by Jeremy Plonk
October 30, 2017
Confidence can shake anyone, from a boardroom to the batter’s box to a twitchy account finger that shakes when having to click “submit” on a bet. If your confidence is a bit shaky heading into Friday and Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup championships, don’t feel alone. You’ve got a lot of company.
Those who lack confidence will wade through Friday and Saturday playing the same exacta boxes they do on a Saturday at Santa Anita. They’ll budget $200 and bet $20 on 10 races and hope to end the day even or ahead, maybe getting lucky and catching a lobster along the way.
But those who have confidence will approach an entirely different way. They’ll attack when they feel the edge, budget accordingly for an assault on some races and show merely fandom in others. They’ll know before Friday’s first championship race approximately how much they want to bet on Saturday’s Classic at sundown.
If confidence does not inherently fit your persona, once again fear not. You’re not alone and you’ve got a lot of company. I’m here to offer an approach for those looking to foster confidence – or perhaps those who’s handicapping comes with braggadocio, but pulling the proper betting triggers always has been a problem.
Confidence pools are quite common among those playing among friends in football or team sports. If you’re not familiar, a confidence pool basically makes you rank your picks each week from least to most confidence. In other words, if you think the Steelers can’t lose this week, but are tepid at best on the Seahawks squeaking by, you’d rank Pittsburgh for the most confidence points and Seattle far down with perhaps the least amount of confidence points.
The Breeders’ Cup makes a great confidence pool exercise for horseplayers. Perhaps you do something similar in your mind’s eye and have that approach anyway. But maybe you’ve never considered it or never put it to paper to see how it really looks. When there are 13 title races and undercards of intrigue, ranking your betting attack in a confidence pool approach can be a big boon to strategy.
First things first, positively DO NOT consider Friday and Saturday as separate entities. You don’t look at a Thursday, Sunday or Monday night NFL pick any differently in terms of budgeting or ranking in a confidence pool. You wouldn’t bet any more on a team if they played on Thursday or Sunday; you’d weigh the match-up and go after it as you see fit.
First, rank the Breeders’ Cup races 1-13 with 1 being your least confident handicapping picks and 13 being the most confident. Once you have the list of 13, try to draw a line in natural breaks of opinion. If there are 2-3 races you feel really confident about, then draw a line under the 2nd or 3rd one and show yourself where you go from really confident, to less, and less. If there are 8 races in which you are totally not confident, put the line above the highest of those and you’ll notice a glaring weakness of opinion in races you probably should not be betting very much upon at all.
Second, rank the Breeders’ Cup races 1-13 for where you think the value and payoffs will come from with 1 being the least valuable and 13 being the one with the best potential returns. How do you determine this? Check the free Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Wager Guide and compare average payoffs, winning favorites’ percentages, etc. Also consider field size (bigger equals more value nearly without fail) and the strength of this year’s favorite in your opinion.
Finally, add up the confidence points in your handicapping with the value points you’ve tried to predict in the races. The races that have the highest totals when adding these two numbers together should be the ones in which you are ready to budget more of your bankroll toward. They combine confidence and value, the two keys on when to dive in for a horseplayer.
Now that you know which races are strongest in your mind and potential payouts, you can rank them 1-13 in how much you should budget. Remember, Friday and Saturday are irrelevant to the budget. I would recommend you spend about 60% of your budget for the weekend on the top two or three plays.
For a $500 weekend budget, that means $300 to your top 2-3 plays. The $500 player then has $200 left for the remaining 10-11 Breeders’ Cup races and should spend $150 of that on the next line of 2-3 best plays and leave the final 10% ($50) for light swimming in the bottom races or skip them altogether if you have discipline.
For a $100 budget player, that’s about $60 on your top 2-3 plays. This leaves about $30 to spend on the next line of 2-3 best plays and $10 to play around some action bets on a handful of the remaining races in which you lack any strong opinions.
Good luck and enjoy a winning two days!