Daily Double and Pick 3 Wagering Guide

Guide to Daily Double Bets, Pick 3 Bets, and the Differences for Bettors


Daily Double and Pick 3 wagers represent two popular types of exotic wagering allowed in horse racing. By picking the winners of two or three races in a row, you can amplify your winnings over what you would make by picking a single horse in a single race. If you can narrow down the fields, you could use these bets to really get some excellent value for your wagers.

Horse Racer with MoneyHorse racing and betting have been going hand in hand pretty much since the inception of the sport hundreds of years ago. Over that time, oddsmakers, horse racing tracks and betting sites have all come up with intriguing new wagers for the public to enjoy. With Daily Double and Pick 3 wagering, bettors can conceivably win a lot of money for a small amount wagered.

In the following article, we’ll tell you all you need to know to hit the ground running with Daily Double and Pick 3 wagering. We’ll show how these bets work, and we’ll walk you through some basic strategies to help you win. On top of that, we’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the bets as well as answer some important questions about them.

Daily Double Horse Betting

A daily double wager allows you to bet on the winner of what are usually two consecutive races at some point during a track’s program. Often, tracks have an early Daily Double for the first two races and a late Daily Double for the last two races. Other tracks might have what’s known as a rolling daily double, which is when the daily double continues throughout the card for every race except the last (since there wouldn’t be another race following it).

Daily Double wagers are part of what are known as exotic horse racing wagers. Many exotic wagers take place within a single race, such as exacta, trifecta, and superfecta. As for Daily Double wagers (and, as you’ll see, for Pick 3 wagers as well), they actually take place over the course of multiple races. You can’t much simpler than a Daily Double wager.

If you bet a 3-7 daily double, for example, you’ll win if the #3 wins the first half and the #7 wins the second half. Any other outcome than that and you’ll lose the bet.

In most cases for Daily Double and Pick 3 wagering, the minimum bet on a Daily Double in US horse racing is $2. You can bet more than that, which will raise your potential payback should you win. All Daily Double wagers must be in before the first race involved (also known as the first “leg” or “half” of the double).

Special Daily Doubles

Occasionally, there will be special Daily Doubles awarded at a track where the races aren’t connected on a single card. This usually happens when there are special races at the track in question.

For example, Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky in the United States offers a Daily Double wager on the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.

These races are usually held a day apart, but are connected by the fact that they are known as being the top races for three-year-old male horses (the Derby) and female horses (the Oaks). In this case, you would have to wait a little bit longer for your potential win, but the same basic Daily Double rules apply.

Pick 3 Horse Betting

A Pick 3 wager in horse racing basically takes the Daily Double concept and expands it by a race. You have to pick the winners of three races in a row on a particular program. Like the Daily Double, your Pick 3 wagers have to be in before the first race in the series.

For Example:
If you like a 1-3-8 Pick 3, it means that you think the #1 will win the first leg, the #3 will win the second leg, and the #8 will win the third leg. You have to get every part of that right to win the wager, which is why it is a difficult wager to hit but a high-paying one if you can.

Most tracks have at least one Pick 3 somewhere on their schedule, often in the same sequence every day (for example, the 3rd, 4th an 5th race each card). Some tracks may have more than one or even rolling Pick 3’s involved.

Beyond Pick 3

It should be noted that the concept of picking winners in multiple races in a row can be extended far beyond Daily Double or Pick 3. You will find tracks that include bets like Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6 and so on. The concept remains the same, where you have to pick the winners of “x” number of races in a row before the first leg of the bet.

The more races you add to the bet, the harder it is to hit. It takes excellent handicapping or a great deal of luck to come up with wins for these wagers. For that reason, many tracks add some sort of jackpot element to these wagers to sweeten the deal and make them more attractive to bettors.

Odds and Payback for Daily Double And Pick 3 Wagers

Whenever you talk about horse racing bets, you know they will be paid off in a system known as pari-mutuel wagering. In pari-mutuel betting, your odds are dependent on what other people bet. That means that your odds won’t be set until the final bets are counted.

In general, Daily Double and Pick 3 bets pay more than one-horse, “straight bets” such as win, place or show. But that isn’t always necessarily the case. And it all has to do with the betting pools involved in each individual wager.

Betting Pools Explanation

All of the different Daily Double and Pick 3 wagers are separated into pools for every possible combination. For example, imagine a Daily Double which involves two races, each with a three-horse field. (Horse racing fields will be much larger than that, but this will make it clearer for the sake of our example.)

Example:
That would mean there would be betting pools devoted to the following:

  • 1-1
  • 1-2
  • 1-3
  • 2-1
  • 2-2
  • 2-3
  • 3-1
  • 3-2
  • 3-3

The track would total up all the Daily Double money wagered on that particular race then calculate their “takeout.” This is a percentage that it essentially the track’s cut. After that, the remaining total pool will be divided by what’s left in the each individual Daily Double combination pool to come away with the odds for each one.

The less in a particular pool, the more that bet will pay back, and vice versa. It is important to understand this concept of separate pools for Daily Double and Pick 3 wagering. Some bettors try to calculate their Daily Double chances by win odds for each horse, but that can be misleading.

For example, it’s possible (though not very likely) that the combination of two favorites in terms of win bets doesn’t get bet much in the Daily Double. By contrast, two long shots might receive a surge of betting money in the Daily Double, which would lower the odds from what you might expect.

