Getting a Line on the Early Odds

Retrieved 15 September Retrieved June 11, This involves picking the winners of several different races at a track on a given day. Belmont picks

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Your overlay has suddenly disappeared and your bet now has a negative expected value. The most obvious way to solve this problem is to simply hold off on betting for as long as you can.

The closer it gets to post time, the less time there is for the odds to change. This, of course, is not always the most practical method, since long lines close to post time might prevent you from even being able to place a wager. For our next lesson we will be doing even more math. Money management at the racetrack is a necessity.

Many would-be successful handicappers have been ruined because of poor money management. I do not want this to happen to you. Sign-up to receive our Free Weekly and much more. By allowing one point per horse, the morning line will generally balance between and points for fields with eight or more horses. For simplicity reasons, I try to keep my morning line odds around points for nearly every race, regardless of the field size.

How does an oddsmaker arrive at points for odds? And how do the odds eventually add up to points? I use odds ranging from to In a majority of competitive races, I make the morning line favorite around or I always strive to find horses that I don't think the public will like and make them longshots, in the range of or Then, I look for middle-range horses, the type I sense some fans will like and others won't. These horses are usually in the to category. The horses I think the public will wager heaviest on are the lowest odds on the morning line.

In the case of a standout horse like world champion Tailor Fit, I make his morning line odds even lower than or , because the public is likely to wager more heavily on a proven runner. In these scenarios, the final morning line balances to points.

So how do we compute the odds to total points? By dividing percent by the odds plus 1, we arrive at a point system. For example, represents 33 points divided by two plus one. On your next trip to the track, you can determine if a morning line balances by using the point system in the accompanying box.

The actual odds change minute by minute based on how much money is bet on each horse. The intention of the morning line is to give the wagering public a general idea of what the odds on each horse is expected to be at post time. It's a subjective system, and is merely my educated guess, based on my 18 years of handicapping Illinois horseracing professionally.

Keep in mind that the morning line odds do not reflect the odds maker's selections, they are merely a prediction of how the betting public will wager on the race.

Although I do my best to calculate accurate early odds, some races are tougher to assign odds values on than others. In races that offer consistency amongst horses that compete against each other regularly, the odds are generally easy to set, but races that are infused with first-time starters, particularly 2-year-old events, can be more difficult to peg - therefore I take a slightly more conservative approach.

Early meet races with horses invading from a variety of tracks, and those with layoff horses or huge class droppers can also prove tricky. Factors used in calculating a morning line include a horse's recent form, their human connections jockey and trainer , class, strength of today's competition, and the potential pace scenario.

Horseplayers also tend to gravitate toward speed figures, so a horse that has an edge in that category will often times be designated as the favorite. Some odds makers wrongfully get caught up on relying too much on what a horse's odds were the last time they raced, and although that information can be somewhat helpful, it's a different day and race we're dealing with.

I take a somewhat conservative approach with my morning line. No odds-maker wants to see one of their shots sent off as an favorite, their favorite sent off at , or a morning line outsider at In today's world of simulcasting, it is important that the early odds are as accurate as possible.

A racetrack loses creditability when the morning line maker does a poor job, both with experienced horseplayers nationwide and new fans who have a tough time understanding why the odds in the program are so far out of whack with the odds on the toteboard.

Morning-line odds can often affect the payoffs in multiple race wagers. Often horseplayers foolishly handicap the first leg of a Daily Double, Pick Three or Pick Four, and rely on the morning-line to tell them which horses are "live" in the later legs. If the line maker "misses", and one of their shots is actually a proposition, that horse won't be nearly as live as they should be in the multiple race wagers.