What’s a Exacta Bet?
Exacta betting requires you to select the first two finishers in a race in exact order — thus the name exacta. Also known at some tracks as the exactor or perfecta, exactas are attractive betting propositions to many gamers because of the prospect of big payoffs. Exacta wagering also offers an opportunity to create a good profit on race in which a heavy favorite makes win betting a poor value proposition.
Whereas a horse could only pay $5 to acquire to get a $2 bet, an exacta mixing that winner using a longshot may pay more. Some players like to bet exactas not simply because of the prospect of high payoffs, but also because the tote board at most racetracks will demonstrate the likely exacta payoffs prior to a race runs. Having the ability to find out what you could win in front of a race runs is a really attractive option to a lot of bettors. Furthermore, exacta boxes of a couple of horses are an alternative used by many bettors when their handicapping can’t separate the winner from their top contenders.
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There are essentially three different exacta wagering choices, some more effective than others.
Straight Exacta Betting
The very first exacta wagering alternative is that the straight exacta bet, generally extended in minimum denominations of $2. A $ two straight exacta bet 3-4 would require that horse win the race and horse 4 finish second to allow one to cash a winning ticket.
The next and most popular exacta wagering strategy is an exacta box combining 2 or more horses to finish first or second in order. Generally provided in a minimum denomination of $1, an exacta box of horses 3-4 would represent 2 possible combinations — 3-4 and 4-3, at a price of $2. The expense of a $1 exacta box correlates directly to the amount of horses and potential combinations in the box.
For example, a $1 exacta box of 3 horses (2-3-4) signifies 6 possible $1 winning mixtures that include 2-3, 2-4, 3-4, 3-2, 4-2 and 4-3. While one or more of these combinations would allow you to cash a ticket, then keep in mind that your payout would be only half of the actual $2 directly exacta payout, because you played a $1 box.
A box can be played in any denomination of $1 or more, however the higher the denomination played, the higher the cost. A $2 exacta box of the exact same 3 horses (2-3-4) could cost $12, twice as much as a $1 exacta box, but would also offer the full $2 exacta payout as displayed on the tote board.
To determine the cost of a $1 exacta box take the amount of horses you wish to ship and multiply that number by the amount of horses at the box minus 1. A $1 exacta box of four horses could be computed as 4 (4-1) * $1 = $12, which equates to 12 $1 exacta bets.
Below are some added exacta box calculations with prices:
$1 exacta box of 3 horses = 3 * (3-1) = 6 mixtures * $1= $6 $1 exacta box of 4 horses = 4 * (4-1) = 12 mixes * $1 = $12
$1 exacta box of 5 horses = 5 * (5-1) = 20 combinations * $1 = $20
$1 exacta box of 6 horses = 6 * (6-1) = 30 mixes * $1 = $30
$1 exacta box of 7 horses = 7 * (7-1) = 42 combinations * $1 = $42
$1 exacta box of 8 horses = 8 * (8-1) = 56 mixes * $1 = $56
You can box as many horses as you like in an exacta, but this isn’t generally a wise gambling strategy simply because all of the horses in the box do not have the same prospect of finishing first or second.
Generally, but not most circumstances, exacta boxes represent poor value, but because they are comparatively easy to comprehend, emotionally easier to perform (you don’t need to select the horses in exact order) and also supply the best probability of cashing a ticket (even at a loss), they are definitely the most popular method of playing exactas.
Since exacta boxes speed each combination in the box as having the exact same probability of winning (which is not true ) they create inefficiencies in the exacta betting pools. It’s those inefficiencies that clever bettors search for and attempt to take advantage of.
Exacta Wheels and Exacta Part-Wheels
The next method of playing exactas is to wheel one horse (or more than 1 horse) at one place with almost any number of horses in another place. By way of instance, if you were to play a $1 exacta wheel 3-with-All within an eight-horse area (3 with 1,2,4,5,6,7,8 — seven $1 combinations) it would cost you $1. The 3 horse would need to win and some of 1,2,4,5,6,7,8 would have to finish second in order for one to cash a ticket. Or, if you think that the 3 horse has a better prospect of finishing second, you might play with a $1 exacta wheel All-with-3 (1,2,4,5,6,7,8 with 3 — again seven $1 combinations) at a cost of $7. In this case any horse at the race could win and the 3 horse would have to finish second to allow one to cash a ticket.
