Horseplayers and their fans have until Friday morning to place their bets on who will win the 18th Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) Presented by Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas. The NHC Future Wager, available in the Treasure Island Race & Sports Book, offers odds on 363 individual players and a “Field” encompassing about 190 other players that qualified for the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping contest after Oct. 31.
Not surprisingly, the Field opened as a heavy 7-2 favorite. Handicapping contest veteran Dave Gutfreund – the NHC’s all-time leading money earner still known to many by his old nickname “The Maven” – is the current favorite among individual horseplayers at 40-1.
Defending NHC winner Paul Matties and 2015 NHC Tour winner Jonathon Kinchen were the opening co-favorites at 50-1.
Matties closed at 50-1 last year, returning $102 on a $2 wager. Matties cashed a $100 wager on himself, earning $5,000 on top of his $800,000 first-place prize.
Several veteran players with the maximum two entries opened at 75-1. Others with two entries opened at 150-1, while the remaining individual interests with one entry opened at 200-1.
“The NHC Future Wager is believed to be the only legal betting on horseplayers offered anywhere in the world,” said NTRA Chief Operating Officer Keith Chamblin. “We salute Treasure Island for once again making this wager available to its customers and for helping us place a spotlight on the horseplayers whose wagering dollars fuel every aspect of our sport and business.”
The NHC Future Wager will close Friday, Jan. 27, the opening day of NHC 18, at 9 a.m. PST. NHC 18 will be contested over three days, Jan. 27-29, at Treasure Island.
In its 18th year, the NHC is the most important tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping websites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. There are no bye-ins to the NHC. Each year, the NHC winner joins other human and equine champions as an honoree at the Eclipse Awards. In addition to the founding title sponsor, Daily Racing Form, the NHC is presented by Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas.