Pitching the Chalk (Subtlely)

I watched the U.S. Women's Open in golf this past weekend on and off. I wondered if Lexi Thompson, the front-runner with a 4 shot lead, could battle some demons and get the job done. On Sunday, after she hit her second to six feet on the par five first (and birdied for a five shot lead), her 2-5 odds seemed about right. A birdie at the first; she's got this. 

But, according to the Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee, there was more to this excellent first hole result:

“She’s got 6 feet away,” Chamblee said on Live From. “Now professional golfers don’t miss the center of the face by a pinhead. Look where she hits this putt on the very 1st hole. Look where this putt comes off the face. She would have missed the center of the putter there by a half an inch. I have never — I have never — seen a professional golfer miss the center of the putter by a wider margin than that. That was at the 1st hole. …  I thought unless she gets an eight-shot lead, nine-shot lead, and her closest competitors fall away [her lead was not safe]"

This was prescient, as Thompson shot a 41 on the back, needed an eight footer on the last to force a playoff, and the putt wasn't even close. 

This is subtle. And subtle is not going to work every time. But the risk (fading a short, short shot) can certainly pay dividends with subtle. 

In horse racing, some of the best players who win regularly do this and act on it, too.

"That horse coming back to the winners' circle last time looked a bit off, and here he is right back in this week. I will pitch at 1-5"

"That horse's late figure was weak last time for the first time in three races. He may be off form and he's 1-5"

"That horse is on a bit of a line scoring down"

These are all pretty damn minor in the scope of things, and no, they don't always work - horses are 1-5 for a reason - but sometimes they're the staple of a monster score. 

Now, I just have to start monitoring golfer's nerves on where they hit their early putts on the putter face. 

Have a nice day everyone. 

The Ticket Construction Themes

Our wagering game is an incredible mental exercise for many reasons. And one of its characteristics I like best is the variety of thought when it comes to doping out various bets. This includes, for me at least, ticket themes in serial wagers. 

I was speaking with horseplayer Mike Maloney awhile ago (this story might be in his book as well, I don't remember off hand). Mike was in a pretty tremendous slump and took a little time off, but one day noticed that the Belmont (could've been the Big A, it was awhile ago!) charts showed a pretty decent speed bias. He, on a whim, decided to look at the PP's for the upcoming card and make a wager - something he had not done in awhile - with all inside speed. This story is good because it hit. He was not slumping any longer. 

We can do this with one theme, like Mike did, or several themes. Trainer angles, hot and cold, etc. 

Belmont's pick 4 and 5 on Saturday had a bit of that theme for me. 

If you have a thought that Brad Cox's horses are not firing, that means pitching his top two chalk in the 7th, his Belmont horse and the uber-favored Knicks Go in the sequence. 

Paul Matties floated a "theme" that he believes is happening with the absence of lasix that frankly I think makes a lot of sense. That is, the Euros will do well in non-lasix races. This meant you used the 8 and 9 in the 8th race - leg two of the pick 5. 

What we're left with, betting these themes and doing little other handicapping is:

Race 7 - Key the 6-5 shot

Race 8 - The two Euros 8 and 9

Race 9 - Pitch the 3-5. Use Silver State, maybe By My Standards or the one horse. But definitely Silver State as an A

Race 10 - The obvious chalk lean on Domestic Spending, who was large at Churchill and had a decent post and pace set up for his run.  

Race 11 - The three main contenders sans Cox in the Belmont. 

3-89-3-4-347

That's a $6 ticket you could "Inside the Pylons" and press for $5, costing you a measely $30. You'd then construct another ticket or two for 50 cents with some others, like the 9 in leg four, spending maybe another $24. 

Now, we all know that $6 ticket didn't click. But if the Belmont winner doesn't show up like the others and is about a length worse, we've made our serial betting year. The pick 5 on Hot Rod Charlie was $4,000 for a $1 and we had that 5 times. 

Grouping themes like this, I find, can help uncover big scores. And it keeps the ticket size low enough where we only need to thread that needle one time, and we're bombs away. 

Have a nice Monday everyone. 

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