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True Odd Overlay

  1. If you are having success with your current wagering plan then do not change it. As the old saying goes "If it's not broken don't fix it!". If you want to improve upon the size of your bankroll then this sheet is your answer. You will need to read this page completely and more than once to understand how to use it correctly. This page will always be here so you can study it as often as you like and refer back to it any time you want.

  2. Let us now get an understanding of what you are looking at. Next to each horse's name on our DIAMOND REPORTS and GOLD REPORTS you will see 2 numbers in parenthesis separated by a /. The 1st number = the morning line odds. The 2nd number = OUR TRUE ODDS. So, in the example below in Table A, we see that AFFIRMED is 4-1 in the morning line but his true odds are 2.5-1 (5-2) See Table B for odds to $1/tote odds conversion. ALYDAR is 2.5-1 (5-2) in the morning line but his true odds are 3.5-1 (7-2). SEATTLE SLEW is 4.5-1 (9-2) in the morning line but his true odds are 4-1. SPECTACULAR BID is 3.5-1 (7-2) morning line but his true odds are 4.5-1 (9-2). CIGAR is 6-1 in the morning line but his true odds are 8-1. Every horse with OUR TRUE ODDS of 9-2 or lower should be considered a major contender in each race. Every horse with our true odds of 5-1 to 10-1 could be considered a live longshot if the near post time tote odds should dictate such. The horses make excellent prospect for using in your exotic wagers.
  3. As aforementioned, we have OUR TRUE ODDS for each horse in the analysis section of our DIAMOND REPORTS and our GOLD REPORTS. This represents the actual chance a horse has to win each race. The morning line odds set by the track official are set by how he thinks the betting public will wager. These are 2 different worlds. As a horseplayer you must have an advantage over the odds to succeed, if you don't you will never make long term profit in this game. Here are the 3 types of odds and what to do with them:
    A) Morning line odds - Forget they exist as they are of no value nor meaning to you except to use as a comparison to true odds.
    B) RacingPicks.Com TRUE ODDS - These represent the exact and accurate chance each horse has to win each race.
    C) Near post time odds - These are the odds you will base your wagering decision on. Obviously you can't get your bet in as they leave the gate so allow enough time to place your wager. If the near post time odds on your horse are higher than OUR TRUE ODDS then you have an OVERLAY. If the near post time odds are lower than our true odds then you have an underlay. In some circumstances an underlay is acceptable. For example: If your horse has true odds of 6-1 and his near post odds are 5-1 or 4-1, you could still bet him if you like him a lot. On the other hand, if your horse has our true odds of 2-1 and his near post time odds are 6-5 it does not make a good play at all. We like to think of a threshold of a 3-1 to 4-1 odds offering as a minimum for consideration on any horse.
  4. FAQS - Should I base whether or not to bet a horse solely on his true odds?. Let us say, FOR EXAMPLE, you want to bet a certain horse and his TRUE ODDS are 2-1. If his near post time odds are 7-5 he is not a good bet (underlay). The horse could certainly win but making these types of bets will hurt your bankroll in the long run. Since he is an underlay at 7-5 but you really like him, take a look at the exactas and see if you can find value there. The Exacta Overlay Plan can help you to do this. Now if your horse has true odds of 2-1 and near post time odds are 2-1 (or close) then you are getting fair value. If his odds are 3-1 or higher then you are getting a nice overlay. We are using a horse with true odds of 2-1 for this example, obviously the principles set forth will work with any odds.

  5. FAQS - Should I base how much I bet a horse on his true odds? YES, however even the best true odds overlay situation calls for a maximum of 5% of your wagering bankroll (and this max should only be bet for best plays). That's 5% of your WIN bets bankroll. You should keep separate bankrolls for your exotics and win bets. See the Money Management page for more details about HOW MUCH TO WAGER.

  6. You see below in table A that AFFIRMED has true odds of 5-2. If his near post time odds were 3-1 or more it would be an overlay. If he were 4-1 near post time (see Table C for solid overlay odds) it would be a generous overlay. Because he is the top pick in the race he has the highest chance of winning in our estimation and gets the appropriate true odds. Now, let us say his near post time odds were 8-5. He would then be an underlay. Betting on underlays is a sure way to a deflated bankroll over time. To achieve long term success as a horseplayer you must focus on OVERLAYS. Any horse who has OUR TRUE ODDS of 9-2 or less is considered a major contender in each race. Compare our true odds with near post time odds to find the overlays. Take some time to get familiar with how the reports work at the track(s) you play and you will be on your way to success!


