Not everyone has the time or the energy to really handicap a program. So, what do you do if you want to just have a good time, pick a few winners, and not lose your shirt at the track? Is there a way to do this?
Well, of course, the more time and effort you put into learning the basics of handicapping, the more accurate you'll be at picking dogs. But even a newbie can learn some simple tricks that will help him go home with more money rather than less.
For one thing, stick with small, simple bets. Win bets are best. Don't be suckered into betting show bets, thinking that you'll have 3 chances to cash in, instead of 1. Although it's true that show bets pay off if the dog wins, places or shows, they don't pay well enough to cover the times they don't come in.
If you have friends who go to the track often, ask them for advice, but don't rely totally on it. Notice if they're winning or losing before you put your money on what they're betting on. Sometimes, if several people go to the track together, and some of them are pretty good handicappers, it makes sense to combine your money on bets. That way, you can cover more dogs and play dime supers, which are a lot of fun for a little money.
If someone in your group is good at picking winners, you could pool your money and wheel that dog in a trifecta. If it wins, you all win at least a little bit. And with several people putting money together, the bets don't cost anyone too much. Of course, you have to be careful not to bet more than you're likely to get back, so pool your money carefully.
You could also buy a cheap handicapping system, but if you only go to the track occasionally, don't buy an expensive one. There's no point in spending hundreds of dollars on a system if you're not going to have a chance to make that money back.
Keep your bets small. Don't bring more money with you than you can comfortably lose. Treat the outing as entertainment, rather than a money-making venture. Above all, have fun and learn as much as you can about picking winners, so that you can win even more next time you go to the dog track.