Thursday, October 28, 2010

Handicapping versus Betting Strategies

Handicapping is about finding the horse or horses that could win. Betting strategies are about configuring a bet to include enough combinations to win the bet. Let me give you some examples. I'll talk about Bob in these examples.

Bob brings up on his computer the past performances (PP's) for a race he wants to handicap. He looks to see the type of race and the length of the race. He then looks through all of the horses in the race. Bob likes to keep track of the hot jockey/trainer winning combinations at this track. He especially looks to see if any of these attractive combinations are in this race. Bob then looks at each horse in the race and carefully studies the PP's of each horse. Bob likes to go through and eliminate all the horses he thinks have no chance or at very little chance of winning this race. Bob is trying to determine just how many horses are solid winning candidates in the race. Bob would like to narrow his list down to as few horses as possible. Ideally it would be nice to single just one horse. In most races he knows that this is impossible. He can usually narrow his list down to 2, 3, or 4 horses. If there are more than that Bob has no trouble in deciding to just not bet this race. Bob knows that unrealistic bad bets can reduce his bankroll. He knows that Minimizing his losses contributes to a higher ROI at the end of the day.

Now let's see how Bob handles his betting strategies. Bob has favorite kinds of bets that he is most confident in making. If he can single a horse in a race, especially if it's not the favorite, he likes to place a win bet. Sometimes it is a sizable bet. As a hedge, Bob will quite often place a 'win-place' bet on this horse. Bob is aware that this situation is very infrequent. So Bob looks to other kinds of bets that he likes. Bob also likes exactas. He is fond of finding 2, 3, or 4 horses in his handicapping where these horses he expects to dominate the race. Infact he feels confident that anyone of these horses could win or place. When Bob finds just two horses he will box those two horses in an exacta. Depending on his confidence level, he will measure the size of his bet. For three or four horses he would box them in an exacta also. Bob is always mindful of his bankroll balance.

I hope that these examples give you an idea of the differences between handicapping and betting strategies. Also I hope you see how the two are connected and depend on each other.

I will follow up later in this blog to explain how Bob may make other bets he likes such as trifectas, superfectas, doubles, pick 3's, pick 4's. I will show you how Bob can combine his handicapping skills with thoughtful betting strategies.

Good luck and have fun playing the ponies.

'til next time.