by Frank Cotolo
It is time again for Bettors Banquet (BB) to make a case for what is sadly becoming a lost science — writing your own odds line. Since the popularity of wagering on pari-mutuel races has increased from a growing number of single- and multi-race exotic bets offered (some at discount minimum costs) along with carry-over and “new money” inflating payoff pots, the notion of winning a lot of money by betting a little money has become a major role in the increase of business.
Though the big picture for business looks bright, it preys upon the small-picture individuals, bettors who do not escape the worst dynamics of the game — the common results that drain cash and smother enthusiasm. Everyone except those who can afford to lose “X” amount of money per year gambling on horses fails to understand that writing an accurate personal odds line is a tool that works for the individual to stay afloat financially and profit from worthy wagers. Our examples this time loom boldly.
One of the biggest stakes programs of the year is presented at The Meadowlands this Saturday (Aug. 7). Centered around The Hambletonian, most of the races are filled with equine stars and challenging foes. BB shares its personal odds line (with comments) for the card in the hope of inciting readers to express their opinions in odds and to employ the practice of choosing race battles based upon your opinion (the odds BB will display as examples, of course, express BB’s opinion).
Let’s start with win bets, which an odds line is based upon, then we will look at the line as it can affect single- and multi-race exotics.
1 – Delayed Hanover – 9-2
2 – Take All Comers – 16-1
3 – Spy Booth – 30-1
4 – Captain Corey – 5-1
5 – Locatelli – 30-1
6 – Sonofamistery – 4-1
7 – Really Fast – 6-1
8 – Venerate – 6-1
9 – Ambassador Hanover – 20-1
10 – Cuatro Del Julio – 30-1
Unlike the Morning Line, our odds line equals 100 per cent. Our contenders are the horses we assign odds of up to 6-1. In this race that rule tosses out half of the field. That is all right. In fact, it defines how you feel about the competition and does so without any thought of wagering (because it is, definitively handicapping).
From here on we list only contenders in our line.
1 – One Eight Hundred – 7-2
2 – Rockyroad Hanover – 5-1
4 – Perfect Sting – 5-2
7 – American Courage – 6-1
If none of these goes off at those or higher odds, there is no win bet.
Jim Doherty Memorial
4 – Joviality S – 6-1
6 – Venerable – 3-1
Always respect the percentages. These two handicapped fillies present 39.3 per cent of the 100 per cent chances to win of the 10-horses in the field. You have no first or second or so on “choices” to win. The public’s opinion of chances dictates which one you play or if you pass the race entirely.
Peter Haughton Memorial
1 – Robertsin – 4-1
2 – Letsdoit S – 5-1
5 – King Of The North – 2-1
Let’s use these races as if they were the legs in a Pick 4 (P4). In the cases of P4 legs, three include decisions before the public bets. A personal line already contains the horses you’ll use — your contenders. With a 50-cent P4 this ticket costs $60.00 to hit once. Never add any other horses but your contenders and never use ‘all’ for any leg.
Each leg may be played with win bets and/or other single-race exotics — using your contenders. Do not ignore betting your contenders in legs if you are alive or dead in a P4. In this fourth leg, for instance, you may be betting the 2 to win. Always use your win bet on top of exotics; this one has two exactas if you bet the 2 to win (2-1 and 2-5) and all three for a triple (2-1, 5-1, 5).
Your personal odds line makes your statement to the enemy — the public — and it is a mighty foe. Barry Meadow, once a prolific professional race player and author of gambling truths, said, “[Many] studies involving tens of thousands of races found these conclusions: the lower the odds, the more likely a horse is to win; the public overbets longshots and underbets favorites… We probe the crowd’s line for vulnerable spots to attack.”
As such, Meadows advises making an odds line for every race that interests you because “the numerical expression of your opinion will show you exactly which horse or horses are playable.”
4 – Weslynn Quest – 9-2
6 – Chaptiama – 5-1
7 – It’s Academic – 5-2
8 – Guardian Angel AS – 4-1
If 7 is the win bet, exactas are 7-4, 6, 8. This race offers a 10-cent superfecta. Would that be worth a play? Probably not, unless you played your contenders’ odds in order, that is, 7-8-4-6 and you played it 20 times ($2.00). Then, if you beat the public odds on one or more and it still only pays $20.00, you cash for $200.00.
Not much in this BB episode covers wagering because handicapping (writing a personal odds line) has nothing to do with wagering. Money management is for advanced handicappers. We hope to cover that in future BB episodes.