5 horse racing wagering strategies that produce wins
January 02, 2018 5:34 PM
by Dave Valento
As we turn the page to 2018, it is a good time to recalibrate horse racing wagering strategies. The goal for the new year should be to practice discipline and finish the year in the black. The five key principles to winning:
1) Marathon, not a sprint: It is not uncommon for the average horseplayer to press when losing. Don’t fall into that trap. It’s a long season and the wins will come. You can lose a lot of money overbetting when you’re having a bad day. Don’t give money away betting on weak opinions. The temptation is to try and “win it back” at the end of a bad day. Work on keeping an even temperament and know that winning ebbs and flows during the year. It’s a long journey. The need to win for the year should outweigh the need to win on any given day.
2) Take your medicine: This coincides somewhat with the first principle. Bet with authority when you have a strong opinion and live with the results, win or lose. You’re going to be DQ’d, endure bad rides or just be flat out wrong. This is part of the game. You’ll also be rewarded with good luck at times. The key here is to accept whatever the results are and not let bad luck or inopportune bad beats affect the rest of your day, week or month. Believe me, more money has been lost following a bad result.
3) Good luck is the residue of hard work: Do the homework. Spend the time handicapping in advance. Get to know the races, horses and connections involved and do this prior to thinking about your bets. It is much wiser to pinpoint one day to get involved and spend more time preparing for that day than to play multiple days with little to no preparation. The betting construction should be the focus on raceday. The horse by horse analysis should take place free of the whirlwind action that happens race to race.
4) Know your strengths: Understand the type of races that suit your eye and your handicapping approach. Not all races look the same to a handicapper. Some of us are better with maidens due to pedigree analysis and others might be better with claimers due to speed ratings. Focus on the race types that typically provide a stronger opinion. Your betting should be a bit stronger in the races that fall into your wheelhouse. In the long haul, it will pay off.
5) Know who is hot: Pay attention to trainer streaks. One thing that has become obvious over the last decade or so is trainers “cycle” their horses. So when high percentage trainers are faltering with heavily bet runners, it might be the right time to fade those connections until they circle back around. In 2017, trainers like Peter Miller, Bob Baffert and Jerry Hollendorfer had periods where they couldn’t lose and other times when they were cold. They win and lose in bunches and knowing where they are in their cycle can help in handicapping.
The 12 Playoff teams are set and the only real surprise was Buffalo getting in for the first time since 1999. They made it in exciting fashion. They held on to beat Miami and then watched Cincinnati upset Baltimore, in Baltimore, on a last second 4th down conversion for a Touchdown.
The current odds to win the Super Bowl have the New England Patriots as the slight favorite over Minnesota and Pittsburgh. Those are the only teams currently under 10-1.
Titans at Chiefs (-8): The Chiefs are a very dangerous team with serious offensive weapons. They looked like the best team in football for five weeks to start the season. They’ll have little trouble dispatching a very average Tennessee team in the first game on Saturday. KC, 34-21
Falcons at Rams (-6): Atlanta was in the Super Bowl a year ago and needed to get a few late stops to win it. This year hasn’t been nearly as proficient on offense. They still have one of the better teams on both sides of the ball. The Rams had a major turnaround under a new coach. Atlanta will upset Los Angeles and move on to play Philadelphia next week. ATL, 26-23
Bills at Jaguars (-7): The health of LeSean McCoy for Buffalo is massive. He was injured late in the game on Sunday. If he doesn’t play this game could get ugly. He is such an important part of the Bills offense. Jacksonville has an excellent defense and some weapons on offense. They should get by Buffalo on Sunday. JAX, 19-7
Panthers at Saints (-6): Cam Newton has looked lethargic in quite a few games this season, including a pathetic performance on Sunday. He’s still a major weapon and Carolina can be a very dangerous offense. New Orleans has a special rhythm with their offense led by rookie Alvin Kamara. Drew Brees, with a serious running game, makes the Saints a tough out in January. N.O., 28-20
Play of the week
It comes in the 7th race on Wednesday at Gulfstream Park, a maiden allowance for 3-year-olds. No. 7 SIR SAHIB is making his fourth start for Ian Wilkes.. Huge rider move to Velazquez. Dam is a half to the 2010 BC Distaff winner, Unrivaled Belle. Sir Sahib is 9-2 on morning line. Post is 12:35 p.m. PT.