“Odds and Ends”

“Odds and Ends”

You will quite often here players say something like this, “I never bet on a horse going off at less than 3/1″ (or plug in whatever odds you want). Maybe you’ve said something like that, and believe that statement (or similar) can be made as an overall, all-inclusive, pronouncement.

In today’s game of consistently small fields at many of the tracks, some adjusting of thinking might be needed.

The basic thought here is this: are odds of, say, 5/2 the same value in a 5-6 horse field as in a 10-14 horse field? – “Well, heck yeah – it pays the same in both races, right?!” (I can hear someone say).

Yes – but to my way of thinking, a 5/2 shot in a 6 horse field might be a very good value bet that I’ll make, whereas if my top choice is off at 5/2 in a full field, it is simply far less attractive, and I will most often go elsewhere (using my second or third choices).

Why is it that a player feels (or should feel – and rightly so) that lower odds are generally to be avoided?

Naturally it is because this is, after all, horse racing, and as they say – “Anything can happen in a horse race!” And that potential eventuality of racing luck rearing its ugly head in big fields (regardless of odds) is much more likely than in the small field, and we need to be compensated accordingly should our choice manage to overcome all the potential problems and win the race.

And too – the ‘silly money’ can really drive a false favorite down in a small field and you might see something like this in a 6 horse field; 3/5 – 5/2 – 9/2 – 12/1 – 15/1 – 30/1 . . .

Here, if you think the 3/5 horse is weak and is not a legitimate favorite, then the 5/2 odds on the other horse might be the proverbial “gift.”

But now – here is another example – an 11 horse field; 5/2 – 3/1 – 7/2 – 6/1 – 9/1 – 9/1 – 13/1 – 16/1 – 24/1 – 44/1 – 50/1.

I don’t know about you, but for me the 5/2 horse here is now of much less interest for several reasons . . .

– the fact of its favoritism means I’m getting less than I should
– the larger field means more chance of something going just a bit wrong for the horse
– the other horses at similar odds means there is likely value elsewhere
– the fact that other sharp players haven’t seen enough to drive any particular horse down severely
– the fact that the band-wagon jumpers don’t have an obvious favorite to throw their money at means the odds overall are likely more in-line with
actual value
– etc. etc.

(now – in a dutching scenario where I also like, say, one of the 9/1 horses, I may still be able to make a wager on that 5/2 guy – but just not
very often at all as a singleton)

Anyway . . . the point is that you might consider having a different minimum acceptable odds level for races of different sizes. It opens the game up a bit more, and gives you more winners while still getting value for your money (assuming pretty good handicapping).


That’s my semi-rambling thoughts on “odds” – what about the “ends?” . . .

In the recent blog post, “Aim High” – we were discussing goals for race betting (thanks for all your comments) – and looking towards the potential end results of one’s betting endeavor.

But – in order to have any meaningful level of confidence in the attaining of those ends – the means must be verified.

I was baking bread the other day (kind of a hobby of mine – trying for the perfect baguette) and while “proofing the yeast” got onto this mode of thought . . .

Why go to the trouble of proofing the yeast before making the bread? Simply so that I can prove to myself that the yeast is still active and won’t produce a dud loaf and have wasted my time and effort.

In the same way, whatever method you are using in your attempt at achieving the minimum reward you consider acceptable from race betting – you must first prove to your satisfaction that it is viable, or you won’t have the staying power needed to carry on through the questionable streaks and come out the other side.

And unless you have very deep pockets to begin with (and if you do, why try to make racing anything other than entertainment anyway?!), you should do this “proofing” with minimum bankroll exposure.

If you are in a hurry to make money – i.e. you need money now, or badly – betting the races isn’t the way to go about getting it (that’s only for the problem children among us!). You have plenty of time to do proper testing.

You might consider the following approach (or something similar) . . .

Start testing with a small “x” amount as your base bet– let’s say $5 – for 100 races, and tally the results. If they are positive, raise the wager to $7 for another 100 races (doing a serious test and betting multiple tracks 4 days a week – 100 wagers is achieved pretty quickly – a couple of weeks or three). Now, if the second 100 is still profitable, raise to $10 (or equivalent ratio to your starting bet amount), and bet another 50 races. Still profitable? Double to $20 and bet another 75 races. Still profitable? Double to $40 and bet another 50 races. Still a go?

You now have a solid test of 375 races wagered. For all but purely longshot methods (or exotics oriented methods), this will give you a very good projection. You can now establish a profit-taking schedule, and take it to wherever you wanted to go in the first place – with the confidence you’ll need to “ see it to the end.”

. . . As always – comments welcomed.

Best of fortune to you all – Gary


  1. John Taormino

    Happy holidays to everyone! If you are truly serious about making money at the races, as an avocation or a full time profession, everything you need is right here. My results in 2012 are staggering. Gary is a true genius, and all of his products rate a 10 out of 10. His competitors publish RUBBISH. If you really want to make 2013 the year you succeed, then the 1st step is to buy the P3 PLUS software. It is indespensible and forces you to keep records of all wagers. Something 99% of the betting public DOES NOT DO! You will then be able to define your strengths and weaknesses. That is the hallmark of a true pro. Be disciplined, have a plan, and the profits will come!!!! Thank you Gary for the best products on the planet regarding successful handicapping and money management techniques. They work!!!! If you would like to talk to me, contact Gary and he will give you my private phone number. GO HORSE RACING GOLD!!!!

    • John – I appreciate the kudos – always good to hear from you.
      . . . For others that may read John’s effusive praise and think he might be a ‘house shill’ 😉 I assure you that couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s a professional player in Las Vegas – has been a customer and friend of Horse Racing Gold pretty much from the start, and was a member of the original Insider’s Club we had going many years back. – Gary

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