Handicapping the 132nd Kentucky Derby

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Kentucky Derby Picks

For many gamblers, Saturday’s 132nd running of the Kentucky Derby will be the most exciting two-minute period of the year. Many anticipate the race because small wagers can pay huge returns – last year, a winning Superfecta (where the bettor picks the top 4 horses in the correct order of finish) paid over $100,000 for a stake amount of just $1!

The Run for the Roses combines huge media coverage, monstrous payout possibilities and OTB parlors open for betting across the country causing the public to wager a tremendous amount of money on this one race. Like Monday Night Football, the Derby offers great opportunities if you can identify and fade the public favorites.

In the Kentucky Derby, the well-known horses tend to be overpriced at all levels, whereas the less known horses become overlays. The good news is that there are many ways to exploit these types of ‘mis-pricings’ at the Pinnacle Sports book.

Pinnacle Sportsbook offers a 7% rebate – win or lose – on all wagers made through the racing wager platform. This means that on any bet you can make directly at the track, can make it online at PinnacleSports.com for 7% less. Additionally, Pinnacle Sportsbetting offers many unique options on a reduced 16-cent line; from head-to-head match-ups to special props that aren’t available anywhere else.

Like sports betting, sharp players always get the best price by studying the different wagering options closely. Consider this scenario: a bettor believes there’s value on ‘Sweetnorthernsaint’ to win the race. There are three different ways to bet $100 on this.

1. At the track. If the track odds are +610, a winning ticket would pay $610 (plus return the original $100).

2. Place the same wager at the Pinnacle Sports racing platform to qualify for a 7% rebate – win or lose. A $100 ticket in reality would then only cost $93 after the rebate, but a winning bet would still pay $610 (plus return the original $100).

If you wanted to risk $100 after the rebate, you would wager $107.53 A winning ticket would pay $655.91 (plus return the original $107.53) or $45.91 more than betting the same horse at the track.

3. Compare it to the “Yes/No” pricing at Pinnacle. “Will Sweetnorthernsaint finish first?” If the price were +698 for the “Yes,” it would be comparable to the odds to win wager. Another thing to consider when making this wager at Pinnacle Sports is that in the event of a dead heat, the Yes/No wager pays the “Yes” in full (and the “No” loses).

If you placed a traditional win/place/show wager, it would get reduced by a tie. It might only happen 1% of the time, but that’s an additional 1% edge to be gained with a little knowledge by finding a smarter way to bet at Pinnacle Sportsbetting.

How do you handicap the race? When considering individual horses, it is vital to distinguish the “speed horses”. These selections tend to either do very well, or more often than not, run below expectations. However, they frequently have some equity when betting if they finish in the top 2. With the “speed horses” tending to be inconsistent as victims of brutal pace scenarios, they can be good to fade in head-to-head match-ups.

Some horses are very consistent, but lack the raw speed to win a crowded, competitive race. These consistent performers often fair very well in the head-to-head match-ups. Although they’re normally long shots to win, they’re likely to finish in the top half of the pack.

Following this thought process, one horse that stands out in terms of value is the Michael Trombetta trained, Sweetnorthernsaint. He’s been impressive recently, most notably in the Illinois Derby where he dominated the race chalking up a 9 1/4 length victory at Hawthorne Racecourse. As a Midwestern candidate, he receives much less hype than other quality horses and above +600 to win; he’s my favorite selection on a pure value basis to win the Derby.

Similarly, there are three favorites I personally think are overbet in the race. Brother Derek has mainly raced against small fields – including a grand total of just 14 horses in the past few months. As a result, I feel that this front-runner has not been tested by the non-competitive races he has chalked up.

Lawyer Ron is also an underlay – he’s shown a tendency to try and pull to the lead in races and this habit can spell doom in the Derby. Finally, Barbaro is overbet because he’s undefeated in five of his starts, meaning you’ll pay a premium to back him. The fields Barbaro has beaten haven’t been that strong and his speed figures are below the top couple.

Frequent readers of this column will know that I’m normally reluctant to share my own personal opinions or give any tips. Please do not take this analysis as a call to blindly bet Sweetnorthernsaint and fade the rest. This is only my personal opinion and instead I would urge all readers to do their own handicapping and consider all of the information available out there. It’s your money you’re betting, after all.

Which horses are people backing at Pinnacle?

Lawyer Ron (+467 to win first place)

We initially opened up Lawyer Ron at +2000 in March. since that time, Lawyer Ron has extended his winning streak to six in a row and is now down to +467.

Steppenwolfer (+1871 to win first place)

Steppenwolfer initially opened at +5000 at Pinnacle Sports for the Derby. Money has continued to come in over the last two months – in fact, he is thus far Our most heavily bet option. Unlike the other horses which have seen sizable movement, Steppenwolfer has not won a race since February’s Allowance at Oaklawn. Backers are speculating that in a race with so much speed, this closer will have a shot at the big prize.

Sweetnorthernsaint (+698 to win first place)

Our opener of +4600 moved in leaps and bounds after each of this horse’s recent races. In the months leading up to the Derby, Sweetnorthernsaint has won 4 of 5 races, including the Illinois Derby in April.