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Betting on Longshots

The truth about longshots, no matter how good they look in theory …

A lot has been written on this topic, in books and publications, and with good reason. The betting public has a great interest in Longshots. If given the choice, the average bettor would rather be cashing one $30.00 winner than four at $7.50. The totals are the same. But to many people, seeing their $30.00 horse cross the wire first is a great thrill to be savored.

There are loads of Longshot methods that promise terrific profits. Some are of minor value while others are just plain ripoffs.

And then there are ‘good’ betting strategy methods on Longshots that are being sold by high-calibre handicappers. A fair number work well in generating a decent profit over the long-run. At least in theory.

So then what’s the problem you ask? That previous sentence is the problem. Even the best of Longshots methods work in theory only. Let’s explain in more detail.

A typical ‘good’ Longshot method produces 12% winners, with an average of $23.00 payoff. You do the math, and it looks excellent. There is a 38% profit. But …

The problem stems from the infrequency of the winners. The low win percentage means that you will lose 88% of all your wagers! If there wasn’t any randomness to the numbers, this would be fine. But there is randomness.

Take favorites. They win 34% of the time. That translates into 1 in 3 races. But favorites don’t win every third race. They frequently win 3 in a row, and then lose 10 in a row. That’s what is referred to as randomness.

With only 12% winners, this is compounded tremendously. Statistically, the number of consecutive losers (the losing streak) that you have to expect relatively frequently is at least 30 straight. And an infrequent losing streak can last over 50 losses in a row! Those are the statistical realities.

I don’t know how many individuals are willing to endure the torture of a 50 play losing streak. 99% would give up (or run out of money) way before 50. It’s human nature to run away when you’re being clobbered with a big, ugly bat! Such a losing streak will shake the confidence of even the most experienced handicappers.

And we aren’t talking about top handicappers here. We are talking about average folks. They are the ones who buy these pie-in-the-sky systems. Being loyal to a method when it is draining your pockets of your rent money is virtually impossible. Now we must make an important point.

I’m not against longshots per se. In fact, overlays are a proven way of making long-term profits. While it’s got a major flaw because of long losing streaks, it is nevertheless a huge improvement over pure Longshot methods. Some of our own selections end up paying boxcar prices. It happens. The betting public sometimes overlooks legitimate top contenders. But that is not the rule.

As stated above, concentrating on betting only longshots, you will end up with a win percentage of 10 to 12 percent. The average bettor simply cannot withstand the extreme losing streaks that go hand-in-hand with a betting strategy that’s based on such a low win percentage.

A far more effective and safer way of playing longshots is betting them to place.

There are two things to consider:

1)The average place payoff of longshots is much higher than what favorites pay to win.

2)Statistically, longshots are twice as likely to place than win.

This means that if you have a method that has a 12% win rate, it will come in approximately 36% to place (12+24=36). And if the average place payoff is only $7.00, you have a bona-fide profitable method – without these numbing losing streaks.

For the same reason – frequency of coming in 2nd – qualified longshots make for great payoffs in the exotics.

Our diatribe was only against systems that tell you to wager only on longshots, and only to win.

For more on this, check out the Handicapping page about the major disadvantages of betting only longshots.


Don’t waste your time and money on any betting strategy that shows big profits from wagering only on Longshots to Win. It may look very good in theory, but is devasting in reality.

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