How To Bet On Melbourne Cup 2016, According To Science

How to bet on Melbourne cupImage: Getty Images

We don't advocate gambling here at Lifehacker — especially if you can't afford to lose. But if you want to have a punt with some spare change, it pays to use science as your guide.

Here are this year's Melbourne Cup betting tips based on research done by banking group Macquarie. The research team have looked at 40,000 runs in 4000 horse races in the Melbourne Cup to predict this year's winners.

Macquarie has been using quantitative research techniques to predict the winners of the Melbourne Cup for a few years now. This year it has updated the model it used to predict Melbourne Cup results after analysing data from 40,000 participants over 4,000 horse races for "an extra edge".

This is the new and improved Macquarie Quant Halpha Model:

As Macquarie' research team explains:

"At its core, the Macquarie Quant Halpha Model is based on a simple premise — that betting markets for horse racing are not perfectly efficient. Punters predictably overvalue factors that they believe will make a difference to race outcomes, and hence crowd their bets into favoured horses. The Halpha model identifies horses whose odds are too long for their expected probability of winning, and backs these."

The research team observed that punters tend to bet on long-shot horses based on behavioural bias. They tend to favour younger horses, better form ratings, strong track records, lower handicap weights and horses starting closer to the inner barrier. Macquarie uses the unbiased odds calculated by the Halpha model to make its predictions.

If you don't care about the mathematical formula Macquarie used to make its predictions and just want to know the results (I'll assume that's most people), here's are the top five picks from Macquarie's research team:

Rank Horse Odds Probability of winning
1 6. Hartnell 8.1 9.6%
2 12. Jameka 8.5 8.9%
3 1. Big Orange 13.6 6.6%
4 20. Oceanographer 12.1 6.4%
5 4. Bondi Beach 13.2/td>

6.3%

Here's a fun fact from Macquarie: female jockeys on unneutered male horses, while small in numbers, "win statistically more races after controlling for other variables, and tend to be undervalued."

Macquarie (and Lifehacker Australia for that matter) wants to remind everybody that these kinds of predictions are by no means a sure-fire thing:

"Horse racing is highly unpredictable (we estimate ~75% random), and we actually know very little about horses. Please use your own good judgement when betting, and happy punting!"

If you'd prefer to dispense with the scientific mumbo-jumbo and rely on the man on the street, Business Insider's Greg McKenna has you covered. His tip: plump for Bondi Beach!

"In the short 4 years I’ve been doing this Bondi Beach is the first horse to tick every single box (that makes a winning horse.) And for my box trifecta I’ll be throwing in Jameka – she just might be the next Makybe Diva (and shes owned by a McKenna), Exospheric, Hartnell, with Oceanographer in there as well."

Bet responsibly (and best of luck)!


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