Horserace betting may seem like a pretty complex affair to people new to the sport of horse racing. In fact, they may think of it as something which is a cross between brain surgery and rocket science! With the additional danger of bettor becoming penniless! Nevertheless, just by arming yourself with a few basics of the sport, which can be learnt here, you can easily find your way to safety, and hopefully even a handsome profit!
About horserace betting odds
Before you proceed any further, it’s important to learn how horserace betting odds work. If we talk about United Kingdom in specific, horserace betting odds have conventionally been specified in the form of fractions. However, when it comes a betting exchange or an online casino anywhere in Europe, for instance Bet365, these odds are expressed in the decimal form.
So, if we follow the UK system and a horse’s odds have been specified as 2/1, it implies that you stand to make a £ 2 profit by betting £ 1 on the horse (so, basically you’d get £ 3 back in return, including your bet or stake). You simply need to add 1 to the fractional value in order to convert it into the decimal system. So, a 2/1 odd translates into 3.00 in the decimal odds system. The decimal odds basically specify the amount you’ll get back from the bookie, including your stake, if you were to place a £ 1 bet. The fractional odds system on the other hand specifies only the profit you’ll make.
Let’s stick to the fractions as that’s the main prevalent method in the United Kingdom, especially when it’s about horse racing, also known as the sport of kings. Please keep in mind that not all odds are specified as ‘some number to one’. For instance, if you see a horse with 5/2 odds, it means that you stand to make a £ 5 profit if you were to place £ 2 bet on that horse. The same odds may also be specified as 2.5/1, but you’ll normally always see them depicted as 5/2 everywhere, including in an online casino. Please note, it’s not mandatory for you to place a £ 2 bet in this instance. You may even bet £ 1 and get £ 2.50 back if you win.
In case a horse is considered a strong favourite to win a particular race, it may have ‘odds-on.’ Such odds will get depicted by the denominator or the number at the bottom being higher than the numerator or the number at the top. To give you an example, if a horse named Toby has 1/8 odds at Bet365, you’d get £ 9 back if you had bet £ 8 on it, and it ends up winning the race. Such odds may also sometimes be written or shown, and particularly spoken in as ‘8/1 on’ or ‘8-to-1 on.’
Different kinds of horseracing bets
Now that you’re aware how horse racing odds work, both when they’re set at any offline bookmaker and in an online casino, let’s take you through the different types of horseracing bets.
You can place all kinds of horseracing bets, but the simplest and most common of them is known as win bet. It’s one single bet, on one particular outcome and you back a specific horse to win the concerned race.
Each way bet
Another highly popular horseracing bet, it involves backing a specific horse each way. This kind of bet effectively features two different bets, one on the possibility of a horse winning the race, and another on its ‘place.’ The terms of the ‘place’ aspect may vary depending to the number of horses in the race and the race type. In most cases it’s for the horse to finish at least in the top 3. The main odds of the bet impact the place portion in the manner that the latter pays out at a fraction of the former, which is usually 1/4.
Hence, if you’ve placed £ 20 each way bet on a particular horse at 4/1, it’s going to cost you £ 40, with £ 20 on the possibility of that horse winning the race, and £ 20 on the place portion. If the horse wins the race, you win both the bets and get £ 20 x 4 = £ 80, apart from your £ 20 stake from the win portion of the bet. You also receive the each way bet. Hence, ¼ of 4/1 is evens or 1/1, so you receive £ 20 plus your £ 20 stake, making it £ 40 in total. On the whole, you receive £ 140, including a profit of £ 100.
On the other hand, if the horse finishes in second, third or fourth position, you’d end up losing your £ 20 win bet, but earn a £ 20 profit from each way bet, leaving you leveled overall. These kinds of bets are usually made on horses that have relatively long odds. They provide an excellent means to back some outsider, and yet profit in the event that it makes the places, and a huge bonus in case it ends up causing an upset win.
