The SHOW bet is the lowest-risk wager of them all in horse racing.
The goal of a SHOW bet is for your horse to finish 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. When you bet a horse to SHOW, and it finishes anywhere in the top three, you Win that wager ! It’s just that simple,
But, the caveat with the SHOW bet is, that while indeed a low-risk wager, it offers low-reward most times.
It’s not as difficult to pick a horse to finish in the top three as it is to pick one to Win, so you have a much higher chance of Winning a SHOW bet than you do a WIN bet. Therefore the payoffs are not nearly as high.
Although no SHOW odds are posted before a race like WIN odds are, a good rule of thumb is that a horse’s expected SHOW payoff is 30-40% of their Win payoff.
For example; at Saratoga on August 29th, the median WIN payoff on a $2 dollar wager was $13.05. However, if you had bet all 10 of those Winners to SHOW, the median return was $4.25.
No one gets rich betting to SHOW, but it’s still a good wager for new bettors looking to cash a ticket and learn how to handicap races. Once you become more confident, you can explore other betting options that offer greater reward.
The best time to bet to SHOW is when you think a mid-priced horse or a longshot has a chance to run well, but you’re not sure if they can Win. By betting them to SHOW, you’ll improve your chances of cashing and get a decent return relative to the risk taken.
One way to have some fun, and make some money with the SHOW bet is to do a SHOW pool bet with a group of friends. Let’s say you’re at the track with three of your buddies. Prior to the first race you each toss in five bucks to wager only on a horse to SHOW. After deciding which horse, you take the entire $20 bucks and bet that horse to SHOW. And let’s say it does.
So using the math for the Saratoga example above, that $20 SHOW wager you and your pals just made earns you $42.25. Not popping champagne yet, but…
The idea is to roll over your Winnings into the next race. So now after choosing a horse to SHOW in the second race, you wager $42.50. That one comes in (again using the Saratoga example) you Win $90.30.
You keep reinvesting the Winnings into the following race for as long as you and your cronies dare. It can snowball into a nice jackpot.
If by chance your horse doesn’t make the top three, then you’re out your original investment of $5, and had some excitement along the way. Your group can pony up again and you start over.
Have fun with SHOW betting.