My Monday blog

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
#1
I've read literally hundreds of books on the subject of horse race handicapping, from the classics of Andy Beyer ("Picking Winners") and Steve Davidowitz ("Betting Thoroughbreds") to the more esoteric offerings by Mark Cramer ("Kinky Handicapping") and Barry Meadow ("Money Secrets At The Racetrack").

Most every book written about pari-mutuel wagering addresses the concept of identifying "overlays," a term used to describe gambling situations in which the odds offered at the racetrack are greater than the actual chances of an event taking place.

A horse offered at closing odds of 3-2 whose chances of winning a race are 50-50 provides a 50% overlay, a positive expectancy which favors the advantage gambler.

In theory, the strategy of betting overlays appears simple.

In practice, the execution is far more complex.

I no longer play the races at a serious level for a variety of reasons, all dealing with my ability (or lack thereof) to find live horses at overlay prices. Here are just three of the many reasons I've resigned from the daily grind of playing the ponies:

1.) Most horseplayers, including your humble sports betting correspondent, are unable to properly assess the chances of every horse in the field. In my horseplaying days, I often times elevated the chances of short-priced horses while ignoring or quickly eliminating overmatched longshots. My bias in favor of the logical result considerably decreased my chances of finding live longshots or subtle sleepers, the type that produce attractive overlays and spark huge payouts.

2.) I've witnessed some of the smartest handicappers succumb to the game's 20% takeout. The price to play the ponies on a daily basis is extreme. Steven Crist, editor and publisher emeritus of Daily Racing Form and one of the most intelligent horseplayers in the game today, restricts a lot of his gambling action to chasing Pick 6 carryover pools or guaranteed pots. Bill Finley, author of "Betting Synthetic Surfaces: Conquering Racing's Newest Frontier," recently admitted to being a losing horseplayer. So much for accurately-titled books and so much for conquering anything.

3.) Actual overlays and perceived overlays are two different entities. Perceived overlays sometimes reveal horses not primed or well-meant for the day's action. A lack of betting support for a horse at a major circuit like New York or California usually spells doom for the ignored horse. Dead on the toteboard typically translates to dead on the racetrack.

As promised last Friday, here's my favorite racetrack angle in three simple words: money signals intent. Find a horse that's well-supported with insider money in the exacta or Pick 3 pools and then attack the race in the pools absent of the unnatural money. This strategy works best with young horses or maiden races in which a horse's ability is not fully developed or revealed.


MONDAY'S BEST BETS.....Two MLB plays and two WNBA selections. Let's win at least three of the four wagers. Here we go:

Play 911-912 Los Angeles-San Francisco "OVER" 6.5 runs. Both Chad Billingsley and Ryan Vogelsong wiggled out of multiple jams in their last starts and neither starter looked especially sharp. Billingsley walked five in his last start as did Vogelsong, who has issued 13 walks in his last three starts.

Play 919-920 Chicago-Kansas City "OVER" 9 runs. The White Sox offense should get to Kyle Davies, the worst starter statistically in the American League. Paul Konerko is 9-for-17 lifetime against Davies. Kansas City's Melky Cabrera has enjoyed success (12-for-20 lifetime) against Chicago starter Mark Buehrle. Let's get the game to 4-4 and go from there.

Play 601 San Antonio +2 over Los Angeles and "OVER" 158.5. The Sparks are forced to play back-to-back games with three aging veterans (Milton-Jones, Thompson and Penicheiro) and without their superstar Candace Parker. L.A. blew a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead last night and lost in overtime to the lowly Washington Mystics. The Silver Stars have this game circled after their 10-point home loss to the Sparks last Tuesday night in which Becky Hammon went 2-for-14 from the field and 0-for-7 from beyond the arc. San Antonio hit only 35% of its 76 field-goal attempts and 18% of its 22 three-point shots.


COMING FRIDAY.....MLB gambling notes from my Don Best rotation book.
 

Chessman

EOG Dedicated
#2
Re: My Monday blog

I'm not saying your San Antonio bet is not good. I just want to point out that Bryant spread out the playing time. Every player played at least ten minutes and only two played more than 30 min.( Hoffman and Tolliver, 34 and 37).
 

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
#3
Re: My Monday blog

I'm not saying your San Antonio bet is not good. I just want to point out that Bryant spread out the playing time. Every player played at least ten minutes and only two played more than 30 min.( Hoffman and Tolliver, 34 and 37).
Thanks for your insight, Chessman.

After Jennifer Gillom was fired, Joe Bryant inserted Kristi Tolliver into the starting lineup for Ticha Penicheiro, a move long overdue.

I think the Stars and Sparks will play fast Monday night at Staples Center.
 
