In our previous article, ‘Stay Single’, we touched briefly on the practice of backing two or more horses in the same race, otherwise known as ‘dutching’, but, in response to enquiries from our readers, we thought the time was right for a slightly more thorough examination of the subject. As we said in our previous article, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with dutching, but you need to understand that increasing your ‘coverage’ does not, necessarily, increase your profits.

Proponents of dutching argue, justifiably, that the proportion of horse races in which they can identify just one runner with an outstanding winning chance is relatively small, so backing more than one runner allows them to become involved in more races. However, coverage alone is not a basis for a profitable betting strategy. Dutching, by definition, greatly reduces the overall odds on offer so, even if you increase your strike rate, you could still end up losing money if your selections aren’t good value in the first place.

Horse races with a single, outstanding selection are relatively few.

Dutching may or may not produce fewer losing bets than backing single selections but, provided your selection process is sound, should produce few losing races overall. Long losing runs can be damaging, psychologically, even for the experienced punter, not to mention their effect on the betting bank so, depending on your attitude to risk, dutching may appeal to you. If it does, you may be lulled into a false sense of security, but remember that dutching comes with no guarantees and can quickly consume your betting bank if you bet indiscriminately.

One situation in which dutching may be a safer approach than backing a single selection is in a race in which you can identify two runners with an equally strong winning chance, or one with a strong winning chance and another that appears to be the only conceivable danger. In this case, dutching the two runners (or, at least, backing one and having a ‘saver’ on the other) can save you from the ignominy of being on the ‘wrong’ one.

Mathematically, and logically, it makes no sense to back an even money favourite to the same stake as, say, a 3/1 chance and a 5/1 chance in the same race. Instead, vary your stake according to the percentage chance of each horse winning the race. To work out the percentage chance of each horse, divide 1 by its decimal odds and multiply by 100. For our hypothetical even money, 3/1 and 5/1 chances, the percentage chances are 1/2 x 100 = 50%, 1/4 x 100 = 25% and 1/6 x 100 = 16.67% respectively, so instead of placing 1 point level stakes on each, place proportional stakes of 1.64 points, 0.82 points and 0.54 points to provide almost the same return whichever one of them, if any, wins.

If you need help with your dutching calculations, Oddschecker offers an online dutching calculator, which you can find here.

We hope you enjoyed ‘The Minimalist Guide to Dutching’ and we will be back soon with another advanced betting guide.

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