What Are Forecasts?

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Primarily associated with racing, “Forecast” refers to a class of bets made on a single event, in which the bettor attempts to predict (forecast) the correct finishing order of two or more entries. Among the various types of Forecasts available at most tracks are Straight Forecasts, Tricasts and others, as defined below.

A basic Forecast requires wagering of only one unit, typically no more than £2 at most U.K. racecourses or $2 in North America. It is possible to wager on multiple forecasts in a single race, creating “Reverse Forecasts” or “Combination Forecasts,” although these usually require stakes of multiple units.

The returns on correctly predicted finishing orders are calculated by official industry sources using computer software that takes into account the starting prices of all participants in the event, the number of runners and other factors. Payouts are announced as the return per unit wagered.

For Tote or Pool betting, the Forecast dividend depends on how much was wagered into the pool and how many bettors held the winning forecast. Fewer winners mean a larger dividend paid. Following are the most common forms of Forecasts:

Straight Forecast – In horse or greyhound racing, a bet on two selections (A & B) in a single event that yields a return if they finish first and second in the exact order indicated (e.g., AB if A wins and B is runner-up); also known as a “Perfecta” or “Exacta” in the United States or the “Exactor” in Canada. The term “computer straight forecast” (CSF) is sometimes used in conjunction with this bet, too. A Straight Forecast wager requires a bet of a single unit, typically £2 at racecourses in the U.K.

Reverse Forecast – In horse and greyhound racing, a combination of two Straight Forecast bets, allowing for a return if both selections (A & B) finish first and second in either order—AB or BA; also known as “Reverse Action,” “Reversed Forecast,” “Boxed Exacta,” or “Boxed Perfecta.” It requires two units to be staked. Where available, the “Quinella” replaces this type of bet—a single unit bet on two selections in a single event that yields a return as long as they finish in the first two places in any order.

Combination Forecast – In horse and greyhound racing, this is most commonly made up of bets on three selections (A, B & C), including six Straight Forecast wagers—AB, BA, AC, CA, BC and CB. If any two of the three selections come in first and second in any order, a return will be received. Combination Forecasts may also be placed on more than three selections, in which case the number of wagers required (w) is expressed by the equation w = n(n-1) where “n” is the number of selections. Another way to think of the Combination Forecasts is as “all possible forecasts in all possible orders.”

Tricast – In horse and greyhound racing, a bet on three selections in a single event that yields a return if they finish first, second and third in the exact order indicated; also known as a “Trifecta” in the United States, “Triactor” in Canada or “Tiercé” in France. This wager requires a stake of one unit. Most horse racing courses in the U.K. require that at least six of eight declared starters must actually run in a race for the Tricast to be valid. In dog racing, the requirement may be reduced to five runners.

Combination Tricast – In horse and greyhound racing, this is most commonly made up of bets on three selections (A, B & C), including six Tricast wagers—ABC, ACB, BAC, BCA, CAB and CBA. If the three selections come in first, second and third in any order, a return will be received. In North America, the phrase “Boxed Trifecta” is used. Combination Tricasts may also be placed on more than three selections, in which case the number of wagers required (w) is expressed by the equation w = n(n-1)(n-2) where “n” is the number of selections.

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