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Everything You Need To Know About Betting On the Kentucky Derby

Read our Kentucky Derby betting guide - Bovada Sportsbook

Nine Insightful Betting Tips

There is such a thing as home field advantage.
It is wise to look through your horse’s track record, as any horse that has history of success at Churchill Downs has a solid chance of continuing the trend.

Horses odds vary based on how people are betting.
In this case, the house does not set the odds. The majority opinion is the most influential variable in the production of odds.

Prep races are important to follow.
It is important to note that the past 6 Kentucky Derby winners have won their last prep race prior to partaking in the “Run for the Roses”.

Be sure to compare your picks prior to placing your final bet.
Check out the field to see how public opinion is swaying, while also comparing your favorites with the track handicappers.

Sometimes it is as easy as picking the favorite.
Since 1845, the Kentucky Derby front-runner prior to the race has ended up winning the race 38% of the time (for a total of 55 times) – so don’t be afraid to ride the wave!

In it to win it.
Many pundits will state that they have been tipped off on the performance, or lack thereof, of a specific horse. This cannot be further from the truth, as trainers do not enter their prized horses into a race without being sure they can win.

If you can’t narrow down your bet to only one horse, give an exotic bet a shot. Here are a few options:

  1. Quinella: Pick two or more horses to finish first and second, regardless of order.
  2. Boxed Exacta: Pick the two horses that would finish first and second for your first “box” and reverse the order for your second “box”. Although this does increase your risk, having two options to win will increase your potential return.

Observe the horse’s behavior prior to the race.
There are clear signs to see if your favored horse (or horses) is in the zone. Look to see if they’re overacting, disobeying their jockey or wasting too much energy. These negative precursors could determine the performance of the horse right out of the gate.

Skip the line and place your bet online.
The Kentucky Derby will attract almost 200,000 people to Churchill Downs on May 6th. Unless you feel like waiting those never-ending queues, you can easily place your bets online up until the race commences. There’s no sense is stressing for time when Bovada offers you the luxury of their mobile Bovada Racebook.


A Quick Glance at the Top 4

  • Classic Empire (4/1), albeit the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby, has a multitude of question marks regarding his ability to finish the race. His trainer Mark Casse will be the first to indicate that on paper, Classic Empire is the prime horse for this upcoming race, but his desire to actually partake in the race has left many second guessing their bet. Can he put it all together when it counts most?
  • Always Dreaming (9/2) and trainer Todd Fletcher came up big last month at the Florida Derby, and has been among the top 5 favorites to win the race since our Kentucky Derby odds were first posted. It goes to show how important prep races are in the eyes of the public, as it can heavily sway their opinion and vault a horse straight to the top of the odds list.
  • McCraken (6/1) has gone undefeated when racing at Churchill Downs, which propelled him straight to the top of our futures odds list. As discussed in our tips above, a proven track record at the Downs stands as the biggest indication of continued success on said track. Ian Wilkes, McCracken’s trainer, is a veteran in his field, having trained horses like former Breeder’s Cup winner Fort Larned. Needless to say, this duo should challenge for the top spot on Derby odds right until the race.
  • Girvin (16/1) and trainer Joe Sharp shot up the odds list recently with two incredible performances at the Fair Grounds. Having already raced against the likes of Untrapped and Local Hero, Girvin’s track record cannot be ignored heading into Saturday’s race. His stamina, agility and explosiveness make him an attractive choice for any potential wager.

See all Kentucky Derby futures odds here.


How to Calculate Your Risk/Win Payout

Here’s a quick set of examples to measure your potential payout prior to betting. Let us assume that your initial bet is $5.

  • In the case where the odds are “3 to 1” (3/1):
    • Multiply your original bet by 3 (3 x $5= $15).
    • Add it to your original bet amount ($5).
    • For a total return of $20 (a $15 profit).

Note: Ultimately, your profit instantly becomes the first number value multiplied by your initial bet.

  • In the case where the odds are “5 to 2” (5/2):
    • Multiply your original bet by 5 first, and then divide it by 2 [(5 X $5)/2 = $12.50].
    • Add it to your original bet amount ($5).
    • For a total return of $17.50 (a $12.50 profit).
  • In the case where the odds are “17 to 5” (17/5):
    • Multiply your original bet by 17 first, and then divide it by 5 [(17 X $5)/5 = $17.00].
    • Add it to your original bet amount ($5).
    • For a total return of $22.00 (a $17.00 profit).

The “Run for the Roses” begins at 6:34 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 6 and will last all of two minutes. Be sure to place your bets prior to the race in order to take part in “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”.


*Odds as of May 4, 2017

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