Understanding the Betting Odds for Horse Racing

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Hy Brazil and Shane Crosse leap from the stalls when winning the 1m5f maiden. Navan Racecourse. Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post 23.06.2020

Getting to know the game

 

For people who have never bet before, the first thing to do is to take a look at the horses as they come out on the tracks before the race for a post-parade about eight to ten minutes before the race and keenly observe the horses and try to figure out which horse might win by looking at the stature, mood, health and muscle of the horses. All horses have their names and numbers, in theory, it will hurt your game of you know the name of one or a couple of them as there are 11 of them, so it is essential to familiarise yourself with the names of all the horses and make sure that you do a background check on them, looking upon how many races have they won earlier, anything about injuries or a change in the ownership. Sometimes if you know the name of only a few of the horses, it is highly likely that you will bet on them without considering the others. The post position or the place where the horses line up for the race is also an essential factor to consider. However, not in all tracks, some with higher bends and curves as the inside track have a higher tendency to be deeper which strain the horses, on such tacks the outside lines are the best to bet on as they are reasonably straight and makes it easier for the jockey to manoeuvre the beast.  

 

Placing the bet

 

At all races, you can ask for a daily racing form, and it is a document which will give you the past performances of each contender in the race. If you are entirely new to betting on horse racing, then the screen and the boards will seem completely alien. There is an enormous amount of information on the screen with words and tags which are challenging to understand. MTP which stand for minutes to post, there is ‘track’ condition, letting you know if it is fast or it’s slow and the ‘turf’ which signifies the state of the grass if it is firm or soggy due to the moisture. On the left side of the screen are the numbers which represent the horses which are taking part in the race. Just next to the horse’s names are the odds, these are current odds, the amount of money which is being bet right now. Before placing the chance, you will have to sign at the register, which is generally overlooked by the IRS (Internal Revenue Services) so that you are cleared to earn money from this track. You will have to buy a voucher of the amount of money you wan to bet and then go over to the counter or the screen and generate a ticket which will be the way to identify you in case if you are lucky and your horse wins. 

 

Understanding how odds work

 

If you have ever been to a race track, you know what a tote board is, this board has the numbers assigned to each horse and beside the number are the odds. If the odds are in a single block, that means that the ratio is the single-digit to that of one, let us say for example the board shows that the first slot is empty and the next slot shows nine, this stands for 1:9 which means that for every one dollar you bet, you will get nine dollars. Sometimes the foods might be even which means that for every one dollar you put in, you will have the chance to win one dollar, there is also a chance that you will have reverse odds, for example,  for every 5 dollars you bet you might only win 3 or 2 dollars. For most races, the odds will be between even money and 50 to 1. You might want to find out where to play in Texas and get a first-hand experience of the tracks to understand the betting odds better. 

 

In a nutshell

 

When calculating odds, a bookmaker looks at multiple factors which affect that horse race, and these factors predominantly include the jockey, the trainer, the horse’s performance in previous sports, its breed, injuries and many other exciting things are taken into account. It would be best if you were good at math and reading the race to be successful at this game, sometimes the odds are very stressful, and you will need information and research to help you choose a perfect beast to bet on, sometimes people have insider knowledge about the horse’s health and performance, and they play it to their benefits.

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