Will-Pay Odds

Because of the pools concept, it is next to impossible to know what your exact odds will be for a particular Daily Double or Pick 3 bet when you make it. Tracks might relay pool information somewhere on their premises or on their broadcast, but they don’t really need to do so.

What most tracks will do for the Daily Double and Pick 3 bets is give you will-pay information. For example, let’s say you bet the Pick 3 and you have won the first two legs with the #2 and the #4. You have the #6 in the final leg.

The track will show a graphic that might look like this:

  • 2,4 with 6: $100

Since all the pools are complete at the time the first leg goes off, the track can calculate the odds at that point. That allows them to identify exactly what you would make in each scenario. You can’t in any way change your bet at that point, but at least you’ll know what to expect.

Daily Double and Pick 3 Wagering Techniques

Multiple Horses in Each Race

There is no law that says you’re stuck with a single horse in each race for your Daily Double and Pick 3 wagers. You can play as many different combinations as you want. That allows you to cover as many possible horses.

For Example:”
Let’s say that you’re making a Pick 3 wager and like the idea of the #1 winning the first leg and the #7 winning the second. But as for the third leg, you’re at a loss to choose between #2, #4, and #6.

What you can do is make a wager with all of them involved. Sometimes called a “key” wager, you would say something (or, if betting online at sports gambling websites, make indications) like “Key the 1 and 7 with the 2,4 and 6 for the Pick 3.”

You would win if the following results occurred:

  • 1-7-2
  • 1-7-4
  • 1-7-6

But you have to realize that you have to pay for these wagers. Since there are three bets involved, you’re looking at a $6 wager. That’s opposed to the $2 minimum that you could bet for just single combination.

Basically, the more horses you include in your Daily Double or Pick 3 wagers, the more chances you have to win. But you’ll be risking more money in the process. And the bigger bets will cut into winnings that you might achieve.

Wheeling Your Bets

A wheel bet comes in handy if you’re sure of one element of a Daily Double or Pick 3 but not about the others. If you “wheel the field” with a particular horse or horses, you will get every one of the horses in the field that you wheeled.

For Example:
You want to bet on a Daily Double where you’re absolutely sure that the winner of the first race will be the #1. You can wheel the # 1 with all of the horses in the other race. And if the #1 does indeed win, you will win your Daily Double wager regardless of what happens in the other race.

How much do wheels cost on a Daily Double? Take a look:

  • 5 horses = $10
  • 6 horses = $12
  • 7 horses = $14
  • 8 horses = $16

And so on. You basically multiply the number of horses in the field you’re wheeling by 2 to find your total bet. It’s an excellent way to milk money out of a favorite who might not pay that much to win but could be part of a more lucrative Daily Double.

Pros and Cons of Daily Double and Pick 3 Betting

Advanvantages
  • You’ll make more money on a small wager. If you’re betting win, place, and show, you’ll find that it’s hard to make a lot of money in fell swoop. But the odds for Daily Double and Pick 3 wagering, as well as other bets, are generally such that you could often make a jackpot-style amount if you get the right combination.
  • It’s a better challenge. Many horse bettors might get bored playing a single race at a time, hoping to eke out a little bit here and there. But there is nothing more exciting than knowing you have a potentially lucrative wager brewing over multiple races.
  • The value is better. Many horse racing tracks have lower takeouts for Daily Double and Pick 3 bets than they do for straight bets. As a result, the house edge is lower, which means more money in your pocket in the long run.
Disadvantages
  • It’s harder to win. If you bet on a horse to win, place or show, you only need one thing to go right. With Daily Double and Pick 3 horse racing betting, you need multiple things to turn out the way you planned.
  • You can spend a lot trying to get it right. It can be tempting to cover every possible combination in two or three races. But you could find yourself spending much more than you’d anticipated with no guarantee of return.
  • You are in the dark a bit as to your return. Because Daily Double and Pick 3 pools aren’t clearly advertised the way that win bets are, you’ll have no way of knowing your exact payback to make the bet. After you’ve done it a while, you can make a good estimate, but that’s about the best you can do.

Pick 3 and Daily Double Wagering FAQ

There will usually be a consolation payback that is granted. For example, imagine that a Daily Double comes in 1-4 and no one has managed to pick that. The track will then go to the tickets that had at least one horse out of the two right and pay that.

This situation usually occurs when a big long shot pulls off a surprise. For example, you might see the payback listed as 1-ALL. That means you would win the bet if you just picked the #1 as the first leg of the Double even if you got the second part wrong.

Carryover wagers occur when no ticket satisfies the requirements for the bet. This could mean that no one hit the Pick 3, Pick 4, or whatever in terms of the actual outcome. It could also mean that there were multiple winning tickets, and the rules of the specific bet requires a single winning ticket to take everything.

In any case, a carryover means that the pool for a given day is carried over to the next. That process will continue to happen until somebody does indeed satisfy the requirements. The rising pools mean much better payback once the bet is hit.

Takeout is a similar concept to horse racing bettors as house edge is to casino players. The higher the takeout, the less you will receive for successful bets. That’s why it’s important that you compare and contrast the takeouts of different tracks.

You’ll often see tracks advertise their takeouts as among the lowest in the industry. These tracks know that hard-core horse players understand the importance of this. If you are going to participate in a lot of Daily Double and Pick 3 wagering, you should be aware of the takeout you’ll be enduring.