The keys to understanding the level of complexity are as follows:
H – Tips for beginning handicappers.
HH – Moderate levels of complexity.
HHH – Advance techniques for the serious handicapper.

H – For the novice handicapper, many use lucky numbers, birthdays, anniversary dates, etc. to make their selection. We do not recommend this type of play except as an occasional diversion.

With a little effort, players can greatly improve their chances to be a part of OTB’s “Winners’ Circle”.

Handicapping – Where do we begin? – There is a great deal of information to assist you in making a selection for a given race.

“Morning Lines” are the odds established by the track’s handicapper and reflect what he feels the final odds will be at the start of each race as established by the betting public.

“Past Performances” provide detailed information on each horse in a race, how and at what level he/she competed in its last few races.

The ability to read and interpret this information is vital to the selection process. Is a horse rounding into form; has he peaked; what is the competition like; how has he fared in similar situations; and how does he stack up against the competition are all questions to ask yourself.

Find Contenders – One approach is to weed out the pretenders from the contenders, that is to say, simplify the selection process by eliminating those horses you feel have no chance of finishing in the money from those who have the best chances.

This will leave you with three (3) groupings:
1. Those with a good chance of winning,

2. Those with no chance of winning,

3. Those you are unsure of. Now when you look at the Past Performances you can
eliminate looking at Group #2 horses.

Now look at Group #3 with an eye towards how they compare with Group #1. This analysis should cause you to place most of Group #3 in either Group #1 or #2, thereby, simplifying the number of horses to be given final consideration.

By this point, your selection process should be reduced to a workable number. Now you must consider bet type and how they effect your final selection, that is to say, one horse in a win, place or show selection two horses in an exacta or three horses in a triple bet.

While this process seems slow and cumbersome, it actually moves rather quickly as you become more familiar with reading the Past Performances.

We suggest that you work through the process several times without actually making a live wager. Do the handicapping, make notes of what you would like to bet and then check the results. Make live bets when you are comfortable with the entire process.

Remember when you are playing the ponies, keep it fun! Never bet more than you can afford to lose. (Bet with your head, not over it!)

If you feel at any time that your betting may be a problem for you, call the toll free number listed on our Home page. This confidential service hot line has staff trained to assist callers who believe they may have a gambling problem and offer advice and assistance on how to deal with the problem.

Overlays and Underlays – With our toteboard on the web, you can find a number of betting opportunities that previously were available only to on-track players.

This handicapping option emerges when the live wagering varies from the odds established in the Morning Line or opening odds. These are established by the track’s handicapper.

An overlay occurs when the actual or current odds exceed the Morning Line odds (for example: Morning Line is 3-1, but the current odds are 7-1, this represents a better payoff than anticipated.) Underlay occurs when the current odds are less favorable than the Morning Line odds. You may like and expect this horse to win, but the payoff may make it a poor betting opportunity.

With our toteboard at this site, information is updated every 30 seconds. You’ll see the Morning Line odds, the last odds, and the current odds. This gives you the opportunity to track where the money is going and where these hidden “gems” of opportunity might be.

How do I use this information? If you have found an overlay that you believe can finish in the money, you may wish to consider it for part of your wager. For example, there are two (2) horses that you believe will finish first and second, but you notice that the overlay has an outside chance. An overlay would pay a good price, so you may wish to consider a three-horse box exacta in the hopes of a larger payout.