Breeders’ Cup betting tips for horse racing newbies

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Everyone has heard about the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve and just about every adult (that I know, at least) has made a bet on the Derby. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships are just as much of a spectacle, and the two-day event offers even more opportunities to cash big tickets on premier horse racing. If you’ve never bet on the Breeders’ Cup before, we’ve put together an introductory guide for how to approach the wagering opportunities that await on Friday, Nov. 1, and Saturday, Nov. 2.

Budget

Never is it tougher to stick to a fixed budget than on Breeders’ Cup weekend but you’ve got to try to do it. It’s so tempting to take shots on any number of races because you’ll find that horses that would normally race at odds of 2-to-1 (+300) running at Breeders’ Cup at odds of 5-to-1 (+600) or higher, depending on the race. But realistically, you’ll be lucky to catch two or three winners on the weekend and if you don’t save your bankroll for the races you like best, you’ll be out of ammo to take your best shots. That’ll leave you in a position where you’re frantically searching for an ATM; it’s not a good look — trust me, I’ve been there. As the old saying goes; bet with your head, not over it.

Pick your spots

Just about every race is a great betting race at Breeders’ Cup. You’re going to find full fields in all 14 Breeders’ Cup races which will each provide a potential opportunity to make a big score. But if you end up chasing race after race, you could find yourself in a hole and in a hurry. What has worked best for me in the past is identifying two or three horses on the day who have a solid chance to win at a big price. Rather than throwing an equal amount of money on a dozen or so races in which you don’t feel as confident (either in a particular horse or that the race winner will provide the value that you’re looking for), it makes more sense to set aside a large chunk of your budget for betting on the two or three races you’re most locked in on.

Bet small, win big

As already alluded to earlier, you’re going to get great value on just about every horse you might want to bet on at Breeders’ Cup. Therefore, you don’t have to bet hundreds of dollars to make a nice score. I’ve played $6 Pick 3s (a bet that requires you to predict the winners of three consecutive races) in past years at Breeders’ Cup and hit for more than $2,500. Pick 3s can be tough but there are lots of wagers that don’t require a major investment that could also pay big money. Even doubles (winners of two consecutive races) often yield incredible returns. For example, the early Breeders’ Cup Saturday double in 2018 (Shamrock Rose in the Filly and Mare Sprint with Stormy Liberal in the Turf Sprint) paid $540 for a $2 bet!

Bet types

We’ve touched on a few bet types that you might want to consider. Multi-race bets are always fun and potentially very rewarding but there are other bets you should consider, especially when you like a horse at odds higher than 6-to-1 (+700). Depending on how wide open you perceive the race to be (and if you think the favorite or favorites might finish outside the top three), a traditional win, place, and show bet is always a sound move. I’d suggest that for horses above 10-to-1 (+1100) always bet win, place, and show. If the odds are around 5-to-1 (+600) or shorter, I’d bet only win and place. If you’ve got some extra money to play with in a wide-open race and think a major longshot might round out an exacta with the horse you’ve selected, you can always “wheel” a horse with “all”, as in all runners in the race. What that means is that you’ll cash nicely if your horse finishes first or second, and if the other runner who completes the exacta is also a longshot.

Analysis

This is going to sound obvious but be sure to handicap or analyze any race that you’re betting on … or find someone who has! You’ll be able to find all sorts of previews and analysis pieces on americasbestracing.net in the weeks leading up to Breeders’ Cup. Read those pieces. Also, if you’ve got the time, watch a lot of replays of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, also known as “Win and You’re In” races. In watching replays, you’ll find horses who experienced adverse running conditions (who were perhaps blocked in or had to steady in a race) and who might be coming into the Breeder’s Cup under the radar because of a poor finish in their previous race or two. Identifying a horse or horses who figure to improve with a better trip is often the secret to unlocking huge payouts. Along the same lines, don’t simply dismiss any horse’s chances in the Breeders’ Cup because of one or two recent races in which they finished poorly. Oftentimes trainers and the people who manage horses will try to gradually work a horse up to a peak performance at the Breeders’ Cup. This is especially true for horses who’ve run well at the Breeders’ Cup or in major stakes races earlier in their careers.

