Five Steps for Betting on Horse Races

by admin on April 28, 2014

Wagering on horse racing has changed dramatically over the past 30 years, thanks mainly to simulcasting and the Internet. While this has made it easier to place bets on hundreds of tracks around the country, the “information age” has also narrowed the gap between the sharp horseplayer and the novice.

When I look back to how I handicapped and bet the races 30 years ago, the only thing missing is Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone. I carried around a tattered notebook with my homemade speed figures, used my VCR (it ws a Beta) to tape the races nightly to add to my video library, and kept notes with trainer and jockey tendencies.

Back in 1986 I got more than a few funny looks from the librarian when I spent three days at the public library accumulating par times to make my own speed figures for racing in Maryland, going through over a year of charts in The Washington Post. It was three of the most boring days I have spent in my life, but over the next several years my homemade speed figures served up winner after winner.

That came to a screeching halt in 1990 with the creation of The Racing Times. The paper only lasted two years but published the Beyer Speed Figures, giving most horseplayers their first taste of true adjusted speed figures. My top speed horses were often Andy’s as well. My prices plummeted. The Times only lasted two years but the Beyers then landed in The Daily Racing Form.

I have not been in a library since.

The VCR and my library of tapes were the next handicapping tools that went into the trash heap. With TVG and HRTV, it’s easy to see all the tracks and both networks show replay shows the following mornings. If that is not enough, there are several places horseplayers can go online to pull up a race replay on demand.

Trainer angles are still one of my favorite handicapping tools, but it is becoming tougher to find value as many handicappers have access to some type of trainer statistics and they are readily available both in print and online right along with the past performances.

So while all the extra information can be looked at as a blessing, it can also be a curse. More information in more horseplayers hands means lower prices. But thankfully there are still a few angles that many horseplayers don’t pay very much attention to.

5 Tips to Win More Races

With the Kentucky Derby betting ramping up for this weekend’s races, here are five angles that can put you ahead of 90% of your fellow bettors:

1. Track Bias: The horse you are betting on won his last race in gate to wire fashion. Would you be so enthusiastic to bet him back if you knew seven other horses that day also won on the front end? Or perhaps you would be more enthusiastic to find out he was the lone front end winner on a day where horses closing form the outer paths dominated the card?

It’s not an exact science, but it’s actually not that difficult to track the track bias at your local track. Take notes while watching the races, taking note of running position and where the best part of the racing strip seems to be. Look over the charts the following day and determine if there was a bias.

It’s also important to note that if you do see four or five horses win on the front end, you have to ask yourself if those horses were supposed to win. Discount what you may think is a speed friendly strip if many of the horses were favorites or lone speed. You won’t find a strong bias very often but when you do you have a strong edge over the rest of the betting public when those horses run back.

2. Pedigree: Turf, maiden, and two year old races can be confusing to many horseplayers, but if you are a student of pedigree, it will help you find winners at generous prices. This is where BRIS past performances can help. They list sire and dam information that can be very valuable. In a maiden race if a dam has dropped four foals to race and they have all won and two of them are stakes winners, you have some valuable information that most of the betting public does not have.

Another good place to look up pedigrees at no cost is at BRIS offers a CD-ROM called Maiden Stats that is well worth the $80 investment. While players that buy the track program stare at the limited data in their program, you can have a real edge here and it can lead to generous prices when well bred horses make their debut or make their first start on the grass.

3. Pace: Just because you see a line of “1′s” in a horses running lines does not mean that horse will be on the lead. It’s important for a good handicapper to use some type of pace figures. You will be surprised how often the horse with all the “1′s” has no chance of getting to the front end. The old saying “Pace Makes the Race” really is true. The only way to map out how a race is going to be run is to use pace figures. Both BRIS and TrackMaster past performances include pace figures or there is plenty of software out there to help you come up with your own.

4. Cost of Wagering: It’s hard to believe there are still account wagering services charging 25 cents just for the privilege of making a wager. It’s still even harder to believe that most horseplayers totally disregard what the takeout rate at tracks are. Why anyone in their right mind would bet on a trifecta at Philadelphia Park where the takeout is 30% is beyond me. The takeout on a trifecta in New York is 25%. At Keeneland the takeout is only 19%.

Be aware of the takeout for the tracks you play, and if they are too high you might want to consider changing your favorite track to one without such a surcharge. Three or four percentage points might not sound like a lot, but multiply it by the number of wagers you make during the year and the difference can be enormous.

Look for value with your wagering dollars, which includes rebates. Some wagering services offer rebates even for the small player. Even picking up a rebate as small as 2 or 3% could mean the difference of turning a losing year into a winning one. Rebates are out there, take advantage of them!

5. Wagering With Discipline: Many good handicappers lose money year in and year out because they don’t use their heads when betting. If you have read any handicapping book the key phrase is “value.” But another word that may be more important in the world of simulcasting and online wagering is “discipline” With dozens of tracks and literally hundreds of races to wager on each and every day, there is no way to become a winning horseplayer without using discipline.

Easier said than done.

Keep it simple. Only wager on tracks that you follow. If you follow two circuits that gives you 18-20 opportunities a day to make a profit. If your bankroll is $400 a day, don’t make twenty $20 wagers. Don’s make ten $40 wagers. Look for three to five strong wagering opportunities a day and devote the majority of your daily bankroll to those races. Use the rest of your bankroll to make minimum wagers on several of the other races.

