How to Pick Longshots That Other People Miss

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Many years ago, a woman nicknamed Longshot Lil used to go to a track in the Northeast. She and her brother were at the dog track several days a week and they were fun to watch. He was methodical and had a pretty good greyhound handicapping system. He made quite a few trips to the window to cash tickets at every program.

She had a system too, but methodical she wasn’t. A few times on every program, I’d see her trying to convince her brother that a dog was a good bet. He’d shake his head and point to the program where the dog’s racing lines showed that it hadn’t been able to win at this grade before, so it had dropped down.

Then she’d shake her head “no” and argue with him that the dog had won after only two races in the lower grade, so it was a good bet to win at the higher grade. Her brother would roll his eyes and tell her to bet it if she liked it. Sometimes, he’d even put up a dollar to get in on half of the win bet she made.

The funny thing is that more than half the time, Longshot Lil’s dogs came in and paid good money. How did she know which dog was ready to win, even though it hadn’t won at that grade before? Well, Lil said that she knew because she followed the dogs.

While her brother was handicapping, she was watching the dogs from the time they started in M grade all the way up the ladder. She made notes on her program when she thought a dog was ready to win and those were the dogs she bet on.

I don’t know how she knew which dogs would drop down and win and then come back to win when they moved up a grade. Something in the lines or in the way they raced tipped her off. All I know is that she was the kind of handicapper who wins through watching, not through calculating.

It might sound funny coming from someone who sells greyhound handicapping books, but if you’re the kind of person who learns best by watching rather than reading, Lil’s system might be the best one for you. Maybe you should try watching the dogs for a while to see if something they do tells you that they’re ready to win.

If it doesn’t work for you, then maybe you’re not a visual learner. Maybe you need to read to learn and then use a pen and a piece of paper to figure out how to pick winners at the dog track. If so, you can still pick longshots. You can watch the dogs, take notes and then use the notes to pick those longshots that other people miss.

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Greyhound Handicapping – Are You a Sprinter Or a Router?

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If you were a greyhound, would you be a sprinter or a router? Are you fast out of the box, but then fade in the stretch? Or do you start out slowly, gain speed and really pour it on at the end? Dogs have different styles of running and bettors have different betting styles also.

I’m a router. I take a while to go over a program. I examine each race, carefully looking for the factors that I use to throw out three or four dogs, before I get down to really handicapping. If you’re a router, you probably take an hour or more to go over your program.

Sprinters, on the other hand, open their programs, glance over each race, looking for winners and quickly flipping to the next race where they do the same thing. They can “go over” a program in five minutes or less.

However, when it comes to winning, routers like me do a lot better than sprinters do. We do a much better job of weighing the dogs’ odds of running in the money. When the races go off, we have more information to work with as we figure out what to bet and even WHETHER to bet.

That’s a very important difference between handicappers who take their time and speedballs who rush through their programs. If you go too fast, you miss things. If you only look for winners, you don’t know enough about the other dogs to really decide which dog is best.

I’m not saying there aren’t people who are good at making snap judgments. Some people are very good at analyzing data quickly. But, even so, there’s enough data on a program page to take even the fastest handicapper at least fifteen minutes a race.

If you find that you’re finished going over a race in less than fifteen minutes, you might want to think about doing a more in-depth job of handicapping. Ask yourself if you’re missing essential information by just scanning, instead of really reading, the dogs’ lines.

Maybe it would help if you went over the races a second time. Maybe you should think about leaving yourself more time to go over the program by buying it or printing it out earlier. Or maybe you’re doing your greyhound handicapping with friends and paying more attention to them than to your program.

The bottom line is that there’s only so much you can absorb in five minutes. If you’re sprinting through your program, slow down and really take in the information that helps you make money – or lose it.

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