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Off-Track Betting: Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck

Most Bang for Your Buck

Betting on horse races is no easy task. With bets like a “trifecta” and an “exacta box”, it’s no wonder that many people don’t know where to start. The good news? It’s much simpler than it appears. A lot of money can be made with the right knowledge set and a little luck.

I’m here to help you with the first half of that equation. Below, you will find some of the tricks I’ve learned to help make the most of your money at the racetrack. The goal here is to find the horse that will get you the highest return for your bet, not necessarily to pick the winner. Your goal is to find the best value.

Though picking the highest-ranking horse will most often get you the highest number of winning bets, it will not make you the most money. Since these horses are seen as likely to win, the payouts are usually small. To find a value bet, you will want to look at which horse is paying high odds compared to what you have concluded is their chance of winning.

Did you know that which type of bet you choose to make should be dependent upon your research? Confused yet? Changing your bet type based on what you’ve learned about each race is an important step. I’m going to explain what the different types of bets are in off-track betting. I’m also going to cover when you want to use certain ones to work in your favor.

Once again, you are looking for the best value for your money. This basically means a bet that is paying at a higher rate than it should be based on the information you have gained from your research. Combine that knowledge with a bet that fits what you’ve learned about the race and this will give you the best chance at making big bucks at the racetrack.

What are the Betting Options?

  • Win

    Your horse must finish in first place to win.

  • Place

    Your horse must finish in first or second place to win.

  • Show

    Your horse must finish in first, second or third place to win.

  • Exacta

    You pick two horses. They must finish in first and second place in the exact order you choose to win.

  • Exacta Box

    You pick two horses. They must finish in first and second place in any order to win.

  • Trifecta

    You pick three horses. They must finish in first, second and third place in the exact order you choose to win.

  • Trifecta Box

    You pick three horses. They must finish in first, second and third place in any order to win.

  • Trifecta Key

    You pick three horses. They must finish in first, second and third place. You must pick the first-place finisher exactly. The second and third place horses can finish in any order to win.

Many places will give you the option to select more than two horses as your second and third place finishers. This means you could pick one horse to be the first-place finisher. Then, you could choose to use a pool of 5 horses for the second and third place finishers to come from.

  • Superfecta

    You pick four horses. They must finish in first, second, third and fourth place in the exact order that you choose to win.

  • Superfecta Box

    You pick four horses. They must finish in first, second, third and fourth place in any order to win.

  • Superfecta Key

    You pick four horses. They must finish in first, second, third and fourth place. You must pick the first-place finisher exactly. The second, third and fourth place horses can finish in any order to win.

Just like the trifecta key bet, many places will allow you to pick multiple horses for the second through fourth place finishers.

Win, Place or Show Bets

These bets are most effective when you believe you have a clear winner. They are an inexpensive bet, as you are betting on only one horse (though you can choose to make a higher wager). They can still offer a big payout if the horse you select is not expected to be a front runner.

Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta Bets

These are the most difficult to win. Because of this they offer high payouts. This type of bet is best to use if your research has given you a clear picture multiple horses. Best case scenario, you are feeling confident about choosing more than one horse finishing at the top.

You should have a clear idea on which order you think the top finishers will place. If you feel it will be close or are unsure of the order you believe the horses will finish, you should think about boxing or making a key bet.

When to Box Your Bet

If you feel there is a good separation between the top finishing horses and the rest of the field, you will want to make a boxed bet. You will pick what type of boxed bet you want to make based on how many horses you can confidently predict finishing in the top. If you feel there are four horses that are a cut above the rest, you will want to make a superfecta box wager. If there are only two horses, use an exacta box.

When to Use a Key Bet

This is a good mix of a win bet and a boxed bet. Often times, you will feel confident in the horse you’ve chosen to win a race. From there, the second place and subsequent finishers can seem like a very close match up. This is when it is best to make a key bet.

Your payout will range between a straight bet and a boxed bet. For example, betting a trifecta key will pay higher than a trifecta box, but lower than a straight trifecta bet.

Conclusion

Remember to do your research before placing your bet. Not only will this be a valuable tool to select a winning horse, but to also make a winning value bet. For help on researching and analyzing data related to a horse racing, check out these other helpful articles:

Both of these articles will give you the tools needed to properly research for a horse race. Combine that knowledge with your new-found betting strategies learned here. This will give you the best chances at getting the big payout for your wager.

Author Details
Jen Thompson

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