In this type of horseracing bet, you back just one horse and one single event. So, if you’re backing Cue Card in the 15:10 at William Hill King George VI Chase (Kempton Park), that will be considered a single bet. It could be either to win, or each way.
Multiple bets can be of various types, beginning from the simplest kind, a double, till the most complex one involving 247 separate horseracing bets, in just one single wager.
As evident, a double is about wagering on two separate events, for instance Architecture to win the 16:30 Epsom Oaks (at 2/1) and Harzand to win the 16:30 Epsom Derby (at evens). Both bets must be winners for you to come out victorious. A £ 2 double would cost you £ 2, and in the event that both horses win, you’d get £ 12 back. Once the first horse wins the race, you’d effectively have wagered £ 6 (£ 2 stake plus £ 4 in profit) on the second horse at evens, leading to a payout of £12, including a £ 10 profit.
A treble is a similar bet, but comprises of three different selections. You may also commonly hear terms like 5-fold, 6-fold and so on, depicting accumulators with that many selections.
This kind of horseracing bet normally involves picking up the top two horses in a particular race, predicting their exact finishing places. The odds are set accordingly for that specific outcome. Hence, the forecast of Big Banana and Cue Card finishing in first and second places may be 15/1 on Bet365, so you’d need exactly that outcome to be on the winning side. (Please note, Bet365 is currently a hot favourite of all bookmakers. You can find more details on it at).
This horseracing bet is same as the one detailed above, but the selected horses may finish in any particular order. It comprises of two different bets, so you’d need to shell out £ 40 for a £ 20 reverse forecast.
This bet is meant for the bravest kinds, as you’re required to make your pick for the top three winners in their exact winning order. Your rewards may be nothing short of awesome if you do make the correct prediction.
Rule 4 deductions
One thing you must keep in mind while betting on horses is that there may be late withdrawals, and your odds may also change accordingly because of that. The odds are normally set based on horses running a race at a particular time, but if there are one or more withdrawals, owing to unsuitability of ground, late injury or something else, the odds may get subjected to something known as a rule 4 deduction.
Announcement of a non-runner post the final race declaration results in reduction of the odds, based on the odds of the withdrawn horse. All stakes for the non-runner are refunded back, and all other runners’ odds of winning the race become shorter as the number of race horses decrease.
The deduction amount may vary depending on the odds of the withdrawn horse. If the horse withdrawn was a strong favourite, with 5/1 or 1/5 odds, the deduction may be pretty high as other horses may now have a very good chance of winning the race. But withdrawal of a horse with 100/1 odds may not have any major impact on the expected winner, and hence the deduction may be much lesser.
Deduction table for rule 4
Following is the rule 4 deduction table for a horse that has been withdrawn from the race, based on his odds. Every deduction is given in the form of pence in the pound.
1/9 - shorter: 95p
2/11 - 2/17: 90p
1/4 - 1/5: 85p
3/10 - 2/7: 80p
2/5 - 1/3: 75p
8/15 - 4/9: 70p
8/13 - 4/7: 65p
4/5 - 4/6: 60p
20/21 - 5/6: 55p
Evens - 6/5: 50p
5/4 - 6/4: 45p
13/8 - 7/4: 40p
15/8 - 9/4: 35p
5/2 - 3/1: 30p
10/3 - 4/1: 25p
9/2 - 11/2: 20p
6/1 - 9/1: 15p
10/1 - 14/1: 10p
More than 14/1: Zero Deduction
Some relevant examples of rule 4
If you place a wager on a horse race where the favourite horse was withdrawn at odds of 2.0 (Evens), you’d end up losing 50p for every pound that’s won. Hence, if your horse had 10/1 odds, and you had wagered £ 20 to win, you’d have £ 50 removed from your £ 200 profit, giving you an adjusted payout of £ 150, apart from your £ 20 stake.
In case the withdrawn horse had 10/1 odds, only £ 10 would be removed from your £ 200 profit, leaving you with £ 190 and £ 20 stake.