Early Look at the 2018 Kentucky Derby Betting Odds. Written by Steve Finch on April 6, 2018. Just a month away from the biggest horse racing event on the calendar. Known as the Greatest Two Minutes in all sports, live from the Churchill Downs in Kentucky – the Kentucky Derby. Kentucky Derby Results Get a Free Preakness Bet! You can now bet on the Kentucky Derby! Get great future odds with amazing payouts on the leading Kentucky Oaks and Derby horses and even the leading Jockeys and Trainers.Bet.
Kentucky Derby 2018 Online Betting Sites
It’s that time again. The 2018 Kentucky Derby is officially on the horizon. The proceedings will take place at Churchill Downs in Louisville on Cinco De Mayo, with 20 thoroughbreds vying for the most prestigious crown in American horse racing.
Last year, we saw Todd Pletcher’s Always Dreaming take home a first place finish as one of the frontrunners. Always Dreaming was slapped with 5-1 odds to win before the race, which was tied for second behind Classic Empire, who entered the running at 4-1 to win. Classic Empire finished a disappointing fourth, however. McCracken, who was also 5-1, straggled to a discouraging eighth-place finish. Always Dreaming eventually nudged ahead of Classic Empire just before the race to become the slight favorite.
There was no clear-cut prohibitive favorite to win the Derby last year, and it’s looking as though this year’s race will be no different. As of this writing, both Mendelssohn and Justify are the early favorites at 4-1 apiece. Audible isn’t far behind at 6-1, with Magnum Moon (8-1) and Bolt Doro (9-1) rounding things out at the top.
There isn’t a big-money favorite at this stage, so it will be interesting to see where the betting public begins to trend as we get closer to race day on Saturday. Will the money flood to one specific entrant, or will we see a wide-open field? Will the chalk hold, or will we see a massive upset at the top?
Chalk is Chalk for a Reason
In most cases, it’s wise to side with the chalk. Those that handicap these sorts of things generally know what they’re doing, and we see the results play out as expected more often than not. Nothing in sports is ever a sure thing, but bookmakers have a solid overall history of predicting how things will play out at the Derby.
One general rule when it comes to betting is that betting on the favorite is the quickest way to kill your bankroll. One would imagine predicting the winner of the Derby would be tough considering what the oddsmakers have to work with. Just about all of the thoroughbreds participating in the race are 3-year-olds without a ton of background. With a small sample size to work with, how are the handicappers able to get such a firm grasp on what’s going to happen?
Most of the horses in the race have never run a race as long as the Derby in the past, nor have they run at Churchill Downs. There is only so much data to go on.
It’s also worth noting that the oddsmakers seem to be getting even sharper. The odds-on favorite has wound up winning the Kentucky Derby every year since 2013. Orb, California Chrome, American Pharoah, Nyquist and Always Dreaming were all listed as favorites and all wound up winning.
So, if you’d like to keep riding that wave, wagering on whichever between Justify or Mendelssohn winds up heading into the race as the favorite to win this year looks like a sound enough strategy. Oddsmakers are good, so following their advice is the safest route to cashing a bet.
The Bigger Picture Tells a Different Story
Ok, so we’ve established that the pre-race favorite has gone on to win in each of the last 5 runnings of the Kentucky Derby. If we expand the sample, though, we’ll see that the success rate for pre-race favorites has been drastically worse over time.
It’s not unreasonable to explain that away by suggesting that handicappers have just gotten better over the years. The tools oddsmakers have at their disposal nowadays blow those that their predecessors had out of the water. The advent of the Internet makes it much easier for your average spare person to go online and research each and every one of these horses. As such, those that do that kind of thing for a living have a much broader array of information.
According to FiveThirtyEight, placing a $2 bet on every single favorite in each year from 1967 through 2016 would have won the bettor $107.80 on a $100 wager for a profit of just under eight percent. If you had placed the same bet on the favorites from just the last 20 years, though, the profit percentage skyrockets to 74 percent.
We aren’t too far gone from an era during which the Derby was known as an incredibly unpredictable event. In fact, from 1980 through 1999, not a single pre-start betting favorite would go on to win the race. Then again, pre-race favorites did win every year from 1972 through 1975. As a result, we can see that the current streak of 5 consecutive favorites winning isn’t exactly unprecedented.
It’s also worth noting that the criteria for qualifying for the Derby changed just before Orb’s chalk victory in 2013. The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” was created in 2013. The newfangled points system awarded points to the horses that finished in the top-four of select races. The 20 horses to accumulate the most points during the qualifying stage ultimately qualify to run in the Derby.
The prior system rewarded horses based on their winnings in graded stakes races. The current system has worked to effectively rid the field of horses that clearly don’t belong in the class of thoroughbreds running in the prestigious event. With a less volatile array of outcomes, handicappers have been able to paint a clearer picture of how the race will play out.
Will a Favorite Win for a Sixth Straight Year?
If you’re interested in betting on the Derby, you’re going to find no shortage of analysis pieces on why you should or should not side with one of the favorites. One positive aspect of the lack of a clear favorite is the fact that you can get a likely winner at favorable odds. Back in 2015, American Pharoah was a heavy favorite at 2-1. This year, you’ll likely be able to get the favorite at 4-1 or 5-1. The gap in profit potential on either 4-1 or 5-1 compared to 2-1 is obviously massive.
Justify, trained by Bob Baffert, won this year’s Santa Anita Derby and may well enter the race as the favorite. You may also hear some chatter about Good Magic, who is currently listed at 11-1 to win. While there are 11 horses in the field with odds of 20-1 or better, Good Magic looks like a horse with big bust potential despite solid odds. We just saw him finish a disappointing third at the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park despite entering the event as a massive 3-5 favorite.
If you’re looking for a sleeper, look no further than My Boy Jack, currently priced at 22-1. This is a horse known for staying competitive in races, even if the end result isn’t always there. Some sharp betting minds are tipping My Boy Jack as an excellent dark horse (no pun intended), so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the odds worsen if more public money comes in on him.
Free slots with bonus online. If public money starts trending toward Justify, it may make sense to go in another direction if his odds get as far as 2-1 by post time. If you can get Mendelssohn or Audible at 5-1 or 6-1 with Justify at 2-1, I would suggest shooting for the bigger payday and going with whichever of Mendelssohn or Audible you like better.
2018 Kentucky Derby Winner
Of course, doing so would require a bit of risk tolerance. If you prefer playing it safe, then Justify looks like the “safest” bet on the board, even if he winds up somewhere around 2-1. The longshot play at this point is clearly My Boy Jack, if you’re wanting even more risk with an even bigger payoff in the end.