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Track Tracts

Betting Line Wagering Simplified
by Gordon Pine

The first two races of this year�s triple crown illustrate the power of wagering with a betting line. With decent, if less-than-brilliant, handicapping, I was able to take money from both races. How is that possible? In the Derby, my fourth pick won. In the Preakness, my third pick won at 2/1 odds. In both races, my top pick was out of the money.

My meat and potatoes betting includes win, place, show and exacta wagers. If there are overlays in a race, I will generally bet them in some or all of these pools. My wagering method is mechanical, easy-to-implement, and well-worn � I�ve been happily doing it this way for years. The overarching principle is to place bets that involve overlays as defined by my betting line. Here�s how it works:

�Win Betting: Bet if the horse�s odds are equal to or greater than the Bet Odds.
�Place Betting: Bet Win/Place if the horse�s odds are 3+ times the Fair Odds.
�Show Betting: Bet Win/Place/Show if the horse�s odds are 6+ times the Fair Odds.
�Exacta Betting: Wheel the overlay(s) top and bottom with the top two favorites. If there are more than one overlay, box them.

Using the betting line I posted for the Kentucky Derby in Capper�s Corner the night before the race (assuming $20 win/place/show bets and $5 exacta bets) here�s how this betting method worked

              Fair Bet Track
P# Horse      Odds Odds Odds
 3 Balto Star  5/2  4/1  8/1
 8 Congaree    7/2  5/1  7/1
17 Point Given 4/1  6/1  9/5
16 Monarchos   7/1  9/1 10/1

$20 Win 3,8,16 = $60
$20 Place 3 = $20
$5 Exacta, 18 combinations = $90
(3+8+16 with 10+17, 10+17 with 3+8+16, and 3-8-16 box)

Total Bet $170
Collected $230
Profit     $60

I didn�t expect to get my 9/1 Bet Odds on Monarchos, but they�re generous on Kentucky Derby Day, and it ended up being a bet. I missed my big exacta payday when Congaree got nosed out of the second spot, but the $23.00 win payoff for Monarchos made it a profitable day.

Before the race, the Preakness looked like a passer, unlikely to offering much value. I expected one of the top three favorites to win the race. I did give an outside shot to A P Valentine or Richly Blended to pull off an upset. Here�s the betting line I posted in Capper�s Corner the night before:

                 Fair Bet Track
P# Horse         Odds Odds Odds
 7 Monarchos      3/1  9/2  2/1
 5 Congaree       4/1  6/1  5/2
11 Point Given    6/1  8/1  2/1
 4 A P Valentine  7/1  9/1 10/1
 6 Richly Blended 7/1 10/1 17/1

$20 Win 4,6 = $40
$5 Exacta, 10 combinations = $50
(4+6 with 7+11, 7+11 with 4+6, and 4-6 box)

Total Bet  $90
Collected $203.50
Profit    $113.50

As I and just about everyone else figured, one of the favorites won the Preakness. What allowed me to make money in the race was one of my overlay�s driving finish to get second. Despite a troubled trip, A P Valentine rushed up to complete a bounteous $81.40 (for $2) exacta.

The best explanation of how to use a betting line to make money at the track is contained in Barry Meadow�s book Money Secrets at the Racetrack. My personal betting method is a bastardization of his methods which I developed in the search for the easiest possible method which still incorporated the power of the betting line.

The idea behind my place wagering is, if a horse is going off at three or more times its Fair Odds, it�s likely to pay its Fair Odds payoff or more in the place pool. And that�s for an event that�s much more likely than finishing first � finishing first or second. The same logic applies for show bets when a horse is going off at six or more times its Fair Odds. This is based on something Mark Cramer wrote about � he posed this question: If you�re willing, for instance, to take 4/1 on a horse in the win pool, why wouldn�t you bet it to place if you�re likely to get that price in the place pool?

The notion behind my exacta wagering method is, if a horse is overlayed in the win pool, it�s likely to be overlayed in the exacta pool. Combine that with the fact that one of the top two favorites is going to be in the exacta more than 80% of the time, and you�ve got my method. If any of my overlays runs at least second, I�m probably going to make money in the race. If I have multiple overlays that run one-two, I�m going to have a bonanza. And I don�t have to look at exacta payoffs for 12 different combinations with three minutes to race time � I just watch the win odds, mark my bets, and place them.

I�ve never been a trifecta player, but I�m thinking of testing some ideas. (If anybody has experience with profitable, easy-to-use trifecta wagering methods with a betting line, I�d welcome suggestions.) Here�s what I plan on testing: Trifecta as a Show Bet. I�m going to look at how I�d do if I bet all my betting line contenders (horses with Fair Odds of 7/1 or less) in the first spot, to all my betting line contenders in the second spot, to just my overlay(s) in the third spot. So, it�d be a Contenders-Contenders-Overlays trifecta ticket. A typical one might be 4-4-2 or a $12 ticket. If this works, I could take money from the race if one of my overlays ran in the money.

Keep in mind that each type of bet (win, place, show, exacta, trifecta, etc) should be profitable on its own in the long run. You shouldn�t bet exactas and trifectas just because you feel the need to cash every possible race. No matter how you structure your bets, you�re going to lose sometimes. Strictly speaking, there�s no such thing as a good saver bet if it cuts into your edge. However, you should try to structure your betting so that you focus on overlays, and you get paid if the overlay runs well, even if it doesn�t win. Getting paid if my horse finishes third or better � that�s the kind of leeway I like. Hmm � with the superfecta, maybe I can make it pay if my overlay finishes fourth or better. NC

Copyright �2001 NetCapper Inc. All rights reserved.

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