Mastering the Art of Calculating Horse Racing Odds

Image of a horse race

There are few more popular sports to bet on online than horse racing. One of the joys of horse racing is the fact that there is always action to wager on, with horse racing betting available at leading sportsbooks that cover tracks around the globe.

Therefore, bets can be placed on the latest action from the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

The popularity of online betting has ensured that wagering on some of the world’s most popular races such as the Grand National, Melbourne Cup, and the Kentucky Derby has reached unique heights in recent years.

However, if you are a newcomer to betting on the sport, then the odds could be slightly confusing and daunting. You can check this helpful guide here: https://www.twinspires.com/kentuckyderby/betting/

What Are Odds?

No matter what sport you are looking to bet on, the odds will always be found on a sportsbook. The odds are vitally important when it comes to making a selection on the sportsbook, especially when it comes to wagering on horse racing. The biggest factor to remember when assessing the odds is the fact that the payout that you receive will be based on the odds that you have taken.

As a beginner, it is easy to explain odds, as the price will accurately present the selection with the highest probability of success. Therefore, the shorter the price, the more chance that the selection has of being a winner.

However, it isn’t unlikely for bigger-priced selections to upset the odds, as this has been seen on countless occasions in an unpredictable sport like horse racing. Just one example of this was seen in the 2022 Kentucky Derby, when Rich Strike defied odds of 81/1 to win the opening leg of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs.

Different Types of Odds

One of the first steps for any beginner looking to bet on sport is to find the odds format that suits them best. Picking the layout that you understand best is a huge help for beginners, especially when it comes to working out potential returns from a potential bet.

There are three different types of formats that are readily available at sportsbooks- American, fractional, and decimal. The former is most popular in North America, with ‘-“ and ‘+’ symbols evident.

Here, the minus will indicate a selection that is odds-on, while the plus is assigned to selections that have a lower probability. Fractional odds are most popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with the price expressed like a ration, with 6/1 being six-to-one. Decimal odds are most popular in Europe, with the odds showcasing the amount that is won from a $1 wager on the selection. Therefore, if a selection is 3.00, then a bettor will win $3 from a $1 selection.

How Different Odds Compare

Regardless of the odds format that you select on, the returns will always be the same. The format just makes it easier for the bettor to make their selection and weigh up the pros and cons from their selection.

For example, if a horse is priced up at 4/1 in a fractional layout, then the odds in a decimal format will be shown as 5.00, as it takes into account the stake that is wagered. Similarly to the fractional layout, the American odds also don’t take the stake into consideration, meaning that the same odds in this format will be shown as +400.

If reading odds is still something that you’re struggling with as a beginner, then the vast majority of sportsbooks offer simple to read odds conversions, which will enable you to quickly find out what you stand to win in returns from the odds that you have wagered on.

Odds Available on Horse Racing

As one of the most popular sports to wager on, there are an excellent selection of betting markets when it comes to betting on horse racing. Each market will offer different odds for the selections available, with the win market typically being the most popular among beginners. Here, you will simply stake your money on the horse that you believe will win the race.

However, there can typically be better value to side with an outsider in a number of different markets should you be looking at a healthy return. Each-way betting is exceptionally popular in some of the world’s biggest races, with the Kentucky Derby, Melbourne Cup, and Grand National typically seeing big fields of runners involved, meaning value place bets in these races.

Experienced bettors that have done extensive research before making their selections will typically look to put their homework to good use by trying their luck in more challenging betting markets. These include Exactas and Trifectas, where the bettor must correctly predict the horses that finish in the first two and three places in the correct finishing order, respectively.

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