04/18/2013 3:23PM

Dave Tuley: Parlay often outperforms Triple Crown future wager

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We’re past the major prep races on the road to the Kentucky Derby and the field is coming into focus.

With that news, John Avello at the Wynn Las Vegas went ahead and posted odds on individual 3-year-olds to win the Triple Crown. For the past month, bettors have been able to bet the generic “Will any horse win the 2013 Triple Crown?” with a price of +650 (odds of 6.5-1 or winning $6.50 for every $1 wagered) on the “yes” and a price of -850 (risk $8.50 for every $1 you want to profit) on the “no” for the naysayers.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

But now bettors can get higher odds by just focusing on the individual horses they like. Verrazano, who is 9-2 in the Wynn’s Derby future book, is 12-1 to capture the Triple Crown. Orb, the second choice in the Derby at 5-1, is 15-1 to win the Triple Crown, with Revolutionary (7-1 in Derby) at 22-1 and Goldencents (8-1 in Derby) at 28-1. In all, Avello has 18 horses listed in his Triple Crown future book among the most likely Derby starters and offers a refund if you bet a horse to win the Triple Crown and he doesn’t start in the Derby. (No such refund is offered on the generic Triple Crown prop or on the Derby futures for that matter).


DRF SPORTS: Latest betting lines, StatFox matchups, and handicapping news for every game

A word to the wise guy: Before making a wager such as this Triple Crown future, try to figure out if it would be more profitable to parlay from race-to-race or game-to-game instead of locking in your price. It often works far better to roll your winnings over in a parlay.

Let’s suppose you like Verrazano and are considering the 12-1 for the Triple Crown. For every $2 you bet, that would return $26 if he pulled off the feat. Now, let’s say he goes off at 9-2 in the Derby. You would have $11 after he won and in a rollover parlay you would put that whole $11 on him in the Preakness. This is where it gets tricky because we don’t know what his price would be, but we can guesstimate that if he was fairly impressive in victory that he would be somewhere in the neighborhood of even money, which would give you $22 if he won the Preakness. Now, if he was considered a superhorse by that time maybe he would be 1-2 in the Belmont (again, we’re working in the dark here since we don’t know how many horses he would be facing or how many fresh new shooters who might have skipped one of both of the previous Triple Crown races) and that $22 would turn into $33, outperforming the $26 payoff from the pre-Derby wager.

You can tinker with the odds on each of the races if you prefer, but that’s how you go about determining which would pay better. If you think Verrazano goes off at 4-1 or shorter in the Derby or is more like 1-5 in the Belmont after two impressive victories, then the 12-1 might start looking like a bargain.

It’s my opinion that the higher-odds horses are more likely to present value in the future-book prices. That’s because once a horse wins the Derby, the public’s view of him changes drastically and can lead to lower prices than expected. For instance, let’s look at Goldencents, 8-1 in the Derby and 28-1 in the Triple Crown futures. The same $2 starting bet turns into $18, and while I doubt he would then be even money in the Preakness, I don’t see him going off at much more than 2-1 with his early speed, so that would turn into about $54 heading into the Belmont and even in the unlikely event that he would be 1-2 in the Belmont, that would still return $81 or nearly 40-1 compared with the static 28-1 Triple Crown price.

The other advantage to parlaying from race to race is in case you get cold feet and want to pull back some profits along the way, or especially if an injury happens, such as when Grindstone won the Derby in 1993 and was sidelined with knee chips five days later before having the chance to run in the Preakness, or last year when I’ll Have Another won the Derby and Preakness but then was retired on the eve of the Belmont. In those cases, you would have had nothing to show for bets on them to win the Triple Crown whereas you would have been protected by parlaying race to race.

NBA playoffs tip off

The NBA playoffs begin Saturday and Sunday with their view-friendly schedule of games spread all throughout each day to minimize overlapping.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m. Pacific, the LVH SuperBook posted its updated future-book odds after charting each team’s potential paths through the playoffs. The defending champion Miami Heat are the odds-on favorite at 4-7 (-175 expressed as a money line) and they’re an even more prohibitive 1-6 favorite to win the Eastern Conference. The LVH oddsmakers have the East’s No. 2 seed, the New York Knicks, at a distant 7-1 just to win the conference and the Indiana Pacers at 10-1.

The Oklahoma City Thunder is 4-5 to win the West, with the San Antonio Spurs at 3-1 and the Los Angeles Clippers at 6-1. The Thunder is the 4-1 second choice to win the NBA title behind the Heat with the Spurs at 8-1 and the Clippers at 15-1 along with the Knicks. Yes, there’s a clear changing of the guard as the Clippers are the more highly regarded team in L.A. this playoff season. The Lakers, who just snuck in on the season’s final day and actually escaped the Thunder in the first round by grabbing the No. 7 seed, are 25-1 to win the West and 60-1 to win the NBA title.

Again, when looking at betting these futures, you can go through the same exercise we discussed with the horses, except here each series would represent a race.