Why Play a Parlay Instead of a Daily Double When Betting on Horses

The daily double may have been the first exotic bet and is still one of the most popular bets in horse racing. Up until exotic bets were introduced, betting on horse races was done to win only. Before pari-mutuel wagering came along, the odds were fixed and you could also negotiate the vig with your local licensed bookie.

A lot of things have changed since those days, but not necessarily for the better. The vig is no longer negotiable and the only betting you can do legally is through the state. I know what you’re about to say, you aren’t betting through the state, but rather through the race track. That just isn’t true. The state licenses the track and the track acts as their agents, but it is the state that decides what the vig will be and what the laws and rules of gambling will be.

The sad truth of the matter is that when gambling became socialized and taken out of the private sector, your chances of winning, of making a profit, got a lot slimmer. The government has a monopoly on gambling. They have no problem with exotics bets, in fact they love exotic bets because they can up the vig on exotic bets.

When exotic bets like the daily double first were introduced, the old timers, men and women who made a living betting the horses, called them sucker bets. In my opinion, they still are. Now don’t get me wrong, those old timers knew how to increase their profit on horse races by parlay betting. You might say that parlay betting was the forerunner to daily doubles, pick threes, and pick fours.

So the question is, which one makes more sense today? Is it still better to try a parlay bet on two races rather than playing the daily double? That is a tough question and here are a few angles.

First of all, if you play a win bet in the first race and then take your winnings and place them on one or more horses in the next race, you are paying the vig twice. While the vig on a daily double bet may be more than 20%, the vig on those two win bets may be 15% or more and remember, you’re paying it twice, not to mention the hidden costs of breakage (rounding off to the nearest nickel or dime). So at first it seems like it makes more sense to play the daily double.

But what if you take that money you won on the first race and shop for value in the win pool of the next race and if you decide you don’t like the odds, you can even hold it until another good bet comes along? Doesn’t that offer you a lot more leeway and the chance for a bigger score? You may even decide there is no value in any other plays that day and just take your profit home with you to be invested on another day.

There is no doubt about it, the more times you bet, the more the vig eats away at your bankroll, but if you don’t shop around and get the best value for your money, you’re just going to wind up cashing on low priced winners and gradually giving your bankroll to the state anyway.

I still say win betting and parlay win betting is the best way to go. You can apportion amounts from your first hit and not necessarily bet it all on the next race, too. A modified parlay can often make a good day a great day. Here’s how.

let’s say you have found five horses on the program in five separate races that you would like to bet on if the odds are at least 2-1. You have $100 to bet so a straight bet on each horse would mean a $20 win bet on each one.

The first horse loses and you lose your $20. Your bankroll is down to $80 and you bet the next horse. It wins and pays $8 to win and since you’ve bet $20 on it, you collect $80. You add the $80 to your $60 bankroll and now have $140. There are three horses left that you are interested in. The next horse goes off at less than 2-1 so you pass the race.

You still have $140 and there are two possible bets left on the program. If you bet each one at $70 each, and either wins, you’ll go home with a nice profit. Or, you can put the $100 you started with in your pocket and use the $40 to make two $20 win bets on each horse. There are many possibilities, but unless you get really wild, you can at least break even.

On the other hand, since you came to make a profit and have decided that each horse has a good chance of winning, you bet the next horse for half your bankroll. The horse loses and you are out $70 and down to just $70. You stick with your plan and bet the last horse for $70. It goes off at 2-1 and pays, $6 for every $2 bet on it when it wins. Since you had $70 bet on the horse you collect $210. You have more than doubled your money by parlay betting.

If you had put the original $100 back in your pocket and bet $20 one each of the last two horses, by the way, the second winner, the one that paid $6, would have returned $60 for your $20 bet and you would have left the track with $160.

If you had made $20 straight win bets on the same horses, you would have wagered a total of$80 on the four horses that went off at least 2-1 and collected just $140, but since you still had the other $20 you didn’t wager, you would have left the track with $160. Any way you look at it, a modified parlay would have increased your winnings substantially although, of course there was more risk as well.

This method is how many old timers used to wager and how many of them had some big days at the races. It is also why you shouldn’t rely too heavily upon gadget bets like daily doubles when a little math skill will give you more flexibility and allow you to create your own daily double on any races, even if they are separated, such as the second and fourth race, etc.

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