Our guy Brian Healy (@BHealy19) furthers our knowledge on Horse Racing wagering by breaking down Trifecta betting!
What is going on #EliteMafia. We are back today to continue our knowledge of Horse Racing wagering. Today, in particular, I’m going to break down the Trifecta and provide you the insight into the various ways you can and should be placing these wagers. Trifecta betting has become one of the more popular wagering types when spending a day at the track, as it offers bettors a chance at a big payday for minimal cash. For those familiar with sports betting, it is similar to a parlay. If you follow horse racing frequently, you occasionally see four-figure trifecta payouts, while these can be five-six figures on some of the biggest racing days.
While it is certainly fun and entertaining to fire off exacta bets, they are not very well understood by the general betting public. Unlike the exacta bet type where we see probable payoffs, the trifecta leaves a bettor guessing and oftentimes over betting combinations that don’t have much of a chance at winning. The over betting (i.e. boxing) leaves the trifecta betting pool fairly inefficient and provides a sharp handicapper an opportunity to exploit them. Knowing how to properly structure your trifecta bets for each individual race based on probability is what gives the top cappers their edge on profiting.
There are four different ways you will hear bettors refer to Trifecta bets: Straight Trifecta, Trifecta wheels, Trifecta key and Trifecta box. The most common method you hear/see is the last option, Trifecta boxes. In most scenarios, they are an extremely inefficient way to play a race and result in a majority of the dead money in the wagering pool.
Trifecta Box Wagering
As mentioned above, Trifecta boxes are the most commonly used form of betting, as it allows you to play multiple combinations on a single ticket. It is a simple way to bet a trifecta and requires minimal handicapping efforts while providing a chance at a big cash. You can use a minimum of three horses and up to as many horses are in a particular race. The main problem with boxes is each combination of results all have varying probabilities of happening, which leaves lots of wasted money in the wagering pool.
To provide clarity, let’s say you handicapped a race and assign odds/probabilities of each horse’s chances at winning – Horse 1, 4:1; Horse 2, 9:1; Horse 3, 18:1. The probability that it finishes 1,2,3 is much more likely than 3,2,1 or 2,3,1. With a trifecta box, you are playing each of these combinations at the same amount but they have extremely varying odds at winning. In order to obtain long term profits betting trifectas, you want to primarily avoid trifecta boxes with the most appropriate time to utilize them is when you feel the favorite (or top 2 favorites) has a good chance of missing the board (top 3 finish).
Trifecta Key and Trifecta Straight Wagering
A far more efficient way to play trifecta wagering is either using a Key/part wheel or just a straight Trifecta. A $1 5 horse trifecta box would run you $60, but as we noted above, that is an inefficient way of playing most races. If you have conviction on a single horse winning a race, it is much more cost-efficient to play it as a key/wheel. For example, you think the #3 has a great chance of winning the race. Instead of boxing five horses, you play it as a $1 trifecta wheel: 3 with 1,2,4,5 and your total cost would only be $12 vs. $60 in the box scenario.
In a straight trifecta scenario, it is only recommended when you are extremely confident in the order of finish. You will cash far fewer tickets over time with this method, but you will proportionally reduce your cash outlay.
If you have strong opinions about a race based on your handicapping, structuring your bets as a key/wheel or straight will allow you to bet more on your combinations while also saving you money vs. boxes. You will end up cashing fewer tickets using these methods, but your profits over the long term with less cash outlay will be much greater. You would rather be the person with a $20 trifecta ticket paying $1,000 vs. the common better holding a $2 ticket paying $100, especially when you paid far less for your ticket!