How To Create A Morning Line

Tote-Board_01A reader of my blog recently sent me a link to a post at the Arlington Park website titled, “Getting a Line on the Early Odds.” It was written by Joe Kristufek, the official morning-line odds maker for the track. The article explains how he makes his morning line, which he bases on how he thinks the public will wager on any given race.

There was a period in my twenties when I would create my own morning line for every race with the hope that it might give me an edge over my fellow bettors. I learned the process from a book. Do not ask me which book that was as I long ago forgot. My apologies to the author of that book, but I thought I would share what I learned with you.

Before constructing a morning line, you must know the following: the base rate for your line should be 100 plus the takeout rate for the track you are creating a line for. In California, the takeout rate is 15.43% for Win wagers; thus the baseline is 100 plus 15, or 115. Add to that base rate the number of horses scheduled to run in the race. A race with a three horse field (shame on you Hollywood Park) would have a base rate of 118. A ten horse field would have a base rate of 125.

To create a morning line for a four horse field, you divide the total base rate by four, then adjust the odds as you see appropriate using the following chart. The points assigned each odds bracket are based on the overall win percentages for horses that go to post at those odds.

Odds  Points  Odds  Points
1/10  90      4/1   20
1/5   83      9/2   18
2/5   71      5/1   17
1/2   67      6/1   14
3/5   63      7/1   13
4/5   56      8/1   11
1/1   50      9/1   10
6/5   45      10/1  9
7/5   42      11/1  8
3/2   40      12/1  8
8/5   39      15/1  6
9/5   36      20/1  5
2/1   33      25/1  4
5/2   29      30/1  3
3/1   25      50/1  2
7/2   22      99/1  1

So, each horse in a four-horse field would start with 30 points (119/4=29.75), which means each horse would tentatively be assigned odds of 5/2. Now obviously not all horses are going to hit the wire at the same time, so you need to adjust those odds to more accurately reflect what you believe are their chances of winning. If you believe horse A is the most likely winner, you might assign that horse odds of 6/5, but to do so, you must take 15 points away from the other three horses (45-30=15). If you do so evenly, then the other three horses would each have twenty-five points left, placing each of them in the 3/1 odds bracket. However, you might believe horse B deserves to be a 2/1 second choice, so you need to take eight points away from the remaining two horses (33-25=8), perhaps five points from horse C and three points from horse D. Now the final two horses will have odds of 7/2 and 4/1.Horse_50x50

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