Andrew Wilson |  Thu 03/05/2018 - 21:51 EDT

Kentucky Derby 2018 Preview and Predictions

Kentucky Derby 2018 Preview and Predictions
The Kentucky Derby starts this weekend at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Friday sees the running of the Kentucky Oaks on Friday night at 7:00 PM EST, followed by the Kentucky Derby on Saturday at 6:00 PM EST. Sometimes dubbed “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” the event kicks off summer and the race for the Triple-Crown. Here are our betting predictions for the races this weekend with odds from top-rated Canadian sportsbooks.

Kentucky Derby Preview and Predictions

Considered the largest and most prestigious horse racing event in North America, the best Canadian sportsbooks are offering competitive odds and lines on the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks. The Kentucky Oaks is headlined by two heavy favourites, while the Kentucky Derby looks more open than in previous years.

2018 Kentucky Oaks Winner

The biggest lead-up race to the Kentucky Derby is the Kentucky Oaks on Friday night. Featuring 14 three-year-old fillies, this year’s race is headlined by two heavy favourites, Midnight Bisou and Monomoy Girl. Before predictions on this year’s winner and best winners, let’s recap the odds and winners from the last few Kentucky Oaks races.

Last year’s race featured a much broader playing field, with no horse entering the race with odds better than +500 to win. The winner last year, Abel Tasman opened at +500, but the odds settled at +1100 prior to the race. In the 2016 winner, Cathyrn Sophia opened at +450 and moved to +700 before the start. Cathryn Sophia tied for fourth in the odds pre-race. Lovely Maria won the 2015 running of the race at +500 (which ranked as the fourth best odds to win).

Unlike the last few running of the Kentucky Oaks, the outright winner odds between the top-two horses and the rest of the field is quite staggering. 

Kentucky Oaks Odds

Sports Interaction has Midnight Bisou and Monomoy Girl as 1 and 1a to win the Oaks outright in 2018. While Monomoy Girl has more significant victories in her career, Midnight Bisou is riding a three-race winning streak entering Friday’s race.

Experts have not come to a majority on which horse will win the race. There is, however, a fairly significant difference between Midnight Bisou and Monomoy Girl. Midnight Bisou is almost unanimously expected to place in the top-three. Monomoy Girl is either expected to win or slip up and finish outside the top three (and sometimes outside the top-five). Considering that Midnight Bisou is the best choice to win. However, it is not the best wager to place on the race.

The best wager is for Eskimo Kisses to show. Despite sitting in the middle of the odds to win the race, no horse outside of the top-two is getting as much love from the experts entering Friday. In fact, some even have Eskimo Kisses outright winning the race. While picking her to win outright remains a bit risky, betting her to show at +260 is the best wager.

Pick: Eskimo Kisses to Come in First 3 (+260) at Sports Interaction 

2018 Kentucky Derby Winner

The history of favourites winning the Kentucky Derby is quite strong. The last five running of the Kentucky Derby has been won by the favourite. (See below a list of the previous five Kentucky Derby winners and their odds of winning the race).   

  • Always Dreaming – 2017 – Odds to win +450 (tied for best odds with Irish War Cry)
  • Nyquist – 2016 – Odds to win +350
  • American Pharoah – 2015 – Odds to win +200
  • California Chrome – 2014 – Odds to win +200
  • Orb – 2013 – Odds to win +350

This year’s favourite, Justify, is not getting the same love from experts as other favourites have in previous years. While most have Justify showing at the Derby, he is far from a consensus winner. The problem is wagering Justify will show payouts at only -144. 

Most agree this is one of the deepest fields at the Kentucky Derby in the last decade-plus. Because of the depth, there is a good chance an underdog (or any horse not named Justify) wins the race.

Kentucky Derby Odds

While not a substantial underdog, the horse getting the most love in the lead up to the race is Good Magic. With some good races in his career, trainer Chad Brown is confident he has the horse that can win him the Derby. Chad Brown is an experienced trainer, entering his fourth Kentucky Derby. His best finish was in 2013 when his horse, Normandy Invasion, took a strong start into the stretch before settling for fourth place overall.

Good Magic is also the reigning Juvenile Champion, a privilege he shares with Nyquist and American Pharoh. Taking him to show payouts out at +180. However, Good Magic is strong enough, and with the prestige, he shares with two recent winners, wagering on him to win the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby is the best bet of the weekend.

Pick: Good Magic to Win Kentucky Derby (+900) at Sports Interaction

Category : Sports

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