How to Bet the Preakness Stakes in 2014
by Trevor Whenham - 5/13/2014
The Preakness Stakes this year is going to be a challenge from a betting perspective - not a totally unique one, but one you need to be ready for nonetheless. California Chrome is going to be a very heavy favorite - quite likely below even money by post time. The rest of the field either has much less experience than the favorite or have had much less success. Bettors seeking to succeed betting this race are going to have to be savvy and strategic.
Here are five tips for how to bet the Preakness in 2014:
With California Chrome or against him?: This is the biggest choice you have to make when betting this race. Are you betting that he is clearly the best horse in the race and that he is very likely to win? Or are you concerned about his durability, the pace challenge he could face early or something else and would rather look elsewhere than bet on him at the very low price he will be at? At odds like these you can't afford to do both. If you think that California Chrome is the class of the race then you have to bet enthusiastically on that, and you can't afford to hedge at all or you will eat up your profits. Your job is to find the best way to leverage your opinion to maximize your return. If you don't like the value he offers then you have the luxury of some fat prices, so you can bet on more horses and more combinations - as long as you leave the favorite out.
Focus on the pace: As the saying goes, the pace makes the race. That should be the case here, because we should see a much different race than we did in the Derby. In that race none of the early speed horses decided to run, so the early fractions were slow, and as a result California Chrome was able to walk to a win in a nearly glacial time. This time we should see a much more legitimate pace. Social Inclusion and Bayern are likely to both be looking for the early lead, and Pablo Del Monte likes the lead as well and has nothing to lose since he is outclassed in the field. They should combine to set much faster earlier fractions, and that will lead to tougher decisions for the riders of the favorite and everyone else. When handicapping the race, then, you need to consider not only how good each horse is but how the race is likely to shape up and how well that works for each horse.
Go exotic: If you do like California Chrome then betting on him to win probably isn't that attractive. The return will be low, so you will have to risk a lot of money to secure a decent profit at the end of the day. Situations like this are perfect for looking at exotic bets. With a favorite you could key to win, a relatively small field, and a few horses you could toss out without too much concern, you could craft trifecta or superfecta tickets that could be affordable and potentially lucrative.
Toss out the little-hopers ruthlessly: Because California Chrome will deflate the returns significantly if he wins or winds up in the exotics, you can't afford to bet on horses that have just a small chance of winding up on the board. They would pay a lot if they did get a piece of it, so they can be tempting, but they will eat into what could already be a tight profit margin if they perform as expected. Depending on what you are looking for in this race, it shouldn't be that tough to whittle the expected 10-horse field down to about six horses worth betting on.
When bettors look at betting exotics in a race like this they have a tendency to bet too many different types of bets. They might bet the exacta and the
tri and also throw some money on the pick three and pick four. Instead of trying to win everything, though, you are much better served to figure out which
of the different possible bets offers the best chance of success and focus on it. The problem with betting too many different bets is that just missing out
on one can eat into your profits and make your return on investment less than ideal. With California Chrome and his microscopic odds in the picture, you
have to focus intently on that ROI.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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