Last Updated on 09/23/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
Comparing horse betting odds is a great way to maximize your potential for winning big when you believe your choice has a good chance. Learning how to compare odds can have a significant impact on your profit.
This guide will help you identify the best sites for horse racing betting and work out how to quickly compare odds to get the best deal. Compiled by experts, we talk you through the benefits of comparing horse betting odds and help you discover the online bookmakers offering the best value bets.
Many people question whether the time taken to compare the best horse racing odds is worthwhile. The answer to that question is almost always yes. There are multiple factors that can influence the odds for a specific horse or race. Taking the time to source the most profitable odds can result in a far larger payout should the chosen horse perform in the expected way. However, unlike with odds on UFC, once the event has started the odds will not change.
Successful bookmakers are experienced in setting horse betting odds and many employ a team of ‘traders’ who have the skills and expertise to evaluate the markets and predict potential outcomes as accurately as possible. However, no matter how well-researched the initial prices are, odds can change as the start of the event looms closer. This can result in some bookmakers changing their odds, which creates opportunities for experienced bettors to maximize their chances of a larger payout. By comparing odds, punters can find bets that will increase their winnings.
Horse betting odds are determined based on a huge array of factors, including previous performance, current conditions, who the jockey is and more. The more information a bookmaker has to work with, the more accurate the starting odds are likely to be. However, there are also factors that can affect the odds in the lead-up to each race, such as how many people are betting on a particular horse, so odds can change drastically before the race begins.
Odds compilers will spend a large amount of time before each race researching all the factors that can affect the potential race outcomes, such as which trainers are hot right now and the lineage of new horses. These factors are all weighed together to determine the likelihood of a specific horse winning or performing well in each race. The bookmaker also factors in a house margin, which is the amount of profit they want to make on each race. This margin, called over-rounding, influences the best horse racing odds to a certain degree, with some odds being shortened to generate profit. However, competition ensures that no single bookmakers will shorten the odds to the point where they are offering unfavorable prices compared to others. Although the house always wins, most bookmakers offer competitive odds that mean the winners will be satisfied with their own profit margin.
Over-rounding can result in variations between the odds offered on specific horses or races between bookmakers. While this may only be small variations, on the right bet punters can increase their winnings significantly by comparing odds. The odds can also be impacted by other factors, such as if one horse has seen large volumes of money being bet on them. This can result in the odds changing at any point right up to the start of the race, at which point the final starting odds become fixed.
When looking at horse racing odds for today, many of the most experienced bettors will bide their time, knowing that there is a good chance some odds will change at the last minute and offer more favorable prices. Even novice bettors may benefit from waiting to see how the odds change once the more experienced punters start to place their bets.
Navigating the online universe of betting websites to find the best horse racing odds for today can be daunting, particularly as odds can be displayed in a variety of formats. Learning to understand what the different formats mean, how the odds affect your chances of winning, and the amount you can win is essential for anyone attempting to make a profit. Once the odds can be understood, it is far easier to make a horse racing odds comparison and identify the sites offering the best odds for the bet you wish to place. Although the odds are presented in different ways, they still mean the same thing and so payouts remain the same. These odds formats can be used for anything from horse racing betting to political betting odds.
Decimal odds, which may also be called European odds, continental odds, or digital odds, are presented as the amount that can be won for each single stake, such as one dollar, euro or pound. The total amount paid out on a winning bet is the value of the bet multiplied by the odds, and the lower the odds, the higher the chance the bookmakers are giving that horse of winning. Decimal odds refer to the total amount payable on a winning bet, so it is easy to calculate winnings as there is no need to add the stake back in when working it out.
As an example, placing a $100 bet with horse racing odds for today of 4.0 to win would pay a total of $400 if that horse wins the race. To calculate profit and work out the best horse racing odds in decimal, deduct the original stake from the total winnings. So in this example, $400 minus the $100 stake equals profit of $300 on that bet. Placing the same bet on a horse with odds of 1.6 would result in a total payout of $160, with $60 of that being profit. In this scenario, the oddsmakers have determined that the horse with odds of 1.6 is far more likely to win than the horse with odds of 4.0.
Fractional odds, also known as British odds, traditional odds, or UK odds, are expressed as a fraction. On paper, this is typically denoted by two numbers separated by either a hyphen or a slash, such as 6-1 or 6/1. Verbally, this is stated as six to one. Winnings on fractional odds are calculated based on both sides of the fraction. With a simple example such as 6/1, a bet of $100 would result in profit of $600 plus the return of the $100 stake. Fractional odds payouts can be calculated using the formula “stake x numerator / denominator + stake”.
