Horse Handicapping & Betting Guidelines

Horse Handicapping & Betting Guideline
By Dennis Stagliano

Professional horse race handicappers do not make hay betting favorites. What you will hear them say so often is, “I’m not getting any value for my buck”.

The favorite must be considered in every horse race, but consider whether or not to bet the favorite, or pass the race entirely. When a race contains more than one strong “favorite” (the 2-3 biggest favorites near post time), I recommend keeping your money in your pocket. A recent example of this is what has been happening at Del Mar this year. If you’ve been betting the favorites, you’ve put a huge dent in, or lost your bankroll. Also, experienced Saratoga bettors know how hard it is for the favorite to win at the Spa.

Knowing when the favorite is legitimate is extremely important in horse betting – but even more important, is identifying the other true value contenders going off at higher odds.

This is the real key to making profits in your horse race betting.

When horses have shown contending ability and desire in previous races – even if matched against what appears to be a superior horse today – they can, and do win – sometimes at high odds.

66% of all races are won by non-favorites! Look at it this way, let’s say you’re a football coach and you have two short yardage running backs for goal line purposes. If one of them fumbles 2 out of 3 times, would you put him in to cross the goal line? It blows my mind when I see bettors continuously betting favorites. Once again, if you’re betting favorites at Del Mar and Saratoga this year, how you doing?

Many “big named race handicappers”, use the term “overlay”. Every time I watch the races on TV, it overlay this and overlay that one. If you put a horse’s chances to win at even money, and it’s going off at 8-5 , they’ll say to bet it – after all, it’s a big overlay – right?

If you’re a $1-$2 racing aficionado, then what I’m saying hear is “forgetaboutit”. But for most of us, horse race betting is an endeavor to make a profit. My way of thinking, betting on horses that are low-priced favorites is just a weak justification for “chalk chasing” – just to win, which in the long-term is a losing game in racing and many other sports. Take baseball for instance. When I realease my MLB picks, it is “rarely, if ever” a favorite larger than 110/100 for the entire season.

When the race favorite falters for whatever reason – remember, they do so two-thirds of the time. I stand to collect on other contending horses that will produce much higher returns. On the other hand – when a race has 2 or 3 low-priced horses that look legit – if one of them falters, one of the others is ready to win. It’s like a shell game. Which shell has the prize under it? I avoid these races for win betting.

Successful race betting is a combination of handicapping, betting skills and discipline. It’s not how many winners you picked, it’s how much money went south into your pocket.

A well known racing axiom I once read said: Win percentage has nothing to do with profit.

If you are going to bet horse racing successfully, do it like you’re buying stock. Forget about how many times it went up or down, the only thing that matters is your ROI (return-on-investment) at the end of the year. Do you have money in a 401K account? Are you taking money out of your pay check and investing in a retirement account? Do you allocate all of your money to the fund that returned the highest ROI in the last year? Ah ha, get it now. Value is in having different stocks, bonds, etc. Money management my friend. Spreading both the risk and reward potential over a variety of “bets” puts one in a better position to both survive – withstand adverse moves – and profit. I’m flabbergasted when my savvy, educated friends who invest and are astute risk managers – tend to be so naive in their attempts to make a profit with a horse bet. I went to the track with my financial adviser, and watched him do the opposite of what he preaches to me about for my 401K.

So, how can betting risk be reduced – if not eliminated?  Once again, by spreading the bankroll – spreading the risk.

You can buy my Del Mar and Saratoga Daily Tip Sheets for the cost of a Starbucks coffee. So if you’re going to the track, OTB or the casino race book, forget about that coffee and buy my tip sheets instead. After all, you can’t make no money with a freaking Starbucks coffee. Giddy Up Bonus! This year, I’m giving away free football schedules. Get your free football schedules and football line sheets that I post in The Racing Digest blog. Giddy Up Bonus Exacta! Get free Gridiron Gold Sheet NFL Football Preseason Newsletter Issues that I post in The Racing Digest website, under Dennis Stagliano’s Free Sports Picks, located under my handicapper products.

About the author: Dennis is an award-winning handicapper, and is regarded as one of the nations most respected race and sports handicappers since 1981. Dennis owns Gridiron Gold, Gridiron Gold Sheet ,Horse Race Tip Sheets. and a Free Horse Race Tips site. You can buy Dennis’ Del Mar and Saratoga Tip Sheets in The Racing Digest website under Dennis Stagliano’s Horse Racing Tipsheets.

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