Let’s face it, we all enjoy the thrill of winning. Even if we lose money 5 days in a row, a winning day can put a smile back on our face and we are convinced we now have the secret to success at the races. But guess what, tomorrow the bubble is burst again! The fact is, we are shoveling sand against the tide. With track take-outs ranging between 15% and 30% it’s pretty difficult for handicapping and money management alone to overcome those odds. But remember, there is hope. We are not playing against the house are we. We are pitting our skills against the skills of other bettors. So just who are these other bettors – the ones we have to beat? Even better question is why are we the ones feeding the mutuel pools for those fortunate few winners?
The answer to the first question is “CAW”. That stands for Computer Assisted Wagering. Yup, it’s legal too! All it is is feeding all the handicapping and mutuel pool data into a computer and having the computer tell the bettor which horses (or combinations) are offering value above the logical odds line. They don’t bet one horse to win. They bet all the horses (or exactas, or trifectas, etc.) that the computer tells them, and it also tells them how much to bet on each. Stop and think about it. In a race where one horse is clearly the best (any rank amateur handicapper can often pick out the best horse) guess what, everybody bets that horse. BUT….that horse is not that much the best. When you bet a horse down to 3:5 that is supposed to mean that horse will win 5 times out of 8 races….hmmm…. DO you see favorites winning at a 60% clip… I don’t. OK so the point is, betting on all those “over-bet” horses is a sure formula for failure. CompuBet’s ratings can do a better job of handicapping the “best” horse than most human handicappers, but remember, the race is run on the track, not in a computer. I hate to advise you (or me) ever to bet against our ratings, but I also hate to bet on a hugely over-bet horse.
That leads me to the second question: Why do we always seem to be feeding those gluttonous CAWs. Because we are not following their lead. Simple as that.
So my advice to you is this. Try to find a way to cash some value bets. If CompuBet’s second choice is going off at 10:1 and the third choice is going off at 7:1 and the top choice is heavily favored in the betting. Try playing those value bets; but only if the point spread is small. Obviously our top pick is 50 points the best, probably a PRE of 100 (Best Bet), it seems like a fools errand to bet against it. But if only 10 or 15 points separate all the top 3 horses, then you know what, that top pick is not “THAT MUCH” the best, it doesn’t deserve to be 4:5, and the other two do not deserve to be 10:1 and 7:1 Use the Dutching calculator in my earlier post to find out how much to bet on those two. And you can use three, or four when the situation warrants it.
And you can extend this same philosophy to the exotics. Do you really think these CAWs have such great handicapping that they hit the trifectas and supers by buying one ticket….NO! But I guarantee they bet lots of combinations that offer value! I’d be very surprised if they EVER wheel a favorite on top. They may play the favaorite on top, but not with 2 or 3 other favotites. The returns are just too small for the investment.
This kind of wagering technique requires consistency and discipline. But it can pay off if you make yourself some rules and stick to it.
The other important ingredient is money management. I really like some version of a progressive wagering system. It can maximize your wagers when you win. And if your handicapping and focus on value are working, then you must have confidence that losing streaks will be manageable, and a progressive approach can turn things around dramatically. I will write more about that next time. Meanwhile, play smart, not with your heart. Best of Luck!