With horse racing odds, the first number (the numerator) shows how many units you stand to win, and the second number (the denominator) shows how many units you must risk to win that much. For example: 10-1 odds: You will win 10 units for every 1 unit wagered. 7-2 odds: You will win 7 units for every 2 units wagered.
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Horse racing betting odds express the relationship between risk and reward. To put it simply, the odds tell you how much you stand to win with any wager.Understanding how horse racing betting odds work is the first step in getting started as a bettor. This page will dive into the topic in great detail, beginning with a simple guide to interpreting horse racing odds and continuing with more information bettors need to wager intelligently.Learning how to read the odds in horse racing betting isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Familiarity with fractions helps, but you do not need to be a mathematician to understand how the odds on horse races function.Eventually, with some practice, it becomes second nature to look at a list of wagers and understand how to read horse racing odds.
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How Horse Racing Betting Odds WorkHorse racing betting odds are essentially fractions. When a horse is priced at 10-1, one can read that as 10/1. Similarly, when a horse is priced at 3-5, one can read that as 3/5.The “fraction” represents the relationship between how much you stand to win relative to how much you must risk. With horse racing odds, the first number (the numerator) shows how many units you stand to win, and the second number (the denominator) shows how many units you must risk to win that much.
10-1 odds: You will win 10 units for every 1 unit wageredYou will win 10 units for every 1 unit wagered 7-2 odds : You will win 7 units for every 2 units wagered: You will win 7 units for every 2 units wagered 1-5 odds: You will win 1 unit for every 5 units wageredIf the first number is larger than the second number, the net profit of your horse racing bets will be larger than the amount wagered.If the second number is larger, you’re betting on the “odds-on favorite,” and your return will be smaller than the amount risked. This occurs when you bet on heavy public favorites – you stand to win less because everyone is betting on the same horse. If the odds-on favorite wins, the betting pool will be split among many winning tickets, netting everyone a smaller portion of the pool.Notes: Many horse racing betting sites and tracks display the odds as fractions. Also, Racebooks often drop the 1 in odds that represent whole numbers. For example, your horse racing betting site may display 10 or 20 next to horse names to represent 10-1 and 20-1, respectively.Some people may be tempted to interpret horse racing betting odds as an expression of a horse’s likelihood to win a race, but that is not entirely accurate. Although there is usually some correlation between a horse’s betting odds and its skill relative to the other runners, the odds are more accurately interpreted as an expression of public sentiment.Parimutuel horse racing betting odds fluctuate based on public sentiment. The more money that comes in on a horse, the lower that horse’s odds fall. Similarly, horses with few backers pay more because the total wagering pool will be split among fewer winning tickets.
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Public sentiment is often a close approximation of each horse’s relative strength, but do not be fooled into reading horse racing odds as any one runner’s likelihood of winning. The key to successful horse racing betting is learning how to spot the gaps between public sentiment and reality.
Common Horse Racing Betting PayoutsFor quick reference, the following payouts show how much a $1 bet would return at various odds commonly seen in horse racing.Many tracks instituted a minimum bet of $2 for most types of wagers in the past, but a $1 minimum (and even less for some exotics) is quite common today. Multiply the amounts below by two to see the return for a $2 wager, by three for the return on a $3 wager, and so on.
The following figures include the return of the original wager.
Calculating Payout OddsTo determine the potential winnings of any bet, multiply your intended wager by the fraction represented by the odds. The number you get represents the net profit you will see if your bet is a winner.Horse racing odds are easy to use when they represent whole numbers, such as:
30-1All you have to do is multiply your bet by the whole number to find your net profit. For example, a $2 wager at odds of 30/1 would return $60 in profits ($2 x 30/1). Add in the return of your original stake, and the return would be $62. Likewise, a $2 bet placed at 10/1 would return $20 plus your initial wager.It becomes slightly more complicated when the odds aren’t nice and simple whole numbers. For example, horse racing odds of 3-4 and 7-5 can be a little tricky.If you’re not good at quickly multiplying fractions in your head, the easiest way to figure out what you stand to win is to multiply your intended bet amount by the first number and divide the answer to that by the second number.
The formula looks like this:
(your bet x first number) / second number = your net profitLet’s look at how you would calculate a $10 bet on a 4-5 runner:
($10 x 4) / 5 = $8Your total profit would be $8. Add back your original wager for a total return of $18.For example, consider horse betting odds of 7-2. These odds are telling you that you stand to win $7 for every $2 you wager. Therefore, a $2 bet would net you $7 in profits for a total return of $9.
Horse Racing Morning Line OddsThe morning line odds in horse racing serve as the starting point for betting on every race. A track oddsmaker sets the morning line odds for every race to reflect how he believes the public will bet.After the morning line odds go live, racing fans can view the upcoming race and start to get an idea of which horses will likely emerge as the betting favorites and which will be the longshots.
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The morning line odds are usually reflective of the relative strengths of each horse, but the oddsmaker is not handicapping the race. The oddsmaker’s goal is to accurately gauge public sentiment to set the line and provide bettors an idea of what to expect once betting opens.As Ed Burgart, the official morning line maker at Los Alamitos Race Course, once explained:The morning line odds don’t reflect my preferred selections in a race. My goal as the morning line maker is to predict how the public will wager on a particular race. A good oddsmaker can glance at past performances and determine on which horses the majority of racing fans will wager the most or least amount of money. Usually, horses with recent high speed indexes and consistent in-the-money finishes will receive much wagering attention. Local horses are usually better supported than horses coming in from other tracks.
