I want to talk about ODDS and wagering today; the track handicapper establishes the morning line odds, from there they fluctuate based upon what the PUBLIC wages per horse.

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For example; you get to the track or read the early racing form and see a horse at 2-1 and another at 8-1 odds in race six. Race 6 arrives and now the 2-1 horse is 4-1 and the 8-1 horse is 3-1. The public is putting money on the 8-1 morning line horse and he is now lowered to 3-1.

The track is not going to lose money; they adjust the lines accordingly to favor their payout. It is very similar to a bookie laying off a wager. He wants to make sure he does not take too much of a loss. Now the 2-1 morning line horse is 3-1, which means the public is not agreeing with the morning line, and his odds are going up. I know some people who wager based on morning line fluctuation thinking, there is some inside knowledge on a horse and his odds are going down. Everyone has his or her own theories and betting habits.

Here is something I came across the other day. I was at bar with some friends watching Gulfstream Park and one of the guys decides he wants to put $100 win on a 6/5 favorite. Another person says tell him to do $50 Win and Place, play it safe. I tell him put $100 show on the 8-1 horse to which he replies, “Show pools are for pussies.” I tell him your 6/5 horse is going to pay $4.10 win. You collect $205 and pocket $105 and you horse has to WIN.

The 8-1 odds horse can come in 1st, 2nd or 3rd and I am sure if the will pay $4.10 at minimal to show, maybe more if he wins. Well, his horse did win the race and it payed $4.10, my horse came in 2nd and the show pool paid $5.40. He would have collected $270 to show and pocketed $170. This is $65.00 more than his win bet.

What I am getting at it is this; sometimes you have to look at the situation and decide what is most economical and gives you the best chance of winning. You do not have to have the winner every time to make money. He had one chance of winning on the win ticket at small odds, where my advice gave him three chances of winning.


Getting back to the first part of this write-up, who makes the odds? The betting public AND most of the betting public does not know how to bet. They pick names, birthdays, and license plate numbers. The worst track in the country for this is Santa Anita. The odds on that track are off more often than not, meaning the horses do not run to their odds on the board. I see long shots come in at Santa Anita more than any other track, particularly in the winter meet.

On the other hand, Saratoga (my home track) is also another track where bombs come in. It is called the “Graveyard of Favorites.” My opinion on this has more to do with the deep track, but it also has to do with the public. Saratoga is a party; music, bands and family outings at the track and it is Summer time. Vacationers are all over and again, who makes the odds? The PUBLIC! There is so much money at the track that the odds are never very true.

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