BETTING ODDITIES: Unexpected items

BETTING ODDITIES: In his latest weekly Monday blog, DAVID STEWART takes a sideways look at some of the stories making the news in the betting world and beyond.

DAVID STEWART is a freelance digital betting producer and journalist. His CV includes: The Sun, The Sporting Life, Racing Post, At The Races, The Sportsman, lead feature writer for Sky’s Betview magazine and senior producer Timeform Radio.


‘The market is wrong’ is an oft-heard cry amongst punters when they feel a price is either too short or too big.

I disagree, the market is never WRONG. The market is factual, live and real at any given point in time. Just as if, for example, Next were charging £20 for a pair of jeans – this is an indisputable fact. If you consider that good value for money you may buy the jeans, if you feel it is poor value for money then you are likely to shop elsewhere or not make the purchase.

It’s semantics but important betting semantics. You can of course disagree with the price and bet accordingly but if you get 5/4 about the spin of a coin you have beaten the odds not the market.

Everything is simple when you break it down. Probability is binary – pick a number between 0 (will never happen) and 1 (will always happen) on an event and you too are a market maker….. but you are not ‘THE’ market.


The self-checkout terminals at the supermarkets are basically the ultimate perfect crime against shoppers.

You unwittingly become a supermarket employee for five minutes whilst they save fortunes on checkout operators forcing you to transact with a robot.

You only get personal interaction when you buy age-controlled abusive substances like paracetamol or Red Bull energy drinks or have lost the will when you can’t figure out whether loose tomatoes are in the fruit or veg sections?


I’m straying into Ben Keith copyright territory here so will keep this brief.

The last time I was at the races (will save the blushes of the course in question) I saw food packaged in airline style containers with clear plastic lids. Yuk.

Supplied by a corporate catering chain and no doubt cooked by computer and portion controlled by computer. It looked ghastly value for money.

A pale imitation of my three favourite racecourse caterers of yesteryear. In reverse order:

3. Steak in a bun, Sedgefield. Basically an 8oz sirloin steak, unpretentiously shoved in a bread roll with mustard (English, of course).

2. Baked potato man, Wimbledon Greyhounds. You couldn’t miss him – right by the entrance and the best baked potatoes ever, cooked traditionally, crispy skins and generous portions of your favourite topping. Ideal food for a cold night at the dogs.

1. Barry Cope Seafood: Barry (RIP) was a regular in the south and Cheltenham with his delicious seafood offerings. Some used to jest that if you found more than three prawns in his prawn curry you’d win a Ford Capri – but I never felt the need to summon the portion police, I can only speak as I find.

All three had one thing in common. Doing one thing and doing it well. Time for the courses to have less corporate catering and more local independent suppliers. Local, fresh, rustic produce served in a Farmers Market style environment will bring some character back and be better value for hungry racegoers.

Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.