Horse racing’s illustrious trifecta draws to a close on Saturday, June 9th, when 10 horses enter Belmont Park to compete in the 2018 Belmont Stakes.
The Triple Crown is on the line again, as favored Justify tries to wrap up the third stanza with a big win.
Justify was a mild favorite going into the Kentucky Derby before pulling away with a convincing win, while bettors lost value on him ahead of a tight win at the Preakness Stakes.
After exhibiting a decrease in his speed through the first two legs of the Triple Crown, bettors are wondering if he can finally be taken out.
That’s always something to consider when you look at the Belmont Stakes, where the favorite has won just 42% of the time. That’s not a horrible percentage given how difficult it can be to win the Triple Crown’s longest race, but it’s certainly worth noting.
Justify isn’t just here to take down one race, though. The Bob Baffert colt has an opportunity to make history and etch his name into horse racing lore.
Of course, even if Justify is to win and become just the 13th ever Triple Crown champion, there are other wagers to make.
Let’s take a look at the main Belmont Stakes bets and how you might want to approach them this weekend:
Will Justify Win?
This is Justify’s race to lose. Bob Baffert was here in 2015 and sealed the deal with American Pharoah, too, so it stands to reason that he knows how to do it again with another talented colt.
The crazy thing with Justify is that he hasn’t run his fastest in two of the biggest races of his life, yet here he is, still perfect.
Some will slight that and pick against Justify, but at -125 at Bovada, you’re actually getting amazing value for the best horse in an over-hyped 10-colt field.
And while Justify hasn’t yet performed up to his ability, the scary thing is he absolutely could come the biggest race of his life.
Bravazo is one of the top contenders to give Justify a run for his money, but he needed a late charge just to be threatening.
He doesn’t even come in with the next best odds. Virtually every other horse you could build an argument for has either faced Justify and lost, lacks experience or just doesn’t seem good enough to steal the spotlight.
The length of this race and Justify being on the inside track could work against him.
Then again, knowing the fear of being pinned down on the inside, it’s likely Justify pushes early on to get in front of the pack.
If that happens, the only real risk would be Justify tiring out before he can finish the race off.
Ultimately, the value is too good here to ignore. Betting heavily on Justify at -125 makes a lot of sense.
Justify’s Exact Finish
Of course, if you don’t want Justify to win or simply don’t believe he will, you can profit on that in multiple ways.
Picking the horse that does win is one obvious route, but even if you get that wrong, you can potentially make serious coin by predicting where Justify finishes.
Here’s the fun Belmont Stakes wager over at Bovada:
- 1. (-125)
- 2. (+400)
- 3. (+750)
- 4. (+1200)
- 5. (+1500)
- 6. (+1600)
- 7. (+1600)
- 8. (+1600)
- 9. (+1800)
- 10. (+1500)
I personally think Justify is going to win, but there isn’t much point in doubling down on pretty much the same bet at the same price.
If anything, you can either hedge your bet here or pair it with one of your favorite sleepers. Considering Justify is still arguable the most talented horse in this race, though, I wouldn’t venture too far out of the top spots.
Wagers inside the top three make the most sense, while bets on the 4-6 range aren’t crazy, either.
Top 2 Finish
Bovada also has a fun bet where you can bet on any of the 10 horses finishing within the top two spots at the Belmont Stakes.
Justify doesn’t offer great value here at -280, but your favorite contender to steal the show here has two chances to pay off in a big way.
Here are the prices for the other horses vying for 1st or 2nd place this weekend:
- Hofburg (+200)
- Bravazo (+333)
- Vino Rosso (+400)
- Tenfold (+500)
- Blended Citizen (+900)
- Gronkowski (+1100)
- Restoring Hope (+1500)
- Noble Indy (+1500)
- Free Drop Billy (+1800)
If you just think Justify is going to flop, laying two bets on two of your favorite horses could be a fun strategy.
Hofburg is the consensus top challenger to Justify, while Bravazo finishes runner-up at the Preakness Stakes.
You also may want to consider Vino Rosso (three career wins) and Tenfold (3rd at Preakness), while Blended Citizen is a mighty fine price for an underrated horse that easily won the Peter Pan race.
If you want to stretch things out, even more, you can soak up some very interesting value with a stab at the top three finishers.
After taking the Preakness off, Noble Indy could be refreshed and ready to pay off for willing bettors.
You can keep looking for the 2018 Belmont Stakes prop bets you prefer, as Bovada and other horse racing betting sites have a slew of them.
For a more traditional take, though, let’s shift your focus to the Exacta bet you’ll find at a number of Belmont Stakes betting sites.
This bet asks you to nail the first two horses and if you place a box on the bet, the order doesn’t matter.
This is not an easy bet, but I’d probably include Justify in most of my Exacta wagers. Even if he doesn’t win, he’s a solid bet to at least be up front.
Beyond that, you’re probably looking at some combination of Bravazo, Tenfold, Hofburg and Blended Citizen.
My favorite duo is Justify and Blended Citizen, however, and depending on how much you like Blended Citizen, you may want to consider a flier bet on him staging the upset.
While this is my favorite Exacta bet, keep in mind I’m aiming high here. The other options I mentioned are also viable for this wager.
I’d feel fairly good about my chances with an Exacta pick, but you can up the ante and include a third horse to throw down a Trifecta bet.
Again, you can decide to box it or try to get the order down perfectly. Personally, I think picking the top three finishing horses is plenty difficult without trying to pinpoint the precise order.
I personally like Blended Citizen, but I’ll reach down and grab Bravazo to finish third with this wager.
PLACE YOUR BET
Another wager you can try is the Superfecta, which asks for the top four finishers.
Choose to box or not, but picking four horses in the exact order – while profitable – feels like quite the tall order.
PLACE YOUR BET
The point here is there are a lot of Belmont Stakes betting opportunities.
I’m not sure I’d go too crazy on wagers for first place beyond Justify, but there are some fun bets to target and taking a flier on a horse or two you believe has a chance is certainly an option.
In the end, Justify has a shot at making history this weekend and I think he pulls it off.