Wouldn’t it be nice if you had all the time in the world to handicap a racing program? You don’t, of course, unless you’re a hermit with a time machine. Even if you have no family or work responsibilities, there are only so many hours in the day and only so much time between the time the programs are printed and the time the first race goes off.
Many greyhound handicappers say that they feel pressured when they go over their program. They feel as if they don’t have enough time to do a thorough job before time to go to the track. In many cases, they have to fit handicapping in between working 8 hours a day, spending time with their families, errands and other hobbies.
If you always seem to be short of time to go over the races, maybe it’s because your handicapping technique isn’t the best one. Maybe, if you spent the same amount of time, but used a different approach, you’d get more done in less time. Just because something takes a while to do, doesn’t mean that it’s worth the time. If you find handicapping tedious, maybe it’s because you’re making it more complicated than it needs to be.
There are many shortcuts that make picking winners a quicker, easier process. You can learn them from friends or from good handicapping systems or develop them yourself. If you’re good enough at analyzing your own behavior and can figure out what’s taking you so much time, maybe you can shave minutes or even hours from your handicapping time.
Of course, you have to be thorough, but there’s no need to let yourself get bogged down with tiny little details like weight or exactly how the race will play out. Stick with the most important factors and don’t dwell on the less important ones. This will make your task quicker, easier and more enjoyable.
Most handicappers agree that speed, class, post position and running style are the most important factors in a race. Early speed and which dog will outbreak the others is very important. Greyhound races are often decided by tenths of a second. The dog that gets out first is very often the dog that crosses the wire first, especially in sprints.
I’m not saying that closers never win. At some tracks, closers win more than their share of races. But as a general rule, early speed is a big factor in handicapping. I’d recommend that you put it at the top of your handicapping factors list and then check for the other factors: post position, running style and prior race times. Then move on to the next race and finish the program that way.
If you want to go back, after you’ve handicapped all the races this way, and you have the time, that’s fine. But on most programs, most races can be handicapped in about five or ten minutes, at least enough to see if you want to play the race or not.