Multiple Tickets Strategy: Make Your Wagering Dollar Go Further

Chris Adams

Horse racing can be a challenging betting game. Even really successful bettors will lose far more than they win. With so many interdependent variables in a given race, horseplayers must combine sounds handicapping with bankroll management and efficient ticket structure. Using multiple tickets to express your opinion properly in horizontal bets is one of the best ways your wagering dollar go further.

Formulating An Opinion

Making Horizontal Selections

Horizontal bets like the pick 5 require you to pick the winners of 5 consecutive races. Players are only concerned with horses that have the ability to cross the wire first. This requires a different type of handicapping than if you were wagering on exactas and trifectas which also require you to figure out who can run well, but not win.

Handicapping the Race

Before a player can even begin to construct a wager they must have an opinion on the sequence. Most likely this opinion comes from analyzing the race and the various horses running.

There are other more time efficient routes as well. Many public handicappers offer picks to every race around the country. In theory, one could simply use these selections to create their tickets.

However, players should beware. Despite the often major scores posted on the tote board, the pick 4 and pick 5 are difficult to hit and can put players on long losing streaks. This can be particularly frustrating if you are blindly using someone else’s picks.

The recommended strategy is to look over the races and form your opinion, before consulting with trusted sources to finalize your selections.

Building Multiple Tickets

For illustration purposes this article will use public selections from our partners at Daily Horse Picks. These selections are for the late pick 5 on Tuesday, June 15 at Indiana Grand.

The Probable Winners

Once the handicapping process is complete, horseplayers will have their list of probable winners.

  • Race 5: 1,2,3,5
  • Race 6: 2,3,5,7
  • Race 7: 2,3,4,5,6,7,8
  • Race 8: 2,3,8,9
  • Race 9: 2,6,8,9

Using all of the selections above equally in what is commonly referred to as a “caveman” ticket, the cost of this wager is $896.00. However, through the use of multiple tickets strategy players can express this opinion in a far more efficient manner.

Grading the Selections

The first step is to grade the selections. Most handicappers use an ABC grading scale made popular by handicapper Steve Christ.

  • A= Likely winner
  • B= Reasonable contender
  • C= Major outsider still with a chance to win

Using the selections from Indiana Grand the selections look a little different.

Slashes are used to separate the grades. Horses listed before the slashes are A’s. Horses listed after first slash are B’s and horses after the second slash are C’s.

  • Race 5: 1,2,5/3/None
  • Race 6: 5/2,3/7
  • Race 7: 2,5,6,7/3,8/4
  • Race 8: 3,9/2,8/None
  • Race 9: 2,6/9/8

Multiple Tickets Format

With selections graded players are ready to build multiple tickets. The idea with the multiple tickets strategy is that the player must be mostly right on their opinion, but has a little wiggle room if something surprising happens.

When playing the pick 5 and pick 6 the multiple tickets wagers are bet in the following way:

  • Main Ticket: All A winners
  • Backups: All A’s with 1 or 2 B winners
  • Savers: All A’s with 1 C winner

Below is a break down of all of the tickets that a player would punch in using the Indiana Grand selections. In the tickets below slashes are used to separate between each leg or race of the sequence.

The column labelled “Construction” states which letter grade is being expressed in each leg on the given ticket while the “Ticket” column shows the actual horse numbers used in each leg.

While all these tickets can be overwhelming, the advantage of this strategy is obvious when looking at how much more efficient these tickets are. In every bet the player’s strongest opinions are expressed most frequently.

Remember the caveman ticket cost over $800. With the multiple tickets strategy the cost is cut down to just over $300.

Without removing a single horse from play, the bettor saved $568!

Adjusting the Bets to Fit Your Bankroll

The multiple tickets at $328 are a considerable discount from the original cost. However, this sequence was a real challenge with lots of potential winners. Even if the cost is still too high for your budget, you have the information needed to cut down further.

There are two ways to eliminate tickets that can be extremely helpful.

The first strategy would be singling your strongest opinion. In the selections from Indiana Grand, the #5 was the only A horse in race 6. A player could eliminate any tickets that do not include the #5 in that leg. The new cost would be $144.

Another strategy is to play a smaller horizontal wager. Without eliminating a single horse, playing the pick 4 instead of the pick 5 would instantly bring the cost down to $96. This is because so many horses are used in race 5 which is not part of the pick 4 sequence.

Bet Share to Manage Cost

For those looking to play big tickets with small bankroll may look into Twinspires as an online wagering platform. This ADW offers a betshare feature where players can split and share their bets with other players.

If the ticket wins, the company automatically splits the payouts based on number of shares and deposits it into each player’s account. If any shares are unsold, the player who created the bet is responsible for the cost of those shares.

Potential Pitfall of Multiple Tickets

The one major issue that a lot of players face when building multiple tickets is that there will be times when you have all the winners, but don’t cash the ticket.

Consider a ticket in which 3 A’s, 1 B, and 1 C win. This is not covered by any of your tickets even though you had all the horses as potential winners.

Especially in the middle of a losing streak this can be tough to reconcile with. However, using the more efficient multiple tickets strategy you save money on each and every wager. This increases the return on investment when you do win and keeps you playing longer.

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