Exactas can also be played as part-wheels, which differs from a complete wheel so that you don’t use ALL the horses at 1 portion of this wheel. By way of instance, in an eight-horse area, you might play with a $1 exacta part-wheel 3 with 2, 4, 5 (three potential winning combinations of 3-2, 3-4, 3-5) in a price of $3. Or maybe you play the part-wheel the other way, 4, 2, 5 with 3 (additionally three potential winning combinations of 2-3, 4-3, 5-3) at a cost of $3. While exacta wheels and part-wheels are not quite as inefficient as boxes, they still leave room for improvement, which brings us into our favored exacta betting strategy.
Preferred Exacta Betting Strategies Let’s say you enjoy horses 5, 7 and 6 to finish first or second in a hurry. Your handicapping lets you know that horse 5 includes a 50 percent chance of winning the race, horse 6 includes a 20 percent probability of horse and winning 7 has a 10 percent probability of winning. Most bettors in this scenario would play with an exactor box of 5-6-7 — six possible combinations. Other bettors may play with an exactor part-wheel wheel of 5-with 6, 7 and an extra part-wheel of 6, 7 with 5 — four possible combinations. The exactor box rates each potential combination as having the same probability of winning, which according to a handicapping is not correct. The part-wheel in this situation is much more efficient, leaving out the less probable mixtures of 6-7 and 7-6, but nevertheless rating both the 6 and 7 horses as having the same chance of winning or finishing second.
Considering you have $60 to spend and that you have ranked the Odds of each horse winning as follows: 5% — 50 percent, 6-20%, 7-10 percent, below are a few possible betting choices:
Exacta Box — Least Efficient
$10 exacta box 5-6-7 = 6 possible combinations bet in equal proportion = $60
Resulting Exacta Tickets
$10 exacta 5-6 = $10 $10 exacta 5-7 = $10 $10 exacta 6-5 = $10 $10 exacta 6-7 = 10 $10 exacta 7-5 = 10 $10 exacta 7-6 = $10 Exacta Part-Wheels — More Efficient
$15 exacta part wheel 5 with 6, 6 and 7, 7 with 5 = 4 possible combinations = $60
Resulting Exacta Tickets
$15 exacta 5-6 = 15 $15 exacta 5-7 = $15 $15 exacta 6-5 = 15 $15 exacta 7-5 = 15 Exacta Part-Wheels Correlated to Winning Probabilities as according to Your Handicapping — Highly Efficient
$30 exacta 5-6
$20 exacta 5-7
$6 exacta 6-5
$4 exacta 7-5
Outcomes and Exacta Payoffs
The race conducted exactly as your handicapping stated it would — the 5 horse won and also the 6 horse ran second. The $2 exacta 5-6 paid $20. Lucky you! Based on the way you bet.
If you had bet the first option, the exacta box:
Cost: $60 Yield: $10 exacta 5-6 = $100 – $60 = $40 Gain If you had bet the second choice, the exacta part-wheels:
Cost: $60 Yield: $15 exacta 5-6 = $150 – $60 = $90 Profit If you had bet the next option — exacta part-wheels correlated to winning probabilities as identified with your handicapping:
Price: $60 Yield: $30 exacta 5-6 = $300 – $60 = 240 Gain The final exacta wagering strategy, which puts more income on the higher probability mixes as identified with your handicapping, generates the largest profit — which is the secret to producing a favorable return on investment over the long term. While you might cash more tickets using the ineffective exacta box method, it’s not likely that this low-profit strategy will sustain itself over the long haul.
Keeping in mind that combinations of favorites in exactas generally create lower payoffs than they should, as do combinations of longshots, you can further boost you chances of achieving a positive return on investment by focusing your drama on races in which your handicapping points into the high probability of two medium-priced horses finishing the exacta. The latter scenario often results in payoffs that are bigger than they ought to be a result of inefficiencies in the exacta betting pools.
In summary, using solid handicapping fundamentals to determine your own pair of probabilities, and then focusing your main exacta combinations on the most likely results, rather than on boxes and wheels, is the real key to creating a lasting profit from exacta gambling.
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