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Kentucky Derby: Value Picks and Predictions

Kentucky Derby Betting Odds

Better late than never as the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby will be contested on Saturday, four months past the first weekend of May. As bettors seek the inside track, here are some Kentucky Derby predictions and value picks.

Tiz the Law was installed as the -167 morning line favorite and may end up going off at the shortest odds of any Derby starter in decades. The colt is currently listed at -160 in early wagering at Bovada.

Favorites have done remarkably well in the Run for the Roses recently, winning six years in a row from 2013 to 2018. Improbable ended the streak last year, crossing the wire fifth at +400 and placed fourth after the disqualification of Maximum Security.

Maximum Security was a logical player last year, sent off as the +450 second choice, but it was Country House who was elevated to the win and returned his backers $132.40 for a $2 wager, the second-biggest upset in Derby history behind Donerail, who returned $184.90 in 1913.

With 16 horses doing battle on Saturday afternoon, it is tough to take the favorite at such a short price, so I am going to look for a couple of contenders that are going to offer a bit more bang for the buck.

Max Player +3300

This colt is unlikely to go off near his +3000 morning line but still should have generous odds. As of Friday morning, Bovada has the colt listed at +3300 in fixed odds wagering but that price may shrink. The colt has shown improvement in each outing and makes his first start here for the Steve Asmussen barn after previously being trained by New York-based Linda Rice.

The colt won the Withers (G3) in his stakes debut in February at 1 1/8 miles and did not race again for 4 1/2 months, returning in the Belmont Stakes (G1). He rallied to finish third over a racing stripe that was slightly favoring inside speed. Next up was the Travers (G1) at Saratoga and again he was no match for Tiz the Law but grinded his way to another third-place finish. Again, the racing surface at the Spa was kind to speed that day.

The colt earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure in that outing and another move forward would be good enough to put him in the mix. His last out BRIS number of 107 matches the figure of Authentic and Ny Traffic as the second-best behind Tiz the Law’s 115 (Tiz earned a 109 Beyer). The colt is going to get plenty of early paces to run at and has worked well over the main track at Churchill Downs. Asmussen comes into the race with a 0-for-20 record in the Derby with two seconds and a pair of thirds and may finally get off the duck here.

Honor A.P. +575

This colt was the big favorite in the Shared Belief at Del Mar and had to settle for the runner-up spot as Thousand Words ran big in a gate-to-wire score. However, the effort looked more like a prep for trainer John Shirreffs of Giacomo fame, just a maintenance race after his impressive win in the Santa Anita Derby (G2) two back.

His Beyers in his last two efforts are the same (102) and he looks capable of moving forward off his last race. His running style looks good for this race and he should get a good tracking trip just off what is likely going to be a sharp pace. It is good to have Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith in the irons, as we know he will work out a good trip for the colt.

FS1 will cover the earlier races from Saratoga and Churchill Downs on Saturday, and the Kentucky Derby will be broadcast live on NBC.

Michael Dempsey covers the Triple Crown for Odds Shark and his full card selections and analysis can be found at turfnsport.com.