    If you really like a horse but his near post time odds are an underlay, you can:

    1) Wager only 1% of your bankroll on him just to have action.

    2) If he is a real short price try to find value on him in the exotics.

    3) Play an overlay in the race, another horse with our true odds of 4-1 or lower whose near post time odds are an overlay.

    4) Pass the race. OHH, pass a race? I know that is like torture for some of you to pass a race. A few of you would rather pass a kidney stone than a race. The most successful players do not play every race. As your experience level increases you will become a better judge on which races to pass. Consult your wagering log to see what type of races you have success with and what types you don't. A wagering log is simply a notebook to keep track of all your wagers and their results.

  8. Let us say your pick, AFFIRMED, is an underlay with near post time odds of 6-5 and that ALYDAR was 6-1 near post time. We see Alydar's true odds are 7-2 so that would make him a generous overlay and possibly the best wager in the race. Horses with lower odds win the most races however betting the overlays will make you profit. Would you rather cash more tickets and loose money or cash less tickets and make a profit? Many of the professional players will only bet on overlays!.

  9. A VERY good example of overlay possibility is in those races where you see 5 or more horses within the 5 point rule (All horses within 5 power points of the top power horse), it makes a nice race to look for an overlay. You might see the 2nd, 3rd or 4th pick, etc with true odds of 4-1 to 6-1 (for example) but have near post time odds of 8-1, 10-1, 12-1 or higher! The chaos/contentious races (races with 5 or more horses within 5 power points of the top horse) are great opportunities for finding overlays.

  10. You should experiment with this plan, for a while, at your track. Get a feel for this way of wagering. Don't just rush in throwing money around blindly. There are going to be certain situations to weigh these true odds more heavily than others. You will see these trends as you observe and, we certainly hope, take notes. We said before that a true student of the game is the one who will beat this game over time. Students carry notebooks and take notes. "I don't want my friends to think I'm a nerd" one fellow told us when talking about keeping a notebook. We asked him what he and his friends like to do in between races. He replied "We shoot the breeze, ask who do you like and drink Coors light". That's fine if that relaxes you. Just don't expect to make long term profit doing so. Many players realize this, accept this and adjust their expectation levels accordingly.

Table A - Example

PRG# HORSE            ML  / TRUE
   9 AFFIRMED        (4   / 2.5)
   3 ALYDAR          (2.5 / 3.5)
   7 SEATTLE SLEW    (4.5 /   4)
   8 SPECTACULAR BID (3.5 / 4.5)
  10 CIGAR           (6   /   8)
Table B - Odds to $1 = Tote Odds Conversion

0.5 = 1-2
0.6 = 3-5
0.8 = 4-5
1   = 1-1
1.2 = 6-5
1.4 = 7-5
1.5 = 3-2
1.6 = 8-5
1.8 = 9-5
2   = 2-1
2.5 = 5-2
3   = 3-1
3.5 = 7-2
4   = 4-1
4.5 = 9-2
5   = 5-1
6   = 6-1
7   = 7-1
8   = 8-1

Table C  - Odds to $1 = Tote Odds Conversion = 50% Overlay Odds = Win Chance %

0.5 = 1-2 =  1-1 = 50%
0.6 = 3-5 =  1-1 = 50%
0.8 = 4-5 =  6-5 = 45%
1   = 1-1 =  3-2 = 40%
1.2 = 6-5 =  9-5 = 36%
1.4 = 7-5 =  2-1 = 33%
1.5 = 3-2 =  2-1 = 33%
1.6 = 8-5 =  5-2 = 29%
1.8 = 9-5 =  5-2 = 29%
2   = 2-1 =  3-1 = 25%
2.5 = 5-2 =  7-2 = 22%
2.5 = 5-2 =  4-1 = 20%
3   = 3-1 =  9-2 = 18%
3.5 = 7-2 =  5-1 = 17%
4   = 4-1 =  6-1 = 14%
4.5 = 9-2 =  7-1 = 13%
5   = 5-1 =  7-1 = 13%
6   = 6-1 =  9-1 = 10%
7   = 7-1 = 11-1 =  8%
8   = 8-1 = 12-1 =  8%


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