05/16/2014 2:46PM

Bernier: Ticketmaker plays for Pimlico's Jackpot Pick 5

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Guest handicapper Matt Bernier takes a closer look at the Saturday's Jackpot Pick 5 at Pimlico.

The highlight of the card Saturday at Pimlico from a racing standpoint is the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes, but from a wagering standpoint the highlight has to be the Jackpot Pick 5 wager. What makes the Jackpot Pick 5 so appealing on Saturday? For starters, the bet has a 10-cent base, allowing players with smaller budgetary constraints the ability to put together reasonably large plays and have their tickets not cost nearly as much as they normally would if the wager carried a $1 or even 50-cent base. The bet also has a mandatory payout Saturday, meaning the normal rules of the wager don’t apply – there will be no carryover into Sunday. The concept behind a carryover involves a portion of each day’s pool being carried over into the next day unless there is one individual unique winning combination, in which case the entire pool is dispersed. Why is this especially noteworthy? Headed into Friday’s card the carryover is nearly $130,000 and, assuming the pool doesn’t get scooped today, the total pool on Saturday is guaranteed to be enormous. You’re essentially looking to get involved in a wagering situation where the track could end up paying out more than it takes in, and, if nothing, else it lessens the blow from a takeout standpoint.

[Build your pick six ticket with DRF Ticketmaker]

Sure, you could go ahead and throw in one “caveman” ticket and hope for the best – but wouldn’t you rather emphasize your strongest opinions more than some of your weaker ones? With the caveman ticket, you’re essentially valuing each horse you include in any given race equally. The smartest way to create any kind of multi-race wagers is to go through each race and identify the most likely winners and line them up accordingly using the A/B/C method made famous by Steve Crist.  Any horse that lands in the “A” column would be considered a primary contender or a horse you believe will be a massive overlay. The “B” column is reserved for horses that are logical win contenders, and the “C” column is dedicated to marginal (but unlikely) winners that would just keep your bet alive.

Not only does this method allow you to emphasize your opinions, but it also allows you to include long shots that you normally might not be able to afford and hopefully lead you to making a huge score. One of my best friends  and I hit a Rainbow Pick 6 at Gulfstream Park earlier this year for nearly $8,700 using DRF Ticket maker. Our total investment for the tickets we made? $54. How much did the actual ticket that we cashed on cost us? $4. As in four $1 bills. Our ticket that hit contained 5 “A”s and 1 “C”. If we hadn’t utilized Ticketmaker, we never would have made the score that we did.

I’m going to be going after the Jackpot Pick 5 using DRF Ticketmaker on Saturday, and I would encourage you to do the same. Just for an example, I’m going to make out three different sets of tickets based on three different sets of budgets – small, medium, and large (relatively speaking). Whether you decide to use any or all of the horses I use, that’s entirely up to you. For the purposes of this example, our tickets will be capped at $75, $50 and $25. Below you will find the three example layouts and how I’ve altered the tickets in order to fit each budget.

LARGE TICKETS TOTAL $72.90

MEDIUM TICKETS TOTAL $49.20

SMALL TICKETS TOTAL $24.60

As you can see, a few minor changes to the structure of your wagers can alter their totals greatly. If you use the Ticketmaker function, you will see that once you put your wagers in using the “chiclets”, the list of actual wagers will appear just below the visual. If you’re concerned or dreading the thought of punching in as many as 18 different tickets, fear not – there is a “bet now” button at the very bottom of the page that will send each and every ticket in to DRF Bets for you. You will be allowed to quickly review your wagers just to ensure their accuracy, and once you’ve done that you’re good to go. Simple, smart, and efficient - three words all horseplayers should learn to live by.

Matt Bernier is a 24-year-old handicapper and cast member of the reality-show “Horseplayers” that airs on the Esquire Network. Matt won the very first handicapping tournament he entered in October 2012 and hasn't looked back since. In 2013, he was one of the youngest qualifiers at the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.