Kentucky Derby Odds: Tiz The Law A Heavy Favorite, But Contenders Have Good Position

Written By Dave Bontempo on September 2, 2020 - Last Updated on October 26, 2020

Update: Two horses bowed out of the Kentucky Derby on Friday — King Guillermo and Finick the Fierce. The field is now set at 16. 

Let’s shift the focus on the Kentucky Derby just a bit.

Bettors may have to bypass the win line and wager “exotics” (exactas, trifecta or superfecta wagers) that involve heavy favorite Tiz the Law for Saturday’s Derby. And this after Tuesday’s post-position draw.

His odds were lowered to a less-than-desirable 3-5. What does that mean? Well, a bettor would have to wager $100 to gain a $60 profit. The reason for the odds shift can be linked to second-favorite Art Collector, who was suddenly withdrawn from the Derby.

Tiz the Law will be the most prohibitive, or short-priced, Derby favorite in decades.

Here is how the field of 18 looks, with midday Tuesday odds:

Finding a good return at the 2020 Kentucky Derby

The theme of this Kentucky Derby for bettors in New Jersey and elsewhere is getting more with less. The way to bet on horses in NJ using an app is via 4NJBets, a TVG online betting site.

If Tiz the Law looks unplayable on the win line in the Kentucky Derby odds, some of that money will be shifted to Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagering pools, in which a bettor predicts the winners of several consecutive races.

Otherwise, what bets can you consider for the Derby? Here are some options within each realm.

1. Exactas: Think outside the box

This is an exotic horse bet where a bettor picks the top two finishers in order.

An exacta box allows one to guarantee the right order if he/she has selected the top two finishing horses. One strategy we’ll see in these circumstances is a split ticket, say taking a $7 exacta with Tiz the Law over the second-place horse and a $3 exacta with him finishing second to that horse.

A bigger bettor might take a $20 straight exacta with Tiz the Law winning and another horse second. If second place goes to a medium- to long-priced horse, the $2 exacta could pay $10 or more. That would be at least $100 for the $20 investment.

The hedge: A $2 exacta box with three horses. It costs $12. This gives you a chance at three horses to finish in the top two spots. It pays well if Tiz the Law runs out of the money and you have the first and second spots.

2. Trifectas: Hoping for a second place

A trifecta is where a bettor picks the top three finishers in exact order.

A $1 trifecta box costs only $6 and ensures you will have the right order if you have the top three finishers. It won’t pay much if Tiz the Law wins. Your hope is for him to come in second or third.

If you feel bold: A $1 trifecta key to place the horse of your choice first, Tiz the Law second and everybody else third. That costs $16 and would pay well if a long shot runs third and you think Tiz the Law could lose.

3. Superfectas: An inexpensive option

You have to pick the top four in exact order when you play a superfecta. It’s not always easy.

One possibility, though, is you will have wide coverage for an inexpensive investment.

For a $1 superfecta, have the first and second horses in exact order, and throw a handful of horses in the third and fourth spots. That will only cost a few dollars.

Now, NJ online sports betting sites are not offering fixed odds on the Derby, but PointsBet NJ has a free bet offer for new users. It goes like this: If Tiz the Law wins the Derby, new users will get $150 free when they sign up at PointsBet. Just click this link to qualify, join and deposit. Then place one real money wager before the race begins. Tiz the Law wins, you win.

What’s the magic of Tiz the Law?

Because this race occurs later in the year, some mystery has been removed regarding the top horse.

Tiz the Law has already won the Florida Derby, the Belmont Stakes and the Travers Stakes. They are three of the biggest races on the entire circuit. That’s why he was expected to go off Saturday around even money. The departure of Art Collector lowered the odds more.

Some horses have better value than others. If Honor A.P. is the 5-1 second choice, why would Authentic, NY Traffic and Thousand Words be placed higher? These horses are all on the same level; it’s just a matter of which one shows up Saturday.

And the large field creates multiple betting entries.

Post-position intrigue on Derby Day

The field of 18 is smaller than the proverbial 20. Ironically, the most prohibitive favorite breaks from a post position that has never captured the Derby. Tiz the Law was assigned the 17 post, which has not produced a winner.

Horses numbered 15-20 compose the second gate. They break from far outside and have a far longer trip than the race’s 1 1/4 miles unless they use their speed early.

Tiz the Law will have no choice but to do so.

The outside gate, meanwhile, has most of the highly regarded horses in this race.

Ny Traffic, second in the Haskell Stakes to Authentic, drew post 15 and odds of 20-1.

Honor A.P., who secured the high-profile Santa Anita Stakes, breaks from the 16 hole as the 5-1 second choice.

Authentic, who won the San Felipe Stakes in March and the Haskell in July at Monmouth Park, drew the far outside post, 18, and odds of 8-1.

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Major contenders grouped together

What’s intriguing about the outside post grouping is that it contains all the major contenders in the race. That almost never happens. The four have to be concerned with each other, not necessarily those on the inside or the middle of the track. There is the possibility that at least one of these four won’t handle the first turn well.

In the middle of the track, Thousand Words, posted No. 10, won the Shared Belief Stakes against Honor A.P. It shows that the group of horses ranked just behind Tiz the Law take turns beating each other and that they are good but not great horses.

Hot tip for all you horse bettors out there: Keep an eye on Sole Volante, now 30-1, breaking from the 12 hole. He ran two excellent races and was the second choice in the Belmont Stakes. Sole Volante flopped in that race, and is a late runner, but he might be due to perform better. So could Max Player at 30-1 from the second post and King Guillermo, 20-1, from post 6.

These horses were good earlier in the year. They could wake up and at least hit the top four spots.

Wild-card variable: None of the horses in this race have faced such a large field. Getting position will be quite important. Some will have traffic problems, and it will cost them. Long shots should be considered, at least for second, third and fourth.

Photo by AP Photo / Seth Wenig
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others. He writes significantly about the emerging world of legal New Jersey sports betting.

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