There are many bets that you can choose from at an online racebook. Some of these horse bets are good and some are not. To win money consistently at horse race betting you have to know which bets are profitable and which ones are not. One of the common mistakes that is made by many horse bettors is to wager across the board. We’re going to explain to you why this type of betting should be eliminated from consideration.
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What is Across the Board Horse Race Betting?
To bet money across the board is to make three separate wagers on one betting ticket. The bets are to win, to place, and to show. The base bet is usually $2, so an across the board bet will cost $6 to play. That’s not a bad investment, but you have to consider the potential return any time that you are betting.
To win an across the board bet only requires that your horse finish first, second, or third. If it finishes in one of those positions you will collect money. If the horse finishes first you will win all three bets. If it finishes second you will win the place and show bet. If it finishes third you will win the show bet only.
An across the board bet is favored by many novice horse racing fans who do not understand the complexities of gambling for profit. These individuals are not interested in horse handicapping tips. All they want to do is make a few bets for fun and enjoy the races. There is nothing wrong with this. But if you expect to win in the long run it is a bad bet to make.
The Problem With Betting Across the Board
The problems with this bet begin with its assertion that you do not really have an opinion on the talent of a horse. If you do not have a strong opinion then you probably should not be making a bet. When you bet across the board you are stating that you think a horse can run third or better. You do not have complete confidence in the horse to win and are trying to hedge your bets against failure.
Another problem with this type of horse race betting is that it lowers your rate of return. On a win bet you are receiving the odds on the tote board. If you bet $2 on a horse that pays 2-1 you will receive a little under $6 back when that horse wins. But on a place and show bet you do not receive the odds that are listed on the tote board. Instead you receive a portion of the parimutuel pool that has been wagered by your fellow bettors.
So, a $2 bet on a horse to place could return $3. That is less than even money. A $2 bet on a horse to show could return as little as $2.20! You can see where spending $6 on a ticket to win back $2.20 is a losing proposition. You will not stay in the business of horse race betting for very long when you make these kinds of bets.
It is true that if a horse wins you will collect all three bets, thereby making an extra profit. But if you are that certain the horse that you have chosen will win a race, it makes more sense to bet it another way.
The Alternative to Across the Board Horse Betting
There is a pretty simple way that you can avoid falling into the across the board trap. It begins by asking yourself if the horse that you have chosen has a chance to win the race outright. If you have used your handicapping skills to pick the winner, you should have some confidence in your selection.
If a horse is good enough to merit an across the board racing bet, it is good enough to merit a larger win bet. Instead of making the $6 across the board wager, make a $6 bet on the horse to win. Your return when the horse wins will be much greater than it will if you bet across the board. Let’s look at an example.
You bet $2 across the board for a total bet of $6. Your horse wins the race at odds of 2-1 and you collect on all three bets Here is a breakdown of what your ticket will pay:
Win – $5.80
Place – $3.00
Show – $2.40
Total $11.20 – $6 investment = $5.20 profit
Now let’s look at the straight win wager of $6 at odds of 2-1:
Win – $13.80
Total $13.80 – $6 investment = $7.80 profit
Now you don’t have to be a mathematician to see the difference. Yes, you are taking more of a risk but the reward for your bet is greater. And when you apply the principles of good handicapping and only play horses that are offered at 3-1 or better, the profit difference is even more substantial.
When you make bets at an online racebook you are in direct competition with other race bettors. Every bet matters. To win consistently you have to make the smartest wagers each and every time. You cannot bet with your emotions. You have to bet with your mind.
Sometimes the horse bettor just really wants to cash a winning ticket. This is not the way to succeed. Horse racing is one of the few events where holding a winning ticket doesn’t necessarily guarantee a 1-1 return on your money. The reason for this is something known as take and breakage. The racetrack has to have money to operate. It gets this money from each bet that is made by deducting a small percentage. That’s why you won’t get back a total of $6 on your 2-1 $2 bet. $0.20 is deducted from the pool for each winning ticket.
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