A Beginner’s Guide to Horse Racing Betting


Despite the popularity of team sports, horse racing is still one of the top spectator sports in Great Britain. Horse racing has a long and rich history that dates back centuries, and horse racing betting is almost as old as the sport itself. Although not as popular as UK casino sites, many people still bet on the races and enjoy the excitement of it all.

If you’re new to the sport, it’s crucial to understand how betting works.

Understanding the Odds

One of the first and most important things you need to understand is the odds. As you may have guessed, the odds are the horse’s chances of winning. Horses with shorter odds are more favoured and projected to win. Conversely, horses with longer odds are less favoured and not expected to win.

The longer the odds, the higher the payout.

The odds also tell you how much you can expect to take home if your horse wins. For example, odds of 4-1 would mean that for every £1 you bet, you receive £4 in return plus your original stake. Let’s say that you bet £20 on this horse and won. You would receive £100 (4 x £20 + your original stake of £20).

Pari-Mutuel Pool Betting

Pari-mutuel pool betting is a common method of settling bets in horse racing. All bets on a race are pooled together. The greater the number of bets, the bigger the pool. Winners share the pool.

Rather than betting against the bookie, you’re betting against other bettors. Instead of fixed odds, you’ll see probable odds when placing your bet.

At the end of a race, the house will take its percentage of the bets, and the remainder will be divided between bettors with winning wagers. Payouts are based on the amount wagered.

Although more complicated than traditional odds, pari-mutuel pool betting continues to be a popular method for betting on horse races.

Early Prices, Starting Prices and Best Odds Guarantee

When betting on a race, it’s important to understand early prices and starting prices because they directly affect your winnings.

Let’s say that a race is due to start in the afternoon. In the morning, the odds are 10/1, so you decide to bet £20. If your horse wins, you’ll be owed £220 (10 X £20 + your original stake of £20). The 10/1 odds are the early price.

Now, let’s say that at the start of the race, the odds shift to 15/1. This is known as the starting price. The starting price is the final price offered before the race gets underway. Because you placed your bet early, you miss out on the higher payout.

A Best Odds Guarantee helps you avoid this type of scenario by ensuring you get the best price. Bookies often offer a Best Odds Guarantee to lure bettors away from competitors. Essentially, the offer guarantees that even if you bet early, you still get the best price. So, in the above example, you would not miss out on the higher payout.

Horse Race Betting Tips and Strategies

Horse race betting is 90% luck and 10% common sense. While you can’t do much to change the course of the race, there are some strategies and tips you can use to help you avoid major losses.

Know Your Horse and its People

You can just choose a horse at random or based on the odds, but it’s better to study the horse and look at its past performances. Check out the horse’s stats, watch previous races and just get a feel for how the horse performs. Doing a little bit of research can help you better determine whether a horse is a good bet.

While you’re doing your research, check out the people behind the horse as well. Jockeys and trainers have a direct effect on a horse’s performance. If a horse isn’t favoured but has a world-class jockey, it may be a good bet.

Don’t Bet on the Favoured Horse

Favoured horses win about a third of the time and they offer the lowest payout. Do your homework and choose a horse with better odds.

Compare Odds

Speaking of odds, many bettors forget that they can shop around before placing a bet. Check out other bookies to see what they’re offering on your favoured horse.

Control Your Bankroll

Like with any gambling venture, it’s important to manage your bankroll carefully. Don’t risk too much. Don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose. Hedge your bets whenever possible.

Horse racing betting can be fun and exciting, but it’s important to understand the rules and how it works. Using smart bet strategies can also help minimize your losses when betting on races. Shopping the odds and doing your homework can help you make smart decisions when placing bets.


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