Decimal Horse Racing OddsIn some parts of the world, horse racing wagers are displayed in the decimal odds format. Decimal horse racing betting odds are even easier to read than fractional odds.The decimal format displays exactly how much money you stand to win in relation to your wager. Multiply your intended stake by the decimal and the result will tell you the total payout including the return of your original wager.Even money odds in the decimal format are displayed as 2.0. In this case, a successful $100 wager would return $200 (your winnings plus your original bet). Likewise, odds of 3.0 would return $300. If the odds are less than 2.0, it means you’re looking at a big favorite.For example, betting odds of 1.5 would return $150 ($50 in net profit plus your original wager).The one thing you have to be careful about with decimal odds is making sure you don’t forget that the calculated payout includes the return of your original wager.If you’re accustomed to the fractional wagering odds format, it’s easy to forget. Fractional and decimal odds do not perfectly translate.Remember – fractional horse odds of 5/1 are not the same as decimal horse odds of 5.0.Odds of 5/1 would result in you being paid $500 in net profits (total return including your original wager would be $600). Odds of 5.0 would result in you being paid $500 in total (this includes your original wager).
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12-1 Betting Odds means that out of 13 possible outcomes, the 12/1 odds are that there will be 12 of one kind of outcome and 1 of another kind of outcome. The 12-1 odds calculation means for every 13 betting events your selection should win 1 time and on 12 occasions the selection will not win.What does 20 to 1 mean in horse racing? ›
The 20-1 betting odds probability is a 95.24 per cent probability of a particular outcome and 4.76 per cent probability of another outcome. The 20/1 odds implied probability means your selection has a 4.76% chance of winning and a 95.24% chance the selection will lose.What does 10-1 mean in horse racing? ›
With horse racing odds, the first number (the numerator) shows how many units you stand to win, and the second number (the denominator) shows how many units you must risk to win that much. For example: 10-1 odds: You will win 10 units for every 1 unit wagered. 7-2 odds: You will win 7 units for every 2 units wagered.What does 16 to 1 mean in horse racing? ›
16-1 Betting Odds means that out of 17 possible outcomes, the 16/1 odds are that there will be 16 of one kind of outcome and 1 of another kind of outcome. The 16-1 odds calculation means for every 17 betting events your selection should win 1 time and on 16 occasions the selection will not win.What does 8 to 1 mean in horse racing? ›
8-1 Betting Odds means that out of 9 possible outcomes, the 8/1 odds are that there will be 8 of one kind of outcome and 1 of another kind of outcome. The 8-1 odds calculation means for every 9 betting events your selection should win 1 time and on 8 occasions the selection will not win.How much do you win on 12 1 odds? ›
If you wager a bet on a 12/1 betting odds selection and you win, your total payout will be 13.00 which is your stake back plus 12.00 profit.How much does 15 1 odds pay? ›
33-1 Betting Odds means that out of 34 possible outcomes, the 33/1 odds are that there will be 33 of one kind of outcome and 1 of another kind of outcome. The 33-1 odds calculation means for every 34 betting events your selection should win 1 time and on 33 occasions the selection will not win.What does 14 to 1 odds mean? ›
14-1 Betting Odds means that out of 15 possible outcomes, the 14/1 odds are that there will be 14 of one kind of outcome and 1 of another kind of outcome. The 14-1 odds calculation means for every 15 betting events your selection should win 1 time and on 14 occasions the selection will not win.What is 7 to 1 in horse racing? ›
The 7-1 betting odds probability is an 87.50 per cent probability of a particular outcome and a 12.50 per cent probability of another outcome. The 7/1 odds implied probability means your selection has a 12.50% chance of winning and an 87.50% chance the selection will lose.
The 50-1 betting odds probability is a 98.04 per cent probability of a particular outcome and 1.96 per cent probability of another outcome. The 50/1 odds implied probability means your selection has a 1.96% chance of winning and a 98.04% chance the selection will lose.What is the payout for 50 to 1 odds? ›
50/1 fractional odds imply that you get a profit of $50/€50/£50 for a stake of $1/€1/£1. +5000 American odds tell you that you will win a profit of $5000/€5000/£5000 from a $100/€100/£100 bet. Decimal odds of 51.00 are multiplied by your stake of €1 and give you the total payout (not profit).What is the best bet in horse racing? ›
“Straight” bets are your least complicated option and they're the safest. These involve wagering that your horse will win, place or show, meaning that he'll come in first, second or third, respectively. If you wager on him to win and he does indeed win, so do you. If he comes in second or third, you lose.Why is it called a 1 4 horse? ›
The Quarter Horse name is derived from the breed's ability to outrun other horse breeds in races of a quarter mile or less. Some horses have been clocked at speeds up to 55 mph (88.5 km/h).What does 20 1 odds mean? ›
What 20-to-1 means: When you see 20-to-1 odds, you're looking at a long shot that is unlikely to win. In fact, the implied win probability for a team that's 20-to-1 is 4.76%. However, should that long shot come in, it would pay out $20 for every $1 wagered.What does 29 1 mean in horse racing? ›
The larger the number, the higher the risk and bigger the payoff. Odds like 29-1 mean for a $1 wager, a bettor wins $29 plus one's bet back. Fractional odds. If there's a fraction like 8/5, divide the fraction to get a number with a decimal (1.6 in this case). Multiply that by your bet then add your bet for the payoff.What does 2 to 1 mean in horse racing? ›
The first number tells you how much you could win, the second number is the amount you bet. So, if the odds are listed as 2-1, you'll get $2 for every $1 you bet. Odds are displayed in one of two formats. Fractional: These are more traditional and widely used and are displayed as 4/1.What does 5 to 1 mean in racing? ›
5-1 Betting Odds means that out of 6 possible outcomes, the 5/1 odds are that there will be 5 of one kind of outcome and 1 of another kind of outcome. The 5-1 odds calculation means for every 6 betting events your selection should win 1 time and on 5 occasions the selection will not win.