A good horse player has to be a good shopper to make a profit betting on horses. It isn’t enough to be able to handicap a race and to determine who the contenders are. The person who would make money betting on horse races must also understand odds and probability. You may also add money management skills to that short list of necessary skills for the handicapper that manages to beat the races.
Takeout is the amount of money that is removed from the pool before the winners are paid off. The takeout percentage may be anywhere from 0% to 29%. Another way to look at it is that’s the cost of making a bet. The most successful businesses minimize the cost of doing business to maximize profit. Would you rather spend 15% to buy a win ticket or 20%? Obviously, shopping for the race track that takes out the smallest amount from the pool that you’re betting into makes good financial sense.
That’s far from the only concern and is not the only way to find a good bet. You not only have different takeout amounts from race track to race track, but you also have varying amounts from pool to pool. When you find a horse that you think is a likely winner, it’s time to start shopping for value. Your search should answer the question of whether it is better to place a straight win bet or to use an exotic bet such as the daily double, exacta, or some other bet that will maximize return.
Checking the probable payoffs is a good way to find a good bet. Just because your horse is the favorite on the odds board and has the lowest payoff to win, it doesn’t mean that it is also the horse in the lowest probable payoff for the daily double. People who bet doubles often use the morning line to pick a double bet. If the horse that you’ve picked isn’t the favorite in the morning line many bettors may have used the morning line favorite in the double and that may make an attractive proposition as a double bet.
The same is true of exactas. Take the time to look over the exacta probables and determine if the horse you like isn’t being used as much as the win odds indicate that it should be used. Place and show pools may even be a tip off. Look at the amount wagered on your horse to win. If the place or show pool shows that the bettors aren’t betting as high a percentage to place as they are to win, you may have a good place bet.