Winning A Pick 5

The .50 cent late Pick 5 at Saratoga on Friday paid $6,752 dollars.

The Pick 5 is one of the best wagers on the menu at any race track in the country. 

With its low 15% takeout rate and .50 cent minimum bet, the Pick 5 can be a lucrative wager for beginners and experts alike.

This particular wager has become immensely popular. At Saratoga Race Course on weekends, the Pick 5 averages more than $1 million in handle.

On August 12th last year, the .50 cent late Pick 5 at Saratoga paid a whopping $161,000!

But with five races in the equation, betting the Pick 5 requires more strategy than betting to Win, Place, or Show.

The Daily Racing Blog has had some success with this wager in the past.  Here are some useful tips that we often use, and can help get you started on your way to Pick 5 riches:

In this bet, you have the option of using multiple horses in each of the five races, which will result in a higher cost. For example, a 50-cent Pick 5 that uses three horses in each race of the series, would be a $112.50 wager.

However, most players do not blindly use their top three picks in a race. Rather, they look for some races in which to single, or use just one horse, and other races where they can spread, or use multiple runners.

Using horses that you know everyone else is using is not a great strategy. Even if you stay alive, virtually every other ticket is also still active, so you’re not increasing your expected payoff by much.

In order to cash a big Pick 5 ticket you need to play against popular crowd opinions. 

If everyone is singling a 3-5 favorite in Leg 3, taking a contrary approach can be lucrative. If you include a 5-1 shot with sneaky-good form, and your 5-1 shot upsets the 3-5 favorite, you’ll advance in the Pick 5 while hundreds (thousands?) of other tickets will fall by the wayside.

If you think an odds-on favorite is vulnerable, toss them completely, and use other horses instead. Should that big favorite lose, it can result in a big payoff even if favorites Win the other legs.

Conversely, the time to single is in races where other people are spreading. If you like a horse in a wide-open race, and you use only him/her, you give yourself more opportunity to spread in races where people have narrowed down their tickets. If that horse Wins at a good price, you’ll set yourself up for a score.

When it comes to making it rain in the Pick 5, knowing how to play the sequences is just as important as knowing which horse to bet.

By crafting plays that go against the tide, you set yourself up for maximum Value when you cash.

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