BC Value Plays

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Derek Simon

October 16th, 2014

I know, I know. Imploring bettors to look for value in the Breeders’ Cup races is kind of like telling one’s teenaged son or daughter to look both ways before crossing the street. Granted, my mom was famous for the latter… but, generally, it is unnecessary past the age of five.

Still, seeking value, especially in the Breeders’ Cup, can hardly be overemphasized.

Given that the BC races are widely considered to be championship affairs — 17 of the past 30 Horse of the Year winners captured a Breeders’ Cup event during their championship season — handicappers naturally look for, well, champions, when analyzing the BC races.

Yet, as Wild Again proved when he defeated the more accomplished Gate Dancer and Slew o’ Gold in the very first Breeders’ Cup Classic back in 1984, championship races don’t always produce championship results. Wild Again was victorious in the $3 million Classic after finishing third in an $18,000 allowance race — on the grass — at Bay Meadows in his previous start.

Not surprisingly, Wild Again was not named Horse of the Year in 1984.

Likewise, Court Vision, a horse who had finished out of the money in his last six races prior to the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile hardly seemed the most likely candidate to take down the three-time defending champion Goldikova — but that’s exactly what happened.

In fact, one could make the argument — and I think it’s a good one — that because the Breeders’ Cup draws so many top horses, overlay winners are the norm, not the exception. This is borne out by the fact that, since 1997, one could’ve made a tidy 7.4 percent profit simply by betting on every BC entrant that went to post at odds equal to or greater than its morning-line price. What’s more, this straightforward approach would have been profitable in eight of the 17 years, indicating that the overall positive ROI is not a fluke.

However, I’ve found a better way to make big profits betting overlays in the Breeders’ Cup — and it doesn’t require watching the tote board. Simply find a reliable fair odds line and use the morning line odds to find potential overlays.

I did exactly this with my Win Factor Report (computerized fair odds line) and came up with the following:

Playing only those horses whose morning line odds were greater than their fair odds finds a player winning 10 of 16 years since 1998, with an overall return on investment of 78.78 percent. Granted, the losing years — 1998-99, 2001, 2006-07 and last year — were brutal, but the overall results make up for the occasional down year.

2014 Breeders’ Cup Betting Guide Now Available

My 2014 Breeders’ Cup Betting Guide is now available through In the Guide, you’ll find all kinds of cool stats, as well as speed and pace figures for all the likely Breeders’ Cup contenders.

* Find out what kind of workout has produced a 93 percent profit since 1997.

* Discover what single factor has pointed to 22 of the last 23 BC Classic winners.
* Get the truth on the Santa Anita “speed bias.”

* What running style has proven most effective in BC dirt races since 1997? BC turf races?

To get your Guide and other great Breeders’ Cup handicapping products, click HERE.