Types of Horse Racing Bets
When betting on horses, there are a few common terms that you will need to be familiar with before you put down your first bet, particularly when it comes to the bets themselves. Here they are:
- Win: Betting on a horse to win means that your horse must come in first place in order for you to win the bet and collect the payout.
- Place: A place bet requires your chosen horse to finish in either first or second position.
- Show: A show bet is similar to a place bet, except your chosen horse must come in first, second, or third place in order for you to collect your payout. As long as they make the winner’s circle (top 3), you get paid.
- Exacta: An exacta bet is when you wager on two horses to finish in first and second place in the exact order.
- Quinella: A quinella bet is when you wager on two horses to finish in first and second place, but it doesn’t matter which order they come in.
- Trifecta: A trifecta bet is when you wager on three horses to finish in first, second, and third place in the exact order.
- Superfecta: A superfecta bet is when you wager on four horses to finish in first, second, third, and fourth place in the exact order.
- Daily Double: One of the most popular bets in horse-betting, the Daily Double requires bettors to correctly predict the winner of back-to-back races. If you can do that, you’ll be in for a big payday!
Horse Betting Explained – Odds
Odds are one of the most important factors to consider when betting on horses. Horse betting odds represent the likelihood that a certain horse will win or cash the race. As with nearly every other form of betting, the odds you receive (or don’t receive) can make or break whether a particular bet will be profitable in the long-term, often regardless of who the horse or jockey is.
Horse Betting Odds Format
There are two types of odds formats: fractional and decimal. Fractional odds are most commonly used in the United Kingdom and USA, and decimal odds are most commonly used in Australia and Canada. However, both formats represent the same thing – the potential payout if you were to bet on a particular horse.
For example, fractional odds of 4/1 would mean that if you bet $1 on that horse, you would receive $4 back plus your original stake ($5 total), for a total return of $9. Decimal odds of 5.0 would mean that if you bet $1 on that horse, you would receive $5 back plus your original stake ($6 total), for a total return of $11.
Horse Betting Odds Movement
Just like stocks and other forms of sports betting, the odds on any given horse will move up and down as money is wagered leading up to the race. As a general rule, the later you place your bet, the less favorable the odds will be (as the NFL betting adage goes, a Sunday morning bet is a bad bet). For example, if a horse is at 4/1 odds when you first see it but quickly drops down to 2/1 by the time you’re ready to place your bet, that would be considered bad value.
It’s important to keep an eye on how the odds are moving in order to get the best value on your bets. Bettors who wait until the last minute to place their bets almost always end up with unfavorable odds.
Horse Racing Betting Strategy
Do Your Research
Track Horse Racing Daily Schedules
Advanced Horse Racing Betting Strategy
Bet 'Win' Only
Add Exactas for Increased Payouts
Parlay Your Knowledge in The Daily Double
Track Your Distance
One elite horse racing betting strategy that many punters fail to consider is how far a horse has traveled to get to a race. But before you assume a long trip is a negative, consider just how expensive it is to transport a horse—and its entire team—a significant distance, and then ask yourself why an owner would elect to do that unless they strongly believed in the horse’s chances of succeeding.
Pairing that with positive betting-line movement for that particular horse in the days leading up to the race could indicate “smart money” piling in on a favorable situation.
Where to Bet on Horse Racing
Horse Race Betting Sites
If live tracks aren’t an option, don’t worry—there are still plenty of ways to bet on horse racing online. The best sites will offer not only a comprehensive list of races from around the world, but also in-depth data and analysis to help you make informed decisions. In addition, many of these same sites offer generous sign-up bonuses, free bets, and other promotions that can sweeten the pot and increase your chances of turning a profit.
Additionally, an increasing number of tracks now offer live streaming video of their races directly from their websites. Some bookmakers even offer live audio commentary of races, so you can still get that real track feeling even if you’re not physically there.
Placing Your First Online Horse Racing Bet
Now that you know where to bet on horse racing, and how to get the most out of your bets, it’s time to learn how to actually place a bet. The process itself is quite simple and can be broken down into five easy steps:
- Select Your Preferred Online Horse Betting Website
The first step is to select from among the many betting sites horse racing enthusiasts have access to. This can be any of the major players mentioned above or from any local sites you prefer. When trying to choose between the best online horse betting sites, make sure to look for and take advantage of any available deposit bonuses.
- Decide Which Race You Want to Bet On
The next step is to decide which race you want to bet on. This can be anything from a major race like the Kentucky Derby or the Grand National, to a smaller race at your local track.
- Select Your Horse(s)
Once you’ve chosen a race, you need to select the horse(s) that you want to bet on. This can be done by browsing through the list of runners, or by using the handy search function to quickly find the horse you’re looking for.
- Choose Your Bet Type
Next, you need to choose the type of bet that you want to make. This can be anything from a simple win or place bet, to an exotic bet like the trifecta or the exacta.
- Enter Your Details and Place Your Bet
Finally, you need to enter your details (including your betting stake) and hit the “place bet” button to finalize your wager.
Note also that if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into real money wagering yet, many sites offer free horse racing betting games you can practice your skills on.
And that’s it. You are now ready to start betting on horse racing online!
Giddy up and best of luck at the tracks!
Horse Racing Betting Guide FAQ's
5 to 2 odds means that a bettor will win $5 for every $2 they wager on a particular horse if that horse wins the race. These odds are also expressed as “5/2” or “5:2”.
To calculate the potential payout for a 5 to 2 bet, you would simply multiply your wager amount by the odds ratio. For example, if you bet $10 on a horse with 5 to 2 odds and that horse wins the race, your payout would be $25 ($10 x 2.5).
