Exotic bets? For most of us, picking one horse successfully is enough of a challenge.
Not that it stops us having a crack at the odd trifecta, or throwing some hard-earned in to the quaddie with mates.
Is that all exotics should be, a bit of fun? Is there money to be made?
The first thing to remember about exotics is that they’re a pari-mutuel product, so it’s all about the size of the pool and who else is in it. You’re not taking on a bookmaker, you’re taking on other punters. How much you collect depends on how much everybody tips in and how many people land the winning combo.
Exotic bets: the percentages
Unfortunately the tote operators don’t do it out of the goodness of their hearts: they take a cut. Here are the takeout rates for exotics compared to win and place betting:
That shows the first hurdle you’re up against: takeout rates on exotic bets are high. A lot higher than win and place betting.
The only exception is the relatively new Odds & Evens bet type, but the pools remain so small that it’s hard to consider it a genuine option.
Despite this, exotics were traditionally a target for profitable punters. One of the biggest names in the history of Australian punting, Don Scott, hailed the trifecta as one of the best methods of value betting – if approached correctly.
That was a fair while ago, however, and the betting scene has changed a lot since. Again, as a pari-mutuel product it all depends who else is betting into the pool.
Exotic bets: the professional’s view
Pro punter and Champion Bets analyst Cameron O’Brien explains the factors that affect exotic pools these days.
“I used to play them a lot more, around 2009/2010,” says Cameron.
“There was a lot more bonus in the dividends back then, but these days there’s large betting syndicates that have flattened the exotic dividends and use them as a rebate churn. Back then, exotics were the best bet type to play. Now the competitiveness of fixed odds win betting has made that the best bet type to play.
“Those trifecta, first four, quinella and exacta dividends have been flattened right out. Trifectas used to be really good, but not so much anymore. The TAB takeout is too big. Quinellas are closer to win betting on the tote but there’s no real point in win betting on the tote without rebates.
“The bigger guys are a lot bigger of a portion of the pool now, while a lot of the mug money on exotics now goes into the corporates. The corporates have bled that away from the totes.”
While this combination of betting syndicates, takeout rates and the rise of corporate bookmakers has conspired to strip most of the value out of exotic betting, there are some circumstances where juicy pools still present themselves.
“The one exotic I do play a bit of still is the quaddie. With three legs blind it still maintains some of that bonus dividend. Coupled with the fact that there’s big pools in the quad, it’s a good exotic bet type still.” says Cameron.
“I have a go at the single race exotics over the Flemington Carnival as you can still get big pools and there’s a lot more mug money in there.”
So if you’re keen to get into your exotics… you might be waiting until early November! Hold your fire for now and stick to fixed-odds betting.
Pro-punter Cameron O'Brien knows how to find value winners at big prices. He's done it time and time again for his Key Bets members. They get all of Cameron's tips from right across Australia, including stake, recommended price and runner comments.