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Best Pick 3 Strategy 2024: Explained by Betting Experts

Publish Date: 02/12/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

Best Pick 3 Strategies Explained

There are a lot of different betting strategies you can use in order to optimize your betting experience. One popular option is a pick 3 strategy that works. A pick 3 is a slightly exotic betting option that can add a lot of value to your betting.

In this short pick 3 strategy 2024 guide, we will take a close look at what exactly a pick 3 is, explain how you can put together a pick 3 strategy to win and give you some top tips for implementing your pick 3 betting strategy.

Pick 3 strategy guide: What is it?

In simple terms, a pick 3 involves choosing the winner of three separate horse races (these are often consecutive races, but that is not mandatory) on the same race card. But whilst a pick 3 bet covers three separate races it is considered to be one single bet. As such, pick 3 bets are put into one separate pool. Winners are paid from the total money in this pool. This makes pick 3 a form of pari-mutuel betting.

The minimum stake you can typically use for a pick 3 is $1 and there is no each-way option you can take. In order to win, all three horses must win their respective races.

What is a pick 3 strategy that works? – All you need to know

Because a Pick 3 strategy requires all three horses to win, the simplest method is to just pick the three favorites and hope they all win. Favorites win in about 1 in 3 horse races, so it is entirely possible that all three of your selections finish first, giving you a far better return than if you had just placed three individual bets. However, the best pick 3 strategy that works is to spread your bets.

Spreading

Spreading requires you to choose more than one horse in at least one of the races. Obviously this means you will have to place more than one bet and therefore have to spend more money. But it does give you a much better chance of winning at longer odds.

Pick 3 betting strategy example

One of the three races in the Pick 3 has a clear and obvious favorite, whilst the other races have two or three potential winners. Having studied the form and done your research, you have identified the race numbers of potential race winners as:

  • Leg 1: 2 and 9
  • Leg 2: 1 and 4
  • Leg 3: 5

This means you have four potential options for your pick 3:

  • Option 1: 2,1,5
  • Option 2: 2,4,5
  • Option 3: 9,1,5
  • Option 4: 9,4,5

Whilst placing a $1 pick 3 bet on each of those options will cost you $4, it will greatly increase your chances of winning all three races. All you need is for horse 5 to win the third race and then any combination of horses 2 and 9, and 1 and 4 to win the other two races.

The leg 3 horse is known as your single and should always be the horse you have the most confidence in.

Not only does this pick 3 betting strategy give you a much better chance of winning from your pick 3 bet, but it can also give you some extremely long odds winners.

Pick 3 betting strategy variations

The method outlined above is the most common strategy for pick 3 betting, but there are pick 3 options you can try:

  • Cover the field – This requires you to cover the entire field in one (or occasionally 2) of the races). So you pick your single for one or two of the races and in the other race(s) you bet on every horse. This clearly means you will place a lot of bets and it is important to weigh up the odds of each option against your potential winnings, – but in many cases, this can be a profitable pick 3 strategy.
  • Pick 3 horses in each race – Again, this will require you to wager more money as there are a lot more permutations, but it will improve your chances of not only winning, but also winning at long odds.

Pick 3 strategy guide: What are the pros and cons?

Hopefully, you now have a good understanding of what a pick 3 betting strategy is and how you can use a pick 3 strategy that works. Now it’s time to assess the advantages and disadvantages of pick 3 betting

Pick 3 strategy guide: Pros

You can enhance the odds on a favorite

Some horse races have clear and obvious favorites. Unfortunately, these horses are often only available at very short odds and there is little value in betting on them. By using a pick 3 strategy you can bolster the odds on the favorite by incorporating other horses into the bet.

You can find some huge payouts

Combining your bet into three races can lead to some extremely large payouts. For example, if the prices of the three winning horses are +100, +400 and +400, a $1 bet would return around $50. Even if you have to place a selection of $1 bets in order to land on this winning combination, you are still getting a very good return on your investment.

You can bet using small amounts

The high payouts involved in pick 3 bets, means that you can make excellent profits on very small wagers. As the above example shows, you can make fifty times your stake, despite all three winners being available at short odds. This makes pick 3 betting a great option if you have a small budget.

In-play betting system cons 

Horse racing is very unpredictable

A large part of the appeal of horse racing is that anything can happen. Long odds winners are relatively common and there is never a guarantee that the favorites will win. Unless you cover the entire field, pick 3 betting requires the favorite or one of the fancied horses to win all three races.

