I was talking to a fellow horse race betting enthusiast in the pub over the weekend. He was telling me that he had “a system”. Basically it consisted of picking two horses at 5/1 or more and then backing them as 2 each way singles and an each way double. Because he does not keep records he could not tell me how many points he had won or lost but he told me he picked up some winnings “pretty often”.
Using a A 1 level stakes the bet would cost him A 6 a time which I think is OK for a fun bet but he would have to have a pretty high success rate to show any real profit. Any form of multiple bet is very popular with the bookmakers. If you doubt that just go into any betting shop and see how much they promote their specialist multiple bets.
Round Robins, Yankees, Canadians and Heinz have been popular bets with punters for many years. It is the lure of potentially having a big win for a relatively small stake that attracts people. The National and Euro Lotteries work on the same principle. Much of my early betting experience consisted of trying to pick the winners for the ITV6 (you have to be old to remember that!) and then spending Saturday afternoon in front of the TV watching my horses lose. But it was fun and I enjoyed it and that is what fun betting is all about. You don’t risk a lot but there is always a chance that you could win a worthwhile amount.
Most serious punters avoid multiple bets because it’s generally hard enough to find one winner, never mind two or more. I would also question the value of backing each way because at 1/5th odds the return unless both horses get a place is hardly likely to cover the cost of the bet. Rather than backing each way it might be more profitable to select 2 more horses and place win bets on them.
My other concern about any multiple bet is that you can end up having far more money on a horse than you are really comfortable with. If say you first horse wins at 10/1 that means you have A 11 going on your second horse. Of course that is the idea of multiple bets, but if you had backed the first horse as a single, would you be happy to place all your stake and winnings on your second selection? I suspect not.
If you are betting just for a bit of fun, multiple bets can be a cheap and exciting way to gamble. However, if your intention is to make a steady income from your horse racing activities it is not the way to go.
Most successful punters will spend the time and effort looking for one potential winner and then placing a bet on it to win. Providing his or her selection method is sound this should show a far better return than trying to win a multiple bet.