Betting on the races is among the oldest forms of gambling, and the events themselves are filled with tradition, history and fun. It’s always a great day out and there’s a lot to be said for standing and watching the horse you backed come in, but in terms of placing actual punts you’re often better off doing so online.
If you bet using your desktop or mobile device, you simply have more options and opportunities. You can check out what the current odds are and choose the best ones, do as much research and fact-checking as you like, and bet on more events in different ways. Horse racing betting is universally appealing and thanks to the Internet, you can wager on local and international races at your leisure.
However you prefer to bet there are some essential things to remember. These tips will get you off on the right foot, and you can keep on developing your insight and skills from there, as you bet more often.
Types of Horse Racing Bets
There are 2 main types of bets that you can place on horse races: totes or fixed odds. Totes, also called pari mutuel or pool bets, are made up of all the bets that have been put down by the time the race’s starting gun is fired. The winnings are divided based on the final odds, which change continuously since the pool determines them.
Fixed-odds bets set the odds as soon as betting is open and they don’t change. Their margins favour the bookmakers more than totes do, but they’re a good idea if you think the current odds on the horse are too favourable and that the potential payout in a tote will drop dramatically – they allow you to lock your price.
Within totes and fixed odds bets are several simple and exotic bets that you’ll discover and understand as you go along. The best thing to do is start with simple wagers and progress from there, and the easiest are outlined here:
- Wins and Places: You specify which horse will win, and which will place second and third. An Each Way bet combines them, so that you bet on the first 3 spots of a race.
- Exacta: Name the first and second place holders
- Trifecta: Pick the first three winning spots
Setting a Strategy
Horse racing betting is not an exact science, and that’s what makes wagering so exciting. Setting a strategy per race can be difficult, but many experienced bettors make use of positive or negative progression strategies, and base their following bets on how much they have won or lost.
What many bettors do before placing a bet is gather as much information about the horse, jockey and trainer as possible and find out how they have performed in previous races of the same length, on similar tracks.
You should also check injury reports, recent past performance, performance on the specific track and predicted weather conditions, and the odds that the riding teams are being given. Read as many expert opinions as you can too, and then, and only then, listen to tips that you acquire from trusted and reliable sources. They can be invaluable, but you need to proceed with caution.