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Horse Racing Betting

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Horse Racing Odds

Horse racing is one of the globally most popular sports to bet on. Every sporting fan has made horse racing picks at one time or another, with races such as the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes attracting bettors to the sport that wouldn’t typically wager on racing.

Horse racing is the only sport in the world that has no off-season, as there is action taking place around the globe every day of the year, excluding Christmas Day. If you are looking to learn more about the markets and how to understand horse racing odds, then you can find out everything you need to know here.

How do Horse Racing Odds Work

The odds are more important for horse racing than any other sport. That is down to horse racing odds regularly changing in the lead up to the big race. Therefore, bettors will need to find the ultimate time to make their wager or risk losing out on losing potential returns when the price changes. Favorites in the respected races around the world will typically have a ‘-‘ next to the number, which means that they are odds on.

American layout odds are the most popular in the U.S. and are relatively straightforward to understand. For example, if you place a bet on a horse to win at odds of +300, then you stand to get $40 in returns from a $10 wager. As well as getting your $10 stake back, you will also get $30 in winnings based on the odds that you have betted on.

However, the American layout of odds isn’t the only way to see the prices. The fractional format is the most popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The same odds mentioned above will be shown as ‘3/1. Meanwhile, decimal horse racing odds today are the most popular in other countries in Europe. The big difference with the latter is that the stake is already shown in the price available, which means +300 in decimal format is shown at ‘4.0’.

How To Read Horse Racing Odds

Reading horse racing odds can be daunting to newcomers. However, it is a relatively straightforward process to get your head around. The shorter the number, the better chance a selection has of winning. For example, if a horse is priced at -125, then they are considered to have a better chance of winning the race that they are running than a horse priced at +300.

The big races can often see horses have more competitive odds, as the favorite could be a +700 chance, while the next two in the market may be +800 and +900, respectively. Horses at prices such as +2500 and bigger are considered to have an unlikely chance, but there could still be value in the selection should their solid course form, or the trainer has recorded a number of winners in recent weeks.

Tips On How To Win With Horse Racing

There is more to making bets on horse racing than just betting on the jockey wearing colors that stand out. Instead, bettors spend hours researching the big races on the calendar, identifying trends and key pieces of form that ensure they stand the best chance of finding the winner. Some of the betting tips you should follow to help find a winner can be found below.

Research Horse Form

The biggest piece of research that must be conducted is reading the form that the horses involved have in the book. Horses with proven records over the course and distance that they are running will stand excellent chances, while wins in prestigious graded races also go a long way to ticking the required boxes.

Trainer/Jockey Form

It isn’t just the horse that needs to be in good form, as jockey and trainer form is also essentially important. The strike rates of jockeys and trainers can easily be found online and should be looked at before making horse racing picks. Trainers in poor form could point towards something amiss in their yard, while jockeys with a poor strike rate may be low in confidence.

Preferred Surface

There are three different types of surfaces that horses race over dirt, turf, and synthetic. Just because a horse has a solid record on the turf or synthetic ground doesn’t mean that they will be able to transfer it onto the dirt. Instead, horses with good records on the surface that they are running on are always preferred.

Track Bias

Every track in the U.S. plays differently, and they all favor different running styles. Some hold speed, which means that early pace setters will have an advantage, while others play to the strengths of closers. Understanding how the track plays is important before betting on meetings across the U.S.

Examine The Draw

Another essential bit of reading when researching a race is the draw. Draws for the big races are made a couple of days before the off, and the pros and cons of each stall should be assessed. For example, those drawn on the rail may be boxed in and struggle to get into the contest, while those with wider draws will need to work harder to stay in contention in the early stages. If you want to learn more about how to bet on horse racing, you can check our section guide. 

Types of Horse-Racing Bets

Straight Bet

Once you have understood how to read the odds, it will be time to examine the available betting markets. The most common way to place a wager on the horse racing odds can be found with the options of straight bets. All of the leading racebooks available online will offer these types of bets. You can find out more about the three different types available before making horse racing picks below.

The win bet type requires the bettor to do precisely what it suggests- pick the winner. When making a bet on this market, the bettor must successfully make their wager on the horse that wins the race that they are betting on. For example, if you place a $10 wager on Life Is Good to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the horse must cross the line first to get the potential returns.

Place betting is a popular alternative for horse racing picks online. The bettor must correctly find a horse that will finish in the first two places in this market. The returns are worked out based on the horse’s starting price and whether the selection finished first or second. This is typically a more popular bet if you’re looking to make a wager on an outsider in the field.

Show betting is very similar to the prior mentioned place betting. However, it offers extra insurance, as a show bet also covers third. As long as your horse finishes in the money, you will receive returns from your selection. Those betting with big European sportsbooks such as Unibet, William Hill, and Bet365 may not see the show market, as the place bet will cover a greater number of places.

Combination Straight Bet

Straight bets don’t have to be standalone selections when making horse racing picks, as bettors can also combine the different types of bets to cover more than one base. Today, we will explain some of the options available when making combination straight bets on the horse racing odds.

If you are looking for some insurance on your bet and want to place the same horse in both the place and show markets, you can. This is called an Across the Board bet, as you cover all three markets on the same race.

