Mattress Mack Is Making Moves As Fixed Odds Betting Lands In New Jersey

Written By Dave Bontempo on May 5, 2022
Churchill Downs Events and Schedule

How does one attack after Mattress Mack? And how does Fixed Odds Betting come into play?

Those are burning questions for Playfecta bettors regarding the expected betting impact of the high-profile furniture owner in the 148th Kentucky Derby. Mattress Mack plans to wager $4 million at Churchill Downs on the post-time favorite half an hour before the race on Saturday.

That’s enough juice to move the needle. Some analysts project the impact of that wager to change the betting odds by a full point. That means a 7-2 shot could be reduced to 5-2 or enhanced to 9-2, based on whom he selects.

It will most likely be Epicenter, the 7-2 morning line second choice, or Zandon, the 3-1 favorite.

The race unfolds at 6:57 p.m. EDT and all the wagering action will be accessible via TVG.

Mattress Mack Move Coincides with Fixed Odds Betting Debut in New Jersey

The impact of big same-day wager illustrates the vulnerability some bettors feel about the pari-mutuel system, in which odds don’t become official until post time.

The slow beginning to that change — in which Fixed Odds will one day be part of the Kentucky Derby, perhaps five years from now — unfolds with the national debut of Fixed Odds betting Saturday at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey.

The track launches its live-racing campaign Saturday with a 2 p.m. card leading up to the Derby. It will feature the revolutionary new betting menu.

Fixed Odds will be available on all its races throughout the season. This will eventually spread into the simulcast and mobile-betting world. Horse racing may enjoy a huge betting surge once the sport aligns itself with the same procedure of betting on other legalized sports.

Bet an NFL game Thursday at DraftKings and they are your odds. They may fluctuate, enabling bettors to wager again, but the bet is etched in stone once placed. Horse racing needs more of that.

How Monmouth Will Run Fixed Odds Betting

The track will partner with Australian technology BetMakers, which will act as a content provider for the tracks and the bank for bettors. Optimistic revenue forecasts for the industry are based on the Australian model, which has been enormously successful.

Fixed Odds will only pertain to win, place and show bets to start. Ultimately, this revenue mechanism may coax horse racing to drop its takeout percentage — an exorbitant 20-25% in many exotic combinations — and compete with the 10% vig seen in most sportsbooks.

Much of that is off in the distance. For now, Mattress Mack’s affect on the live odds occurs on the same day that the mechanism to reduce that impact will be born.

Derby Developments

Handicapping tools

Thunderstorms and rain are expected throughout the day Friday and into Saturday morning at Churchill Downs. Bettors will want to see the effect of the rain on the racing surface. Watch how the track dries out throughout the afternoon.

Will the surface be listed “fast”, which is business as usual, “good”, which will be tiring and enhance closers, or “sloppy”, which will spark speed horses?

The best clue is to watch the two or three races prior to the Derby. See how speed horses are doing after they hit the top of the stretch. Figure out how far back a horse can be and still win. The races leading to the Derby will provide an excellent clue.

Narrowing the 20-horse field

The six big prep winners were Taiba in the Santa Anita Derby, White Abarrio in the Florida Derby, Epicenter in the Louisiana Derby, Zandon in the Blue Grass, Mo Donegal in the Wood Memorial and Cyberknife in the Arkansas Derby.

Good second-place efforts went to Messier in the Santa Anita and Charge It in the Florida Derby. Under normal circumstances, one would figure the winner comes from those eight.

Then you start to hone in further.

How will the style of the race evolve?

Epicenter has a less-than-desirable 3 post, meaning there is no margin for error. He is close enough to the dreaded rail that he is concerned about being pocketed with anything less than a lightning start.
Summer is Tomorrow to his immediate right and Messier, in the 6 post, will press the pace.
This Derby has a chance to be hotter on the front end than recent editions. That might bring stalkers Cyberknife, White Abarrio, Simplification and a host of others into the superfecta picture.

Zandon, in the 10 post, has an ideal spot. He will be dangerous if he is allowed to run free without traffic problems in the first half of the race.

Taiba is considered “the freak” in this field, trying to become the first horse ever to win the Derby in just his third race. His 12 post also is ideal.

Derby Fun Facts

No rail horse has won the Run for the Roses since Ferdinand achieved the trick in 1986. He did it the hard way, being stuck behind a wall of horses and picking them off one by one.

The No. 17 post has never produced a winner. Classic Causeway’s flop in the Florida Derby indicates that the trend should continue.

No horse in this race has ever run the 1 1–4-mile distance. The closest contender is Epicenter, who covered 1 3-16 mile in the Louisiana Derby. He will garner betting support based on progressing through 1 mile, 1 1-6 miles, 1 1-8 miles and then 1 3-16 miles. None of the distance advancements were stark. They were all gradual. That’s an excellent asset in his favor.

Bet types to consider

The win bet should constitute a healthy portion of one’s wagering account. It’s nice to chase the exotics, but be rewarded when you select the Derby winner.

Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations, made a unique observation about the place (second or better) wager. “It may pay a lot more than you think,” Avello told “The pools are so large that you might get a horse who runs second and think he will pay $5 and you might end up getting $8 or 9.”

Big bettors really can benefit from that added value.

Consider the trifecta key. A $1 trifecta key wager involves putting your favorite horse in the first and second positions, with three other horses filling in the necessary spots in the trifecta.

Let’s say Epicenter is your favorite horse, No. 3. And you like the 10, 12 and 15 horses with him.
Take a $1 trifecta key with the 3 first, joined by any combo of the 10, 12 and 15 in the second and third spots.

Back it up with a $1 trifecta key putting him second. That would look like the 10, 12 or 15 in the first spot, the 3 second and the 10, 12 or 15 in the third. This bet makes sense for bettors who believe their horse and a couple of longshots will comprise the trifecta.

You may also consider one “cheap-stab” superfecta, in which the top four horses must come in order.
Take the previous example. You can take a $1 superfecta 3-10 with 3-10 with 12, 15, with 12, 15.
That means the 3 and the 10 must fill the first two spots in any order. The 12 and 15 must fill the third and fourth spots in any order. Cost. $4.

Good luck with the Derby! I hope you hit a big one.

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