We’ve all seen the public handicappers and consensus. The question is, can they really help your handicap? The handicappers each choose a hierarchy of three horses and the higher on the list, the higher the horse’s score. For example, a horse selected as top horse gets five points. If it is selected as the handicapper’s best bet of the day, it can be awarded seven points. After the panel of handicappers have chosen their picks for the day, each horse is given a score.
What usually happens is that the higher scoring horses go to post at very low odds. In some races that are more difficult to handicap, there may be five or six horses that find their way into the hierarchies. While in races where the fields are short or there are not many contenders, only three horses may be selected.
I always recommend thinking for yourself, but it doesn’t hurt to read the comments that the public handicappers make because some of them give good insight and sometimes will mention something you missed. The problem for the former prognosticator reading these opinions and the attached consensus is that if you bet on a horse that gets high marks, you won’t get a very good price, but if you take a flyer on a horse that doesn’t. on the public handicapper’s radar, you’ll go out for a long shot.
So what’s the best game when looking for value? Usually it pays to make your own choices, but if you have to rely on someone else’s choices, I suggest you look for a horse that is short on pints but has a good angle that the handicapper came up with. If only one horse picker picked it, it probably means he or she is trying to score a big one that will give him or her bragging rights and increase media presence and credibility. Following such a handicapper can also lead to more good bets.
If he or she just picks it for third place, that might mean it’s only thrown in if it wins. But if the prognosticator actually picks it for first place on the panel, that’s a very good sign. If three handicappers go with the same horse and your longshot picker goes with another horse, that horse may very well be a live longshot and worth a very long extra look, but as I said earlier, think for yourself. Look carefully at the horse.