Morning Lines Made Easier

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 27, 2021 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Handicapping, Help/Educational Articles, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on Morning Lines Made Easier

In the early morning my head was rattling off numbers. Keeping count and arguing with myself while sleeping, but still looking to find the best representation. Funny, I used to hate math as a little kid, and many moons later my dad still speaks of a 4th grade math test that went wrong. But today I love the numbers as they reflect the opinion and  guesstimate how things will take shape.

Many folks I work with have asked me about how this process begins. – “It’s not about who you like, and it’s more than just picking out numbers at random.” – There is a short formula that has to be used. When doing a morning line for race tracks, there is a computer system that will only allow for a figure that takes in number of runners in the race and the cap for total points. You can override on occasion, but I wouldn’t recommend it all the time as it defeats the process. – Here is how it begins:

You take 100 and add in the win, place and show pool takeout. We’ll use 18% which equates to 18 points. – You now have 118 points.

Now, you add in one point for add in one horse in the race. – 10 horses equal 10 points. Entries still only receive one point. – Now, you have 128 points. This is your high point margin and cannot be exceeded. Give yourself 4 or 5 points under this number to create a balanced line and the extra points to subtract keep it manageable. 

Now comes the work, but if you look at it closely, not really that difficult.

If you want to use (2-1), add one number to the 2 points and come up with three points. – Take 100 and divide it by the 3 points and you come up with 33.333. Disregard the .333 and just use the 33. – You have 33 points toward your tally of the 128 point total. 

If you like (7-2), take half of 7-2 or ($9.00) which is (4.5) and divide it into 100 points. You will come out with 22 points to use. – Getting the idea? – One more. You like a big favorite and want to assign it odds of (4-5). Take half of what (4-5) would pay ($3.60 and use $1.80). Divide the $1.80 into 100 and you have 55 points to assign. 

With all of the witchcraft that goes into making a morning line, it gives you an idea about creating a fair and balanced line to guesstimate how the odds will go off at post time. This is a fair way to estimate how the public will wager by handicapping the race and assigning a numerical value. – I like to give myself 4-5 points lower that the total to use as a buffer not to drive odds too low or keep them too high.

A longtime friend who used to create the morning line said I’d enjoy it as much as handicapping the race minus making wagers. He was right. I pay close attention as I’m going about my routine. – I have used the concepts of the California line makers, New York, and the long time great handicapper of decades of Kentucky Derbies, Mike Battaglia. With all of these similar systems, it all works out about the same. – A few times Mike has asked me to pinch hit and make the M/L as he had to go out of town. – It was like Lou Gehrig asking if you would like to go to bat for him.

Take a look and start trying your hand at creating your own morning line to see if you are getting fair value for your wager. – The handicapping part is the only difference as I use three types of information that many won’t be able to use without purchasing.

I enjoy creating the line and take pride. Many think it is just guessing and assigning numbers, but nothing could be farther from the truth. I would like for the public to glance at the M/L and have a good idea of how the race could take shape as they are going to post. Giving the handicapper a gauge to find the best value for their betting dollar. That is my goal to allow them more time to handicap versus guessing what the odds possibly could be.

Best of luck, and try your hand at creating a morning line. – You can find the list of numerical points online and use the above system for getting started. Guarantee, it will be enjoyable when you glance at the program and can add in your head if the line is fair and balanced. Even better as the horses go to post and your line is square on for the top three runners. To have the entire field exactly on the number is like trying to push an elephant through a keyhole. – Stick to the top two or three runners as a good gauge for how you are doing.

Enjoy, and best of luck!