For those with a bent for betting, a decision on “playing the ponies” may at times come down to this: Do you go for broke with a “win” bet, or do you lower your risk by wagering on a horse possibly coming in second or third with a “place” or “show” bet?

In the unconventional energy sector, the near-consensus “win” bet has been placed on the Permian Basin, while the Scoop/Stack is deemed by many to deserve a bet to at least “place.” And if we were all soothsayers, we might even try wagering via a “trifecta,” a bet that requires not only picking the top three finishers correctly, but also getting their order across the finish line right.

Investors looking to spread their bets may want to consider the increasingly attractive outlook offered by the Niobrara/Codell producers in Wattenberg Field of the Denver-Julesburg (D-J) Basin. Historically overlooked due to the small number of public players, the play has recently garnered increased investor interest. Factors include an initial public offering that added a new public E&P; acreage acquisitions or swaps that have given producers more scope to drill wells with longer laterals; and anti-fracking initiatives that failed to qualify for the November ballot in Colorado.

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