For me, betting on the daily double is a fairly binary proposition: Either you like the favorite—and should focus your ticket(s) around him/her—or you don’t and you shouldn’t.
It’s always bad practice to casually use overbet horses in wagers as a sort of “insurance” toward cashing tickets, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid favorites. Often, players will zero in on one favorite and spread in the other race, including using the other favorite among other horses, which is not ideal.
If you like both favorites, it’s likely the best play is a cold double, which means you’re only using one horse in each race. If you give both horses a 50% chance of winning, and the double is paying more than 3-to-1 then that’s a good opportunity. Singling one of those favorites and using a bunch of horses in the next race, including the other favorite, is just betting against yourself.
Not liking either favorite is the most ideal scenario, but you have to be willing to be wrong. Obviously betting a horse at even money (50% chance to win) who you think should be 2-to-1 (33% chance to win) is a direct line to the poor house, but even if you think those overbet favorites win their races 33% of the time, that’s a 55% chance that at least one of those favorites will win.
One trap players fall into is thinking that hooking an overbet favorite up with a longshot in the next race “creates value,” but if that same underlaid favorite at even money really has just a 33% chance, and the double to the 9-to-1 you like in the next race is paying $50 for $2, that’s actually a tremendous underlay because the actual chance is about 30-to-1. It can appear enticing to turn even money into $50, but remember: you think the horse should be 2-to-1, not even money. Your assessment of horses chances is what’s important, not the public’s.
And while you can’t create value by placing a bet, TwinSpires.com can add value to your bets with its awesome promos, such as the 20% Derby Prep Double Bonus that begins Saturday, February 3, with the Withers at Aqueduct, Holy Bull at Gulfstream, and Lewis at Santa Anita.
Visit the link for complete details (and to opt in!), but the gist is that when you cash a double involving any Kentucky Derby Points race through February 19, we’ll kick in an extra 20% on your payout up to $100 each day. This can be invaluable when considering a double involving a pair of 2-to-1 horses that’s paying $16 for $2 is an underlay but an overlay when factoring a final payout of $19.20 after the bonus.
Let’s take a look at this week’s qualifying doubles:
- The Withers Stakes is race 8 at Aqueduct, so the race 7-8 (4:05p ET) and 8-9 (4:35p ET) doubles are eligible. CLICK HERE for FREE Ultimate PPs of the Withers Stakes.
- The Holy Bull Stakes is race 12 at Gulfstream, so there’s only one double involving it: The 11-12 that begins with the Dania Beach at 5:16p ET. CLICK HERE for FREE Ultimate PPs of the Holy Bull Stakes.
- The Robert & Beverly Lewis Stakes is race 5 at Santa Anita, so the race 4-5 (5p ET) and 5-6 (5:30p ET) doubles are eligible. CLICK HERE for FREE Ultimate PPs of the Lewis Stakes.
The Withers falls into the “against the favorite” bucket for me, as I expect Firenze Fire to be overbet, and any of Avery Island, Bal Harbour, or Marconi are capable at higher prices. It’s also worth noting that the race is a 1 1/8 miles, which can be unique this time of year, and I’m not sure how far Firenze Fire wants to go being by the Speightstown stallion Poseidon’s Warrior.
I wish Mississippi drew a better post because I’d be willing to lean on him based on price, but post 11 is just 2-for-43 since 2006 when going 1 1/16 miles on the Gulfstream Park dirt. As much as the post hurts Missisippi, it helps Enticed, who I upgrade on the rail. Audible is the other one I consider a strong contender.
The Lewis is the race people are least excited about from a Triple Crown implications standpoint, but for the purpose of the 20% double bonus promo, it’s the race I’m most excited about because I plan to put all my efforts into making the most of my opinion that #5 Shivermetimbers is the most likely winner of any of this weekend’s points races.
For more Derby prep handicapping thoughts, please check out the following stories:
SCULLY: How to bet the 2018 Holy Bull Stakes