In this special article, PPM's expert Statsman reveals the secrets of making money by betting on trebles. This Is a real eye-opener for multiple bet fans.

In his great book, Winning More, the leading professional punter Don Scott talks about the huge amount of 'illogical and wayward' money that is heaped into the multiple bet TAB pools each day.

Referring to punters betting on trebles, Don has this to say: ". . . Trebles punters tend to be even more illogical and wayward than doubles punters, thus creating an even bigger pool of bets that lack all inspiration and direction."

Strong words! But words you should heed if betting on trebles is your little luxury in life. What Don Scott was referring to was the average punter's propensity to bet on trebles without paying any attention to prices and probabilities.

He says you should not bet the same amount of money on each treble combination. Instead, you work out the actual probability of each combination and bet accordingly. Very sensible advice, probably almost universally ignored by rank-and-file punters.

Don's point is the first that I want to stress in this article. Let's look at it more closely. The example given in Winning More illustrates the case very clearly. Let's say you have two main chances, A and B, in the first leg at 5-2 and 7-2, one main chance, C, in the second leg at 6-4 and three main chances, D, E and F, in the third leg at 9-4, 11-2 and 8-1. There will be six trebles combinations.

Now the average punter would play them just like that-six trebles at $1 each. This is not the right approach. Why? Because some of the treble combinations have a greater chance of success than the others-so why not bet accordingly?

Betting to the probabilities the trebles would look like this:

Horses Treble Workout Trebles Price
A,C,D3.5 x 2.5 x 3.25 27.4-1
A,C,E3.5 x 2.5 x 6.555.9-1
A,C,F3.5 x 2.5 x 977.8-1
B,C,D4.5 x 2.5 x 3.2535.6-1
B,C,E4.5 x 2.5 x 6.572.1-1
B,C,F4.5 x 2.5 x 9100.3-1

"The only logical method of betting on trebles is to arrange your bets according to the real chances of each combination," advises Don Scott. Thus, if you were trying to win $100 for each winning treble, you would outlay as follows on the above trebles:

ACD $4, ACE $2, ACF $2, BCD $3, BCE $1, and BCF $1, a total of $13. All you need to work out your trebles bets is a pocket calculator.

Even if you are not a punter who can be bothered to work out 'true prices' you can go some way towards achieving Scott's aim by operating on pre-post prices, or roughly working out what you feel is the 'best price' about each of the horses.

Incidentally, it's better financially to bet with the TAB listed trebles in Queensland and South Australia. As Scott points out, the commission on trebles bets is about 18 per cent, so if you bet on the Queensland and S.A. treble you are taxed at the rate of only about 6 per cent for each winner, a much more reasonable rate than the 14 or 15 per cent you pay when you back a single winner and then re-invest.

So that is the first recommended approach for trebles punters-select your multiple combination and then work out each treble's true price by multiplying each horse's price (not forgetting to add ONE to each price, thus 5-2 becomes 3.5, and 4-1 becomes 5.0 and 11-4 becomes 3.75 and 7-2 becomes 4.5, etc.

I now move on to a 'safety first' treble attack, which I am sure many smaller punters will like. It revolves around choosing a Banker horse as the 'win anchor' and then playing two other horses around it for both win and place.

Let me explain: I'll assume you have chosen a Banker bet as the last leg of the treble, a horse we'll call C. The other two horses A and B are in races 5 and 7.

What we do is as follows: We link the other two horses in all possible formations for win (W) and place (P).

This is a total of five combinations. If you are not the type of punter to indulge in betting to true prices then you can simply go ahead and back the trebles each on the same basis. If you want to bet to a probability with the placed horses, my advise is that you follow this rule: If a horse is a 4-1 chance for a win (20 per cent), then it must be a 4-6 chance for the place (60 per cent), because it has three chances of running a place, thus 3 x 20% equals 60 per cent.

Theoretically, we have a treble of Horses A, B and C, with C the banker at 3-1. A is an 8-1 chance and B is a 4-1 chance.

Our treble bets would be as follows:
P-P-W 2.0 x 0.66 x 4 equalling 5.28-1
P-W-W 2.0 x 5 x 4 equalling 40.0-1
W-P-W 9 x 0.66 x 4 equalling 23.76-1
P-P-P 2.0 x 0.66 x 0.33 equalling 0.435-1
W-W-W 9 x 5 X 4 equalling 180.0-1

As you can see, the all-place treble (PPP) indicates a very strong chance. The percentages indicate it has a high 0.435 chance of success. Based on one-fifth of the win price return, a $1 bet on this treble should return around odds of 6.5 to 1.

If you were betting to take out $100, you would have, say, $20 on the PPW treble, $2.50 on the PVVW treble, $5 on the WPW treble, and $1 on the Wˆ treble. This is a total of $28.50. You could then place the remaining $71 on the all-place (PPP) treble.

The prospects for a big win are definitely there. The three placegetters only would return you about 71 x 7.50 equalling $532. If you happened to strike B and C as winners and A ran a place you would then cop the PWW treble of $2.50 for a return estimated to take $100, but which could quite easily win you a lot more. You also would have the PPW treble up.

Taking this one as an example, the estimated probability is 5.28-1, but on probable dividends of one-fifth the win price for a place, you would actually receive around 13-1. Therefore, the $20 you've invested on it could return you around $280.

The long-term prospects of a treble approach like this one depend a great deal on the strength of your Banker selection. If you can get a high strike rate with it, and your other two horses keep on snatching places and a few wins, you can round up some really impressive dividends.

As I've said before, you can, if you wish, bet the same amounts on each treble. But my advice is similar to that handed out by Don Scott-work out the probable true prices and then back your trebles on that basis. In the long run, you'll be very grateful that you took the advice.

If the above calculations all seem a bit involved, let me assure you they are not. If you concentrate on one treble a day-as you should when starting out-then the time it takes to work out the probabilities will be well worth the 10 or 15 minutes it might take you.

All you need is a pocket calculator, and you can work everything out very simply, with a total minimum of fuss and bother. Don't forget that you are doing it because you want to balloon your profits-and that means more money in your pocket.

It's also sensible to have a good table of prices and exact percentages on hand (you'll find just the thing in Don Scott's Winning More, Page 193). So, when you want to discover a horse's percentage relating to price you simply refer to the table.

Example: You have a horse at 11-2 and you want to back it in a treble as a place leg. Referring to the table, you'll see that 11-2 represents 15.38 per cent. So to get the place percentage you multiply this figure by 3 to give you a place probability of 46.14 per cent.

You now check the table to see which price equals 46.14 per cent. You'll find that the corresponding price is, say, 10-9, so you place probability would be 1.11 (the 10 divided by 9). You'll soon get the drift of things.

Basically, what you are saying is that a horse at 11-2 is really a 10-9 chance for the place. This would mean a place dividend of $2.10, which would probably correspond to the TAB divvy you'd get with an 11-2 chance. Another example: Your horse is a 10-1 chance for the win, a 9.09 percentage chance. Multiply this by 3 and you get 27.27 per cent for the place, which is the equivalent of a place price of about 11-4. Divide 11-4 by 4 and you get 2.75.

If you want to learn much more about trebles betting, and the various other forms of multiple betting (like doubles, quinellas, trifectas, quadrellas) you need a copy of Don Scott's book, Winning More, a new version of which is now available from Equestrian. Call on (02) 982 5933 with credit card or write enclosing $44 for a copy (this includes packaging and postage).

By Statsman