Belmont Stakes Matchup Bets: Odds are Angel of Empire Looms Large

There may be nothing bettors like more than A vs. B individual matchups, whether sportsbooks offer them on the NFL, NBA, PGA, NASCAR, or the Belmont Stakes.

We’ve got Belmont Stakes matchup bets courtesy of Circa Sports in Las Vegas. These props are valuable to act upon either as a side bet, or something to bolster another area of wagering.

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Matchup Bets for Belmont Stakes 2023

Here are several head-to-head wagers, and my picks, with the winners listed first. I will play some, not all of these, and as light-wager side bets to the other picks.

Angel of Empire (-165) over National Treasure (+145)

Not an easy selection, as both are in my four-horse trifecta box, but I like Angel of Empire and Forte to be the exacta box in the race. This would be an excellent place to hedge my exacta by taking National Treasure, but I’ll stick with Angel of Empire.

I have hedges elsewhere. Angel of Empire has the highest Beyer Speed figure in the race at 104, and it will make sense that he’s charging late. Even if National Treasure has the lead, he was all out to win the Preakness at 1-3/16 miles. There are 5/16 of a mile more room for a closer to work with here.

Angel of Empire factors into our Belmont Stakes matchup bets on Saturday.
Angel of Empire trains ahead of the Belmont Stakes. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Hit Show (+110) over Arcangelo (-130)

I’ll give the nod to experience and take a small dog here. Hit Show ran in the Kentucky Derby, although he faded after a mile. Arcangelo won the lower-stakes Peter Pan and tries two turns for the first time.

The two-turn angle will be my deciding factor in this bet. Nonetheless, a good price on either horse.

More for Saturday: Belmont field & post positions | Belmont Best Bets from Vegas oddsmaker | Belmont odds | Wildfires’ impact on Belmont Stakes

Red Route One (+135) over Arcangelo (-155)

Same reasoning. Red Route One has two-turn experience. Arcangelo does not. This wager would be admittedly light because I might be all wet with Red Route One, who sparked a $419 payday for me in the Rebel Stakes.

That’s why it’s important to understand why we make certain wagers. This is loyalty, perhaps the wagering equivalent of buying a drink for my buddy at the next table just because it feels good to do it.

For one bet, I don’t care. It’s fun.

Red Route One (+120) over Hit Show (-140)

If the odds were flipped, I might go the other way. Both had game efforts in their last race. I’ll take the stab that Red Route One likes to go longer.

Tapit Shoes (-250) over Il Miracolo (+215)

Just a pick, never a play at this number. But I don’t like Il Miracolo at all, and Tapit Shoes could wind up vying for a place in the superfecta.

Some gamblers love to play situations like this. They don’t care what the number is, if they see a lion matched with a lamb, they slam the wager, odds be damned. This is a lion vs. lamb scenario for them.

Tapit Trice (+130) over Forte (-150)

What? Forte is my win bet. So, this is my first cover. Tapit Trice loves to run late, and could be well meant for 1-1/2 miles. I already have a win bet on Forte, so what good is -150 here?

Angel of Empire (+110) over Forte (-130)

Yes, I still think Forte is the best, but I’m asking him to go 1-1/2 miles after he’s never been further than 1-1/8. I can cash this, and still hit the exacta box if Angel of Empire wins and Forte runs second.

Angel of Empire at least ran 1-1/4 miles in the Kentucky Derby.

Angel of Empire (-125) over Tapit Trice (+105)

This is a “say it but don’t play it bet” for me, as I’ve already committed Angel of Empire to the exacta box, and Tapit Trice to cover over Forte.

National Treasure (+140) over Tapit Trice (-160)

This is a value play, based on the possibility National Treasure gets off to the lead in a slow pace. He was allowed to relax in the Preakness.

Tapit Shoes and Il Miracolo may push him a little bit here, setting up Tapit Trice and the rest of the closers. But if they don’t and National Treasure is allowed to save something, he’s a major threat to win the race.

For that angle and for this price, it’s worth a small stab.

Angel of Empire (-165) over National Treasure (+145)

But I don’t want to go too crazy with National Treasure props. So, this one is another “say it, don’t play it” and I simply think this is the outcome. Unlike other bets, I will avoid the urge to hedge the win bet by taking the price.

Belmont Matchup Betting Summary

Some bettors will like an individual prop so much they will make it the major part of their ticket. Understood. They can make as much money defeating one horse as others will trying to defeat eight.

Horse racing has fewer of these outlets than other sports, but that will change in years to come. More wagering options will eventually find their way into the betting universe, and more gamblers will be able to create their own mini–Triple Crown race.

For some, this wagering slate represents the most fun they will have in the entire race. It has the side-bet allure similar to casino gambling, and the hedge possibility connected to the main body of bets.

Good luck with your Belmont picks. And with your props!

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About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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