#5
Re: My Monday blog

I like the chi sox side as well. I believe the south siders will end up with the AL central division title. Good luck, JK.
 

brians

EOG Dedicated
#6
Re: My Monday blog

Sad state of affairs in horse racing. It's a heart breaker as I love going to the track, but the expectations have sucken too low to play anymore.

Thanks for the picks.
 

Heim

EOG Master
#7
Re: My Monday blog

JK, I've said this before.....your blog and/or notes should be in GT. Maybe Micah can hook you up. They should get rid of some of the old dinausars like Feist and Iskoe with their datamined stats and put your opinions in......for a price of course.
 

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
#9
Re: My Monday blog

JK, I've said this before.....your blog and/or notes should be in GT. Maybe Micah can hook you up. They should get rid of some of the old dinausars like Feist and Iskoe with their datamined stats and put your opinions in......for a price of course.
When I first moved to Las Vegas in the late 1980s, Chuck DiRocco offered me a position at Gaming Today.

DiRocco offered me $25 per story.

I politely said, "No thanks."

But thanks for the compliment, Heim.
 

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
#11
Re: My Monday blog

Sad state of affairs in horse racing. It's a heart breaker as I love going to the track, but the expectations have sucken too low to play anymore.

Thanks for the picks.

Brian, I feel your pain.

For me, playing the ponies is a guilty pleasure.
 
#12
Re: My Monday blog

JK,
Hope your time in the Windy City is enjoyable.
Nice blog.

How about in a future entry you break down the Beyer numbers, what they represent and how to incorporate them into someone's handicapping?
 

JHU Dad

EOG Dedicated
#15
Re: My Monday blog

You're all over the overs. What you said about the ponies is true. Two years ago, my son's horse, who was 0-15 lifetime, wired the field at Belmont at 55-1. We had no clue. He only had some money on her because he bet her every time she was long. Suffice it to say, she took down every exotic pool because there was no smart money. Racing is pretty impossible to beat.
 

munson15

I want winners...
#16
Re: My Monday blog

I think the only reason horse racing is still breathing is that anybody can walk up to a window at a track and place a bet legally, in broad daylight.
 
#20
Re: My Monday blog

Another hidden reason a majoroity players lose today can be contributed to the explosion of simulcasting.
There are few players who concentrate on one track/circuit. And I'm sure the ones who do are the more smarter bettors in the game. Yes, the take out is huge and that's been discussed ad nauseum. But limiting your exposure can't hurt. I see why the average horse players lose b/c it's an addicition rather then a business profession to them. Of course, the long term winners are in the minority.

Go to any turf club here in the Philadelphia area and you see guys betting every track in play that day.
Example:
Oh the race at Phliiy Park just ended, but Delaware is about to go off, let me run to the window. Oh wait Belmont is about to load too let me get down there as well. Those races end its on to Monmouth, Calder, Churchill etc until the next round of races and the cycle repeats.

The only winner is the state and track.
 

2W2P2S

EOG Dedicated
#21
Re: My Monday blog

How about in a future entry you break down the Beyer numbers, what they represent and how to incorporate them into someone's handicapping?

Beyer numbers from a handicapping standpoint are completely worthless. However, from a wagering standpoint, they serve as a very valuable tool.
 

Heim

EOG Master
#22
Re: My Monday blog

Beyer numbers from a handicapping standpoint are completely worthless. However, from a wagering standpoint, they serve as a very valuable tool.
I would go even farther and say the turf numbers are worthless x2......Re your last comment, are you saying that most money is wagered on the highest Beyer figs thus creating an overlay on the horses you prefer to wager on??
 

2W2P2S

EOG Dedicated
#23
Re: My Monday blog

I would go even farther and say the turf numbers are worthless x2......Re your last comment, are you saying that most money is wagered on the highest Beyer figs thus creating an overlay on the horses you prefer to wager on??
Yeah, they're public magnets.....opposite is true as well. Great value is created when horses are assigned low beyers.

I'll give one example to look for:
A race where the runners have had at least a handful of races and pp's prior, and that race the runners are assigned a beyer significantly higher than anything they've received in the past. Andy would like you to believe that just coincidently on that day, on that track, in that race, all the horses (or most) ran their lifetime best #'s. Of course that's not the case, it's just that a subjective # was assigned way too high for the race. But the public will bet the # just the same. In handicapping a race where horses are coming out of a common race, and those horses are assigned a # much higher than their previous races, I'll always look to the competition for value. Same is true if the opposite takes place. Horses are running beyers of 75,70,78, 77 and then everyone in a race is assigned a 55-65. Those horses will typically be ignored because Andy felt once again in that particular race, every horse just decided to run the worst # of their career. The # was in error, and those runners will offer good value.
 
