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MAPPING OUT A NIGHT OF ACTION AT THE BIG M

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Why is The Meadowlands the industry’s handle leader? 

There are many factors that make the mile oval the most prolific in terms of average wagering per card in the game, with large field size and small takeouts on popular bets being the most influential. 

But it is not only big bettors that fuel the bustling betting, but small players also have a sizeable say in making the Big M what it is, as they are able to get a lot of action for not a lot of money if they team up with other players to take on the track’s most popular puzzles. 

Low takeouts are great for the bettor but sometimes overlooked are the Big M’s six bets that sport low 10-, 20- and 50-cent minimums. They make wagering on the races a viable entertainment option for new racing fans. The low minimums have made playing the races affordable to those players, and that has helped The Meadowlands average $3.6 million on Saturday nights during the winter. 

For those with a smaller bankroll but want to get in on the action at The Big M and get plenty of chances to make a score, here is one possible roadmap: 

Four people who play as a partnership come out to the races or play from home on their favorite ADW platform. The total bankroll is $100, so all each player has to contribute is $25. Look at this low-minimum, low-takeout strategy, in which $100 buys 657 wagers: 

RACE 1 – the 20-cent Pick-5: The low minimum means the partnership can play a decent-sized ticket (in this case, $30) yet still have plenty of money left if they do not hit. If they are sharp enough to cash, they can play the remainder of the card without digging into the original $100 and keep the leftover money for the next night. 

1st ticket: 1,2/1,2/1,2/1,2/1,2,3,4,5 = $16 (80 combinations) 

2nd ticket: 1/1/1,2/1,2/ALL = $8 (40 combinations) 

3rd ticket: 1/1/1,2/1,2,3/1,2,3,4,5 = $6 (30 combinations) 

Total: 150 combinations for $30, 15 per cent takeout = $4.50 

RACES 2,3,4,5,7,8,9,11,12 – the 10-cent Superfecta: On a typical 13-race program, The Big M offers nine Superfectas. We will spend $2.40 per race using two strategies. 

1st ticket: Box 1,2,3,4 = $1.20 (12 combinations) 

2nd ticket: Key 1 with 2,3,4,5 = $1.20 (12 combinations) 

Total: 24 combinations at $2.40 apiece for 9 races = $21.60 (216 combinations), 20 per cent takeout = $4.32 

RACES 6 and 9 – the 50-cent Pick-4: The track’s signature wager, which always offers a guaranteed pool of $50,000, will take an investment of $24. 

Of the four following possible tickets, one can be played in each Pick-4: 

1st ticket: 1,2/1,2/1,2/1,2,3 = $12 (24 combinations) 

2nd ticket: 1/1,2/1,2,3/1,2,3,4 = $12 (24 combinations) 

3rd ticket: 1/1/1,2,3,4/1,2,3,4,5,6 = $12 (24 combinations) 

4th ticket: 1/1,2/1,2/1,2,3,4,5,6 = $12 (24 combinations) 

Total: 24 combinations at $12 apiece for 2 races = $24 (48 combinations), 15 per cent takeout = $3.60 

RACE 13 – the 10-cent Hi-5/Pentafecta: Select the top five finishers and cash in to “get out” in the final race of the night. The way you stagger your ticket can increase your chances of winning. 

The ticket: 1,2,3/1,2,3,4/1,2,3,4,5/1,2,3,4,5,6/1,2,3,4,5,6,7 = $24.30 

Total: 243 combinations at 10-cents apiece = $24.30, 15 per cent takeout = $3.65 

This bet enables one to use three horses in all positions while adding one horse in positions two through 5. 

Grand Total: $99.90 total investment, 657 combinations, total takeout $16.07 (16 per cent). 

“Based on the low 16 per cent takeout on these $100 in wagers,” said Big M Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Jason Settlemoir. “The average player will lose $4 an hour for over four hours of action. An above average player can create better odds of winning by wagering into low-takeout wagers. The better players can overcome a low takeout, based on their knowledge and experience, and make their evening profitable. 

“The great thing about low takeout is that it creates more winning players, which creates more handle, which creates more purse money, which creates more revenue for our simulcast partners and stakeholders. That is a healthy business model for the future. Low takeout makes winning possible. This has obviously created more interest in The Meadowlands in 2021.” 

FREE PPs: “Need a program? The Big M has you covered,” said Settlemoir. “We offer free programs every night.” The free past performances are available to anyone who goes to the track’s website, playmeadowlands.com. 

‘SHADES’ TO CALL: As the Timbuk 3 song goes: “Things are going great, and they’re only getting better, I’m doing all right, getting good grades, the futures so bright, I gotta wear shades.” 

The song could have been written for Andrew ‘Shades’ Demsky, who calls the races at Tioga Downs and is a jack-of-all-trades at The Big M. Demsky, who does back paddock interviews and serves as occasional co-host of the in-house live presentation as well as hosting and directing all kinds of interesting spots for TV, will step into the track announcer’s booth Friday night and “Borrow Ken Warkentin’s Binoculars” and call the 13-race card. 

Warkentin will return to the booth on Saturday. 

GET SOCIAL: You can always check in with the team at The Meadowlands on Twitter. 

For early changes, racing information and staff selections, go to @themeadowlands or #playbigm. 

On race nights, stay in touch with the Big M’s Dave Brower (@eedoogie), Dave Little (@DaveLittleBigM), Ken Warkentin (@kenvoiceover), Demsky (@shadesonracing) and Jessica Otten (@JessicaOtten1). 

CHECK OUT THE PICKS: For those who need to get a leg up on the action, go to playmeadowlands.com to see track oddsmaker and analyst Brower’s selections and commentary. Click on the “handicapping” tab and go to “race reviews”. 

Brower’s input is generally available 48 hours before every card. 

Additionally, track announcer Warkentin’s blog is available on the site and offers his picks and analysis. 

CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE TRACK? There are several options for those who would rather catch the action from The Big M at home. 

Racing fans can watch all the races live on the Roberts Television Network (rtn.tv). In addition, they can watch and wager by going to the Television Games Network (tvg.com) or their favorite Advance-deposit Wagering site (ADW). 

GET YOUR HOOPS ACTION: Mayhem is upon us. 

One of the biggest events in all of sports is about to begin, as in three days, the 68 teams that will participate in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will be chosen on “Selection Sunday”, and bettors can watch and wager on all the tourney action in The Big M’s FanDuel Sportsbook. 

For those who have an opinion as to which team will lift the championship trophy at tourney’s end, they can back that opinion up and possibly make a score. The Gonzaga Bulldogs are the current favorites at +250, followed by the Baylor Bears at +330. The third choice, at odds of +420, are the Michigan Wolverines. 

In addition, major conference tournament champions will be determined throughout the weekend, as on Saturday (March 13), the ACC, Big East, Big 12 and Pac-12 will have their finals, while on Sunday (March 14), the finals for the Atlantic 10, Big Ten and SEC will be conducted. Get action on every game at The Big M.     

In addition to the college hoops, action will be available on professional golf’s THE PLAYERS Championship as well as a plethora of other sports, including the NBA, NHL, Premier and Champions League soccer, professional tennis and more. 

The sportsbook is open Sunday-Friday from 10 a.m.-midnight and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 a.m. The cash counter is open from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. 


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