Intuitively, if you make bets into a pool that offers a lower takeout, you would expect to do better in the long run. But when we are dealing with win bets versus multi-leg or other exotic bets, this is not always the case.
The takeout on daily doubles averages around 20% across North America, while the takeout on win bets averages around 16%.
I wanted to devise a way to prove without a doubt that a gambler should expect a better return on daily doubles over the parlaying of two consecutive winners. I think I've found the way using a very simple example.
In my example, there are four horses in 2 consecutive races and each horse has attracted the exact same money bet on them, and each daily double combination has also attracted the same exact money bet on them as well. Each pool has also attracted exactly $10,000 bet.
In the win pool, $2,500 has been bet on each horse. The total amount the track will payout is $8,400 (taking the 16% or $1,600 the track takes out). 8,400 divided by 2,500 equals 3.36, which means the odds on each horse will show up as 2-1, but the payoff odds would be 2.35-1. Without breakage it would be 2.36-1, and jurisdictions where they pay off to the dime instead of the nickel, the payoff would be 2.30-1.
So for a $20 win bet, you would get back $67. Now if you parlayed the $67 onto the winner of the second race, you would get back $224.40 (actually $224.45 without breakage, but even if you could parlay without breakage, you would be parlaying $67.20 onto a horse that paid $6.72, you would get back $225.79)
Now for the Daily Double. There are 16 combinations, which means that there is $625 bet on each combination. The track will pay out only $8,000 ($10,000 minus the 20% takeout). 8,000 divided by 625 equals 12.8, which means that each daily double has a probable payoff of $25.60. So if you took a $20 daily double, you would get back $256.00.
$256.00 is more than 13% higher what you would get by parlaying both horses breakage or no breakage.
It is like magic.
Lets see what would happen if you took a $20 wheel versus an $80 straight be in the first race.
You would get back $256.00 for your daily double bet, but you would get back $268 if you bet the $80 to win (4.6% higher than the daily double return).
Confusing? You bet.
Regarding daily doubles, generally you can get better than the 13% overlay if you stay away from program picks or newspaper selections. You could also expect an underlay when one or more of the horses wins at over 20-1 and the pools are on the small side, or if one of the top two leading jockeys win both parts.
Double probables can also be useful in finding live horses in the second leg most of the time due to the fact that doubles generally pay off as overlays. It is a great way to detect smart money.
Take the Breeders Cup Special Double bet:
#2 Life Is Sweet with: #1 Mine That Bird, $324; #2 Colonel John, $173; #3 Summer Bird, $166; #4 Zenyatta, $99; #5 Twice Over, $369; #6 Richard’s Kid, $164; #7 Gio Ponti, $176; #8 Einstein, $143; #9 Girolamo, $543; #10 Rip Van Winkle, $168; #11 Regal Ransom, $623; #12 Quality Road, $269; #13 Awesome Gem, $769
Total Double pool: $403,316
Life is Sweet paid $18, so based on double parlays paying a bit of a premium (so I assumed a $20 payoff for Life Is Sweet), the predicted odds were:
Zenyatta was a live horse as she was bet down to 5-2. Had Gio Ponte have won, the double would have been a big underlay. However, the third finisher (Twice Over) really took a lot of "smart" money.
It is easy to do the double calculations. Take the first leg payoff (round it up around 5%), and then divide that into the $2 probable payoff that is posted in the second leg for each horse. Subtract 1 and you have the probable odds. If the odds look like they are much lower than they should be, the horse is worth considering.
Again, these type of double calculations only work best on pools that have at least $7,000 in them.