#24
Re: My Monday blog

Great read as always John.....my question to you is that i have recently become interested in advantage gambling, looking to read more about it. Wondering if there any specific books that you recommend in that area. Looking at picking up some extra cash in specific situations and understanding gambling a little better so i can assess my odds accordingly.

Thanks in advance.
 

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
#25
Re: My Monday blog

Great read as always John.....my question to you is that i have recently become interested in advantage gambling, looking to read more about it. Wondering if there any specific books that you recommend in that area. Looking at picking up some extra cash in specific situations and understanding gambling a little better so i can assess my odds accordingly.

Thanks in advance.
Getting the Best of It by David Sklansky is my single, strongest recommendation.
 

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
#26
Re: My Monday blog

Here's my biggest gripe with the Beyer numbers:

By rule, the winner of the race must earn the highest Beyer number, the second-place finisher must be accorded the second-highest Beyer number, and so on...

Impossible to assign accurate numbers when such a restriction is in place.
 
#28
Re: My Monday blog

JK, I've said this before.....your blog and/or notes should be in GT. Maybe Micah can hook you up. .
What's the deal with Gaming Today? I like to read it every Tuesday morning.
But casinos are dropping it. They tell me it has become the Cantor house organ.
 
#29
Re: My Monday blog

[/QUOTE]Play 601 San Antonio +2 over Los Angeles and "OVER" 158.5. The Sparks are forced to play back-to-back games with three aging veterans (Milton-Jones, Thompson and Penicheiro) and without their superstar Candace Parker. L.A. blew a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead last night and lost in overtime to the lowly Washington Mystics. The Silver Stars have this game circled after their 10-point home loss to the Sparks last Tuesday night in which Becky Hammon went 2-for-14 from the field and 0-for-7 from beyond the arc. San Antonio hit only 35% of its 76 field-goal attempts and 18% of its 22 three-point shots. [/QUOTE]


SA -3 -101 currently at pinny (beat the market by 5 points on this part)

Total moved against you though 157
 
#31
Re: My Monday blog

not that i would even understand these nappyheaded hoes, but why such the big movement on the side brian? hope all is well with you to man!
 
#32
Re: My Monday blog

Play 601 San Antonio +2 over Los Angeles and "OVER" 158.5. The Sparks are forced to play back-to-back games with three aging veterans (Milton-Jones, Thompson and Penicheiro) and without their superstar Candace Parker. L.A. blew a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead last night and lost in overtime to the lowly Washington Mystics. The Silver Stars have this game circled after their 10-point home loss to the Sparks last Tuesday night in which Becky Hammon went 2-for-14 from the field and 0-for-7 from beyond the arc. San Antonio hit only 35% of its 76 field-goal attempts and 18% of its 22 three-point shots.

JK....What is the deciding factor when choosing wheather a tired team will be to tired to score or to tired to defend the score? Something to do with the opponet perhaps?
 

brians

EOG Dedicated
#33
Re: My Monday blog

not that i would even understand these nappyheaded hoes, but why such the big movement on the side brian? hope all is well with you to man!
Big line move for sure, but that includes the wheel +1 > pk > -1 .... I got SA at pk but what an opportunity for a middle! 1) Back-to-back for LA 2) LA coming off an OT loss 3) SA in a revenge spot 4) LA without Parker ... plus I think the line move got people EXcited and INcited even more action on the steam.

I'm doing well Tuck, thanks. Hope things are good with you too. Hoping the EOG Football contest will be a go ...
 

brians

EOG Dedicated
#34
Re: My Monday blog

Fell behind the pace in the 2nd quarter. Would like to see Appel get more than 6 minutes. Sparks shooting 25%, free-throw line keeping them in the game. Stars have to take better care of the ball.
 

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
#35
Re: My Monday blog

Play 601 San Antonio +2 over Los Angeles and "OVER" 158.5. The Sparks are forced to play back-to-back games with three aging veterans (Milton-Jones, Thompson and Penicheiro) and without their superstar Candace Parker. L.A. blew a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead last night and lost in overtime to the lowly Washington Mystics. The Silver Stars have this game circled after their 10-point home loss to the Sparks last Tuesday night in which Becky Hammon went 2-for-14 from the field and 0-for-7 from beyond the arc. San Antonio hit only 35% of its 76 field-goal attempts and 18% of its 22 three-point shots.

JK....What is the deciding factor when choosing wheather a tired team will be to tired to score or to tired to defend the score? Something to do with the opponet perhaps?
Great question, Teddy.

I'll need time to think about the answer.
 
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