
If you take 4/1 on a horse and subsequently there is a 10p in the pound Rule 4 deduction because of a late withdrawal, you don’t qualify (because your bet will now be settled at 3.6/1.)
If you back a horse at 6/1 and there is a 10p in the pound deduction, your bet is adjusted to 5.4/1. You will still get your free bet on the next race.
• Late withdrawals are commonplace. I don’t back horses in the range 4/1-5/1 (5.0-6.0) until just before the race to guard against this
Sometimes you get a good match on a few minutes before the race, only to find that another horse won’t go in the stalls, spreads a plate (loses a shoe) on the way to the start, or simply bucks the jockey off and careers round the course for two miles before being caught. It gets withdrawn and all the bets on the race get adjusted.
• This is a nuisance but only happens to me once a month or so. And because I fully match out all my bets I am only affected when my horse actually wins. As we will see later in the article when my horse loses I break-even what ever the odds are. Remember, Bet365 don’t charge us for the first 5p in the pound deduction. So if it is an outsider who plays up we won’t be affected anyway.
4/1+ Conditions Summary
You must protect yourself against non-runners and the associated Rule 4 deductions by not backing 4/1 shots several hours before the race.
Only your first bet on each race qualifies for a free bet.
At first glance you have to keep track of four sets of variables for each race:
• The Bet365 prices
• Your bet with Bet365 (Your Back Stake)
• The exchange lay prices
• The amount to be laid on the exchange
Faced with an array of rapidly-changing prices just before a race it is easy to become confused; especially if you are looking at two or three races at once.
However, you can simplify this by always laying an amount that will exactly recover your bet with Bet365 if your horse does not win. This can be calculated by dividing your back stake by (100% – your commisssion rate on the exchange).
Now you are free to concentrate on looking for a horse whose odds with Bet365 are similar to the lay prices on the exchange.
I manage to find a suitable horse in about 80% of races. Sometimes a true arb, more often I have to absorb a small loss which is more than recovered with the free bet on the next race if it wins.
In part 2 we look at some detailed examples and fine tune our strategy to maximise profits.