Today, The Professor answers a question submitted by David L. on post positions. David L. said, “I found a very exciting race to wager on. The long shots to me seemed to be perfectly boxed while the favorites appeared to be in a more difficult situation. This is exactly what a smart bettor looks for. I went deep with my dollars and was confident on a nice return. Yes, sure enough my long shots ran one two three while the two favorites were off the board. Then the slap in the face. The price of my trifecta was only about $50. The numbers that came in were 1-2-8. That combination probably comes in more than any others. I assumed that the other players had simply pounded that combination and it was over-bet. When handicapping, should I probably avoid races where my top picks are in statistically better posts, regardless of the tote board odds? Or was I making a good wagering choice and just had the bad luck of someone blindly making a $20 trifecta box?”
There are no easy answers to this question. I can’t really comment on the specific instance that you are referring to for several reasons: One, the odds that you are seeing may be win odds and may not reflect the play those dogs are getting in the exotic pools. Second, maybe several larger bettors have seen what you have seen in these longshots and played them in exotics only and not in the win pool, not wanting to tip off the public. Third, when you see a payoff lower than what you anticipated, it is most likely the second scenario and not some random person betting numbers, as those bettors tend to make small wagers.
While not knowing what happened in the race that you are referring to, it is true that the #1 and #8 post positions will be over bet; that does not mean that you should shy away from wagering on greyhounds that are in those post positions. As always the key to winning wagering is getting value for your play. To get value on a key dog that you know will be over bet means that you may have to be more precise in finding the right dogs to play behind or with the hound that you like. You should keep in mind the fact that these greyhounds will be over bet and adjust your expectations accordingly. That being said, I have written before about these posts being over bet, and the value of trying to find false favorites who are in these posts. The name of the game is beating favorites (most of the time), and if you can find false favorites and they happen to be in the one post, all the better.
Thank you for the question, David L!
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