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Greyhound Handicapping: Due Diligence

Profile Picture: Eb Netr

Eb Netr

May 1st, 2013

Every once in a while, I have a losing streak. It happens to all of us, no matter how good our handicapping skills are. I used to chalk it up to bad luck and just kept going, hoping that things would turn around. Over the years, I've learned that this isn't the way to turn a losing streak around.

Now, when my bankroll starts to get thin and my bets run third or fourth, I ask myself if I'm practicing due diligence with my handicapping. Am I doing everything I should be doing to make sure that my picks are the logical ones for win ability and value? Am I putting enough time into research and adding good dogs to my watch list? Or am I just relying on the same dogs I found a few weeks ago when I cruised the results for likely prospects?

There are several things that I do to find dogs that have potential. You might want to add them to your to-do list. The first thing I do - and it's very time consuming - is watch replays. Even though I stick with only a few tracks, the ones I play most often, this takes a lot of time. I usually do it in the morning, before I start handicapping for the day.

I grab a cup of coffee and sit down and watch as many replays as I can from each track, while making notes on any dogs that catch my eye. Sometimes, I'll watch 20 or more races before I find a dog that interests me. Sometimes, I don't find any good prospects, but I make notes anyway. It's good to know the running styles of dogs. That way, when I see them in a race, I can refer to my notes and see if the program's line agrees with what I saw when they raced.

No matter how good a chartwriter is, it's very hard to get it right every time. I've seen dogs listed as running the outside, when they ran most of the race on the inside, but went around another dog on the turn, which is where the chartwriter noticed them and made his note. I've seen dogs bump another dog and yet their line says that they were hit in the stretch.

After I watch replays, I check the charts for each of my favorite tracks, and notice the line of the dog that won in each race. This can tell you a lot about what's working and what's not working at the tracks you play. For instance, everyone knows that dogs that break out of the box first have a big advantage. That is, unless they were running on Southland's Twilight program on Monday, April 29th.

Look at the charts. Out of 11 sprints, only two winners were first out of the box. Dogs that broke first won only one of the five 660 yd routes and one of the four 703 yd marathons. While it's not surprising that slower breaking dogs do well in route races, would you have guessed that breakers would be worse than first in so many sprints? I wouldn't have except that I look at the charts for Southland all the time and know that this is very common there.

I used to do poorly at Southland, until I looked at a lot of replays and read a lot of charts and realized that it's not like most other tracks. Their sprint distance is longer at 583 yds than other tracks. Dogs that are first out of the box almost always run out of steam before they hit the finish line. Keep this in mind when you play Southland.

So, what does work at Southland? If you'll look at the chart for the 29th, you'll see that in most of the races, the dog that won was first at the first turn call. And most of the winners ran inside or midtrack, not outside. So, when you handicap Southland, look for inside and midtrack runners that can get around the turn without getting into trouble. Those are the dogs that have a shot at being first after the turn and that's where the call is taken.

At other tracks, like Daytona and Mardi Gras, for instance, I look for dogs that break out of the box first and run the inside. At least at the moment, that's what's winning at those tracks. Things can change though, which is why I'll continue to read the charts and watch the replays.

One of the reasons that I do this, is because of what happened at Wheeling, where I used to make a nice little profit on 1 dogs in route races. It didn't seem to matter if they looked good or had speed or anything else. If you played 1's in routes, you made money. Then someone threw the switch and it all went pear-shaped. 2's came in more than 1's did and a lot of 3's started showing up first at the line also. It was a wake-up call for me.

If you're not cashing as many tickets as you'd like to cash, ask yourself if there's more you could do to give yourself an edge other handicappers don't have. How many people, do you think, pay attention to the replays or read the charts, the day after the races? Not many and that's a good thing for those of us who do.
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