Betting on horse racing has a bit of an old-fashioned reputation, and many gamblers today prefer the bright lights and excitement of more modern casino attractions. The truth is, however, that there are more total bets being placed on horse racing today than ever before, at both land based racetracks and sportsbooks as well as online.
There are three basic straight wagers that you can make on a horse race: win, place and show. If you select “win,” you only collect if your horse finishes in first place. If you select “place,” the horse can finish in either first or second. Finally, “show” means that you win if the horse you choose finishes first, second or third.
Each horse in a given race is given particular moneyline odds. If Horse #2 is 10 to 1 to win and you place a $6 bet, you would be paid $60 if it finishes in first place. The minimum bet in horse racing is usually $2, so you’ll sometimes also see an odds chart that lists payouts based on a $2 bet.
You can also choose from a variety of more exotic bets to place on the ponies. With an Exacta bet, you pick the first and second place finishers in exact order. A Quinella bet is the same thing except that the top two horses can finish in either order. Even more difficult to pick is the Trifecta bet, which is a bet on the top three finishers in exact order. If you are feeling extremely lucky, you sometimes will find “Pick 6” or “Pick 9” parlay bets where you select the winners in 6 or 9 different races.
Horse racing in general is a proposition with a very large house edge compared to other sports betting, since the house takes a significant chunk out of the total amount of bets before paying out a penny. The riskier prop bets most often put you at a crippling disadvantage.
Bankroll Suggestions for Horse Racing
Horse racing can be a great way to squeeze a large amount of enjoyment out of a relatively small bankroll, since the races carry a very small minimum bet. It’s extremely difficult to become a consistent winner, however, and if you want to test your success over the long term you must do your homework and carry bring a large bankroll that can absorb some significant losses.
If you want to increase your chances of winning at horse racing betting, you should never bet more than 2% of your total bankroll on an individual race. There is plenty of short term variance and you must be prepared. This means that if you set aside $500 for horse racing betting, you should bet $10 on individual races. Along with this suggestion, however, you need to work extremely hard in order to identify the bets that give you an advantage.
Horse Racing Betting Tips to Grow Your Bankroll
Before you jump into betting on horse races, be warned: it’s incredibly difficult to overcome the huge house advantage that comes with the wagers. The racetrack typically pools together like bets and creates a situation in which players are competing against each other for the money. The odds that you see posted are heavily affected by previous action, and with each bet you make you are changing the paybacks.
The racetrack takes a large commission from these pools before they pay out anything; the lines that you choose from already reflect this. You will often be facing a house advantage of 15-20%.
If you want to give yourself the best chance to succeed, you should study horse races in the same way that an NFL or NBA bettor studies his sport. You must excessively research different breeds, styles, race conditions, past performances and many other particulars. Don’t get suckered in by your favorite number or any other superstitions.
If you have more knowledge than the majority of the other bettors at the racetrack, you will be able to identity lines that give you an “overlay,” meaning that the payout odds of a particular bet don’t accurately reflect the likelihood of that bet winning. A simple example would be if Horse #3 is currently at 10-1 to show but you know he performs well in rainy conditions, so you figure he will finish in the top three more than 10% of the time.
There are no guarantees where your edges will come from, as you might find that you have an advantage on a favored horse or a huge underdog. In the long run, the more knowledge you have in your arsenal the better off you will be, although you still must overcome a very steep house edge.
Another way to cut down on the house edge in horse racing betting is to choose a land based or online sports book with signup bonuses and VIP deals, as this can make a big different in showing value for your house racing bets.