There is one day in the English sporting calendar which stands above all the others in the volume of bets placed. The Grand National is synonymous with a punt and everyone is convinced they have the inside knowledge and the ability to pick the winner.
The race, this year held on 8th April, will generate over half a billion pounds in official betting. With the current favourite, Vieux Lion Rouge, starting at 10/1, it is easy to understand why so many bets are placed. If the betting Gods are working in your favour and with around a fifth of the field sitting on 100/1, a small fortune could be right around the corner.
A quick study into the history of the Grand National will highlight just how good an outside bet could be. Last year, Rule The World won from the outside odds of 33/1 and the winners since 2011 have only given the fans more encouragement to consistently back the outsiders.
The winners and their odds from the last six years:
- 2016 – Rule The World 33/1
- 2015 – Many Clouds 25/1
- 2014 – Pineau de Re 25/1
- 2013 – Auroras Encore 66/1
- 2012 – Neptune Collonges 33/1
- 2011 – Ballabriggs 14/1
You have to go back to 2010 to find the last time that the favourite was able to claim the victory. Even then Don’t Push It was only joint-favourite and started at 10/1. That hardly seems like a dead-cert and in a normal race, those odds could be considered to be the outsider.
Just to emphasise the point, 2010 was not a normal year; the favourite or joint-favourite has only won eleven times in the last hundred years. That is not a statistic which will make you want to bet on the favourite. Indeed, it was only one year earlier, in 2009, that Mon Mome won at the really long odds of 100/1.
If you are looking for an outside bet, then you’ll be heartened to know that there have been five times that the winner had odds of 100/1.
Sometimes there is nothing that form and guides can do against the power and the might of the Gods and very rarely are favourites a safe bet in the Grand National.