If you’re serious about making money betting on horses you will not only have to learn to handicap so you can evaluate the runners and compare them to each other, but you’ll also have to learn how to bet to get the most profit for the risks that you take. In other words, you’ll have to learn how to handicap and how to bet.
Wagering on races is fun but can also be risky and profitable and a lot of what you get out of it depends on the kind of person that you are. The risks that you take will be directly related to your comfort level and need for that adrenaline rush from plunking down cold hard cash and watching a race. One popular way to wager on races is the wheel bet, or wheeling.
Wheeling means that you place a horse on top in an exotic bet, such as the exacta or trifecta and then if that horse wins, you win, though what you win depends not only on the odds of your wheel horse, but also on the odds of the horses that complete the exotic bet. That’s really throwing caution to the win and taking a gamble because, while you may know the odds on your top horse, you’ll have no idea which horses may complete the bet and therefore, you won’t have a clue as to what the wager may return.
Wheeling is a win bet on steroids and without filters. It may seem easy at first because you don’t have to go to the trouble of figuring out which horses to play with your horse as you do when you play a key bet and key the horse over a select group of horses, but you pay for that ease with a lot of combinations that don’t and can’t come in.
For instance, in a trifecta bet with your horse wheeled on top in an 8 horse race, there are 42 possible combinations that may come in, but when the race is finally official, only one of them will pay off. That means that you’ve spent an extra $41m if you play a dollar trifecta wheel, for nothing. On the other hand, if you can narrow it down to four possible horses that may complete the trifecta the wager only costs $12.
The problem, of course, is that the very horses you eliminate because they appear to have no chance, will pay the most if they do manage to get into your trifecta. Leaving out long shots means you’ll miss the big payouts and only hit the smaller trifectas. Admittedly you’ll cash more tickets, but will you make a profit?
Depending upon your ability to take risks and sit through some losing streaks, I recommend a compromise. Key your top horse over 4 other horses for that $12 bet, but instead of using just the top four horses, play two horses that figure to run well and see if you can find two others that have a reason, no matter how slight it may appear, to run in the money. It’s a compromise between gambling and handicapping.