Final Odds & Probability to Win – How Can It Help You?
Ever wonder why it is difficult to hit a Pick 5, even when you are 2-4 horses deep in every race? We’ve all been there – going deep in a few races, taking clear cut favorites; trying to find that edge with a value horse or two in the mix and end up only one race away from hitting that big Pick5.
We wanted to dive into that exact question using some math to better illustrate how Final Odds & Probability to Win can explain how difficult hitting the Pick5 actually is.
How to Turn Odds into Probabilities
Depending on your mathematical / statistical prowess this may seem like an easy task…but let’s jump in from the ground up.
Here is an example of a race at Saratoga with Final Odds below. Saturday July 23^{rd}, 2022 – Race 2.
Race |
Number |
Name |
Final Odds |
2 |
1 |
FORE HARP |
6.8 |
2 |
2 |
ME 'N SAP |
7.1 |
2 |
3 |
LOADED JOE |
11.5 |
2 |
4 |
STEELERSFANFORLIFE |
14.1 |
2 |
5 |
STANHOPE |
6.6 |
2 |
7 |
BRAZILLIONAIRE |
0.5 |
Calculating Probability given the odds is fairly straightforward - you can quickly google it – but the math is: Probability = 1 / (Final Odds +1). The result is Probability Given the Odds (PGO) for each horse to win Race 2 in the chart below.
Race |
Number |
Name |
Final Odds |
Probability Given the Odds (PGO) |
2 |
1 |
FORE HARP |
6.8 |
12.82% |
2 |
2 |
ME 'N SAP |
7.1 |
12.35% |
2 |
3 |
LOADED JOE |
11.5 |
8.00% |
2 |
4 |
STEELERSFANFORLIFE |
14.1 |
6.62% |
2 |
5 |
STANHOPE |
6.6 |
13.16% |
2 |
7 |
BRAZILLIONAIRE |
0.5 |
66.67% |
119.61% |
But when those probabilities are summed, they add up to ~119.5%. Ah…the ‘track take’ or vigorish - at Saratoga the ‘track take’ is 16% as well a small little ‘take’ known as “Round down” to the nearest dime. (Note: Saratoga is one of the lowest total vigorish track in the US – so not calling them out – just the subject of our Pick5 example).
So…how do you get PGO accounting for the ‘take-out’? Again, fairly easy…take each probability and divide it by the total probability. For “FORE HARP” it would calculate as 12.82% / 119.61% = 10.7%.
This all results in the True PGO in the chart below (some analysts call it “Implied Probability”).
Race |
Number |
Name |
Final Odds |
PGO |
True PGO |
2 |
1 |
FORE HARP |
6.8 |
12.8% |
10.7% |
2 |
2 |
ME 'N SAP |
7.1 |
12.3% |
10.3% |
2 |
3 |
LOADED JOE |
11.5 |
8.0% |
6.7% |
2 |
4 |
STEELERSFANFORLIFE |
14.1 |
6.6% |
5.5% |
2 |
5 |
STANHOPE |
6.6 |
13.2% |
11.0% |
2 |
7 |
BRAZILLIONAIRE |
0.5 |
66.7% |
55.7% |
119.61% |
100.00% |
Interesting 6^{th} Grade Math – but who cares…
Well, say you’ve played the Pick5 whenever it comes up. And, say you go 2-4 deep and pick up the top horse in every race as well as a few others you really like. So, your picks look like what is highlighted in blue: 5,7 / 3,6 / 3,4,6 / 3,5 / 1,5,8,10. With a $0.50 Pick5 – this costs you $48 - not bad and in budget.
Race |
Number |
Name |
Final Odds |
PGO |
True PGO |
2 |
1 |
FORE HARP |
6.8 |
12.8% |
10.7% |
2 |
2 |
ME 'N SAP |
7.1 |
12.3% |
10.3% |
2 |
3 |
LOADED JOE |
11.5 |
8.0% |
6.7% |
2 |
4 |
STEELERSFANFORLIFE |
14.1 |
6.6% |
5.5% |
2 |
5 |
STANHOPE |
6.6 |
13.2% |
11.0% |
2 |
7 |
BRAZILLIONAIRE |
0.5 |
66.7% |
55.7% |
3 |
1 |
BANK ON ANNA |
8.4 |
10.6% |
8.9% |
3 |
2 |
AWESOME INDRA |
15.7 |
6.0% |
5.0% |
3 |
3 |
JANE GREY |
2.25 |
30.8% |
25.8% |
3 |
4 |
BREAKFASTATBONNIES |
3.65 |
21.5% |
18.0% |
3 |
5 |
ROOKERY |
28.75 |
3.4% |
2.8% |
3 |
6 |
REPEALING |
1.9 |
34.5% |
28.9% |
3 |
7 |
UNION LAKE |
6.9 |
12.7% |
10.6% |
4 |
1 |
MOZAY |
6.1 |
14.1% |
13.4% |
4 |
2 |
BEYOND PERFECTION |
21.2 |
4.5% |
4.3% |
4 |
3 |
WINGS LIKE EAGLES |
2 |
33.3% |
31.7% |
4 |
4 |
JANE MAST |
3.5 |
22.2% |
21.1% |
4 |
5 |
HERINGTON ROCKET |
8.7 |
10.3% |
9.8% |
4 |
6 |
VERONICA GREENE |
5 |
16.7% |
15.8% |
4 |
7 |
BROADWAY BOOGIE |
30.75 |
3.1% |
3.0% |
4 |
8 |
GET RESPECT |
15.3 |
6.1% |
5.8% |
4 |
9 |
SIXTH STREET |
10.2 |
8.9% |
8.5% |
5 |
1 |
BUTTERBEAN |
14.1 |
6.6% |
5.5% |
5 |
2 |
SOCIETY |
7.4 |
11.9% |
9.9% |
5 |
3 |
NEST |
0.95 |
51.3% |
42.7% |
5 |
4 |
NOSTALGIC |
20.3 |
4.7% |
3.9% |
5 |
5 |
SECRET OATH |
1.2 |
45.5% |
37.9% |
6 |
1 |
SUMMONYOURCOURAGE |
3.3 |
23.3% |
19.4% |
6 |
2 |
FULL MOON MADNESS |
13.5 |
6.9% |
5.8% |
6 |
4 |
BAIE LONGUE |
28.5 |
3.4% |
2.8% |
6 |
5 |
POWERFUL |
2.15 |
31.7% |
26.5% |
6 |
6 |
BALSA |
8.3 |
10.8% |
9.0% |
6 |
7 |
MULLINGAR |
25.75 |
3.7% |
3.1% |
6 |
8 |
PHELPSY |
4.2 |
19.2% |
16.0% |
6 |
9 |
WESTERN GHENT |
23.1 |
4.1% |
3.5% |
6 |
10 |
BRING THEBAND HOME |
5 |
16.7% |
13.9% |
Until you do the Math…
And look at the True POG of winning each race and then calculating what your probability is to pull of the Pick 5. Assuming independent events – we multiply the True POG of each race together to calculate your chances of hitting this Pick5. Which is…drum roll…
Race 2 |
66.7% |
Race 3 |
54.6% |
Race 4 |
68.6% |
Race 5 |
80.6% |
Race 6 |
75.9% |
A 15% chance of hitting this Pick 5!
To sum it all up – out of every 20 Pick5 Bets you make - going this deep - will cost you $960 and result in 3 cashed tickets. You just have to hope bullet favorites don’t run the table like the rest of the crowd picked and you hit a big payout on one of those 3 tickets. So goes the challenge of a betting strategy that finds horses your fellow bettors don’t have. So, you’re saying there’s a chance….
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