2020 Kentucky Derby Wagering Strategies
It’s the fastest two minutes in sports and perhaps the most anticipated sporting event, with the exception of the Super Bowl. The Kentucky Derby lives in the hearts and minds of everyone associated with horse racing. And as soon as the Derby ends, the focus shifts towards building for next year’s race. However, as glorified and as exciting as this horse race is, it’s just one race, and the handicapping that goes into it should be similar to what you would do on a random Sunday in September. With the media attention comes the terrible odds thanks to everyone trying to get in on the action. Horses may go off at lower odds or higher odds than they deserve. And with how random the race is, there is often tons of value or not enough to bet into.
To give yourself the best possible chance, you need some good Kentucky Derby wagering strategies. And that's just what we have here - five of them, in fact:
Envision how the race will be won or lost: Similar to when betting on sports, you have an idea of how the team you pick should be able to win. Whether that’s an advantage on the mound, or at the skill positions in football, you always have an idea of what to expect. When handicapping this horse race, the process should be no different. You should take into account how fast the early pace is going to be, and which horses you envision leading the race or holding back and coming off the pace. By understanding the thought process of each jockey, you should have a better indication of which horses can be set up for a big day. Oftentimes you’ll see a Kentucky Derby long shot hit the front and set up insane fractions which throws everyone – especially the horses that like to be on the front or close to the front – for a loop. This is why understanding the race dynamic is so important. Do you expect reasonable fractions? Or will they be really aggressive? Or somehow lethargic? Depending on what you expect, that will inform how you like those leaders, the horses that will likely be in the pack behind them, and the deep closers in the field.
Watch the Tote Board: Bad bettors only think about who is most likely to win. Successful long-term bettors know that what is more important is that the odds on a horse are attractive. If a horse has, in your eyes, a 20 percent chance of winning, then you wouldn't want to bet him at 2/1 because you would lose money over the long term. But at 20/1 you would throw money at the horse. The more effectively you can think in terms of value as opposed to pure results, the better off you are going to be in the long term.
Get exotic: It’s very hard to win in horse racing over the long-term, and only picking winners is not the way to do it. You have to make use of the exotic bets like the exacta and trifecta and even superfecta if your feeling brave. These are the types of bets that offer up great payouts if the right horses hit. For those new to horse racing, an exacta is correctly picking the horses who will finish first and second. The trifecta is first, second and third, and the superfecta is the top four. The more horses you use for these options, the higher the cost, but the potential of a massive payout that’s worth every penny. Last year, Country House assumed the win because of the DQ of Maximum Security, and he lit up the tote board. The exacta – Country House + Code of Honor – paid $3,009 on a $2 wager. The triactor paid $11,475 on a single dollar, and the superfecta paid $51,400.
Options, Options, Options: It doesn’t matter if it’s the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, the Queen’s Plate, or the seventh race at Santa Anita on a Friday. There can only be one winner of any horse race (unless there is a dead heat) and so lots of people make the mistake of thinking that they should only bet on one horse. If you connect on that single horse, congrats. If it’s the favorite, the reward will be minimal and totally not worth the risk. If it’s an underdog, the payout will be decent, but I wouldn’t hold your breath on hitting a big underdog in a 20-horse field. This is why you have to have more than one horse in mind in order to cover your bases. Something I like to look at is the exotic bets like the exacta.
In this year’s race, you have Tiz the Law, which is the overwhelming favorite. However, if you can find a long shot that can hit the board for second, you may be able to make a good profit if he finishes behind Tiz the Law, who will likely win. Remember, the more horses you select, the more money you will have to spend. Therefore, while having options is good, remember to pick the best ones.
Relax: It is really easy to take this race too seriously. People think that they are experts and that they are smarter than the race. They aren't, though -- no one is. There is a good chance you are not going to cash a ticket on this race. And that's okay -- it happens to the best of us, and far more often than most would want to admit. The first rule to have fun. Winning is just a bonus.
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