Have fun!

At the end of the day, it’s always great to win a ton of money but it’s important that you enjoy the process of handicapping and watching the races at the Breeders’ Cup. As I alluded to earlier, there’s no shame in leaning on a friend or a group of friends to do the analysis required, and then partnering with them (or pooling your money) to bet the races. Betting “show parlays” can be a lot of fun. That involves everyone at your watch party or at the track with you to chip in a few bucks, bet a horse to show and then roll over winnings from race to race – assuming your horse(s) finishes in the top three. It’s a light-lift that’ll keep everyone in your group engaged while also allowing you to go off and grab a drink, socialize and then tune back in when it’s race time.

Watch the 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships on NBC Sports. Coverage begins on Friday, November 1 from 4-8 p.m. ET and continues on Saturday, November 2 starting at 3:30 p.m. The Breeders’ Cup Classic hour is that night from 8-9 p.m. ET.

Canucks vs Golden Knights picks and predictions for Game 1

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Perhaps no team has been more fun to follow during the NHL playoffs than the Vancouver Canucks, and hockey bettors can still get the Canucks at +1,300 to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. Vancouver is coming off a thrilling series win against the defending champion St. Louis Blues, but now a much more difficult challenge awaits. The Vegas Golden Knights are +350 favorites to win it all, and they’ve certainly looked the part while dropping only one playoff contest.

Game 1 of this series gets underway Sunday, so we’re here to bring you our NHL picks and predictions in this Western Conference semifinal showdown.

Vancouver Canucks vs Vegas Golden Knights betting preview

Starting Goalies

Canucks: Jacob Markstrom – playoffs – 7-3, 2.44 GAA, .929 SV% (season – 23-16, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%)

Golden Knights: Robin Lehner – playoffs – 5-1, 2.44 GAA, .904 SV% (season – 19-10, 2.89, .920 SV%)

If this game was actually played in Las Vegas, then Markstrom could easily spend a few hours performing with Cirque du Soleil. The 30-year-old dazzled against Blues with an eye-opening array of acrobatic saves and an impressive 7-3 record. He’ll need to provide more of the same against a dangerous Vegas squad.

The Knights will likely roll with Robin Lehner, who has taken over the spot as Vegas’s starter in the crease—and rightfully so. Still, the Knights have the luxury of having Marc-Andre Fleury as their “backup.” The five-time All-Star matched an NHL record this season with his 14th consecutive playoff appearance.

Injuries

Vancouver: Tyler Myers D (out), Tyler Toffoli RW (out), Micheal Ferland LW (out), Josh Leivo LW (out)

Vegas: Tomas Nosek LW (out)

Betting Trend to Know

Canucks are 0-6 in their last six Sunday games. Find the latest NHL betting trends for Canucks vs. Golden Knights.

MONEYLINE PICK

The Canucks have been a force with the extra man during the postseason, converting 26.2% of their power plays. While the Knights are known for their offensive firepower, it’s their stingy defense that allows them to suffocate opponents—as evidenced by an 86.4% penalty kill during their playoff run. Vancouver is the only team in the league to never beat Vegas in regulation, going 0-11 all time. That’s something I just can’t ignore.

PREDICTION: Vegas ML (-175)

OVER/UNDER PICK

Each team is filled with loads of offensive talent. Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller have combined for 11 goals thus far. Elias Pettersson has racked up 13 points, tied with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon for the playoff lead.

The Knights can match Vancouver’s scorers, but they’re more balanced—Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch and Mark Stone have each lit the lamp four times during the postseason. The difference is on defense, where Vancouver has allowed the most high-danger chances of all remaining playoff teams.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-110)

PROP PICK

Though I like Vegas to win, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks kept it close and continued their offensive success. I’ll take a flyer on Vancouver scoring at least three goals.

PREDICTION: Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)

Canucks vs Golden Knights Betting Card

  • Vegas ML (-175)
  • Over 5.5 (-110)
  • Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)
NHL Parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NHL Canucks vs Golden Knights picks, you could win $104.93 on a $10 bet?

Use our NHL parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook