A Life Changing Score (10/21/15)

The Breeders' Cup Pick 6 – A Life Changing Score

The explosion of Daily Fantasy Sports has been astounding. DraftKings and FanDuel have done a remarkable job creating an overnight dynasty. As reported just last week (Week 6 of the NFL season), their combined handle was just north of $45 million. As a comparison, Nevada, currently the only state with legalized sports betting handle, takes in over $100 million on the Super Bowl.

So, how does the Breeders' Cup compare? The chart below is the comparison of the Breeders' Cup handle (for just the BC races) as compared to the Nevada handle on the Super Bowl.

Year Breeders' Cup Year Super Bowl
2014 $127,800,000 2015 $115,900,000
2013 $135,958,816 2014 $119,400,822
2012 $127,676,360 2013 $98,936,798
2011 $140,070,361 2012 $93,899,840
2010 $152,293,176 2011 $87,491,098
2009 $127,396,580 2010 $82,726,367


Yes, the Breeders' Cup handles more than the Super Bowl and it will be the single biggest wagering event in 2015. Now that we have established the liquidity in the event, let's talk about the chance for a life changing score.

While sports betting has its 15 team parlay card and DFS has developed the Guaranteed Prize Pool, no single US wagering event can offer the potential payout of the Breeders' Cup Pick 6.

The chart below outlines the Breeders' Cup Pick 6 payoff history since its inception in 2000.

Year Min Bet Pick 6 Payout # of Winning Tickets Consolation Payoff # of Tickets Handle
2014 $2 no winner 0 $114,472 5 $2,500,000
2013 $2 $47,516 36 $406 1845 $3,277,813
2012 $2 $419,245 4 $2,712 265 $3,139,394
2011 $2 no winner 0 $95,070 31 $3,639,126
2010 $2 $800,160 5 $1,240 854 $5,240,640
2009 $2 $1,838,305 1 $4,822 163 $3,313,244
2008 $2 $55,920 30 $755 921 $2,882,343
2007 $2 $321,813 6 $1,536 401 $3,287,581
2006 $2 $1,450,707 2 $11,318 85 $4,786,481
2005 $2 no winner 0 $90,235 40 $4,586,700
2004 $2 no winner 0 $56,149 61 $4,566,837
2003 $2 $2,687,611 1 $18,663 48 $4,489,454
2002 $2 no winner 0 $43,937 78 $4,569,515
2001 $2 $262,422 11 $1,475 - $4,811,450
2000 $2 $45,722 68 $936 - $5,123,453

Note: The consolation is paid to any player that hits 5 of 6 correctly. See item #3 below.

Here are key points to notice.
  • Three, million dollar plus winners - 2009 2006 and 2003.
  • Five years in which no one hit all six races in the Pick 6 – 2014, 2012, 2005, 2004 and 2002
  • In the five years where no there was no Pick 6 winner, the consolation payout was for those who had five of six correct.
  • The Pick 6 Mean: $528,600
  • The Pick 6 Median: $370,529
  • The Pick 6 Mode: $1,000,000 (using a grouping of: <$50K <$100k, <$250k <$500k, <$1000k, >$1000k)

What Makes the 2015 Pick 6 so special?

For the first time in the history of the event, the Pick 6 minimum bet is set a $1. As you can see by the handle figures, the pool size has decreased steadily over the last five years. Multiple factors impact the decline but none bigger than the $2 minimum bet amount.

For example, let's say you took a swing last year at the Pick 6 and selected two horses from each race. Your total combinations = 2x2x2x2x2x2…x$2 or a $128 bet. This year that bet gets cut in half to just $64. But remember, a Pick 6 ties your money up for six races with the final leg being the Classic featuring Triple Crown Winner – American Pharoah.

My recommended strategy for approaching the Pick 6 this year involves finding friends and singles. First, create your own “players pool.” Get a couple friends (or more) to each kick in the same amount of money carved out to invest in the Pick 6 ticket. This way you get the excitement and benefit of a bigger ticket without having to carry the entire cost.

Once you have your players pool, it's time to handicap and piece together your shot at a life changing score. To do that, and as most serious Pick 6 players would tell you – find a single. That is, one horse in one race that you think can't lose. This significantly reduces the cost of the ticket by essentially turning it into a Pick 5. Lastly, when considering your investment into the Pick 6 as it relates to your entire bankroll, keep it at 5%, no more than 10%. You'll want to be able to cover with the Pick 4 and Pick 3's on your way to history.

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