Backing multiple horses in a race is a concept a lot of punters struggle with.
If you think a certain horse is a good thing, why would you back others? Only one horse can win. It;s a question we get regularly from readers and subscribers.
As the pros always say… it’s not just about picking winners; it’s about getting value.
Profitable punting is all about getting better odds about your selections than the real probability of them winning. If you do that, you’ll end up in front in the long term.
That’s an important point because no matter how good a punter you are, not all your bets win. They never will.
If you acknowledge that obvious fact, then backing multiple horses starts to make sense. If you know your first bet won’t always win, and you can get value about further bets, then of course it makes sense to take those bets.
Let’s take a look at a sample race that Melbourne analyst Trevor Lawson bet into:
Trev’s top pick here is Lycurgus, which he rated at $2.80, or a 36% chance of winning.
He was able to back Lycurgus at $3.90, a nice overlay. Using his normal staking plan (betting to collect five units on his rated price), he outlaid 1.79 units on the horse.
If the horse loses, he does his $179. If it wins, he’ll collect $698.
So on Trev’s own figures, he had a 36% chance of winning with Lycurgus. Trev’s figures are accurate over time – we know this because he’s a winning punter.
Now to the question of backing multiple horses.
Two more in the field, Falago and Zilbiyr, were also available at value. He had Falago at $6.50 (or 15%) and Zilbiyr at $8 (or 13%).
If he backs the three of them, then far more of his market percentage is covered. Rather than having a 36% chance of a win, he has a very healthy 64% chance (36% + 15% + 13%).
Of course, it costs him more to do so. Backing them all, Trev outlays a total of $319.
Lycurgus won for the collect of $698, or a profit of $379.
That’s the best way to think backing multiple horses – as one bet.
Collecting $698 on an outlay of $319, Trev’s true odds on his bet were $2.20. That’s good value given his numbers give him a 64% chance of winning, which equates to actual odds of $1.55.
If Falago had have won, the collect would be $808 – or odds of $2.55 on the $319 outlay. Zilbyr would’ve paid $630, or odds of $2.00.
All outcomes still offer great value given he rated the chances of one of them winning at 64%, or $1.55.
So when backing multiple horses, try looking it at that way… it might make a lot more sense. One bet in total, at lower odds, but still great value and a greater chance of winning. You’re getting great value on your bet, and you’ll collect more often.
That’s another positive – you have less losing races. Not less losing bets necessarily, but fewer losing races than betting one out all the time. Betting only on single selections means more volatility for your bank on a race by race basis and this can affect even the very experienced punters’ psyche. No matter how many years you have been at it and how confident you are in your approach, a sustained losing run still hurts.