Betting Explanations

Drifters & Steamers: Market Movers In Betting Markets

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If you watch horse racing for more than five minutes, you will hear the words drifters and streamers!

What do they mean? And what are the signs to look for?

These are two betting terms that are very important if you’re going to understand market moves…

What Does Drifter Mean in Racing?

A drifter is a horse that is going out in the betting. It is “drifting out.”

An example might be the odds going from 5/1 to 8/1, or 6/4 to 7/4.

A common saying in horse racing is; “drifters can’t win.” This of course, isn’t true. However, backing drifters is definitely not something you want to do over the longer-term.

More than likely new information has come to light which means the horse isn’t suited by conditions, or perhaps word has got out that the horse hasn’t been training well. There are a number of reasons why a horse will drift, and it’s not a good sign to be on a drifter.

Drifters do win over the course of the year in racing, but not as often as the odds suggest. Backing drifters with a bookmaker is bad value. It’s only news that drifters win because it happens so rarely.

What Does Steamer Mean in Horse Racing?

Steamers are the opposite of drifters. They are the horses that are shortening in the betting. These are the types of bets that you want to be on for a number of reasons.

For example; if the horse is now trading 2/1 and you have backed it at 3/1 – you have an excellent value bet. It also shows that confidence is high behind the horse winning, other punters or even the horse connections fancy it to win.

This means it’s highly likely that the horse has been working well at home, or has conditions to suit. It also means that you can trade out if you want to, locking in a profit before the race has even started because of the odds movement in your favour. It’s always a good idea to check the daily Market Movers for steamers. However, finding them first is the key to getting value. If you can, you’re born for sports trading.

Understanding Market Movers:

A horse racing market is always moving. From the moment the market goes live the night before the race to right up to the start the odds are changing. You have to fully understand what moves are important and what moves to ignore.

Look at some of the key aspects to understanding a market, as shared below:

Time To Race

An easy way to understand this would be to assume that “the further away you are from the start, the weaker the market is.” It only takes a couple of small bets the night before the race or early in the morning to move the market. Whereas as we get closer to the off, more liquidity comes into the market – especially on exchanges like Betfair. Therefore, the harder it is to move the market. The more the market moves closer to the off, the more money is needed. This is a very good sign to watch because if the volume is big, then there’s a lot of people very confident that the horse will win.

Strength Of The Market

The strength of the market also ties in with the timing. As you can see from above, as we get closer to the start of the race the market becomes stronger. This is a big factor in side markets that aren’t Race Winner in horse racing or Match Odds in football.

It won’t take as much money to move odds in those smaller markets; so this must be factored in. Bookmakers might move a side market just off the back of a £100 bet.

Have Conditions Changed?

A big reason why a market moves is the conditions have changed. Let’s look at horse racing for an easy example…

If it starts raining and the ground changes from Good to Soft, that will favour different horses. This must be reflected in the odds and the market will make the adjustments. Catching these moves before everyone else can be very profitable.

Bookmaker Manipulation:

This happens on the All-Weather racing over the winter. You will see a horse trading as big as 12.0 on Betfair but the on-course bookmakers might only have it 9/2. In other circumstances, you could see a 2/1 favourite on course trading 4.4 on the exchanges. This is because the big firms want to keep the SP low and therefore they hold it on course. To tell the truth, the on-course system to return the SP is outdated by years now and this is something that needs to change in racing.

As you can see, there are many things that you have to be aware of to understand market movers fully. If you can put all this information together quickly, even as a novice you will be able to get a good grasp on the markets.

Remember, catching a trade on Betfair is just as profitable if it’s a drifter because you can trade out. I prefer back-to-lays, but there’s also money to be made laying-to-back if you find a short odds favourite drifting for example. Focus on volume and make sure everything is in your favour before you place a trade. Ignore the weaker market and focus on those big moves!

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