How to Be Successful in Pick 3 and Pick 4 Bets in Horse Racing

Horse Betting Racing With Money

Horse racing has been a favorite sport for thousands of years, since humans domesticated the first horses in ancient Asia. Legends been made from racing victories, and people have been wagering on this sport since its inception.

For the gambler, horse racing offers a great opportunity to earn some money. This is especially true when making Pick 3 and Pick 4 wagers. Understanding how these bets work and how you can be successful is important, and a little information about both should assist you in putting some money in your pocket.

What Is Pick 3?

Before diving into how to place smart wagers, it is necessary to understand what types of horse racing bets are available. In a Pick 3 bet, the person placing the wager is betting on who will finish first in three consecutive races in a sequence. The person must place their wager prior to the start of the first race , and they must be successful on all three races.

The advantage to this option is that you may not be comfortable with picking the winner in the first or second race in a sequence. However, you may feel quite confident in the winner of the fourth through the sixth races.

Tips:This gives you a little bit of flexibility when choosing which races to bet on. When you can choose any three consecutive races to bet on within a sequence, it’s called a “rolling” Pick 3.

You should be aware that not every track offers the “rolling” Pick 3 option. You want to check your local track or sportsbook before attempting to place a wager. Just to be clear, you also cannot randomly choose three races out of the sequence. They must be consecutive.

What Is the Pick 4?

The Pick 4 is a relatively new type of wager that many tracks are beginning to offer. This wager is very much like Pick 3, except that you are required to pick four winners to earn the payoff. As with the Pick 3 option, the winners must be from consecutive races, and not every track offers this rolling option.

Besides having to pick one additional winner, what separates this from the Pick 3 is the payoff. Choosing four consecutive races will cost you more money, but it yields a big payday if you choose correctly. As little as $80 could easily become $10,000 ff you are really good at handicapping.

Understanding the Odds

Before you learn about the best betting strategies for these wagers, it’s important to know the odds you’re up against. Without considering the specific odds of any horse, know that your chances of winning on a Pick 3 can be quite small. This is why there is such a significant payout for winning. The odds get much longer when talking about the Pick 4.

What this tells you is that there are two things to consider when placing a wager like this.

First, you need to have a good idea about the chances of your three or four horses winning their races. In addition, don’t wager a significant amount of money if you don’t have it to lose. Be smart so that you won’t find yourself in trouble should you lose.

How to Put Together Your Pick 3

For the sake of keeping this article a reasonable length, we will focus primarily on Pick 3. The same principles apply to Pick 4 as well, so you should be able to easily transfer this knowledge between the two.

Being successful in the Pick 3 requires two sets of skills: solid handicapping skills and a wise horse racing betting strategy. For some, a wise strategy is to place $1 wagers on several different options. They may like four different horses in the first race, one in the second, and four in the third, so they place a $1 wager on each of these 80 options. If they are successful, they would earn $81, meaning their entire profit would be just $1.

While this increases your chances of winning, the profit margin clearly isn’t a good one. For those who are looking for the big payoff, it makes much more sense to take that $80 and place it on just one Pick 3. While your odds of winning decrease if you win on this wager you would earn $1000 or more.

Important:This is where your betting strategy comes into play. If you are confident about the winners of three races, then choosing one option and placing all your money on that Pick 3 would be the way to go.

However, you may find that you are only truly confident about the winner of one of the three races. Maybe there are four great choices in the first race and four great choices in the second. Then, your strategy may be to bet $5 on each of the 16 potential options. If you win, you still come away with $125 or more.

Staying in the Game

If you are going to pick only one winner from each race, then this tip does not relate to you. However, if you are going to purchase a number of Pick 3 tickets, then it makes sense to purchase tickets on a few different options for the first race.

The reason behind this is simple. If you just choose the same horse in the first race and for every one of your Pick 3 tickets, and that horse loses, all of your other races are a waste. No matter if you were right in the second or third legs, it doesn’t matter. You are out.

This is why it pays to keep yourself in the game for at least a couple of races. Even if you are quite confident in who will win the first race, it may be to your advantage to purchase a ticket or two betting that a different horse wins that first race. It at least makes it more likely that you will be alive for one more leg.

There is no doubt that Pick 3 and Pick 4 can be both fun and profitable. You just have to be smart in your strategy and make sure that you have done your homework about the horses and their odds.

Jim Beviglia
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About Jim Beviglia
Jim Beviglia has been a gambling writer at since 2018. During that time, he’s written just about every type of article related to gambling, including reviews of betting sites, guides to popular casino games, betting tips on both casino and sports betting, sports and casino blog posts, and game picks. In addition to online gambling, one of Jim’s other major interests is music. He has been doing freelance work for various music sites and magazines for two decades. Among his outlets past and present are American Songwriter, VinylMePlease, Treble, and The Bluegrass Situation. Jim has also written five books on music that were published by Rowman & Littlefield.