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Kentucky Derby Betting Value

The 137th running of the Kentucky Derby is upon us, and this crew of 20 three-year-olds appears as evenly matched as we have seen once we get past the two likely betting favorites, Dialed In and Uncle Mo.

So how can the recreational horse bettor make some money on Saturday while watching horse racing's marquee event?

Dialed In will likely go off as the lukewarm favorite, possibly right around the number of last year’s favorite, which was Lookin At Lucky. Lookin At Lucky was sent off as the highest betting favorite of all time in the Kentucky Derby at 6.3/1, and checked in seventh after a tough trip.

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Uncle Mo looked headed to be a prohibitive favorite in the Derby until his subpar effort in the Wood Memorial where he checked in third as the 1/10 betting favorite.

Dialed In likely will go off in the neighborhood of 5.5/1 to 6.3/1, with Uncle Mo close, likely between 5.8/1 to 6.5/1.

We saw very interesting betting in last year’s race, with just three horses going off at Kentucky Derby odds of less than 10/1: The favorite Lookin At Lucky at 6.3/1, second choice Super Saver, who won the race at odds of 8/1, and Sidney’s Candy, who faded to finish 17th at 9.6/1.

There were seven runners that went off between 11.6/1 and 20/1, and nine horses that went off at odds of 20.20/1 and 30/1. [ Bet horse vs horse matchups, will there be a Triple Crown winner and tons of fun Derby bets at Bovada. ] 

There was only one runner in the field that went off at 30/1 or higher, and that was Discreetly Mine at 31.6/1.

It was an odd betting pattern, because four of five horses in the field appeared to have little chance of winning, and odds of 40/1 to 60/1 seemed in order.

However, there is so much money bet into the win pool and not all of it what we would call “smart money.”

I suspect we may see a similar betting pattern this year, and if we do, it might be worthwhile to seek out early fixed odds on some of the longshots.

Currently at Wynn in Las Vegas, they are quoting prices on Comma to the Top and Santiva at 40/1, Twice the Appeal at 50/1, Twinspired at 60/1, and Watch Me Go at 75/1.

It may be a stretch looking for any of those longshots to actually win, but if you can grab them at prices 20 points higher than they will be in the pari-mutuel pool on Saturday, it may be worth making a small investment.

When it comes to Derby Day, it is important to keep a close eye on the odds, and the probable payoffs in the exacta and daily double pools. [ Kentucky Derby contests? Check out TrackChampion.com ]

Both are available on most online toteboards, and with so much money being wagered and there being so many combinations with a twenty horse field, it is worth spending a few extra minutes studying the probable payoffs and looking for payoffs that look like overlays.

Don’t just think about picking the winner on Derby Day, think about finding value. It will be there.