Handicapping the Races: Dollars to Donuts

I was at my favorite donut shop the other day, waiting for them to heat the breakfast sandwich I’d ordered after I got a free coffee for the points I’d gotten on my loyalty card that the chain issues. There was a guy behind me in line and he asked me why my coffee was free.

“I have a loyalty card,” I explained, pointing to where there were several on a rack, “Just get one and have it activated by the cashier and you start getting points every time you buy something here. When you get enough, you get a free beverage and they’re always sending me coupons and special offers too. It adds up.”

He shook his head and said, “Nah, I don’t think I’ll bother with all that. It’s too much trouble when I just want a quick coffee and I’m more used to getting my coffee at another place that’s closer to where I work. I’ll pass.”

I didn’t say anything, but I thought about this guy and how he’s missing out on getting free stuff, just because it’s too much trouble and because he’s more used to another coffee shop that doesn’t give you anything for buying its products. Then I started thinking about how that applies to handicapping and playing the races too.

I use Bet America for my online wagers. I used to use another ADW, the one that’s owned by the track where the Kentucky Derby is run. I used it because it was the one I’d signed up with when I first started playing online, many years ago. One of the things I liked about it, at first, was that if I made a two dollar bet on a track, I got a program free.

I’m not so crazy about that now though. For one thing, I had to get the program to figure out whether I wanted to play the track. But when I downloaded the program, I had to make a bet to cover the program or I’d be out the price of it. And, often, there wouldn’t be anything I really wanted to play on the program. So I’d pick a “sure thing” and play it, and most of the time discover that it wasn’t as sure as it looked and ran out of the money, so I’d lose two bucks, which is almost what the program costs.

For another thing, they only carry thoroughbred and harness races. I play both of those, but I also play greyhounds, my first choice for handicapping.  To play them, I used to travel miles to an OTB at a closed greyhound track one state over from me. Then I discovered Bet America which does carry greyhound tracks and which has links to free greyhound programs.

Thoroughbred and harness programs aren’t “free” there, but I’ve come to realize that I don’t even need a program when I bet with BA. Their new handicapping pages for thoroughbred and harness give me all the information I need to pick winners and exotics. I can see how the trainer has done with the horse, the jockey/driver stats, the horse’s record and pedigree.

One very important statistic that the BA handicapping pages show is whether the horse has won at the track, and in the case of thoroughbreds, at that distance. This is one of my favorite spot plays. I call them “Been There Done That” horses or BTDT’s and they don’t owe me any money. If there is only one in a race, especially in a race like the downhill turf course at Santa Anita or another track or distance that is quirky – like 7 furlong races – these horses are a good bet.

If you haven’t looked at Bet America lately, or if you’ve never considered it, give it a look. Right now, they’re having a special sign-up bonus where they’ll match your initial deposit up to $300! That’s $300 worth of bets free! Try handicapping some races with it on paper and see how you do.

If you don’t want to pay for programs, but want as much information as you need to pick winners, Bet America is the best Advanced Wagering Deposit option online.

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