The odds established by the general public reflect the interrelationship that exists between horses in a race fairly accurately over all as one of their top five picks wins the race ninety percent (90%) of the time, year in and year out. That the public tends to over bet the two horses with the lowest odds, not necessarily the best chances of winning, is not surprising as people tend to migrate toward commonality in all aspects of life, whether it be their political affiliations, the brands of toothpaste they buy, or the style of clothing they wear. Whether their reasons for doing so have merit or not. So, why should their assessment of horse races be any different?
However, it is important to understand that the public often overvalues the horses they make favorites while, at the same time, they undervalue one or two of their top five picks, allowing the odds on those horses to climb into a range where profit from wagering on horse races is actually possible. Whether this occurs due to confusion, laziness, or some sense of needing to be part of the “in” crowd, I have never ascertained, but the phenomenon exists, and if it did not exist I would not be able to make a living handicapping the handicappers.
One thing I am certain of is the public tends to place too much emphasis on popular and easily discernible facts. Such things as speed ratings, class levels that have not been clearly defined, which jockey is riding the horse, whom the trainer of record is etc. This conference of minds based on the prevailing ignorance of the moment has caused more than one bettor to empty his wallet thinking his 3/5 choice cannot possibly lose today while the odds on his third pick creep slowly up to 12/1 and his cannot-lose favorite gets beaten by three full lengths.