Many people see horse racing as a sport for the experienced bettor, where only those with high-end knowledge will profit. Let us tell you now that this is not true. You only need the basics to get a good enough understanding of how to bet on horse racing and start placing bets on the horses. It's true that there is a mountain of betting statistics to read through. But you can jump into all that once you secure the basics surrounding racing odds and the common racing bets. So, how to bet on horses online? Let's dive into GoodLuckMate's guide on horse betting for beginners.
When you're learning how to bet on horse races, one of the first things you need to discover is the different types of races. Each kind of race comes with its own set of rules, distances, and conditions. However, there's no need to stress, as the betting terms and types of wagers generally stay the same. So, what are the main types of horse races?
First, we have flat races, the most common type of horse racing. In this type of horse race, horses run on a flat surface, typically over distances of 1 mile or less. The horses are ridden by a jockey, while the track itself can be synthetic, turf, or flat dirt. Flat racing can be further classified into categories based on the age and gender of the horses, such as maidens, allowances, and stakes races.
Next up is harness racing, where horses pull a two-wheeled cart called a sulky while the jockey sits in the sulky behind the horse. The horses themselves must stay at a trotting pace, so you should look for those specialized in this type of racing. Harness racing takes place on a flat track and is more commonly associated with Standardbred horses.
Lastly, we have steeple chasing, which involves horses running over obstacles such as hurdles and fences. Young female horses, also known as fillies, usually have the advantage in this type of horse race. The reason behind this is simple – it's easier for them to move past the obstacles.
For many beginners in horse betting, the many terms and jargon used in the industry can be overwhelming. Understanding the language of horse betting is crucial to making informed decisions and increasing your chances of winning. So, let's break down some of the most common horse racing terms.
Understanding how to read horse racing odds is essential if you want to start finding value for your money. Horse racing betting markets are displayed in fractional odds as standard. This has always been the way, and while it may look confusing to those new to sports betting, it is relatively straightforward. Lucky for you, GoodLuckMate's here with some horse racing 101.
So, how do odds work in horse racing? Let's start with a simple example of 2/1 odds. This means that if you bet on one unit, you will profit from two units if the horse wins. So, if you bet €10 at 2/1 odds, you would make €20 in profit plus your €10 bet back. The right number is your bet amount, and the left number determines your profit.
Not all horse racing odds are displayed as "a number" to one. Another example would be 5/2 odds, and although this looks a bit more complicated, it is still easy enough to work out. Let's use a convenient amount to make things simple and say that you bet €20 on a horse to win at 5/2 odds. This means you would get €50 back in profit. You can also add on your €20 bet amount, and so this means you end up with €70 in total. In other words, 5/2 odds means you'll gain €5 for every €2 that you bet.
So, what about the horses that are clear favorites? This is known as being "odds on," and the outcome is that you will make a profit that is less than your original bet amount. Let's take a favorite horse with 1/5 odds of winning. It means you would win €1 from every €5 you bet on horses online.
So, if you bet €5 on the favorite at these odds, then you would make a profit of €1 and a total return of €6 (your €5 bet amount returned). These are not exactly attractive winnings, are they? You would have to bet €50 to make a clean €10 profit, but it's more likely that you will win because the horse is odds-on and a clear favorite.
You've got the basics down on how to read horse racing odds and calculate your winnings, so let's now look at the popular bet types. The one go-to bet is to back the winner of the race. This is by far the most common bet placed by casual bettors and many experienced horse racing fans, too. Hence, many might even consider it the best way to bet on horse races. You will notice that the odds for a single bet like this are often much bigger than those of a football team to win a match, for example. The reason is that horse races usually consist of several horses, and there often are 10+ or 20+ horses in the bigger events. This makes predicting the winner a lot more complicated, so the bigger odds reflect that challenge.
Other popular bets to place in horse racing, such as the each-way bet, give you a little more freedom in where your horse needs to finish. An each-way bet consists of two separate wagers. One for the horse to win and one for the horse to place in a top position. The bookmaker will dictate the exact number of place positions available, but between two and four is the standard. Each-way bets cost you double the bet amount, though. So, you will notice that a €5 bet will cost you €10 in total - €5 for the winning part and €5 for the place position part.
If you start to grasp the winner and each-way bets, then your next step in learning how to bet on horse racing would be the system bets. These include options such as the Double, Treble, Yankee, and Lucky 15 bets. In short, they consist of several bets in one. You pick several selections which cover doubles, triples, and accumulators. For example, the Yankee bet covers 11 bets from four selections. You get six doubles, four trebles, and one four-fold accumulator.
The best part about these system bets in horse racing is that you don't need all your selections to win. You can still win money from a Yankee with only two out of four horses winning. System bets are among the smartest bets in horse racing because a typical meeting consists of several races. You can choose your horses across the day before the first race starts and then sit back and see how your bet unfolds.
Now that we've pretty much gone through horse racing 101, it's time to choose your horse. Now, it's important to note that there's no tried-and-true strategy you can use that guarantees you'll get a winning horse. Put simply, picking a horse for a race is more art than it is science. That being said, there are still a few factors you can keep an eye out for.
Expert opinions – pay attention to the opinions of racing experts, professional handicappers, and even other bettors about the race and the horses. It’s likely that their insight and opinions can be quite helpful when you're choosing your racehorse.
Horse racing may look complicated from the outside, but it's easy to understand once you know how the basics work. So, we hope you now have a good idea of how horse racing odds work and understand that anyone can enjoy betting on the horses. There are many advanced betting ideas to learn and a lot of data up for analysis if you want to dive deeper into the sport. But it's just as easy to casually browse the racing markets and pick out a winner. The choice is yours, but at least you now know that horse racing is not a complicated sport to bet on.