Reading through the Goodforthegame website and discussion forum you will often come across punters stating how many units they are putting on a bet rather than the rand amount.
The reason I and many other sports bettors talk in units is that a Rand means something different to each of us!
You are sitting in the pub talking with a fellow sports fans (lets call them RuggaBugga and Popgun two of our forum posters) about the Sharks vs. Bulls Currie Cup clash. RuggaBugga tells you that the Sharks are 3.5 point favourites and that he has R1000 on them to beat the handicap (i.e. win by 4 points or more) while Popgun chirps that the Bulls are good things and that he has R100 on them to get within 4 points or even win the game.
Who is the more confident of the two punters? If you were to follow these guys where would you put your money?
The obvious reaction is that RuggaBugga must be far more confident as he has put a grand down against Popgun’s R100. He is seemingly putting his money where his mouth is.
As the kick off nears though the chat continues to revolve around betting and RuggaBugga is bragging about the 3 grand bet he had on the Province v Lions game the night before, Popgun also had a bet which lost but he shyly adds that it was only a R20 punt.
Hold on a second, RuggaBugga is only betting a third of that stake on this match while Popgun is effectively having a strike, betting 5 times his stake that he outlaid on the Province v Lions game. In effect you could argue that Popgun is taking the bigger bet relative to his betting profile.
The message here is that to evaluate how strongly someone fancies a certain selection you need to have an idea of his betting patterns and stakes – the Rand value can be misleading.
The punters who contribute to this website are no different; some would be termed small punters, others medium and still others large. For this reason and in order to get a consistent approach we often talk in units and not currency.
A unit can therefore be whatever you want it to be – R5, R10, R50, R100, R500 etc.
When I do a preview on Goodforthegame my maximum stake is 10 units so you can tell by my suggested unit size how bullish I am about the bet.
The unit size is important in terms of tracking the progress of those that use them (there are punters who prefer the level stakes approach i.e. the same value bet on each selection but that is a story for another column) as we can see in this example.
On a given weekend you bet on 4 rugby handicaps and lose 3 winning just the one.
Did you have a good or a bad weekend?
The gut reaction is to say bad as you only succeeded with 25% of your bets but the reality is that once again the information at hand is insufficient.
Let’s assume you gave yourself a budget of 10 units for the 4 matches and allocated them as follows:
Match 1 – 2 units on the handicap at 19/20
Match 2 – 1 unit on the handicap at 19/20
Match 3 – 1 unit on the handicap at 19/20
Match 4 – 6 units on the handicap at 19/20
It is clear from this that match 4 was your best bet or banker for the weekend.
Now to take the scenario above lets assume matches 1-3 lost but match 4 arrived. That’s only a 25% success rate but because your big bet came home you actually showed a profit so the weekend in fact needs to be judged a success.
Match 1 – lost 2 units
Match 2 – lost 1 unit
Match 3 – lost 1 unit
Match 4 – won 5,7 units
You therefore showed a profit of 1,7 units which while it may not sound a lot does mean you have come out better than you went in and you showed a return of 17% on your 10 unit investment and live to fight another day.
The reverse of course is also true. Had you won on the first 3 matches and lost on the 4th (an impressive enough strike rate of 75%) you would have still shown an overall loss.