Daily Double Betting Strategies
What is a Daily Double Bet?
Daily double betting requires you to pick the winners of two consecutive races. Traditionally offered on the first two races on a card at most racetracks, the daily double is also offered by some tracks on the final two races of the day. Some tracks even offer rolling doubles, which means you can bet the daily double on any two consecutive races throughout the card.
A $2 daily double of 2-3 on the first two races would require that horse 2 win the first race and horse 3 win the second race in order for you to cash a ticket. Many tracks also offer the daily double as a $1 minimum wager, allowing bettors to play $1 double wheels. For example, a $1 daily double wheel of 1 with 4,5,6 would cost $3 and would require that horse 1 win the first race, and any of horses 4,5,6 win the second race. Because this bet is a $1 wheel, rather than a full $2 daily double wager, you would only collect half the listed $2 daily double payout if it came in.
Daily Double Takeout Value
Like other multi-race wagers, the daily double has its own separate wagering pool, subjecting bettors to only one pari-mutuel takeout rather than the two separate takeouts that would be applied if you bet each horse to win in each race. This is the main reason why the daily double usually pays more than a win parlay would return on the same two horses.
For example, if you bet a horse to win the first race, your win bet is subject to a track takeout of anywhere between 14-20 percent. When you bet a horse to win the second race, your wager is again subject to the same takeout of 14-20 percent. This basically means that your two bets are taxed at a rate of 28-40 percent in total. Contrast this to betting the daily double on a single ticket and being taxed on the bet only once at a rate of between 17-25 percent. Obviously, the daily double is a better wager if you have two solid selections.
Other Reason to Like This Wager
There are a variety of additional reasons that make the daily double a good bet. It is the oldest of the exotic wagers, having been introduced at Connaught Park in Canada in 1930; thus, it has a loyal following among both casual bettors and horsemen. And because of its longevity and simplicity, it has been passed from one generation of bettors and horsemen to another.
In its early days, before probable daily double payouts were displayed on electronic tote boards, horsemen loved to use the double to bet their horses – simply because it allowed them to hide their intentions from the betting public. If the public saw a big win bet on a horse before a race, they would jump all over it, but with the daily double, horsemen could wheel their horses with a number of others in the next race without alerting the public as to what was going on. If their horse won the first leg of the daily double they were almost certain to cash tickets, and big tickets if they’d kept their horses and their daily double bets quiet.
In those days some tracks required you to bet the daily double anywhere from 15-60 minutes before the first race ran, making it difficult if not impossible to spot the inside money. But even now, with the probable daily double payouts available on the tote board, overlays still exist in the daily double pools, and both bettors and horsemen still love the bet.
Both old and new money is always flowing into the daily double betting pools, and this is especially true in the case of the early double, which bettors like to use to get the day off to a winning start. So you’re almost always guaranteed a decent betting pool.
Daily Double Betting Strategy
Many bettors like to “get” the early daily double so they can have extra cash to play with for the remainder of the card. They also like to hedge their bets, meaning they will often play multiple horses with multiple other horses including the favorites in a $1 daily double wheel. For example, they might play a $1 double wheel 4,5,6 WITH 2,3,4, which includes nine possible $1 combinations at the cost of $9. If the two favorites come in, there is an excellent chance that they will lose money on their bet or barely break even.
Basically, by playing multiple combinations including the favorites in the double, the bettor is lowering their rate of return and losing the very edge the single daily double takeout would have given them. Of course, if you are absolutely certain the favorites will finish out of the money in both legs of the daily double, a wheel play might be justified. Or, if you can find a value play in one leg of the double, you can wheel it with a number of other horses in the other leg of the double – just like the sharp horsemen used to do – and still do!
One thing to keep in mind when playing the early daily double – the first two races at most tracks on any given day are often for the worst horses – making the races extremely tough and possibly impossible to handicap. This does not stop casual bettors from pouring in money on daily double wheels using the three favorites in each leg just so they can have it – which is to your advantage. All that extra money lying around in the pool you – and some of these favorites have no chance of winning.
As in all horse betting situations, the key to betting the double is to find value plays and combine them with each other and in some cases with the favorite. For example, if you like a horse in the first leg of the daily double that is listed at 10-1, and you have determined its chances of winning to be more like 3-1, you may have found yourself a great play in the double. If you think the favorite is solid in the second leg, a straight daily double ticket will pay handsomely. If you think the favorite might be beatable in the second leg, you can wheel your horse with a few others and still come out ahead.
The main thing to understand is that if you wheel multiple favorites with multiple favorites in the daily double, you will cash more tickets but lose more money than if you were to concentrate on finding value and beating the favorites in at least one leg of the double. If you can’t find value – if the favorites don’t look beatable or reliable – pass the early double. You can always wait for the late double when bettors who have lost money on the early double and throughout the card come swinging for the fences with crazy multiple wheels looking to make up their losses.
The lazy crazy wheel betting in the late double creates inefficiencies in the betting pools that can work to your advantage even if the favorite wins one of the legs of the double. Because numerous combinations in the late double are bet with a “get out for the day” attitude instead of by probability, you can find value even in the shorter priced horses. Add this to the fact that the first leg of the late double at many tracks is often one of the higher class races of the day, making it easier to handicap and allowing you to spot real value that will perform to expectations.
As with other exotic wagering strategies, betting the daily double works best if you find the value plays and stick with them – limiting you wheels to solid combinations. You will cash fewer tickets with this daily double betting strategy, but assuming your handicapping skills are sound – you will make more money.
And that’s the idea, right?
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