Homeracing

3 strategies for betting Jackpot Pick 6 wagers

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

December 28th, 2021

Jackpot Pick 6 wagers are everywhere, but playing these tricky bets isn’t quite as simple as picking six winners in a row.

Jackpot Pick 6 wagers provide two types of payoffs. On days when multiple winning tickets are sold, a certain percentage of the daily pool (30%, 50%, 90%, etc.) is divided among winning ticketholders. The remainder (70%, 50%, 10%, etc.) is added to an ever-growing jackpot prize pool, which is only awarded on days when a single bettor manages to assemble a unique winning ticket.

This two-pronged approach to payoffs means Jackpot Pick 6 wagers require special betting strategies. Here are three options to consider:

Strategy #1: Bet conservatively with ROI in mind

Since a certain percentage of the daily pool is set aside to enhance the jackpot, the typical daily payoff for a Jackpot Pick 6 wager can be smaller than you might expect. If the takeout rate is 15%, and 50% of the daily pool set aside to increase the jackpot, then a daily pool of $100,000 will distribute just $42,500 if multiple winning tickets are sold.

If you plan to play Jackpot Pick 6 wagers on a regular basis, assembling inexpensive tickets might be the way to go. Spending $500 when the average daily payoff is $2,000 isn’t the best strategy—you could achieve the same return on investment (ROI) with a single win bet on a 3-1 shot. But betting $40 to win $2,000 is a far better (and not unrealistic) proposition, equivalent to hitting a 49-1 winner.

The goal here isn’t to assemble a lone winning ticket and sweep the jackpot—your inexpensive tickets will probably be favorite-laden and far from unique. Instead, the goal is to hit the daily payoffs on a semi-regular basis without spending a fortune, setting the stage to make a profit in the long run.

Strategy #2: Bet for a lone winning ticket

As an alternative to playing conservative tickets, you could shoot for the moon and assemble tickets specifically geared toward taking down the jackpot. This requires some contrary thinking, because exclusively playing short-priced contenders won't yield a unique winning ticket.

If the Pick 6 sequence contains a 1-5 favorite everyone will be singling, you’ll want to toss this favorite from your ticket and aim to beat it with a longshot. If a maiden claimer contains a first-time starter who looks hopeless on paper, include him on your ticket—maybe he’ll outrun all expectations at 50-1.

Of course, betting longshots alone isn’t the idea. You’ll also need to include some short-priced runners, since you’re unlikely to encounter a Pick 6 sequence that produces six straight double-digit longshot winners.

You also need to keep your return on investment in mind. Playing against heavy favorites with longshots is unlikely to generate many winning tickets, and you’ll want to avoid investing heavily in this strategy, since sweeping a jackpot is difficult and uncommon. Cashing a $40,000 jackpot is great, unless you’ve spent five years and $50,000 getting there.

Strategy #3: Wait for a mandatory payout day

Arguably the best time to play a Jackpot Pick 6 wager is when it’s slated for a mandatory payout, often at the end of a race meet. On days like these, the jackpot must be dispersed among all winning ticketholders, regardless of how many winning tickets are sold.

Thus, the Jackpot Pick 6 essentially turns into a traditional Pick 6 with a giant carryover up for grabs, offering great wagering value for bettors.

Armed with these three wagering strategies, perhaps you’ll be the next bettor to take down a hefty Jackpot Pick 6 payoff.

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