The great Quinella vs Exacta debate

By guest contributor Todd Burmester On the Hong Kong racing scene, the quinella as a massive betting form – In Australia it does not have the same popularity but may be worth a further look. It is however, the Exacta that I think represents the best possible value out of all the bet types we have on offer. I would go as far as to say if you are currently taking quinella’s you need to stop and convert to exacta’s immediately. Many a punter love to take the trifecta’s and first fours that our TAB’s offer with the promise of huge dividends etc, but let me tell you, I am convinced that these bet forms are often too difficult to predict at a good level of accuracy. Often, “anything” can run third or fourth in a race – that’s not often the case with first and second place that exacta’s deal with. Most of us have our rating method or opinion on which horse or horses can win a race – so given the quinella is the first two in any order, realistically it is lazy not to take the exacta with those you feel can actually win the race in the top line of your bet. The thing about exactas however, as it is with every form of betting, is to look for value. I had a data sample provided to me of over 5000 races and in those there were 3% of races where the exacta actually paid less than the quinella. This was largely due to the starting price of the winner. In fact, in those 3% of races, the average starting price of the winner was a whole point shorter than in the races where the exacta paid more than the quinella. For the record, in the same sample of races, the average quinella dividend was around $38 where as the average exact dividend was over double at about $77. In the case where the winner of the race was odds on however the average gap between the exacta and the quinella was only $3, in favour of the exacta.  There is great value in this bet form, when the less popular runner as seen by the market, wins the race. Whichever you prefer to take, quinella’s or exacta’s, my other word of advice is that boxing your selections is another lazy way to bet. Consider the above example where we have just looked at the fact that when odds on shots win, the exacta and quinella pays similarly, if you have an odds on shot in your selections, you will clearly want to have more on the combinations with it winning, than those with your 20/1 shot winning, that’s just basic punting 101. Consider however whether you are going to get “value” at all, with the “shortie” on top. It just may be worth the risk of including it only in your selections for second, in order to maximise your long term profits – this may give you a lower strike rate overall but a better return on investment and that’s what pays the bills!