Fractional horse betting odds can be harder to calculate when neither the numerator or denominator has a value of one. Examples could be 10/11 or 7/2. Placing a bet on a horse with odds of 10/11 means receiving an additional $10 back for every $11 wagered if the bet wins, plus the original stake. At 7/2, a winning bet would pay out $7 for every $2 wagered, plus the initial stake. Odds of 10/11, or any odds in which the denominator is higher than the numerator, mean the oddsmakers believe the horse has an excellent chance of winning and are therefore reducing their own risk by offering low payouts.
American odds, also referred to as moneyline odds or US odds, are one of the most popular styles used in the US. These are expressed as a number preceded by either a plus or minus sign. Numbers preceded by a minus sign are given to those that the bookmakers believe to be the favorites. The number following the minus sign shows how much a punter would have to bet to be able to make a profit of $100, for example for a -400 bet you would need to bet $400 to make a profit of $100. Numbers preceded by a plus sign are reserved for the underdogs. These numbers represent how much the bettor can win for each $100 staked. With American odds, punters also receive their stake back on top of the profit, just as with fractional horse racing odds.
American odds starting with a minus sign mean punters have to bet large sums to make small profits, although their chances of winning the bet are highly increased. If the odds for one horse are listed as -400, that horse is a clear favorite. If bettors wager $100, they win $25 plus their stake of $100, so receive $125 in total. On the other hand, odds listed as +400 will return a total of $500 for a $100 wager – $400 profit plus the initial state repaid. So, as a quick baseline comparison, American odds of -100 are the same as 2.0 or 1/1.
Expected value refers to a calculation which regular bettors can make to predict the likelihood of making a profit over time if they keep placing the same bet at the same odds. This works for any form of sports betting from Formula 1 odds to horse racing odds. A positive expected value means it is likely the bet will be profitable over time, while a negative expected value implies a probable long-term loss. However, expected value is no guarantee and some bets may pay off, increasing overall winnings.
While calculating expected value does not provide a guaranteed winning formula, it can help regular bettors to work out where their money can be best placed to increase their chances of winning. The formula for calculating expected value is (amount won per bet x probability of winning) – (amount lost per bet x probability of losing).
A value bet is one in which the expected value is a positive number. However, with over-rounding at bookmakers and fees at betting exchanges, finding a value bet is not always easy. Experienced bettors may spend time calculating expected value across hundreds of potential wagers to identify those that offer the best chances of being profitable over the long-term.
Loyalty does not always pay when it comes to finding the best horse racing odds at bookies, just as when making a football odds comparison. While there may be other reasons to stick with the same online bookmaker, such as loyalty bonuses, it can often pay to shop around to find the best betting odds and maximize the potential value of any winning wagers.
Comparing the best horse racing odds before placing a bet is one of the best ways to ensure each wager has the maximum potential in terms of opportunity and profit. However, there are other ways to maximize value when placing horse racing bets online. When shopping around for odds, be sure to check out the other promotions on offer at each site to find the best possible deals.
Comparing odds during live betting is a far trickier proposition as those odds can move quickly. WIth horse racing, it is up to the bookmakers at which point they stop taking bets on a race. If the outcome is clear early on, there may be no more opportunities for in-running betting from close to the start of the race. Other events may see bets being placed almost up to the finish of the race if they are close-run. Some bettors believe they have a better chance of winning if they wait to see how their horse performs at the start of the race, while others prefer having plenty of time to look at a variety of betting sites to determine the best horse racing odds for today.
If you are looking for the thrill of live betting, it is offered across many other sports and there are certain tips and tricks that can help you compare odds effectively. These include waiting for intervals, breaks and half-times, at which point the odds for the game you are watching will stabilize until play begins once more. Many odds comparison websites include live games, so you can quickly see an overview of the available odds for the wager you wish to place at any point.
There are many reasons why comparing horse betting odds can help you make more profit and have more fun each time you place a wager. When you find odds that are even a small percentage further in your favor, your profits can be increased significantly. When searching for the best odds, you may also come across bonuses or promotions offered by new operators that you may otherwise have missed out on. Shopping around for the best horse racing odds is simple, with many free online tools to help you compare prices at a variety of leading bookmakers.
Horse racing odds can be expressed in several different ways depending on the bookmaker. You can find the most popular formats for horse betting odds in our guides..
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