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Betting on sports, in particular on horse racing, presents a tempting possibility of making enough money to never work again. It has been done before, most notably by the billionaire philanthropist Bill Benter, who devised a system that netted him a fortune.
Benter is the exception, rather than the rule; if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Benter’s system required a detailed knowledge of statistics, and painstaking collection and analysis of data over many years. So, it’s more than just a question of having the odds explained and heading to the racetrack. Understanding how betting odds work is only the start of it.
We can’t all be Bill Benter, but there are many ways in which we can increase our chances of coming out on top and making some tidy profits. Here we’ll look at some strategies you can use to improve your long-term horse betting outcomes, starting with a look at how to understand betting odds.
When making shrewd bets on the horses, it’s absolutely essential to know how to work out betting odds, and to understand exactly what they mean. Odds refer to the probability of a horse winning, and they show how much money you stand to win if your horse comes in. Odds are expressed in fractions or, more recently, decimals. Most bookmakers and online sportsbooks will give you an option to display the odds in whichever format you prefer.
So how do betting odds work? It’s simple maths, and once you see the odds explained it becomes very easy to understand. Consider the following example:
The odds of your horse winning are displayed as 7/2. The second number represents your bet, and the first what you stand to win. So, in this case, for every two currency units you stake, you will get your stake plus seven of those unit back if your horse comes in. Using real money, a $10 stake at 7/2 odds on the winner will net $45 ($5 x 7, plus the original $10 stake).
The horse deemed most likely to win is called the favorite. Favored horses will have odds with the first number smaller than the second, for instance:
The odds on the favorite are displayed at 1/2, so for every two currency units you stake, you will get your stake plus one of those units back on a win. In this case, a $10 stake returns only $15 (1 x $5, plus the original $10 stake).
As well as having the betting odds explained, it’s crucial to know about the different betting options on the table. There are many more ways to place a bet than simply on the outright winner. For example, you can decide to bet on the horse to ‘place’ (first or second) or ‘show’ (first, second or third). Of course, the payouts for place or show bets are substantially less than on a win. If you bet on the favorite to show, the chances you will be successful is almost 70%, but you won’t get rich that way.
There are far too many betting options to go into detail here, but getting familiar with all the different ways to place a bet is an essential prerequisite if you want to stand a chance at staying in the black.
How much you win depends on how much work you are willing to put in, but here are some hints and tips to get you started.
Focus in on one kind of race, and become an expert in your chosen area. You may be surprised how quickly you become adept at predicting outcomes.
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