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Are Place and Show Bets Really the Safest Bets in Horse Racing Handicapping

Author: Khushi Saxena
by Khushi Saxena
Posted: Apr 03, 2020

We've all had the experience in horse racing handicapping of having horses that we bet to win coming in second and third. Nothing is more aggravating than having a run of horses who get Betting on TV shows second-itis, but it happens and when it does, bankrolls have a way of disappearing along with patience.

How many times have you bet on a horse to win and it gets beaten at the wire and places? You see that it actually paid quite well to place and you wish you'd bet on it to place. It does happen, but what you have to remember is that you are looking to make a profit over a long series of wagers.

If you worked at any other job you would want to make a profit for the whole year, not just a week or two. The same is true of trying to make a living at the race track. I am not going to tell you not to make place or show bets, but I am recommending that before you do, you look over the payoffs and results for the last hundred bets you made and see if you would have made a reasonable return on your bets if you bet the horses to place as well as to win.

In other words, don't apply knee jerk methods to a long range plan. Handicapping horse races is a long range, goal oriented plan that requires discipline in the face of adversity. Before you bet any sizable amounts of money you should have a plan in place that includes a handicapping system that you have tested and that you know will make a profit.

If you have already done that then you will know whether or not place and show betting are profitable. You should also understand that because of breakage, place and show betting pay a higher penalty and therefore, are a worse bet to begin with. There has to be some pretty strong reason why a horse is a better place bet or show bet than a win bet.

If it is security and more hits per hundred bets, then maybe there is a way of eliminating the riskier bets you are making without sacrificing your return on investment.

The most consistent horse racing systems have to have the basics and a handicapper must understand the basics. I have been around horse racing for 50 years including as an owner.

The final step is the most critical one. Basic handicapping theory tells us that we shouldn't place show bets, but if the payout for show bets is skewed dramatically, it becomes mathematically correct to place two or more show bets on the underdog horses in the field. If the clear favorite does not win, the remaining horses will have high payouts for showing. You will want to place three to four show bets, but if you place them correctly, they will payout handsomely. Because you make several show bets, sometimes you will have two or even three winning tickets.

How does this work? Let's look at an example. When my wife and I were expecting our first child, we stopped by the Batavia Downs (NY) harness track to see a few races. I found a horse that had an extremely small amount of bets placed on it to show so I put a bet on it. That horse went on to win the race, but there were so few betting dollars placed on it, the show wagering paid out more than the winning wager.

In the above example, you can see how a show wager can be beneficial. This will only happen rarely but you need to recognize the conditions that make such a payoff possible.

About the Author

Khushi is a highly passionate writer, who loves creating an imaginary world with his writings. Business Development Consultant, Strategist, Blogger, Traveller, Motivational Writer & Speaker.

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Author: Khushi Saxena
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Khushi Saxena

Member since: Feb 17, 2018
Published articles: 76

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