Pick 3 Betting Strategy – Head To The Stars With This Horse Racing Strategy Idea!

When voyaging through the betting universe, you may find yourself encountering an unidentified betting concept: the pick 3 betting strategy. An unusual term that gives very little away upfront, it’s clear a little more investigation is required to understand what exactly pick 3 betting entails, and why this strategy could be worth including in your own betting patterns. Here’s everything you need to know.

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A note about sport choice

The term “pick 3 betting strategy” will almost always be related to a concept that focuses on horse racing. The idea originally started at various racetracks in North America, and has since moved online too. While the concept of choosing numerous outcomes on a single ticket is not restricted to horse racing (any accumulator technically emulates the same pattern), we’ve chosen to be purists throughout this piece and focus solely on horse racing – the sport where the term originated.

What is pick 3 betting?

In its simplest, theoretical form, pick 3 betting can be described as a particular type of bet whereby you, the bettor, picks three horses to win in three sequential races. This type of bet sees the odds of each individual winner combine together to produce significant potential winnings, even with relatively small stakes.

In the complex, practical form, however, pick 3 betting is far from straightforward. Realistically, picking the winner of a single race is hugely challenging; picking two-in-a-row unlikely; three-in-a-row immensely difficult. After all, the high odds of a ticket containing the predicted winners of three races reflects this difficulty, and the relative unlikelihood that such a ticket will prove to be a winner.

How can pick 3 betting succeed if it is so difficult to select three winners in a row?

To try and gain an advantage, pick 3 bettors tend to try to cover a number of different outcomes. Rather than just selecting one horse per race, they select a number of horses per race – two or three is fairly standard – and then place small-wager bets on all of the potential outcomes.

Here’s an example of how this works in practice, with the bettor selecting two horses per race as potential winners:

  • Race #1: Horse A, Horse B
  • Race #2: Horse 1, Horse 2
  • Race #3: Horse I, Horse II

Now, a number of bets allowing for a number of combinations is required, so:

  • Bet #1: Horse A (Race #1), Horse 1 (Race #2), Horse I (Race #3)
  • Bet #2: Horse B (Race #1), Horse 2 (Race #2), Horse II (Race #3)

So far, we have two different tickets with three different winners each time. For effective pick 3 betting, however, we now need to start mixing and matching between the races:

  • Bet #3: Horse B (Race #1), Horse 1 (Race #2), Horse I (Race #3) – Race #1 has changed from the original ticket. 
  • Bet #4: Horse A (Race #1), Horse 2 (Race #2), Horse I (Race #3) – Race #2 has changed from the original ticket.

And so on, with various permutations where one potential winner is swapped in for another.

By picking just two horses, there are 8 combinations in all – a high number, but one which helps to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. That’s not to say a winner is guaranteed with this strategy (there’s always the chance a rank outsider will win one of the races and throw off your predictions entirely), but increasing the number of tickets you place is one way of addressing the difficulty of hitting three winners in a row.

If a bettor wants to place a bet that delivers a large win from a relatively small stake, then betting at outrageous odds is the simplest way to do it. For example, that bettor could place a bet for just $1 at 150/1, meaning that if that horse wins, then their $1 will suddenly become $150. Not bad.

However, the likelihood of a 150/1 horse running away with the contest and being crowned the winner is… well, it’s not impossible (every other horse could just have a spectacularly bad day, we suppose), but it is highly unlikely.

Pick 3 betting, however, is a method of betting at high odds without having to bet on horses who receive odds long enough to be considered mildly offensive to said horse. You could, for example, pick 3 odds-on favourites to win three consecutive races: no, the combined odds for the ticket wouldn’t be particularly high, but they’d be preferable to betting on all three favourites individually.

So we can therefore say that the pick 3 betting strategy is a way of potentially winning a lot in exchange for a little, but without the need to bet on one horse at ridiculously long odds that reflect the enormous unlikeliness of it chesting the tape ahead of its rivals.

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What are the most common mistakes people make when using a pick 3 betting strategy?

Focusing too heavily on favourites.

For pick 3 betting to be successful, you need to select horses that are going to win races – so it seems natural to select the favourite for each race. Do that three times for three consecutive races and you’re on to a surefire winner, right? Well, not necessarily: favourites are considered to be the most likely to win, but that doesn’t mean they will win. In fact, favourites win around 35% of races on average; so while a pick 3 of three favourites could win, it’s not a certainty. Mixing favourites in with other value picks that you are able to identify based off your own knowledge and research can help to improve your pick 3 strategy as a whole.

Too many permutations.

Pick 3 betting is a volume game, to a degree; it’s possible to just have one ticket with three races on it, but many bettors prefer to spread their focus and opt for multiple permutations. There is, however, a point where multiple options cross from potentially useful to problematic; more permutations means more tickets, which means you’ll have to increase your betting funds. Keep it simple with a few variations to cover the possibilities, but not so many variations you’re staking more than you stand to win.

Relying on a single “sure thing” horse.

When creating different permutations, it’s very easy to include a single horse that you’re 100% certain is going to win. With this horse “locked in”, you can create further tickets based around that horse with relative ease – it’s one less variable to remove, after all. However, relying too heavily on a single horse is a recipe for disaster, potentially resulting in all of your tickets being wiped out. Even the best horses can have bad days, so try to account for this possibility when arranging your tickets.

What essentials are required if you want to try pick 3 betting?

If you have read through this guide and believe pick 3 betting is something you wish to experiment with in future, here are the essential tips you will need to keep in mind:

Research, research, research

In order to pick a horse with a viable chance of winning a race, you’re going to need to conduct a significant amount of research. With pick 3 betting, you’re going to need to do the same amount of research times three. Every one of your picks should be impeccably researched and genuinely capable of winning; if not, the entire strategy quickly unravels. Dedicate your time to learning about the runners in each race, using statistics to enhance your knowledge and allow you to more easily identify those with a viable chance of success.

Keep your stakes low

When you are placing multiple bets in a single day – as most people do with pick 3 betting, as they seek to cover numerous outcomes they believe to be likely – you have to keep an eye on your stakes. Pick 3 betting is popular because you don’t have to wager a small fortune to win a decent amount, so reflect this in your stake choices. Keep stakes relatively low, even if you’re certain that you’ve chosen a pick 3 ticket that will succeed.

Make a note of every bet you place

This tip is more related to using any betting strategy rather than pick 3 specifically, but it’s still worth mentioning. Making a note of every single bet you place is key to charting and understanding your overall success. Ultimately, a betting strategy is only a good idea if it works in practice as well as in theory, so you’ll need to keep an eye on how your pick 3 strategy progresses and, if necessary, make amendments or improvements along the way.

In conclusion

If you’re looking for a new way to experience the horse racing betting universe, then the pick 3 betting strategy could well prove to be suitable for you. Just remember that nothing is guaranteed in any sport at any time and that a huge amount of ongoing research and reflection on results is necessary if you decide to use this strategy long-term.

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