As a punter, you may already be aware that there are stacks of different multiple-style bet types that you can place.
But for the uninitiated, these can be a minefield to navigate through – what does this bet type mean? How do I win? How many individual bets do I need to place?
A combination forecast can be filed under this heading, especially as it’s a bet type that often gets overlooked by punters – particularly in horse racing, where it can yield value in renewals where you believe longer-odds horses can thrive.
So here’s your quick guide to combination forecast betting.
The Basics of Combination Forecast Betting
So, first things first, what is a combination forecast?
Quite simply, a combination forecast requires you to pick the first and second-placed finishers in any order.
But in contrast to other types of forecast betting, here you can decide how many runners you want to add to your betslip in order to find that magical 1-2 – you can back anything from three to six horses in your combination forecast.
You will have to place the requisite number of bets in order to cover all of the possible outcomes:
- Three Selections – 6 Bets
- Four Selections – 12 Bets
- Five Selections – 20 Bets
- Six Selections – 30 Bets
As you can probably guess by this definition, combination forecast bets are most popular with horse racing and greyhound racing punters, although they can also be used in golf betting – picking the winner of the tournament and the runner-up – as well as other outright markets.
The takeaway point is that you need to back the runner that finishes first and the runner that comes second… but you’ll be getting a payout no matter which order that happens in.
How to Place a Combination Forecast
So the first thing to do is head to the race that you want to bet on, and then click on that ‘forecast’ tab if your bookmaker/betting app has it (sometimes, you simply add your selections to your betslip and then the available multiple bet types autogenerate).
We add our chosen selections as normal by tapping on the odds (or, as in this example, ticking the box underneath the ‘any’ heading):
You will then see how many bets you need to place in order to satisfy all of the possible permutations (in this case, we have three picks so six bets are required in total – 6x unit stake).
You should also be able to see on screen the different odds and payouts for each of the 1-2 combinations that are available:
In our example here, we can see that the combinations involving Colinton and Love Is Golden are the best-paying at around 54/1, while the Colinton-Sea Speedwell combis pay out at around 36/1. The reason is that Colinton and Love Is Golden are priced at 7/1 in the race winner market, while Sea Speedwell was available at 9/2.
Fixed Odds Payout vs Computer Straight Forecast
The payout from your combination forecast will ultimately be determined by the method used by your bookie to calculate dividends – some, like Paddy Power, opt for the fixed odds option.
But other firms such as bet365 go for the Computer Straight Forecast (CSF), which uses a complex algorithm to calculate the fair odds for each possible combination on your betslip.
There has been great debate over which option is the best for punters, and the truth is that there isn’t a definitive answer to whether fixed odds or CSF is the true value choice.
As such, punters are advised to hold accounts with at least two bookmakers – that way, you can set up your combination forecast bets and then compare the odds you will receive for guessing the 1-2, placing your wager with the better-paying option.
When Should You Place a Combination Forecast Bet?
As always, betting success can be yours in the long term if you are able to spot value opportunities – that is, where you believe the true odds on a runner should be shorter than those offered by the bookies.
You only need to spot one value horse in a field to place a combination forecast if you believe at least two others are fairly priced, i.e. the odds offered are about ‘right’ for those particular horses.
That way, you can maximise your edge by backing your value pick in combination with at least two other horses – usually those towards the head of the market.
Alternatively, a combination forecast is a useful option when you think that the favourite and next best are weak, but you don’t know which of the rest of the field will beat them.
Here we can add three or more outsiders to our betslip, and not really worry about which order they finish in….as long as it’s the 1-2. Placing a combination forecast in this way can often be a better value option than laying the favourite or a couple of market protagonists on the exchanges.