Greyhound Handicapping: Don't Forget the Future

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TwinSpires Staff

September 13th, 2013








Humans invented time. We chop our lives up into seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years. We're constantly thinking about what we're going to do, where we're going to go, and who we'll be with when we get there. We're all living in the future, even though, in reality, the only time we can live in is now.

It applies to the greyhound track, to handicapping and to winning also. When we handicap a program, we're handicapping for the future, when the race is going to take place. When we play the race, we're playing for the future, when - we hope - our dog will romp across the finish line first. And, if we've bet exotics, we're hoping that, in that future, two or more other dogs that we've picked will be right behind it and pay big bucks.

It's impossible to "handicap in the now", no matter what the gurus say about living in the Now. We have to project our thoughts and our predictions forward into time and try to figure out what will happen when the starting box opens and that race goes off.

That's all well and good and the only way you CAN handicap a dog race. But there's another time that you should actually be thinking in future time also. That's when you total up your winnings for the day and find out whether you've made a profit or not.

If you haven't, you may be discouraged and depressed because your Bet America account is lower than it was when you started the day. But if you play more than once in a while, ask yourself if you need to rethink what it really means when you have a losing day.

If you have a plan - and you should have one if you play the dogs or horses on a regular basis - then one day isn't a reflection on how well you're doing. Unless there's something very new out there, how you do over the long haul is the only way to figure out whether your plan is working or not.
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This is why it's so important that you keep good records and keep your betting money separate from your everyday expense money or the money you need to pay bills with. If you use Bet America, it's very easy to look at your account history and see how you're doing with different types of wagers and at different tracks.

What you want to see is that what you're doing is making money over the course of a week, a month or even a year. If you're making a profit, no matter how small, then what you're doing is working. And if it's working at all, it's possible to tweak it or increase your wagers and make it make you even more money.

If it's not just failing on one day, but over a longer period of time, then it's time to decide whether you need to just get rid of it and try something else, or whether it can be adjusted to work better. Or maybe your handicapping methods work, but you're not playing the right wagers. That's very common.

Do your trifectas lose money, but your key dog comes in first, time after time? Well, then, why aren't you betting them to win, keying them in exactas or quinielas or in pick 3's etc. You have to adjust your betting to reflect what you're good at picking. How often do you lose on exotics what you've won on win bets? I've certainly had that happen.

We can't live our lives in the future, but when it comes to handicapping dog races, we have to THINK about the future. We have to evaluate our results over the span of more than a program to see if we're on the right track, both at the moment and as we go through the days, weeks and months of our handicapping lives.