Over the past 17 years, ADW (Advance-Deposit Wagering) companies have established a permanent, and growing, foothold in the industry, constantly rolling out new technologies and promotions that have expanded the ways people can bet.
Most of the basic principles of handicapping horse racing are just as valid when using an ADW account as they are at the track.
Many folks grew accustomed to making online bets during Covid, when some/most tracks were allowed to operate, albeit without spectators.
Online wagering will only continue to grow in the years ahead, as tracks such as Churchill Downs and the NYRA venues continue to promote their ADW as alternative options.
If you’re new to betting the horses online here is a brief primer to (hopefully) serve as a handy introduction for those who want an alternative to wagering at the track.
Use The Tools at Your Fingertips. Most wagering sites will not only offer rebates for past performances (which basically allows you to access past performances of horse for free) but most will also offer predictive data that can often be useful. On TVG, for example, you can find Power Ratings for each horse, as well as speed and class figures that you can factor into making your picks.
Those Tools Include Replays. All legal US wagering sites also allow you unlimited access to race replays, which are extremely important in identifying horses who might be positioned to improve or regress off of the trips they received in previous races. The ultimate goal is to find a potential overlay (a horse who’s odds are higher than they should be) who had an excuse for running poorly in a previous race which you would’ve only spotted had you watched the replay.
Take Advantage Of Offers … To A Point. Most ADW accounts will offer a sign-in bonus, a limited amount posted to your account that you can use to bet. Sample the offers and read the fine print before choosing. Once you’ve signed in, the offers will keep rolling in – some offering bonus cash for wagering on certain tracks, others restricted to a specific bet such as the Pick 4 or Pick 5. By all means, take advantage of any offer coming your way that dovetails with your usual strategy and money-making goals – but always prioritize your best bets for the day over any promotional offer.
Stay Disciplined – Focus on Your Favorite Tracks. ADW accounts provide even more options than your local racetrack’s simulcast feed, offering practically every North American track holding a card that particular day, and many international tracks. Don’t be tempted: stay honed in on the racing circuits you know the most about and would bet on during a normal day at the track.
Don’t DWI While ADW: The D is for Deposit in the first acronym as well. It’s hard to resist imbibing at the track with friends, but in the online betting environment, concentration and discipline should rule the day. The goal is to find overlays and construct bets with a diamond-cutter’s attention, not to keep hitting the deposit button in a fit of booze-fueled bravado and slowly fall down the well when a bad beat or two (or three) occurs. There’ll be time to enjoy a glass of bourbon or whatever you prefer when the app is shut off – or better yet, when you’re back at the racetrack.
ADW aside, nothing matches the excitement of gathering with friends, enjoying a perfect-weather day, and partaking in local food & drink while witnessing up close the beauty and intensity of racehorses competing.
And while the Daily Racing Blog continues to use ADW for some wagering, rest assured, when at Saratoga this summer we will occasionally go to the window to place a bet, because after a big hit your ADW account can’t look at you with a wry smile and ask; “Will big bills be okay?