One of the joys of sports betting is to do your homework on a selection or two, and then watching on as they win their race/game/event and you get the delicious payout.
In greyhound racing, it can be particularly satisfying to pick out a winner – especially when you’ve put in the hard yards with your research on speed ratings and the like.
But if you prefer to take a more generalised approach in your punting, you may just find the trap challenge market to your liking – there are plenty of rewards to be had without necessarily digging too deep into the stats in advance.
What is Trap Challenge Betting?
As you are probably aware, each dog in a greyhound race is led into a numbered trap – essentially the canine version of the starting blocks in athletics or the stalls in horse racing.
And you can bet on which trap you believe will yield the most winners in a given racecard, which can run to 12 or even 14 renewals depending on the meeting.
If your chosen trap delivers more victors than any other, then your bet will be settled as a winner.
The perk of trap challenge betting is that even if you lose the first race or two, your bet is still very much alive – that helps to spread the excitement of the action over the duration of much of the card.
It also means you don’t have to do any research into the dogs that are running if you don’t want to, as the outcome of a single race is not necessarily terminal to the chances of your bet from winning.
Trap Challenge Betting Rules
The rules of trap challenge betting are straightforward enough, and in the end it’s a simple numbers game – the trap with the most wins on the day/evening is the victor, and your bet will be settled accordingly.
There are a couple of caveats to consider. First, what happens if more than one trap records the same number of winners at a meeting? Here, dead heat rules apply. It will depend on your bookie as to what happens next, but as a general rule half of your stake will be settled as a winner at the odds you took, and the other half settled as a loser.
Secondly, what happens if a race ends in a dead heat? In this scenario, the two winning traps are given half a point each, and the count continues as normal.
There are old wives tales going back decades that claim that certain dog tracks have biases on the inside or the outside – resulting in a trap bias.
Of course, we can always check how true those sentiments are by examining the data collected by excellent sites like GreyhoundStats.co.uk, which offers exactly what the name implies.
You can use their data to search for a bias at each track up and down the land, and what you’ll find is the same pretty much across the board – other than for a few percentage points here and there, there is no great bias.
But, that said, these are big data samples we’re looking at. At Hove, for example, Greyhound Stats have compiled the numbers from more than 2,800 races, and those numbers reveal that trap 1 wins 19.9% of the time and trap 5 on 13.6%. Therefore, we can assume some kind of bias exists at Hove giving an advantage to dogs on the inside.
You can also perform your own ‘eye test’ too, particularly when there has been extreme weather. When it’s been red hot or raining cats and dogs, you may note that one side of the track delivers different conditions from the other – e.g. some tracks don’t drain that well, causing heavier ground for the dogs on that side.
A combination of past trap data, race-by-race research and intuition will hopefully guide you to success in your trap challenge betting.
As far as strategies are concerned, it’s worth placing your trap challenge bets as late as you possibly can before the start of a meeting. The reporting of non-runners in greyhound racing tends to be a bit lacking compared to in horse racing, and naturally you want to maximise your chances of winning by ensuring that your trap selection is filled in every race.
Another betting tactic that has plenty of uses is Dutching, which is basically another way of saying that you will hedge your bets by backing two or more traps at the same meeting.
This is a great way of spreading risk, and while your returns may be diluted somewhat you will increase your chances of winning exponentially by covering more than one trap.
You can split your stake 50/50 across the two traps, or instead favour one trap over another by placing 75% on one trap and 25% on the other.
Put it this way, each trap in the standard six-way market caters for around 16.5% chance of winning. So betting on more than one is not to be sniffed at.