You could fall at the first hurdle

Even though your bet covers three races, if you fail to win race one, your pick 3 is over. This makes the result of the subsequent two races completely irrelevant. If you place single bets on each race you retain an interest throughout the meeting.

Pick 3 can be complicated

Working out the merit of each pick 3 option can be tricky. You need to weigh up factors such as the number of horses per race you need to bet on, which horse is your single and how much you want to stake. Finding the sweet spot for each pick 3 bet requires plenty of practice.

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Our top five expert tips for using a pick 3 strategy that works

There is a lot to consider with pick 3 betting, so to help you out here are our top 5 expert tips:

Do your research

This is the key to successful betting. The more research you do, the more likely you are to find value in the markets. Study the form, read the news and find out what the experts think. It will all help you to build a picture of who you think will win.

Control your gambling

When you join a sportsbook, you will have the option of using a safer gambling tool to set limits on the amount of time and money you spend with an operator. We highly recommend that you always use this tool before you start betting. It will help ensure you do not incur any uncomfortable losses whilst in-play betting and can stay in control of your budget. 

Set a budget and stick to it

Before you use the aforementioned safer gambling tool, have a serious think about how much money you can comfortably use for pick 3 betting. Whilst you can make pick 3 bets for just $1, a pick 3 strategy that works requires you to place multiple bets that will obviously increase the amount you need to spend.

Play around with your strategy

As we outlined above, there are different ways you use a pick 3 betting strategy. It is important that you are flexible in the way you place pick 3 bets. Try using different amounts or try covering the whole field. For each bet, you need to look at the three races, select the horse you want to include and work out your strategy based on that. Sticking to just one strategy could potentially lead you to missing out on winning bets.

Keep the faith

Unfortunately, all sports bettors will hit a losing run from time to time. Inevitably, you will sometimes have a run of losing Pick 3 bets. The important thing to remember is to not get too downhearted by this. Stick to your strategy and continue to do your research. Your run will come to an end sooner rather than later. And never ever chase your losses by placing bigger bets. That will invariably lead to even bigger losses. Keep faithful to your system.

What other betting strategies are available?

Finding a pick 3 strategy that works can be a great way to find winning bets, but here are some more of the best sports betting strategies you could use:

Betting in-play

This requires you to place bets whilst an event is progressing. You need to look for high value in the betting markets and identify the best time to place bets. This is a high-risk versus reward betting strategy.

Arbitrage betting

Arbitrage betting takes advantage of the differences in odds between sports betting operators. You place bets to cover all possible outcomes, using the best operator for each option. By doing this you can guarantee a small profit regardless of how the event plays out.

Matched betting

Matched betting is similar to arbing. It requires you to back and lay the same bet in order to take advantage of promotions offered by operators. It is a virtually risk-free method of betting but can give you a steady income. For more information on this, read our matched betting explained guide.

Pick 3 strategy guide: Conclusion

Using a pick 3 betting strategy can be a fun way to bet and it can lead to some excellent returns. But to achieve those returns, you need to carefully follow our tips and successfully implement the strategy.

The best way of doing this is to take your time, read our guides and research the betting fields. You are unlikely to find your perfect strategy straight away and you are unlikely to hit a winning streak with your first few bets. But keep the faith and look at how you can adapt your strategy for each pick 3.

Most importantly of all, always remember to gamble responsibly, set your budget and stick to it. Never stake more money than you can afford to lose. Good luck!

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Pick 3 strategy 2022 guide FAQ

❔Can I place pick 3 bets legally?

This depends on where you are located. If you are in a state which allows horse racing bets and you are at least 21 years of age, you can place pick 3 bets. It is worth noting that state gambling laws often change, so it is recommended that you regularly read our articles for the latest legal news in your state.

🤔What is the best pick 3 strategy to win?

The strategy outlined in this article has been successful for a number of sports betting fans, but ultimately you need to find a pick 3 strategy that works for you. Consider factors such as your budget and your level of horse racing knowledge, and do not forget to read our pick 3 strategy guide. And do not be afraid to try different strategies in order to find the one(s) that work best for you.

⛹What are the best sports betting strategies?

This comes down to a personal decision. All of the methods on this page can be successful if done correctly, plus there are other options. Alternatively, you can try out strategies for individual sports. For more information on this, check out our guides such as our look at our horse racing betting strategies and football betting strategies guides.

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