What do you think when people start talking about place betting? My guess is that you shrug your shoulders and brand it a very hard way to make money.

The overall image of place betting is that it’s all short dividends and 4th placegetters! Yes, that can be the case. However, for the punters prepared to be creative, there are great rewards.

My colleagues Martin Dowling and Jon Hudson have enjoyed tremendous success in the last 12 months with their “place parlay” tips on the Enjoy Winning website (www.enjoywinning.com.au). So great was their success that they encouraged me to join their syndicate, and I’m delighted to report that apart from a few Saturdays when things went a little pear-shaped, the outcome has been most satisfying.

What is a place parlay? Okay, I know most of you will know but for those who don’t, I’ll explain. You take four races and pick a horse in each to run a placing (1st/2nd/3rd). These four selections are then linked in all combinations, as follows:


That’s a total of 11, so for $1 each you are up for $11. The NSW TAB provides this bet (other TABs may well do so; best check them out). I bet via the Internet and it’s easy to put on the place parlay bet.

If you secure four placed horses, the dividends can be terrific. The four horse accumulator, for example, would return you $12.20 with dividends of $1.70, $2.10, $1.90 and $1.80. That covers your $11 bet and then you have six doubles and four trebles to be added.

See what I mean. Usually, if you get three of the four selections up you will at least get all or most of your money back on the three doubles and the one treble.

Our syndicate bets in $100 units so our outlay each Saturday (yes, we only bet on Saturdays) is $1,100. We’ve had returns of more than 300 per cent on our outlay.

We usually operate on the Adelaide meetings. Martin and Jon have found they have the greatest success there, and who am I to argue? Their pitch is that with only a handful of tracks, the Adelaide form is easier to understand. It usually runs true to form.

To lose your entire $11 stake on the parlay you would have to hit with only one placegetter or none from the four. Two winners will give you a double and at least some return. Example: A $1.90 with a $1.80 is a return of $3.40. That means you’ve lost $7.60 on the bet.

However, three placegetters usually means you clear the whole day’s bets, or close enough to it. The four all placing puts you in line for a nice profit.

So while we are talking of creative place betting, what else can you do? There’s an approach I was told about some years back and, I have to confess, it had totally escaped my own thinking!

It’s MULTIPLE betting for the place. You can bet two or three horses in the same race for the PLACE. If one of them places, you’re OK, if two are placed that’s great, if all three run the placings, that’s fantastic.

Let’s take a look at a possible scenario. Firstly, you bet the horses for a place even though you use win percentages to decide the bet. Your aim is to get at least two placegetters. Not such a difficult task if you restricted yourself to, say, fields of 11 or fewer.

Let’s say you have chosen three runners. They are 5/2, 5/1 and 8/1. Using the old percentages method, the bets would be (assuming a $100 target), $29 on the 5/2 chance, $17 on the 5/1 chance, and $11 on the 8/1 shot. This is a total bet of $57.

Let’s say the 5/2 shot’s place dividend is $1.60, the 5/1 chance’s return is $2.20, and the 8/1’s place return is $2.75.

Remember, you’ve bet $57. Let’s say the 5/2 shot runs a placing. Fine. Your return is $46.40. You have recovered a large part of your bet, leaving you $10.60 in arrears. But what if the 5/1 chance gets a place as well?

Your bet is $17 so the return you get is $37.40. Now you are in profit. Your two placegetters have returned you $83.80. That’s a profit of $26.80, or 47 per cent on your outlay.

Of course, if you happened to also strike the final placegetter with the 8/1 chance, you would have another $11 bet returning you $30.25. Add this to the amount returned from the other two and you have a total return on three placegetters of $114, giving you a healthy profit of $57, or 100% on outlay.

So this is a plan that sees you backing three horses in a race. One will return you some of the stake but you will probably lose. Two placegetters is more than likely to return you a profit. All three placegetters will give you a handsome profit.

As with any form of betting, your strike rate is going to be massively important. You will need to strike those two placegetters often enough to make the whole thing work, and you will need to haul in a 3-fer every now and again in order to land a big win.

It isn’t an easy task but nothing in this world of betting is easy. If it was we’d all be swinging in a hammock on a tropical island somewhere (then again, we might think twice about that having tsunamis to keep in mind!).

The other thrust of place betting is simple all-up doubles. This is like half a parlay! You bet one horse into another, the process aimed to maximise your return from a couple of placegetters. If you can secure good enough dividends, this approach can pay off well. You need to think a little outside the square and don’t be lured into backing too many $1.10 chances.

Example: An all-up of a $1.80 return into a $2.60 return would be $4.70, or odds of around 15/4 for your initial $1 bet. A $1.50 into a $1.20 would return only $1.80, odds of 4/5 on your $1 bet.

You would need, I suggest, to include a value chance in the bet, something that will pay more than, say, $2.20 for the place. The aim should be to secure around 5/2 for the all-up, a return of $3.50 on the $1 bet. To achieve 5/2 you would need, say, a couple of placegetters at $1.80 and $1.90; that’s not TOO hard a challenge. But, of course, you have to make sure you strike regularly. A run of outs would be hard to cop.

These, then, are some ideas for your place betting. It’s always an area of betting that we need to address from time to time because despite all its critics it does hold out a lot of hope for punters prepared to have a bash at linking their bets and shooting for more than just a single place bet.

The Yankee Parlay was featured many years ago in PPM and also in our best-selling book Dollars and Cents. I have already told you about the four-horse parlay, but what about extending the idea even further?

What you can do is pick SIX horses and play them in a series of three four-horse parlays. The first consists of Horses A, B, C and D; the second comprises A, B, E and F while the third parlay takes in C, D, E and F.

The way these parlays are patterned ensures that if any five horses are placed then ONE of the parlays will contain four of them. This is really important for those of you who will test this approach because I am confident that you will often strike FIVE of the six placegetters that are needed.

The following is how the parlays are set out:

Horse A00 
Horse B00 
Horse C0 0
Horse D0 0
Horse E 00
Horse F 00
You have linked up the parlays so there is an overlap on three of them. This parlays costs $33 using $1 units. It gives you a tremendous chance of scoring some huge collects.

TWO WINNERS A-B, C-D or E-F...2 doubles up
THREE WINNERS A-B, C-D or E-F with any one of the remainder...4 doubles, plus 1 treble
FOUR WINNERS A-B-C-D, A-B-E-F or C-D-E-F...8 doubles, 4 trebles, 1 accumulator
ANY OTHER FOUR WINNERS...7 doubles, 2 trebles
ANY FIVE WINNERS...12 doubles, 6 trebles, 1 accumulator
ALL SIX WINNERS...18 doubles, 12 trebles, 3 accumulators.
Note: 'Winners' refers to placegetters.

By Damien Whitechurch