What’s a Bettor to Do? So Many Exotic Ways to Go

by Greg Melikov

posted on December 17, 2009 in Educational Articles, Handicapping | 2 Comments >>

There are so many types of exotic bets available to horseplayers nowadays that novices are often confused about how to wager.

I remember back when the racetracks I visited at an early age offered only one exotic wager – the daily double. Unlike today, that bet only included the first and second races.

One of my favorite exotic wagers is the Pick 3 for several reasons:

Studies illustrate betting a win parlay covering the three races in a Pick 3 usually pays less than the exotic ticket including the same horses.

The probability of picking winners in three straight contests, depending on the races, is often higher than hitting your favorite exotic wagers in the same set of races.

I always look to single a horse in one of the races, but not a favorite for obvious reasons.

The worst payoffs occur when an odds-on horse captures any of the Pick 3 races or low-priced choices score in two races despite a longshot taking the other contest.

One of the more profitable scenarios transpires when you can identify and beat weak favorites in the first two legs because bettors love to be alive going into the third race and often include those horses.

If you can get the better of the favorite in the first and second legs, you will realize a nice return even if the betting public’s choice captures the final leg.

Naturally, the best returns occur when favorites fail to win any of the races, but excellent payoffs happen when second choices triumph in combination with medium-priced horses.

Combinations of favorites and non-favorites in the Pick 3 can be profitable, but a blend of medium-priced winners often pays more than they should. Good payoffs also result when two of the races appear wide open and lack heavy favorites.

I always look for a horse I feel the public won’t warm up to and I honestly give a good chance of winning the race at a nice price.

Figuring the cost of your Pick 3 isn’t difficult – just multiply the number of selections in each race by the amount bet. For example, 3 x 2 x 1 by a $2 wager is $12.

And remember that while some tracks refund parts of a ticket when there’s scratch in the first leg, if your top selection in the second or third leg doesn’t run, you usually you end up with the post time favorite.

Here are some tips that will save you to time and money:

Don’t waste your dough on low-odds favorites in all three legs because the reward isn’t worth the risk.

Spread out your Pick 3 with multiple tickets.

Don’t be afraid of adding a horse on the bubble because that’s usually the one that beats you.

Go ahead and select second and third favorites in a leg or two, but include some longshots, too.

Take advantage of the $1 wheel because that doubles your betting chances and makes it affordable to include more horses without having to spend a bundle.