The Right Single

For me, a lot goes into choosing the right single in any multi-race bet. With the exception of a 20-cent jackpot bet, I always like to have at least one single. Obviously, the most important thing about a single is that it wins. If it doesn’t, all else fails.

Most multi-race bettors look for their separation or edge in races where they go deep or spread or even use all. I seldom use all. I always look for at least a few horses I can eliminate. Have I been burned, of course, but who hasn’t? In the long run, it helps make scores and have tickets more than once. Eliminating as many losing bets as possible is crucial to the P and L statement at year or meets end.

It is easy to see the logic in creating separation or trying to create separation in a leg where you spread or use all. You are hoping for an upset, a long price upset. That makes sense for some, but I have a different approach and philosophy.

One of my favorite multi-race angles is when I see a horse, usually a short price favorite, that I think is vulnerable or will outright lose. I look for these opportunities. Those are the races I like to find a single in. The majority of bettors who single will land on that horse. If I can beat that horse with my single, I have already created separation and an edge. I also have other legs which I now have the chance to spread to create even more separation. This is a strong hand, you just have to be right about your single, and also the horse you see as vulnerable.

This all plays into my outlook on the game. You can’t be afraid to lose a bet, and you have to be willing to cash fewer tickets but win more money. Some players never understand that concept, and those players will never beat this game consistently.

There is almost always a vulnerable short priced horse in a multi-race sequence. You have to train yourself against the norm to look for them, as opposed to looking for the short priced single. It goes a little against the grain at first, but once you get it, and hit a few it becomes second nature. When that happens, you know you have elevated your game.

The next question becomes do you use the short price you are trying to beat defensively. The right and smart answer is no, but there is an exception. If your bankroll is short, and you can’t afford the risk, you probably should be sitting it out, but if not and you use a horse defensively, I get it. I think it is a mistake long term, but I have done it myself. Sometimes we do what we have to and break our own rules. I try never to get personal with my wagers, but there have been times, and I am sure will be again, that I just do not want to let a certain horse knock me out for whatever reason. Maybe I liked or bet them last time. Maybe they were a Tracking Trips horse. There could be a number of reasons.

Using the short priced single that everyone has is clearly a safer approach. Does that make it better? I think not. You are playing against the other bettors in the pool. In my scenario and approach, you give yourself the chance to get a big edge on them. You are also doing it based on your solid opinion as opposed to spreading and hoping. I can argue that is an edge right there.

When the favorite I am trying to beat is in the first leg I almost always increase my wager. I have found, without any firm study, that when you beat a favorite in leg 1, the payoffs seem healthier. It is just a personal observation, no science, but I like it.

There are so many things to look for when trying to find an upset single. It would be impossible to list them all. We all have things and angles we favor, and that work for us. I am suggesting using those with the above-outlined thought process. In the next few weeks, I will be doing a series of videos on Past the Wire TV talking about handicapping techniques on every level. We will go over how to read the past performances correctly and how to use the sheets (Thoro-Graph). You’ll be logging into AmWager and using their tools and platform to up your play big time. We have many topics scheduled, and we welcome any requests for specific handicapping subjects. Stay tuned. You will be glad you did.

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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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