Odds in horse racing reflect the probability of a horse winning a race. If a horse has lower odds, it is considered more likely to win the race, while a horse with higher odds is considered less likely to win. However, it’s worth noting that odds can change based on how much money is bet on a particular horse, so it’s important to monitor the odds leading up to the race.
There is no one “most profitable” bet in horse racing, as the potential profitability of a bet depends on a variety of factors, including the odds, the size of the field, the skill level of the horses and jockeys involved, and other variables. That being said, some horse racing bettors may consider certain types of bets to be more profitable than others, based on their own preferences and experience.
Exotic bets, which involve selecting the outcome of multiple races or the placement of multiple horses within a single race, generally offer higher payouts but are more difficult to win. Some examples of exotic bets include the Pick 6, Pick 5, and Super High 5, which require bettors to select the winners or place finishers of multiple races.
On the other hand, simpler bets such as Win, Place, and Show bets may offer lower payouts but are considered to be easier to win, particularly for beginners. These bets involve selecting a single horse to either win the race (Win), finish in the top two positions (Place), or finish in the top three positions (Show).
Ultimately, the most profitable bet in horse racing will depend on a variety of factors, including the bettor’s experience, skill level, and betting strategy, as well as the specific horses, races, and odds involved. It’s important to remember that there is no surefire way to consistently win at horse racing betting, and that responsible gambling and bankroll management are key to enjoying the sport while minimizing risk.
It’s important to note that in horse racing, the outcome of each race is determined by a number of factors, including the horses’ training, jockey, track conditions, and other variables, making it difficult to predict a winning number with certainty.
That being said, each horse in a race is assigned a number, known as a “post position” or “draw,” which is randomly determined before the race. There is no inherent advantage to any particular post position, as each race and track is different. However, some bettors believe that certain post positions may be more favorable for certain types of horses or for certain track conditions.
Ultimately, the outcome of a horse race is determined by a combination of factors, and no number or post position is guaranteed to win. It’s important to do your research and consider all the variables before placing a bet on a horse race.
Picking a winning horse involves a combination of careful research, analysis, and some element of luck. Here are some tips that may help increase your chances of picking a winning horse:
- Study the form: Horse racing form guides provide information on each horse’s recent performances, including their finishing position, the distance of the race, and the conditions of the track. Analyzing the form can help you identify horses that are in good form and may be more likely to win.
- Consider the jockey: The jockey can play a significant role in a horse’s performance, so it’s worth researching the jockey’s track record and experience.
- Check the track conditions: The condition of the track can have a big impact on a horse’s performance. Some horses may perform better on firm ground, while others may prefer softer conditions.
- Look at the horse’s pedigree: A horse’s pedigree can provide clues as to their potential performance, as certain bloodlines may be associated with certain strengths or weaknesses.
- Consider the odds: The odds offered by bookmakers can provide an indication of the horse’s chances of winning. However, it’s worth noting that the odds can change as more people place bets, so it’s important to keep an eye on them.
- Watch the horse before the race: Observing the horse before the race can give you an idea of their temperament and fitness, as well as any signs of injury or discomfort.
Remember, there is always an element of luck involved in horse racing, and even the most carefully researched bets can sometimes lose. It’s important to bet responsibly and within your means.
Horse racing is legal in many states in the United States, although the specific laws and regulations governing horse racing vary from state to state. As of my knowledge cutoff date of September 2021, here is a list of states where horse racing is legal:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
It’s worth noting that the specific types of horse racing and betting that are legal may vary by state. Additionally, some states may have restrictions on where and when horse racing can take place, as well as requirements for licensing and regulation of racetracks and other entities involved in horse racing.
A Super High 5 (also known as a Pentafecta) is a type of exotic bet in horse racing where bettors must correctly predict the first five finishers of a race in the exact order. It is a difficult bet to win but can result in large payouts if successful.
To place a Super High 5 bet, bettors must select the first five finishers of a race in the exact order. For example, if a bettor selects horses A, B, C, D, and E to finish first through fifth in that exact order, they would win the Super High 5 bet if those horses finished in that exact order. If any of the horses finished in a different position or if a different horse finished in one of the top five positions, the bet would be a loss.
The Super High 5 bet is typically offered on the last race of the day at a racetrack, and the minimum bet amount can vary depending on the track and the specific race. The payout for a successful Super High 5 bet can be quite substantial, as it requires correctly predicting the first five finishers in the exact order. However, because it is a difficult bet to win, it is important to bet responsibly and within your means.
A 5 horse bet can be referred to as a Pick 5 bet or a Superfecta box bet, depending on the type of bet being placed.
- Pick 5 bet: In a Pick 5 bet, the bettor must correctly pick the winners of five consecutive races. Each race in the sequence must have a designated winner, and the bettor must select the winner of each race correctly in order to win the bet.
- Superfecta box bet: A Superfecta box bet involves selecting four horses to finish in the top four positions in a single race, in any order. This type of bet covers all possible combinations of the four selected horses, which makes it easier to win than a Superfecta bet, but the payout is also lower.
It’s worth noting that there are many other types of bets that can be placed on horse racing, each with its own rules and payout structure. The type of bet you choose will depend on your preferences, experience, and betting strategy.
Editor-in-Chief of the Big Blind, a prominent gambling industry publication, brings 30+ years of journalism experience to his role. His vision emphasizes clarity, accessibility, and responsible journalism, making the Big Blind a trusted source in the online gambling sector.