Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Same Game Parlays Mostly Suck, But Horse Racing's Version Don't

The Same Game Parlay (SGP) space has grown in sports betting with everyone, probably including your book offering them. 

The concept is not difficult to understand - you can bet the Leafs to win, Austin Matthews to score two, and the game to go over 6.5. These three items are inexorably linked, but if you like the Leafs, like so many of my friends, this is a great bullish way to support your team and win some money in the process. 

Sportsbooks in Europe have been using these as "bet builders" for quite awhile. But they are priced much differently. An Austin Matthews hat trick with a Leafs under 2.5 goals parlay is a mathematical impossibility, The Leafs scoring over 6 and a hat trick will see the opposite effect. 

Some of these advertised bets are gross. And players have to watch what's offered like they're Sherlock Holmes. Many books aren't on your side, and it seems some players don't even know it. 

Over in racing land, our parlay bets are different, because there is no house.  In fact, we can use them to our advantage. For example -

  • If a track is playing to a sneaky bias we notice, we can construct a pick 5 ticket with this in mind. 
  • If a trainer has been winning, and has two horses in a sequence we can use smartly as keys, we can 'parlay' that trainer's horses to some benefit
Now, certainly other bettors can do this too which can degrade value, but will they be priced the same as the SGP linked above? Not even close. 

I guess this represents another example of the advantage of proper ticket construction. If Sportsbooks are advertising and modeling probabilities by changing the odds based on the linking of events, why wouldn't we, as horseplayers, want to be in the same lane?

An NHL or NBA game tonight will have a theme based on points scored or myriad other factors, and that theme will be linked mathematically to data points, and the end wager will likely suck. The tickets we play in tonight's pick 5 at Yonkers could have a theme, too, but there will be no sportsbook Big Brother deciding the odds for us. They most definitely don't suck. 

If we're throwing up tickets that look like a dog's breakfast, we're just not doing it right. The sportsbooks say so. 

Have a nice Tuesday everyone. 

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