While the Show bet still remains very popular among novice race bettors, it is one of the worst and least profitable wagers offered. If you want to make a Show bet and return more than just a few pennies, it will have to be part of a larger bet, such as a Parlay.
A Show bet is when you select a single horse in the race to finish anywhere in the top three positions. If the horse Shows, meaning it finishes in first, second, or third, you win the bet.
One of the reasons why betting the Show is a bad idea is that it is not worth the return. The problem is that no matter if the horse finishes first, second, or third, the payout is the same. If you choose a horse with good odds and it finishes first, you are not going to get the good payout from the Win bet. Instead, you are going to be stuck with the much smaller Show payout.
With the returns on your investment often being so little and most tracks having a $2 minimum on Show bets, it is common to see payouts as little as $0.20. It is obvious that risking $2 to win $0.20 is not the smartest or most worthwhile wager to make.
As mentioned before, the only real place for a Show bet is within a Parlay. For example, you can begin by betting $2 Show on a horse, and the profits can roll over to make another Show bet on the next race. If you keep doing this, you will either lose one bet in the sequence or make a small profit, which is going to be much better than a standalone Show bet. You are also only risking $2 each time.
While it is hard to find much value in the Show bet, it is not going anywhere. It is still available at all tracks and online sportsbooks, and it is popular among new bettors due to its low-risk nature.
With all of the other betting options now available, there is really no reason to choose a Show bet. Look toward the Win, Place, Show or an Exacta, which are much more exciting and profitable. If you are determined to make a Show bet, put it in a larger bet, such as a Parlay.