While sports betting is immensely popular, horse racing is still incredibly important for gambling enthusiasts and the packed calendar provides many opportunities to get in on the action. There are many betting sites to choose from but also a number of bets available to punters. Understanding the terminology is key when placing a bet though, to maximise your chances and ensure you’re not committing to the wrong thing. Here’s a guide to the terms, types of bets and how to know what you’re wagering on. If you’re new to betting, don’t forget to check for sign up bonuses and offers.
Odds relate to the amount of money you get back in return for your stake. Fractional odds let you know how much you get in return without your stake, while decimel odds have your stake included. For example, odds of 7/1 on a £10 bet will give you 7 x £10, so £70 in winnings plus your £10 back, resulting in £80 overall. But in decimal form, that bet would be 8.000 so £10 at 8.000 would be a return of £10 x 8 totalling £80.
The most basic and simple bet is a ‘win’ bet, which is a single bet on a horse that you’re backing to win. If it finishes in first, you’ll get a pay-out – if it doesn’t, you won’t.
Betting Each Way
Each-way bets are two bets on the same horse – you are placing half your total stake on the horse to win and half on it to place. If your selection wins, you win both parts of the bet and the place portion of the bet is paid as a fraction of the win odds. The fraction of the odds on the place bet depends on the race type and how many horses are racing – there needs to be a minimum of five runners to bet each way.
Place Only Betting
If you’re betting place only, you can bet on a horse to place without the win aspect of the wager. For example, you might not want to bet a heavy odds-on horse, but you still think they’ll finish second or third.
Win and Each Way Betting Strategy
It’s rarely worth backing a horse each-way if the odds are less than 4-1, as if the best return you can receive for the place portion is a quarter of the odds, you need at least 4-1 to cover the loss of the win portion of your bet. It’s worth being cautious with each-way betting as bookmakers will try to lure punters with extra places on a handicap race with 20 or more runners. But the likelihood of getting place returns is higher if you limit the each-way betting to non-handicap races of between 8 and 12 runners.
If you’re a more confident gambler, you may want to dabble with multiple bets, also known as accumulator. These are difficult to win as they require a lot of factors to go in your favour, but when they do you can make a lot of money, even from small stakes. There are different types of multiple bets, so you bet on anything from combination of two results to an eight-horse accumulator.