"Place and Show Betting"
I remember reading somewhere in one of the late, great Huey Mahl's writings - where he was quoting one of his mentors (Lou Holloway was it??) - that (to paraphrase) "the best bet in racing is a bet to place on a super solid horse that fits the race, and looks set to run his best today."
In the current race-betting world of exotics up-the-kazoo - exotic bets of every imaginable kind - the 'lowly' place and show bets have all but been forgotten. 'Bragging rights' type bettors (which, really, make up the largest percentage) have relegated these wagers to the level of little old grandmothers, or newbies trying to cash a ticket - any ticket!
Place and show wagers aren't glamorous, or flashy; however, I think a re-evaluation of place and show betting is long overdue.
There are a couple of factors that play a significant part in deciding whether or not place and show betting is a good fit for you;
1. Do you play where rebates are offered?
2. Are you in the game for the long-term, and are stable profits and low-risk of prime concern to you?
The remainder of this discussion will assume that at least #2 above is true.
Betting place and show is obviously less risky than win betting, and will get you a much higher hit rate. The other side of the coin is that in order to make it profitable - you definitely need to maintain that very high hit rate - and at the same time stay away from the minus-pool type payoffs of $2.10 and $2.20.
As well, in order to get your wagers up high enough to garner significant profit levels, you'll need to restrict yourself to major tracks on major circuits (or the special big-name stakes race days at the smaller tracks) where the pool size will support higher wager amounts without payouts being much affected.
In order to get to these bet levels, and because the hit rate can be maintained (if you are sharp) at a much higher level - a player should be willing to accept a bit more risk, and can incorporate parlays and/or mild progressions into their money-management approach.
But - this does not mean one can get sloppy with the bankroll. Protecting the bankroll is still - and always - the #1 concern.
When wagering on lower odds horses in the back slots, a relatively short collection of historical data (of your own betting) will serve to provide close and adequately accurate projections of what you can expect. With payoffs from $2.80 to $6.00 (according to whether place or show betting), a test of a couple hundred races will be solid enough for predicting what to expect long-term.
Even though the tracks seem to be offering every kind of bet imaginable, they still don't offer place and show Pick 3s, or Pick 4s etc.. Even if they did, you'd be stuck with the currently less-than-acceptable rules for where your money goes when a scratch occurs after the series has started.
Place and show parlays put you back in control - you choose the races you want to play (you don't have to accept the tracks pre-defined series of races) - and you can modify the wager even after you are into the series.
It's likely that some of you are already serious place and show bettors. Several have gone through our Handicapping Gold module series and discovered little-known and super-solid place betting methods. Others have purchased, Show Me The Money, and/ or the P-3+ software, and are earning consistent profits with that. For the rest of you - even if you don't currently bet place and show - there are circumstances where it can save your game!
Have you ever been in a losing streak?!
Duh! . . . Sure, we all have. The bankroll declines, the psyche is negatively affected, decision making goes out of whack, second guessing begins, the whole "black snowball" effect starts to exert itself.
There is no better way to break this ugly cycle - and quickly - than to drop back to place and show betting for awhile. You immediately start cashing tickets, things begin to look a bit rosier right away, a couple of good 3 or 4 race parlays changes the ebbing of the bankroll, and voila! - You've successfully short-circuited what might have become a very bad and lengthy down-turn if you'd stuck with win and exotics betting.
What kind of horse should you bet to place or show?
If you're running parlays and/or progressions, you do not want to risk higher-odds horses very often. You really need to set some tight filters, and demand that your prospective wager horse passes through those filters. Remember, the hit rate is crucial, so you just don't want to mess around too much with horses you 'hope' will run well, but that need to overcome obvious negatives.
As well, your choice still needs to return a decent price in the place or show slot. You don't want to be on the glaringly obvious figure horse that will go off at 2/5, or 1/2 or so.
You should develop a profile for specific race types - and of the horses who have all the best going for them in today's race. You want super-solid types that, barring unforeseen racing luck, won't often disappoint when given today's conditions and probable pace scenario.