Free Picks: Kentucky Derby Betting Tips & Strategy

Joe Freda

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 7:23 PM GMT

Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2013 7:23 PM GMT

The Kentucky Derby is one of horse racing’s marquee events of the year, showcasing top three-year-old’s as they battle for a spot in the sport’s storied history. Betting the race also has its opportunities for both recreational and sharp gamblers, making the contest unique in its handicapping and strategies.

Win, Place, and Show:  Watching the odds 

The typical large field of the Kentucky Derby opens up its share of overlays just from its size of entries alone, with horses often priced at higher odds than their original morning line. 20 horses breaking from the gate at Churchill Downs going 1 1/8 miles will give Horse bettors a lot of action in two minutes, while also providing chances for a profit. 

A common wager for horse players is betting “across the board,” backing a contender with win, place, and show tickets. In typical races throughout the year, place and show wagers often do not pay enough to be profitable in the long run – but the Kentucky Derby can be a different story. 

Favored horses in the “Run For The Roses” can often be over-bet in all of the race’s pari-mutuel pools, driving payouts up for others. This includes the place and show pools, where a favorite finishing out of the money can result in a sizable payday for those challengers finishing in the top three.

Last year’s Kentucky Derby was seen by ‘experts’ as a three-horse race between Bodemeister, Union Rags, and Gemologist. However, Union Rags and Gemologist failed to hit the board, giving place and show payouts to Bodemeister of $6.20 and $5.60, respectively. Backers wagering on Bodemeister ‘across the board’ nearly doubled their money, despite Bob Baffert’s prized colt not winning the affair.

I’ll Have Another closed for the contest’s victory, paying $32.60, which was an overlay from the 12/1 morning-line. Dullahan went off at a hefty 12/1 after being originally listed at 8/1, resulting in a sizable show payout of $7.20 – nearly half of his morning-line odds just for finishing third.

Free Picks: Early Kentucky Derby Odds & Predictions 

Exotics:  Action and Profit 

Exotic wagers such as exactas and trifectas are often less than favorable wagers in horse racing, with the takeout rates being higher than win, place, and show tickets. However, the Kentucky Derby and its big pools of action can open up larger payouts that often have bettors looking for the “All” button. 

The exacta in last year’s affair paid $306.60, despite Bodemeister finishing second as the battle’s morning-line and final betting ‘chalk.’  An exacta with 38 combinations of “All-6” and “6-All,” costing $76, returned hedging bettors a three-time profit. 

Matchup Propositions:  Turning losers into winners

In addition to the standard pari-mutuel wagers, offshore sports books such as Bookmaker.eu and 5Dimes.eu post matchup propositions. The typical wager lists two horses, with the bettor simply choosing which of the two will finish higher in the race than the other. 

Matchup wagers often open up chances to bet against horses you feel can be overhyped, while priced similarly as contenders with just as much potential. The styles of both horses and jockeys are often best to look at specifically, while avoiding a betting decision solely based on morning-line odds to win.

My three matchup propositions in 2012’s race saw two picks collect, with Dullahan (+125) finishing ahead of Gemologist and Daddy Nose Best (+100) cashing over Take Charge Indy. Daddy Nose Best left pari-mutuel backers as losers with a dismal 10th place finish, but the matchup bet got the money thanks to Take Charge Indy finishing a distant 19th.

Take a look back at our Gearing Up for the Triple Crown article. 



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