Against The Odds

by Ed Meyer

posted on February 10, 2015 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

We’d like to think we have a fighter’s chance when making a bet. There was never a time in my life I didn’t think I could win. I guess it would be pretty tall odds to win without believing in yourself.  For some, their bankroll weighs in the balance on a single race. It’s about that time you know your outcome. So why not slide the odds in your favor?

I played in a handicapping contest this past Saturday. I had my E-Z Win Forms in hand, and felt like it could be a good day. I began my day by watching some of the racing programs on HRTV, and had the angle on weather and contenders looking for a score. I fired up my computer and the waiting game began. As you examine the card, you make a decision. Will you play the top prediction, look for the best value from the top three, or will you dive in deeper into the tier levels to find a bigger price. I have played all three, and they have been profitable. But which would it be today?

The races had some large fields and overall you’ll see more chalk get beat. Now, this is not a hard and fast fact, but it is something you’ll want to keep in mind. On this day I was leaning toward playing bigger price runners versus the short odds. I have played the opposite many times. There have been great days where I’d go three-for-three in a blink. Now, they wouldn’t necessarily light up the board but a win is a win. Here is a glimpse of what it used to look like.

Race #1 was a winner and the horse paid $5.20 and $3.40. Race #2 paid $4.80 and $3.00, and the third winner paid $6.00 and $3.60. The sweet run had my total running at $26. Not bad for a contest, until the next event went to post. A decent price (9-1) was the winner. He paid $20 to win and $9.60 to place. The player who was searching for a solid number found himself in a good spot with a $29.60 total. The chalk player sees this and tends to play ‘chase. They forget their only $3.60 behind, and start looking for runner’s with bigger prices. This usually hurts the player as it takes away from the handicapping element and they get too aggressive. Now, the player who hit the big number is sitting in the catbird seat. They can drop back and stop odds searching. Players who get the score and drop back to handicap are usually in the running at the end. I started playing big, and was running 3rd the first four races. Then I had a (25-1) shot who ran second. He paid $16.00 to place and I had a decent play to keep me going. It is at this time when you are put to the decision.

The E-Z Win Forms were doing well, but I was digging deeper for big prices. This is not to say they didn’t have some nice price runners selected, but I had decided to go the “knockout route.” I was willing to let three small races roll past seeking blowout odds looking for my one score to put me in position. Well, those three races came and went, and some of the top selections were either first or second. I was banking on the large field bigger payout angle. I had a couple of nice scores at the end, but the end-of-the-day it had me in the top third of the field. That doesn’t get you a cigar by any means, and when you turn off the computer you start thinking where you could have done better. I sat back and felt good with my decisions. My best days are when I’ve had a nice price and started handicapping the runners I liked no matter the odds. This method allows you to accrue some money points, and get ready for the last two or three races to make a move. You’ll see players who have zero for the day, and you can always expect them to shoot with the biggest price in the race. With this in mind, I had myself in 32nd place and there were three races to go. I had my day riding on a (6-1) shot. He took the lead and was drawing away. There was a bomb chasing him all the way round and when they hit the wire together, and he was bested by a $128 winner. This one race sent the day flying out the door, and there is nothing to do at that point.