Horse Racing Betting Odds and Terms Explained
Horse racing is a little different to other sports when betting but betting on a horse race is very simple. Of course, choosing which horse to gamble on is a little more difficult!
How to bet on a horse race
For the most popular horse races the market odds sometimes appear on the gambling websites up to one year before a race takes place – this is called the “Ante post” market. Generally, however, for most standard races, the odds are available the day before the race or on the same day as the race.
Before the race is run the odds on the horses go up and down – sometimes by only a little, sometimes they go up or down a lot. If the odds go up then this means that punters have less confidence in the horse to win (they think it probably will not win) and if the odds go down then it means punters have more confidence that the horse will win (they think it probably will win).
Generally, there will always be a favorite (shown as “FAV“). The odds can range from “odds on” Favorites e.g. 4/6 FAV to longer favorites e.g. 10/1 FAV.
Sometimes you may see “JF” beside two or more horses – JF means “Joint Favorite” and so the horses are both favorites – the bookmakers cannot choose which horse is more likely to win.
To calculate the odds on each horse in a race the bookmakers answer these questions:
How many horses are in the race?
Who is riding each horse?
What is the distance of the race?
Is the race a “flat” or “jump” race?
What is the “class” of the horse race? Grade A or B or Grade 1 or 2 etc.
[“Grade” is decided by the age, ability, success, speed, etc. of the horses]
How many people (punters) are betting on each horse?
At this moment – How much money have the punters gambled on each horse?
Which place did each horse finish in its previous races (usually up to ten races)?
Is the horse “Handicapped” or not? (Horses are given added weights to make races more even)
There are many different types of bets you can make in horse racing but the most common are To Win / Each Way. Keeping it simple – to bet for a horse to win or win each way then first:
Choose a horse.
When you have chosen a horse to bet on then you simply…
a) select the horse
b) type in the amount you would like to gamble
c) choose either a “TO WIN” bet or an “EACH WAY (or) E/W” bet.
d) Choose between “SP” – Starting Price and “FP” – Fixed Price
What is the EACH WAY?
An Each Way or E/W bet means you can place a bet so that if the horse does not win but comes 2nd or 3rd or 4th or even 5th (depending on the number of horses in the race) you can still “win”. Each way bets work like this:
An “each way” bet is actually TWO bets. One bet is for the horse to finish “First” the second bet is for the horse to finish “First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth”.
Hedgehunter to win @150/1 Each Way $75
This is basically:
Hedhunter to win @150/1 – Stake $75
Hedgehunter to come 1st,2nd,3rd,or 4th – Stake $75
Total Stake = $150
The bookmakers will usually pay out one quarter (1/4) of the odds if the team finishes in 1st 2nd 3rd or 4th.
So if Hedghunter finishes 2nd , 3rd or 4th:
Hedgehunter to win @150/1 – Stake $75 – LOSE
Hedgehunter to come 1st,2nd,3rd,or 4th $75 – WIN at 1/4 the odds
$75 x (150/4) = $75 x 37.5 = 2737.50 + $150 = 2887.50
If Hedghunter wins then:
$75 x 150 = $11250
$75 x (150/4) = $75 x 37.5 = 2737.50 + $150 = 2887.50
So the total return is $14212.50
The number of each way places is decided by how many horses are in a race:
4-6 horses E/W places 1st, 2nd
7 – 12 horses E/W places 1st, 2nd, 3rd
13 or more horses E/W places 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th – sometimes 5th depending on the bookmaker.
Remember that an Each/Way bet is TWO bets so and that all places are paid at 1/4 the odds on the E/W part of the bet. (The 1st place plays full odds on the winning part of one bet and 1/4 odds on the winning 2nd bet)
What does SP mean ?
There are two types of odds provided when gambling on horses. One is called the “Fixed Price” and the other is called the “Starting Price“.
The “Fixed Price” is when the punter chooses to take the odds offered by the bookmaker when they place their bet.
30 minutes before the race starts – Horse A is offered at 16/1.
If the punter thinks that 16/1 is a good “price” he will take a “Fixed Price” because even if the odds go down on Horse A after he has placed his bet he will still be paid at the odds of 16/1.
But he may think the odds might go up so he might choose the “SP” or “Starting Price” – this means the odds given to the horse at the very start of the race will be what he gets paid if it wins. So if the odds go up from 16/1 to 25/1 then he will get paid at 25/1.
Some punters like to wait until this time because the odds might go up as the race time gets nearer so they will choose “SP” or the “Starting Price” instead of taking the Fixed Price.
There is no “rule” about this – Some punters prefer “Fixed” while others prefer “SP”.
What is place markets, insure markets and betting without?
Place only betting gives odds for each horse to finish in any place from 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th (depending on the number of horse in the race). So if the horse you choose finishes 1st, 2nd 3rd or 4th you would win and the bookmaker pays you at the odds offered. Of course the odds on each horse are much lower than for a standard win / each way bet.
An insurance bet is a bet on a horse to win, but your stake will be returned if the horse finishes in 2nd, 3rd, 4th (depending on the number of horses in the race). For example, if your horse wins then you will be paid at that the odds for first but if your horse comes second, third or fourth (depending on the “Insurance” odds you take) – then your stake will be returned.
If you choose a horse in a race in the “Betting Without” market then you are simply betting on a horse as if some of the other horses in the race are not racing. So if any of those horses finish before your horse they are “ignored”.
So if you choose horse number 4 and choose to bet “Without” numbers 6, 15 and 21 then you will win if…
Number 4 comes first, or
Number 4 finishes second behind any of 6, 15 and 21, or
Number 4 finishes third as long as any two of 6, 15 and 21finish first and / or second, or
Number 4 finishes fourth as long as 6, 15 and 21finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd (in any order)
Horse racing is a little different to other sports when betting but betting on a horse race is very simple , if only you learn about few point of rules. Especially, you might be confused about E/W odds meaning when you see it first. If you forget how to calculate it, then return here from bookmaker website and see the rules again.