So many times we’ve discussed place betting, and yet many readers never tire of the challenge.

The basic issue of insurance has been one that I’ve raised time and again, given that you have either two or mostly three chances of getting your money back as against one opportunity if you bet for a win.

Betting each way has been one of our favourite subjects for yonks, and I know that the jury is still out and is likely to remain so, for the next yonk or two (the last time I looked, a yonk was about 10,000 years).

Basically, single place betting on the TAB ranks about the fifth most popular way of committing suicide in the country. It’s a slow, lingering death, too.

However, most of the arguments pertaining to place betting do not take into account its far greater insurance chances when you start talking multiple betting. For example, everybody is anxious for you to try the quaddie, and while it’s a lot easier to win than Lotto, it’s still not easy. It’s especially difficult when the dividends are large.

Take January 26, Australia Day, as our example. There were two metropolitan quadrella dividends which exceeded the thousand dollar mark. One paid $3,097.50 (Caulfield) and the other paid $8,485.50 (Eagle Farm).

What did you have to do to snare them? Well, you had to identify a $67.50 winner in the first Brisbane leg. After that it wasn’t too difficult. The winner was TAB number 19 in a field of 19, and number 16 of 19 in the pre-post market. To be brutally honest, its form wasn’t too bad, and in retrospect you can see where the win came from. But at $67.50 it doesn’t seem to me that many people did!

The other quadrella of substance was in Melbourne and it came from winners at 3/1, 9/1, 4/1 and 11/2. Now that was pretty pickable. Multiplying the odds gives $1,300, which is about 41 per cent of what the quadrella paid. So, as I said, the jury is still out on win versus place, given that here you had two favourites, a second favourite and a pretty classy filly resuming and well supported. Maybe you could get a quadrella like that two or three times a year, if your stars were favourable, and that could mean a return of somewhere around $9,000 to $10,000 for a possible outlay, at three horses per leg, of $4,200. Halve that if you bet in 50 cent units. And yet the insurance agent in me says you can do all that, wait a lot less time between drinks and do without the heart attack.

On that same day, using Sydney as an example, let’s have a look at what happened to the shortest pre-post favourites. Yes, that’s right, four of them won. One of them, Raqas, actually blew out to $3.50 which must have warmed the hearts of some supporters. However, this was an exceptional day and if you were a place multiple investor, you would probably do what the place investors that I know do: you’d shrug your shoulders and say, well, if the blooming thing won then it obviously placed, did it not?

There will be plenty of days when all five crash. Kingda Ka went down the drainpipe at odds on. It happens. But it placed. There will be plenty of days when things go wrong for short priced favourites. But have you noticed how often they still manage to run a place? Party Crasher was a case in point on this day. He folded right up in the final few metres, but place investors still got their money, and collected 60 per cent on their investments.

Getting back to multiples, what about if you jettisoned all your grand ambitions about quadrellas and concentrated on a high percentage return on place multiples each weekend? The place dividends for the five shortest pre-post favourites were $1.10, $1.10, $1.30, $1.40 and $1.50. Not too hot.

Forget all your other bets and couple these up in a Canadian. A Canadian is a Yankee with one more horse added, so that you are linking them all up in multiples. It is true that the fifth selection involves 15 new bets, and perhaps the faint-hearted will prefer to remain with the 11 bets for the Yankee. For this exercise, however, we are going to do a Canadian. Look at those dividends. Pretty miserable? Okay, we have 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five quaddies and one quintuple.

Roughly speaking, you get about $16.30 for the 10 doubles. I agree, that’s not even yours for theirs, otherwise known as even money. Nevertheless, it is well on the way to picking up the $26 that the whole exercise costs. We could spend all day working out what happens if one of them fails, and I’ll leave that to you. Let’s look at the big quintuple. 

Would you believe it only produces $3.30 for your original dollar? However, the five quaddies came up with more than $13. We have to remember that this is a situation where all five place dividends were way below even money, in fact the best of them was 2/1 on and two of them were 10/1 on! You don’t get dividends much more unpalatable than that, which is exactly why I chose this Sydney program for our little experiment.

We are up around $33, and we have yet to add the 10 trebles. That’s almost another $21, providing a total of $54, or 107 per cent. Just say for argument’s sake that all five paid $2 for the place. There will be days when you can pick five placings at even money. The doubles would return you $40, the trebles would return $80, the quaddies would return $80 as well and the lone quintuple would get you $32. Five placings at even money and you get $232 for $26, meaning a percentage profit of 792. Manage to snare four of the five and you get back three times your investment, or 200 per cent.

By The Optimist

PRACTICAL PUNTING – MARCH 2008

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