The pick six is highly attractive to horse racing bettors because the payoffs can be so high. If it is a particularly popular betting day like the Triple Crown race days, or if there hasn’t been a winner and there is carryover in the pool, then it is quite possible for the payoff of a single winning $2 pick six ticket to be high six figures or even a million dollars or more. When it comes to handicapping, it’s the closest thing to a lottery in horse racing – at least in terms of potential winnings.
Because the payoffs are so big, the pick six is particularly attractive for casual bettors looking for a big score on the Triple Crown race cards. The pick six bets on those days typically end with the headline races, and feature several high level stakes races along the way, so the challenge is compelling, and the chance for big profits is very real. If a bettor goes into these bets without a lot of knowledge and forethought, though, they can easily cost themselves a lot of money without having a chance at winning a bet. Here are six things for horse race handicappers to keep in mind when looking to bet the pick six on Triple Crown race days:
Understand what each horse costs – Unless you want to bet a single combination to say you have a chance to win, you are likely to bet multiple horses in each race. With six races it can get very expensive to bet multiple horses per race on the Triple Crown days. For example, just betting three horses in each race would cost you a total of $1458. For serious pick six bettors this would be an inexpensive ticket. Pick Six betting is not a bet for people with tight bankrolls. It’s very important that people understand what the impact of adding just one more horse to a ticket can be. For example, if we add one more horse to just one race on the above ticket the price of the bet goes up by $486. You absolutely can’t be throwing horses into your bets because you think they could possibly be competitive if everything goes well. Successful pick six bettors in the Triple Crown need to be very strategic in their choices, and ruthless in their decisions so that the costs are minimized without minimizing the chances of success.
Bet what you can lose – The pick six might seem like a good way to get rich, but it’s actually a good way to go broke. Because the tickets can be so expensive and there are so many unknowns involved, it is very tough for even the best handicappers to win this bet with any frequency. People who do successfully make money on the pick six have to do so with a very long term view – one win will hopefully overcome the many inevitable losses that came before it. If you are looking to turn your last few dollars into something meaningful then there are far better ways than this to do so. You can bet this as a one-time pursuit, but only if you understand that there is a very good chance that you will lose it all.
Look for horses to key – One of the best ways to minimize wagering costs effectively in a pick six bet is by keying a horse in a race. That means that in one or more races during the pick six you only pick one horse to win the race. Your risk is obviously much higher, but if there is one clear choice in a race then it is a great way to keep your costs in line. Using the above example, if you key a horse in one race and bet three horses in the other five races the total cost of the bet falls from $1458 to $486. The impact of a key horse is huge with this type of bet.
Set a budget in advance – If you start to craft your ticket without a betting budget in mind then you can easily find yourself spending far more money than you plan to. You’ve seen how quickly costs can jump with these bets. Unless costs really aren’t an issue for you, then it is important to first look at how much you want to spend, and then work to find the best way to effectively invest that money. You might find that the best way to invest – especially if you don’t have a lot to spend – is to bet a number of small tickets instead of trying to make one big one. You’ll cover fewer combinations, but you can focus on the ones that are most likely to come through.
Never guess – The pick six is not a bet for people who are messing around and have some fun. If you just want to drink some beer, make some bets, and have something to cheer for and hopefully brag about then this is not the bet for you. Stick to simpler, lower cost exotics that are easier to win like the trifecta or the pick three. You shouldn’t play the pick six unless you have looked at the six races closely and you are making decisions based on research and insight. Each time you guess in a pick six bet you are risking too much – it’s just not worth it. The bet is hard enough to win when you are perfectly prepared, never mind when you are just grasping at straws on one of the Triple Crown race days.
Spread the risk – Most times, handicapping can be a lonely endeavor because it is such an indiviual pursuit. The pick six is one case, though, where group work might be your best approach. If you have $300 to bet on the pick six then you would likely be better off pooling that money with four other bettors who want to bet the same amount than you would be betting it yourself. Sure, you’d only have a shot at a fifth of the big payoff. But the extra money would allow you to cover far many more combinations, and would give you a much better chance to cash in. This is not a good time to be greedy as a bettor.