The Pick 4
The Pick 4 is one of the best bets in racing, and except for days on which there is a Pick 6 carryover, it is even more favorable than that bet.
The favorability of the Pick 4 only applies if you actually feel that you are making solid picks. The general rule to follow is to ask oneself, “would I place money to win on each of the horses within each of the four legs of my Pick 4 ticket?” If the answer is yes, then you can feel more confident that your Pick 4 is a solid play. If you are just guessing, then there is no guarantee you are going to come out ahead.
However, one thing is certain. Even if you are guessing on the Pick 4, in the long term, you will win relatively more (or lose relatively less as the case may be), than if you are simply putting money to win on each of those horses instead of playing them as part of your Pick 4.
In order to evaluate the favorability of this type of bet, it is useful to measure the parlay against the actual payout. The parlay is the amount that the bettor would end up with at the end of the betting sequence, (in this case the four consecutive races that comprise the pick 4 sequence), had they made individual $1 bets on the winners of each of the races in the sequence, and reinvested the winnings in each subsequent race to the final race (assuming they allowed $1 bets – the minimum win bet is $2). If the Pick 4 pays more than the four-race parlay, then the bettor would have been better off playing the Pick 4.
Pick 4 at Hollywood Park
There are two Pick 4 offered each racing day, the early pick four (races 1-4), and the late pick four (the last four races of the day). There were 40 racing dates during the Fall 2008 Hollywood meet which means there were 80 Pick-4 payouts. An analysis of the 80 Pick-4 payouts has yielded the following results:
a. The Pick 4 paid on average of 179% of parlay. For example, on average, if a bettor had bet $1 to win, reinvested his winnings each time, and ended up with say $1,000. On average, the Pick 4 would pay about $1,790, which is 179% of parlay (another way to think of it is that it paid 79% more)
b. There was no significant difference between the percent over parlay from beginning and ending of meet
c. There was no significant difference in parlay between the early and late pick 4
d. Only 6 of 80 Pick 4payouts paid less than 100% parlay, 74 paid better than 100% of parlay
e. 23/80 Pick 4’s paid better than 200% parlay
f. 6/80 Pick 4’s paid better than 300% parlay
g. There was no difference between the payoff/parlay ratio between weekdays (182%), and the weekends (175%)
h. The payoff/parlay ratio is much more consistent than the Pick Six