What makes a good wager! This is the really most important question and the focus of everything that we do as handicapper’s. It almost goes without saying, but it’s better if we do say something about it, because too many people know a great deal about selecting; but they don’t always understand how to make a good wager. It’s actually at the heart of why I made the Power Page, which is an informational product, and not a Selections product!
A good wager is one that you sense, the payoff is greater than the actual probability of the horse winning the race. You will often hear — good handicapper’s say they bet the 2nd or even the 3rd best horse in the race, because the “value made sense!” Today, on Race Day Las Vegas, Ralph asked me the following, ” which is correct, to bet a horse with “just value” or bet a horse that you like, who has value. My former partner, a wonderful handicapper, would bet any horse he felt was “JUST VALUE”, while I would only bet a horse that I liked – who also represented value. Probably both are right… But what is absolutely wrong, betting a horse you like that DOES NOT REPRESENT VALUE, no matter how much you like the handicapping ideas. A good example of that was Arabian Leopard in the 4th at Santa Anita on Sunday, he was 2/1 ML and went off at 6/5, when the horse that beat him the time before was going off at 7/2. Common sense would tell you that there was NO VALUE in this play. It would be like having a choice of two games of blackjack, one that paid 6/5 for blackjack or the one that paid 2/1 for blackjack. In this example you would never sit down at the game with 6/5 blackjack, NEVER! It’s bad value, no matter anything!
So here are some concrete ideas that make for a good wager, for me…
- at least two handicapping ideas of interest.
- a belief the horse will run a “forward going race”
- the horse is NOT the favorite
If you can fulfill these 3 ideas — for starters – you will be on your way to understanding how to match handicapping to a proper value situation.