Betting on the Grand National favourite isn't foolproof

2017 Randox Health Grand National Festival - Grand Opening Day - Aintree
2017 Randox Health Grand National Festival - Grand Opening Day - Aintree

This weekend, one in four of us will take a punt on the Grand National. And while there may be those who claim to understand what they're doing, many of us will be swayed by something not terribly scientific - like the name of the horse or its colour. Betting on the Grand National might be a British institution, but it's something of a mug's game.

See also: Punters take payday loans to bet on the Grand National

See also: Designer jeans and betting slips among 'ludicrous' expense claims on tax returns

See also: Retiree wins over £450,000 on 20p racing bet

At the time of writing, the favourites were Vieux Lion Rouge at 10/1 and Definitely Red at 11/1, but the favourite only tends to win one time in every 16 - which is hardly a dead cert. It means you're taking too much risk for not enough potential return.

If you're looking for a 16/1 punt which actually offers odds of 16/1, there are seven interesting options around:

1. You could bet on the next country to leave the EU, as William Hill has Hungary at 16/1 (although Greece is the favourite).

2. You could bet on the next UK City of Culture. William Hill is offering Hereford at 16/1 (although Coventry and Perth are the front-runners).

3. You could take a punt on the name of William and Katherine's third child with Paddy Power. Options at 16/1 include James, Elizabeth, Olivia, Frances and Caroline.

4. You could place a bet on the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest with Ladbrokes. It has Armenia at 16/1 - although Italy is such a runaway favourite on 5/4 that Armenia would really need to pull something special out of the bag.

5. You could take a punt on the next Dr Who. Paddy Power has two men at 16/1, namely Andrew Buchan and Ben Wishaw. Unfortunately, Ladbrokes has Phoebe Waller-Bridge at 8/13, which again makes her the runaway favourite.

6. The next James Bond has lots of options at around 20/1 with Paddy Power, including Andrew Lincoln, Riz Ahmed, Sam Riley, Henry Cavill or Dan Stevens. Ladbrokes, meanwhile is offering Henry Cavill at 16/1, along with Jack Huston and 'any female'.

7. If you're unconvinced by the technical changes in this year's Grand Prix season, you could always bet on the first retirement of the race. At 16/1 you could go for Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen or Roman Grosjean

According to Grand National Statistics, 47% of people pick a horse because of its name, while one in five go for the colour of the horse, and one in five pick the jockey's number. If you're using tactics like that, you may as well stick a pin in the list of potential James Bonds. Who knows, Jeremy Corbyn, Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Alaistair Cook or Alan Curbishley could be named as the next screen super spy - and net you a win at 1000/1.

Of course, as ever, regardless of the odds, if you choose to gamble there's always a real risk you will lose everything at stake. It's therefore essential that you only bet what you can afford to lose, and see gambling as a fun way to lose money rather than anything else.