An odds compiler is usually an employee of either a bookmaker or a betting exchange. Their job is to set odds that prove competitive against other bookmakers whilst ensuring their company makes a healthy profit on the market. Any profit made by the bookmaker is known as their over-round and is usually represented as a percentage.
The odds an odds compiler sets aim to reflect percentage chances of various outcomes of sporting events. In all sports, but particularly in horse racing, professional gamblers and handicappers will often compile odds themselves in order to find value within the market or in an attempt to identify an overlay.
In recent times, horse racing markets have been guided heavily by the activity on the betting exchanges but overlays can still be identified if a punter is swift enough. It’s also possible that a bookmaker has taken too much money on an outcome in the market and in order to balance their books are forced to push the price out, allowing them to minimise losses. When this happens, it may be possible for a punter to back all outcomes with different bookmakers in order to make a guaranteed small profit. This is known as arb betting and is frowned upon by many bookmakers. If a customer is suspected of “arbing” it would not be unusual for the bookmaker to close their account.
Before prices were so widely available across the internet and technology became as advanced as it is today, odds compilers needed to possess an excellent understanding of form. It was always key to identify where shrewd money may have been coming from so they could adjust their books accordingly. Being able to recognise “smart money” rather than random punts was a key role in the job of an odds compiler.
Some markets don’t rely on form at all and are heavily influenced by statistics. Certain markets in football (corners or throw-ins for example) will have almost no bearing on the form of either side. The whole market will be based on statistics from previous games.
Part of an odds compiler’s job is monitoring account action. Bookmakers act prudently with regards to punters potentially damaging profits. It’s not only arb betting that bookmakers dislike, but short-priced each-way singles and short-priced each-way doubles are another bugbear. Persistent winners are understandably unpopular and if by any chance a bookmaker/odds compiler suspects you are betting with inside information, your days holding an account with them could be numbered!