However, this will cost considerably more than just a bet on one market, as all three bets will be on single tickets. Therefore, if you wanted to bet $10 across the board, the total stake to cover the Win, Place, and Show markets would be $30.

Bets don’t have to be placed Across the Board either, as the bettor can choose whether they simply just want to bet on specific markets. Therefore, if you’re going to bet on a horse to win or place, you can. Bettors can also place a wager on a selection to place or show. Once again, if you were to place a $10 wager on each market, the bet’s total stake would be $20.

Exotic Bets: Single Race

There are many betting markets available online now, which means there is greater freedom to make selections. Therefore, there is an excellent selection of Exotic bets that can be made on single races, which enables bets to be placed on more than one horse in the race.

These three markets are readily available with the leading racebooks. When making this type of bet, the aim is very straightforward, as the bettor must successfully bet on the horses that will finish exactly first and second. The only way to get returns on this bet is by getting the finishing order correct.

The Quinella bet is very similar to an Exacta box bet. However, the difference is that a Quinella bet consists of one wager instead of two. Therefore, if the bet is a $2 stake, you will have the two horses covered, and they can finish in any order as long as they are first and second. However, the returns on this wager are significantly less than the Exacta box, as the stake is lower.

The Trifecta Exotic bet is very similar to the Exacta. However, in this market, the bettor must successfully predict the horses that finish first, second and third in the correct order. It is one of the most challenging Exotics to get returns on, as the finishing order must be the same as on your ticket.

If you’re feeling brave enough to go one better than the Trifecta, then the Superfecta will see bettors have to predict the first four horses to finish the race in the correct order. Returns from this wager can be huge, given the fact that predicting the first four to finish 1-2-3-4 is a massive challenge that requires a huge amount of research.

Exotic Bets: Multiple Races

It’s unlikely that any horse racing bettor will just want to bet on a single race at a meeting. Therefore, the Exotic multiple bets have become extremely popular with online sportsbooks. You can learn more about some of the Exotic multiple selections to bet on horse racing odds today.

The easiest multiple betting option available online is the double. Here, you will select two horses from two separate races and put them into a single bet. To get the returns, both selections must win their races. It is a popular bet to get value out of two favorites, as the returns will be greater than betting on them individually.

These three types of multiple bets follow along the same lines as the double mentioned above. However, the biggest difference is the number of winners you must correctly predict. In order to get returns on the Pick 3, you must nail three race winners, while you must get four and six winners to get returns on the Pick 4 and Pick six markets, respectively. The highest returns come from the markets when you successfully predict more race winners, as this would be considered more unlikely than predicting two winners.

Exotic Wager Bets: Combination

There are a number of different terms that can also be used to combine horses in Exotic bets, and it is important to understand all of those before making picks on the horse racing odds. Some of which could open up better value in single-race wagers, such as Exactas and Trifectas.

We have already run through the straight bets available. The win, place, and show markets are the most straightforward, as bets will be settled within seconds, and they are the easiest to understand for those that have not previously wagered on racing in the past.

This is an interesting alternative for bettors looking to wager on the Exacta and Trifecta markets. Bets can be placed on the Exacta Box. Here, the two selected horses can finish in any order providing that they are the first two home. The stake on this wager is doubled from the Exacta market.

Meanwhile, the Trifecta Box market ensures that you get returns should your chosen three horses finish in any order in the top three. However, a $2 wager on the Trifecta Box market is a total stake of $12, as it covers a broader number of combination finishes.

This is a popular way of betting on the Exacta market, as you improve your chances of winning. For example, in a certain race, you may have a strong preference for one horse and can’t see it being beaten. You can then Key this horse in an Exacta and place two horses underneath it to finish second. Therefore, as long as the favored horse won and one of the other two selections finished second, you would collect winnings.

The Wheel bet is one of the most enjoyable exotic bets bettors can make on horse racing. There are two types of Wheel bet, with the first of those being the Full Wheel. Here, you will select the preferred selection to win the race in the Exacta market and then hedge your combinations by selecting all remaining horses to finish second. It is a slightly more expensive way to bet, but by covering all angles, you will have a great chance of winning should you find the winner of the race.

The Partial Wheel is slightly different to the Full Wheel, as you will cover a select number of combinations instead of all. Once again, you will select the horse you think will win the race, then combine it with at least three that will finish second in Exacta bets. However, this type of bet does come with the dreaded consequence that one of the horses not selected may finish second.

A reverse bet is very similar to an Exacta Box. However, in this type, you’re putting the two Exactas on in separate bets. For example, if you wanted to put Life Is Good finishing first and Hot Rod Charlie finishing second in one bet, then in the reverse Exacta, you would switch them around and put Hot Rod Charlie to win, and Life Is Good to finish second.

Horse Racing Betting Frequently Asked Questions

The most popular horse races to bet on in the U.S. are the Triple Crown races and the Breeders’ Cup.

All horse racing betting markets are different. Therefore, you should examine all the markets available before making a wager that gives you the best chance of winning returns.

Exacta bets are very popular when betting on horse racing, as bettors will need to correctly predict the horses that finish first and second in the race.

Winning bets on horse racing isn’t as easy as many believe. Bettors will need to spend time looking at the form of the horses involved and the track conditions, which could play a role.

Horse racing betting markets can be found online in the U.S. in the 39 legal states where bets can be made.

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