When Betting Don’t Pass, Is There Ever a Time When It’s Smarter Not to Lay the Odds?

Craps players who bet don’t pass face a slightly lower edge that pass players, 1.36 percent vs. 1.41 percent. And just as pass players can reduce the edge by reserving a portion of their bets for free odds, don’t pass players reduce the house edge by laying the odds.

Once a point is established, the don’t pass player makes an additional bet at true odds. If the point is 6, for instance, laying the odds for $6 will win $5 if the shooter rolls a 7 before the next 6. Since the odds against rolling a 6 first are 6-5, those payoff gives no edge to the house.

A reader asked me if there was ever a time it’s in the don’t pass bettor’s favor to skip laying the odds. He’d heard that 6 and 8 were shooters’ numbers, and that he should conserve bankroll on those points.

The 6 and 8 are the most commonly rolled numbers other than 7, but there still are more ways to make a 7 than there are 6 and 8. If you’re on the don’t and the shooter establishes a 6 or 8 as the point, you have six ways to win — the six ways to make 7 — and only 5 ways to lose.

Once a point is established, the don’t bettor is always the favorite to win the bet. You’re a bigger favorite if the point is 5 or 9, and an even bigger favorite if the point is 4 or 10, but I wouldn’t call any number a “shooter’s number.”

When I play the don’t, I keep my initial bet at house minimum. That minimizes losses on the comeout, where the don’t bettor is the underdog. Then I lay the odds, no matter what the point.

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