Horse racing is one of the most popular sports for gambling enthusiasts, and with so many events taking place throughout the year, it provides a huge amount of opportunity for betting. If you’re new to the sport or just getting started with placing your bets, it can be difficult understanding the terminology. In order to maximise your chances of winning and to make sure you don’t place a bet you want to avoid, here is a guide to betting on horse racing.
The first step to placing a bet on horse races is to grasp the concept of odds. Odds relate to how much money you’ll gain in return for the stake you place on a bet, lots of sites have their own odds calculator which will tell you how much your return could be if you win. There are different types of odds – fractional and decimal. Fractional odds show you how much you’ll get back without your stake while decimal odds include your stake. A bet of £10, for example, on odds of 6/1 would give you 6 x £10, so you’d get £60 plus your initial £10 stake, for a £70 winning in total. In a decimal format, that bet would look like 7.000 – £10 x 7 which results in the same total.
The type of bet you place depends on the payout you’ll receive but also the number of horses you’ll be betting on. ‘To Win’, for example, is the most basic bet and that is a single bet on one horse – if it wins, you’ll get a pay-out and if it doesn’t, you won’t. ‘Betting Each Way’ is actually two bets on one horse. Half of your total stake goes towards the horse you’ve chosen to win, while the other half is on it to place. If your selection wins, you’ll win both portions of your bet, with the place portion paid as a fraction of the winning odds. This fractional element can vary depending on the type of race the horse is running in as well as how many horses are in the race. In order to bet each way, there needs to be at least five horses running.
Once you’ve gained an understanding of the terms related to different bets, it’s time to think about your strategy. It’s hardly ever worth backing a horse each way if the odds are less than 4-1, as you’ll need at least 4-1 to cover the loss of the win portion of your bet. Each-way betting should be approached with caution as bookies often try to encourage punters to bet with extra places on a handicap race with 20 or more runners, but there are higher chances of returns if the each-way bet is limited to races with between 8 and 12 runners.
As you gain confidence with betting, there’s also the option for multiple betting or accumulators. These are tricky to win as a lot of factors need to be considered and have to go in your favour for you to win. But, even with smaller stakes, the opportunity to win big is much higher if luck is on your side. There are various types of accumulator bets, from a combination of two results to eight-horse multiple bets, all with different outcomes and payouts.