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Kentucky Derby 2014: Five Betting Odds Questions

Horses finish the Kentucky Derby in 1901.
Horses finish the Kentucky Derby in 1901.
Library of Congress

Do you need some help with placing a bet on the 2014 Kentucky Derby using odds? Over the years, the way that odds are produced for the Kentucky Derby have eluded fans. In addition to learning a new set of terminology based around horse racing, new fans placing bets wonder if oddsmaking and handicapping is all just hocus pocus. For instance, DerbyCraze.com sent us this year’s Kentucky Derby betting odds favoring the Santa Anita Derby winner, California Chrome, at 7/2 odds to win the Kentucky Derby. However, to horse gambling newcomers, this can be confusing information to use for placing bets. Nevertheless, five betting odds facts are all you need to start feeling confident about your first (or fiftieth!) Kentucky Derby wager.

1. What is the definition of horse racing odds?
1. What is the definition of horse racing odds? Library of Congress

1. What is the definition of horse racing odds?

Simply put, horse racing odds for the Kentucky Derby are one expert’s idea about which horse will win the race. This is their best guess, and it is based on a system of analysis referred to as handicapping. When someone is great at figuring out which horses will win, they are called picks expert. Typically, professional and amateur picks experts for Kentucky Derby odds will feature their best guesses on websites and social media. For example, the Kentucky Derby website has a list of experts that give their best odds, and they also have an official oddsmaker.

2. Who makes the odds for the Kentucky Derby?
2. Who makes the odds for the Kentucky Derby? Library of Congress

2. Who makes the odds for the Kentucky Derby?

The official oddsmaker and handicapper at Churchill Downs is named Mike Battaglia. Regardless, the best way to pick an oddsmaker is to look online for the person that chose the winner in the previous years. While most beginner bettors have a good idea of what defines odds, many are not prepared for Mike Battaglia to announce what is called the morning line odds. Simply put, the definition of the Kentucky Derby morning line odds are the final race odds that Mike Battaglia will produce. As the name implies, they are released early in the day and are usually available by noon. Altogether, there are 11 races on the Kentucky Derby race day with the Kentucky Derby being the final race with the “post time” (AKA race begin time) at 6:24 PM EST.

3. How are odds for the Kentucky Derby defined?
3. How are odds for the Kentucky Derby defined? Library of Congress

3. How are odds for the Kentucky Derby defined?

When Mike Battaglia puts together his odds, they are his best guess. Unlike other horse racing picks experts, the reason that he continues to hold his job is because he is good at it. According to an interview for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the primary reason for the odds he picks for each Kentucky Derby pertain to which horses he thinks the public will choose. This means that it varies drastically from the handicapping methods that other oddsmakers use. For instance, many oddsmakers will watch several past races for each horse and determine which one will perform best. They will also check for information such as what type of surface a horse runs best on, how they perform with other horses that will be in the Kentucky Derby and the general health of the horse.

4. When are Kentucky Derby odds relevant?
4. When are Kentucky Derby odds relevant? Library of Congress

4. When are Kentucky Derby odds relevant?

Mike Battaglia will give his final set of odds before noon on the day of the Kentucky Derby. However, it pays to have access to social media in the afternoon before the race. Primarily, there can be important changes that inside observers at the stables will note. For example, a horse may become sick during the afternoon before the 6:24 PM Kentucky Derby start time, and this can affect the outcome of the race. Believe it or not, there have been instances in the recent past that severely influence the way last minute bettors place their wagers.

5. Where do I find Kentucky Derby odds?
5. Where do I find Kentucky Derby odds? Library of Congress

5. Where do I find Kentucky Derby odds?

In the past, it was common for Kentucky Derby bettors to buy a racing form. This was produced by handicapping and odds picks experts. Unfortunately, the information could quickly become outdated even if it was produced less than 12 hours before the race. Today, in addition to what is published at the Kentucky Derby dot com website, you can rely on experts and amateurs to publish their Kentucky Derby odds on Facebook and Twitter up and until the betting windows are closed. This definitely gives you an edge for placing the best and most profitable bets.

6. The best 2014 Kentucky Derby odds strategy for bets
6. The best 2014 Kentucky Derby odds strategy for bets Library of Congress

6. The best 2014 Kentucky Derby odds strategy for bets

In the end, there is one piece of advice that every bettor should follow. The old saying goes that you should not put all of your eggs in one basket. The same is true for placing a bet on the Kentucky Derby. Do not put more money than you have to bet with on one horse because an expert told you to do it. Instead, place the most amount of money on the horse you think will win and use the rest of your money to bet on the longshot ... along with a few of your best picks.