Horse Racing

Winning a Horse BetA lot of people stay away from horse betting because they find it too confusing. This doesn’t need to be the case. Yes, the odds of any one bet are constantly changing up until the gates open, but you don’t need to let this scare you away from betting on the horses. With a little knowledge, you can tackle the races more effectively. The first place you will want to start is with the win bet. This is the most common bet, and it is the most beatable since it is the only payout information that you will be given before the race goes off.

First, you need to have an understanding of the odds. Horse racing is based on a pari-mutuel system, so the odds will constantly be changing until finalized. So a horse with 3-1 odds 15 minutes before post time might actually go off at 8-1 odds if it isn’t receiving a lot of action. Whether or not this is a good choice for you to take advantage of should be determined on a case by case basis.

To make money consistently playing the horses, you need to be searching for overlays. This means that you want to bet on a horse that has posted odds more favorable to you than the horse’s true odds of winning. Suppose you are looking at a horse that you think has a 20 percent chance of winning. If the pari-mutuel odds were accurate, this horse would be at 4-1. But this is hardly ever the case. The horse could see a lot of action and be at 2-1, or it could be neglected and go off at 12-1. The 12-1 example would be a good bet to make—assuming your handicapping was accurate—since this will give you a profit over a large sampling of bets. On the other hand, the 2-1 payouts—even if your handicapping was correct—will lose you money over the long run.

The Win/Place/Show bets are only a very small piece of the puzzle. Yes, spotting overlays with win bets is going to be a reliable source of money for the skilled handicapper, but the big money is in the exotic bets. The exacta, trifecta, and superfecta are single race bets that involve predicting the order of finish for more than one horse. The exacta deals with two horses, the trifecta three, and the superfecta four. The more horses involved in the bet, the higher the payout will be for winning wagers. The more horses involved, however, the harder the bet will be to win. A very skilled handicapper can go days without hitting an exacta or weeks without hitting a worthwhile trifecta. But when they do guess correctly, they will be rewarded with a large payout.
A Look at some Exotic Bets
There are also multi-race bets, too. The double predicts the winner of two consecutive races. There are also Pick-3, Pick-4, and Pick-6 wagers. These are where you are trying to pick the winner of the appropriately title number of races.

You might think that a Pick-3 would be easier to hit than a trifecta, but this isn’t always the case. Even the very best handicappers cannot consistently predict the winner of three races in a row, and there are usually many more combinations of what can conceivably happen when there are large races involved. A 10 horse field has 720 combinations of how the top three horses can finish, but three 9 horse fields have 729 potential combinations.

The most difficult part about the multi-race and multi-horse bets is that you don’t know the true odds of what your payout will be. The 2007 Belmont Stakes had a field of 7 horses, so there were 210 combinations that the top 3 finishers could possibly be. However, a winning $1 trifecta bet only returned $65.75—not the $211 (210-1) that would be expected mathematically if the payouts were based on the pure statistics. This is a tough situation, and a big payout like this bet would probably be appreciated, but it wasn’t as big as you would have needed to be successful here long term.

Horse racing is fun, mainly because if you have the right set of skills, you can make a lot of money. However, even the most skilled bettor has bad days, so it only makes sense to start small and focus your energies on the types of bets that will pay you the most. This will inevitably decrease the amount of winning days you have, but if you can successfully predict where the overlays exist for the exotic bets, you will find that when you do make money, you are winning much bigger than you might have thought.