If the races you feel strongest about don’t pan out, don’t panic and wager more on races where your opinion is not as strong late in the day to try to get back to even. Stick with your game plan, even if that mans picking up The Daily Racing Form and getting a head start on the following days races.

Another mistake some horseplayers make is getting too hyped up for marquee races like the Kentucky Derby or the Breeders’ Cup. In the grand scheme of things the Derby is just one of a 1000 or more races you are going to bet on each year. Treat it that way.

The bottom line is you don’t have to be a genius to be a winning horseplayer. Do your homework, use discipline, and be smart on what you wager on and who you wager with. Keep records and analyze the results to see where your strengths and weaknesses are.

Use the tools available to you like track bias reports, speed and pace figures, or make your own. Wager at tracks with sensible takeout rates, and wager with a account wagering service that offers rebates. Use your head when betting, and you too can be one of the few and proud: A Winning Horseplayer.


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Money Management

by admin on April 11, 2014

The science of investing in sporting events has left many handicappers and professional gamblers raking in the cash from their offshore sportsbook accounts. I say investing because a sound handicapping approach supplemented with good money management skills virtually takes all of the gambling out of online sports betting. Sure, you are still placing bets and “gambling”, but with the right tools behind you, year in and year out you can make money in this field just like we do.

Betting on sports is not a 50-yard dash sprint, but a very long distance race and the sports better has to look at this way. There will be many ups and downs along the way and this is why a proper money management system must be in place before you take your first piece of the action. Today, I hope to help you learn a few tips and tricks that will save you money in the long run.

One may ask the question, If you can pick a greater percentage of winners than losers, why do you need a money management plan? Well the answer is simple. If you can pick more winners than losers, say 55%, but do not have a money plan, you will lose. Plain and simple.


Most betters agree that a set unit price per play is that way to go. I am not going to go into the Kelly Criterion in this article, because I believe that if a capper has plays that he believes has a greater value than what the oddsmaker posted, then it is up to him to make the decision to rate his plays accordingly. This article is aimed for betters, who can pick the right games yet still lose money, the beginning better, and the better who uses a service to pick games and still loses money.

Breaking Even

Lets take the NBA for this example and we will assume that we lay –110 on all sides and totals. Let us also assume that we can hit 55%, or we use a service that picks 55% winners. Now lets take a look at what the ideal should be. Say we have 438 bets, including sides and totals for the year. That is 241 winners and 147 losing tickets. We played at a set unit per play, a 5000-dollar bankroll at 2% per unit would be 100 per bet.

For this example I am going to use 110 to include the juice. This equals 100 X 241 = $24,100 dollars won, minus 110 X 147 = $16,170. So $24,100 – $16,170 = $7,930. This equates to approximately 79.3 units won and quite a nice profit.

Now lets take a better that starts out using a money management system, but then after a great winning streak, decides to vary his bets and increase them. Say he starts out the season going 62-40@ 120 per play, 62 X 100 = 6200, minus 40 X 110 = 4000, $2200 up.

So Mr. No-Money-Management, No Discipline decides to get greedy and up his bets to 5%, 250 per play, to capitalize on his exquisite handicapping skills and really cash in. Now we all know the he is not going to stay hitting 61% for the entire season, so he hits a bad losing streak.

Going 15-25 on his next 40 bets, even though for the season, 77-65 ( 54.22%), he is still above the required win percentage to win money, 52.38%. But going 15-25 translates into the following: 15 X 227 = 3405, minus 25 X 250 = 6250, for a net of NEGATIVE 2,845, and going negative for the season. If he would have kept his original unit price of 100 per play, he would have won 1500 and lost 2750 on his bad run of 40 wagers, however, for the season he would still be positive, not negative.

This is just one example of why, even though you can pick 55% winners, you still must have your head in the right place regarding money management. If not, a bad streak can wipe you out. In the last example, the better wanted to increase his profits, he got greedy, he was looking for a 50-yard dash, and look what ended up happening. Went broke and fell out of the race. So he has to play the rest of the season not even starting over, but starting negative, and chances are this type of better will increase his unit price again, to get himself out of a hole, when in fact he is just digging it much deeper.

On paper, it is easy to see and understand, but doing it in the real world is much different. In all of my time spent in this industry, the number one thing I have learned has got to be patience. It is a must. Without it you will crumble. You have got to have the will to sit there throughout a losing streak, understanding that you handicapping does not suck, and that losing streaks happen to everyone.

The point of 1 to 2 % unit of your bankroll is so that when losing streaks happen, you will not blow your whole bankroll. You need your unit to be small enough that you can go on an extended losing streak, and not get wiped out.

Even picking winners is not going to make you money. For a lot of folks, they believe that is all they have to do. I am sure every sports better out there knows one, if not many of these types of people. I believe the root of it is greed and lack of patience. Take a look again at my first example, the guy who picked his 55%, and stayed with a solid money program the whole way through. A profit of 7930 off of a 5000 bankroll. That is a return of 158.6% on your money. Let me say that again, A RETURN OF 158.6% ON YOUR MONEY. If that isn’t enough you for, then I suggest you look into a different industry.


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