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Homeracing

What are Omni/Swinger bets, and how do you play them?

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 15th, 2022

If you’ve ever dipped your toes into betting on international horse racing, you’ve probably noticed an unfamiliar bet type called the Omni/Swinger.

Where does the Omni/Swinger fit in among the more widespread exactas, trifectas, and superfectas? And how hard is the Omni/Swinger to play and hit? Let’s dig in and explore the details.

What is an Omni/Swinger bet?

The Omni/Swinger is one of the easiest exotic wagers to hit. It’s a lot like an exacta, in that you must select at least two horses. But whereas an exacta requires you to select the top two finishers in the correct order, the Omni/Swinger simply requires your two horses to finish in the top three, and the order is unimportant. You win if they run first and second, first and third, or second and third.

Of course, you’re not limited to using only two horses in the Omni/Swinger. You can play several horses if you wish, further increasing your chances of winning. This is where more advanced betting strategies come into play.

Advanced Omni/Swinger betting strategies

Suppose you want to play more than two horses in an Omni/Swinger? There are a couple ways to proceed.

For example, you could emphasize one horse over the others. Maybe you’re certain Horse #1 will finish in the top three, but you’re not sure whether to combine him with #5 or #7 in the Omni/Swinger. In this instance, the winning strategy might be to play “1 with 5,7,” which is essentially two Omni/Swinger wagers: “1 with 5,” and “1 with 7.” If #1 finishes in the top three along with #5 and/or #7, you win your bet. In fact, you’ll receive two payoffs if #1, #5, and #7 all finish in the top three.

Another strategy is to box three or more horses in the Omni/Swinger. Let’s say you believe #2, #4, and #8 are all likely to finish in the top three, but you don’t have a preference for one over the others. Boxing them is the equivalent of playing three Omni/Swinger wagers: “2 with 4,” “2 with 8,” and “4 with 8.” If you’re perfectly correct and #2, #4, and #8 finish 1-2-3 in any order, you’ll hit the Omni/Swinger three times. If you’re partially correct and only two of your horses finish in the top three, you’ll hit the Omni/Swinger once.

Caution when playing the Omni/Swinger

One word of caution when playing the Omni/Swinger: because the wager is easy to hit, payoffs can be small. If favorites run 1-2-3 in a small field, a $1 Omni/Swinger might return $1.30. If you play a couple of $10 Omni/Swingers and only one combination hits, you can easily spend $20 for a return of $13—better known as a loss of $7.

Since payoffs can be small where favorites are involved, playing longshots in the Omni/Swinger can be an appealing strategy. If you like a 12-1 longshot, but you’re not sure he’s good enough to win, combining him with a logical betting choice or two (even the favorites) can be a relatively low-risk way to play. It’s a way to simultaneously boost the payoff and profit off your longshot whether he runs first, second, or third.

Now that you’re up to speed on the Omni/Swinger, why not give it a try on the next big day of international racing? You won’t need much beginner’s luck to walk away a winner playing this simple wager.

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