When it comes to punting on the ponies, anyone who does it regularly will have at least one or two strategies that they try, at least from time to time. On the other hand, professional punters tend to be very fussy with their bets and will also have some firm risk management in place.
There are many ways you can try to increase your chances of winning on horse racing bets. Some are really nothing more than a novelty – such as choosing horses with your favourite numbers, or horses with cool sounding names – while others could potentially drop the odds enough to make a win more likely and more regular.
Some punters only focus on win or place betting, others will pick trifectas only. Some like to take chances on long shots, while others will continually back the race favourites.
One thing’s for certain, there is no sure fire, fool proof formula that will guarantee you a win and a profit at the end of the day. The only system that could potentially achieve that is to bet like the professional punters do, and study relentlessly, only taking a bet when all the pieces of your research and strategy line up.
So what about targeting races that only have small fields, such as a dozen horses or less? Does this reduce the odds and increase the chances of winning?
Let’s face it. It can be hard to pick the winner of a race like the Melbourne Cup because the field is so vast. You have 24 Melbourne Cup horses – the best of the best – all striving for the win. Race favourites often don’t come home first, the race features the best jockeys and trainers in the business, but most of all, 24 horses just adds a lot of variables.
Okay, so let’s say we focus only on smaller races, maybe even races that have only 10 horses or less. No matter what style of bet you take – win, place, quinella, trifecta or so on – it would have to increase your chances of getting it right. Wouldn’t it?
I believe it does. If you think of it like playing the lotto, where you have to select the 6 winning numbers out of say 45 . Let’s say the lotto was reduced to only 15 balls. Picking the correct 6 out of 15 is a hell of a lot easier and way lower odds that picking 6 from 45 balls.
It’s the same with horse races with much smaller fields. It’s definitely easier to pick the winner, or get a quinella right, or maybe even score the trifecta.
But guess what?
Because it is easier, bookmakers give much lower payouts on any bets you win on these smaller field races. Just like the lotto jackpot would be a hell of a lot smaller picking 6 numbers from only 15 instead of 45.
The only time this might not be true is if a long shot or two figured in the first 3 places. Then you might receive a decent payout for something like a trifecta on a small field race.
It’s a strategy that might be worth further research and some testing, as you definitely have a better chance than races with 18 or 20 horses competing.
Sometimes a race will only have 6 or 7 horses in it. The payouts will be low, but if you can consistently get it right, then there’s a good chance of also making a consistent profit.
Probably the best and safest way to test it out is to experiment with a variety of bets on these smaller races, but just put down $1 at a time, just to see how it pans out. If you find after a few weeks or a month of testing the waters that you’re consistently hitting winners, then you could chance your arm and start putting a bit more money down to make it more profitable and exciting.
There are no absolute guarantees, but horse races with small fields definitely put the odds more in your favour, so it’s definitely worth looking into as a possible regular or long term punting strategy.