It can be pretty daunting if you don’t know what you are doing or are trying it out for the first time, whether it be online, at the races or in the shop.
Horse racing betting is notoriously complicated without having some inside knowledge. Even getting to grips with odds and the different bets you can put on send some beginners’ heads into a whirl without even getting into the nitty gritty research or knowledge. That’s why we are here though! This guide aims to make horse racing bets simple so next time you are sticking some money down, you are confident your selection can reap the rewards from the bookies.
In the UK odds for betting are displayed as fractions. This is how you will see the odds being displayed at the bookies wherever you are sticking the money on. Odds as fractions are easy to work out. Let’s say you see a bet at 3/1, this would mean for every pound you put on the bet you will receive 3 pounds back. So for a 10 pound bet you will receive 30 pound in profit back. This works in exactly the same way for short odds and longer odds. For example 4/5 would mean for every 5 pounds you bet you will receive 4 pounds in profit, so you can place a £10 bet and receive £8 in profit. Odds seem confusing to an amateur but once you have the hang of it you’ll realise just how easy it is to work out and with an odds calculator at Timeform and other betting sites they are even easier .
Different bets – what to choose?
Once you have got the odds assessed, you will then face the choice of which kind of bet to put on. This will be dependent on whether you are looking to put on an accumulator (4 or more bets in one to increase odds), a single/double/treble, or more specific bets like a lucky 15 (this is a special bet where the bookies will breakdown your 1 bet into 15 different bets to try and increase your likelihood of winning – can return really big or really small returns usually). You also have the choice between the favourite or the outsider and the choice whether to put an outright winner on or put the bet on each way. Now for a non-gambler that seems like a whole load of jargon but it’s a simple step by step process when it comes down to it.
Firstly you want to choose which horse you plan on putting your bet on. The favourite will have the shortest odds ( e.g. 4/5) and the outsider will have the longest odds (e.g. 80/1), with the rest of the contenders in between. This is a scale of how likely the horse is to win the race. As with everything in sports betting anything can happen and the favourite actually only tends to return results 30% of the time. If your horse says N-R next to it, that means it’s a Non-Runner and you will receive your stake back.
Once you have picked your horse, or horses, you want to choose what sort of bet you want to put on. As you increase the amount of horses you put on you increase the risk of your bet but with that comes better odds and better winnings. After deciding what kind of bet you fancy whether it be a single, treble or 8-fold accumulator you need to choose if you would like to place your bet on outright winners or Each-Way winners. Each way winners gives gamblers the option to double their stake and in return they will receive a percentage of the winnings if their horse places. This means you can stake money for your horse to come 1st, 2nd or 3rd and still get some winnings back. The odds are slashed for this but it can be a useful safer option.
Do your research
Now, it’s all well and good being well versed in how to put on your bet and what you are going to stick on but it’s also important in horse racing, maybe more so than other sports betting, to have done a bit of research behind your choice. Having a read of racecards gives you vital information about the form of the horses, jockey and owner which all have massive bearings, it’s also important to take into consideration the ground (much like tennis, some horses perform better on different ground). If you aren’t keen on researching the racecard and you are watching the horses live or in person, having a look at the riders when they are in the parade ring is also a good indicator. Here you can judge on body language, sheen and how the horses are looking to influence your bet which is another effective way of looking for a winner. If you don’t do your research, you will be relying on luck. And remember, the bookies like their chances when it comes to the luck side of things!
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