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Horse Racing Betting

People the world over enjoy this sport, and with thousands of races on over the year, it’s hardly surprising that online bookies have sprung up to cater to the ever-growing demand. To that end, there are numerous sites that players flock to in order to get the latest updates on horses, check out race conditions and, most importantly, place their bets. It’s then up to the sites themselves to provide the very best experience to their punters. This includes a range of features that we will outline below.

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What makes a good horse racing betting site?

Before we even begin to go through all the horse racing jargon that there is out there and what all those confusing bets mean, we will first cover what you need to look for in the perfect site. As there are so many options, it can be a bit overwhelming for the new player, so we’re here to help. The first thing to look for on a betting site is the license. Having a license means that the bookies have to adhere to certain rules and regulations making your betting safer.

After this, it’s important to check the payment options offered – pick only those that offer recognised providers e.g. PayPal – and whether there is SSL encryption in place to prevent third parties getting hold of your banking details. With the security out of the way, we can knuckle down and look at the rest. What are the odds like? Are they competitive? Do they offer a range of different bet types? Can you understand the odds? Do they offer live streaming? What are the bonus offers like? All these should be at the forefront of your mind.

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Making the perfect bet

As we mentioned above, there are many factors involved in getting the perfect bet in place. The type of bet and the betting odds given are big ones. As a newcomer, it can be confusing from the outset so we’ll try and break it down. Once you’ve got the hang of it though, it’s easy. Then it will simply be up to you to read the form guides and make the best judgement you can base on your own knowledge of the horses running in your chosen race.

Horse racing betting odds explained

If you don’t understand odds, you’re not going to get very far with the horses. Different countries display their odds in different ways. The UK does them with fractions. For example, 2/1 simply means that if you were to put £1 on the horse and it won, you’d get £2 back. Some odds look more complex such as this – 11/4. If you put £4 on, then each £4 will return £11. The fun thing about online betting is that the odds are in numerous formats so you can change them to suit your preference.

Europe uses a decimal system. The odds look like this – 2.0 – meaning that if you were to place a £10 winning bet, you’d get £20 back. Similarly, a £10 bet with odds of 6.5 would reap a £65 win. It’s really not that hard once you get to grips with it. The Americans use a two-way money line, which has plus or minus signs in front of the number denoting the amount that will be won on a specific bet.

How to choose your bet

If you know nothing about racing form – that is the information that tells you how well a horse has run previously, what type of ground they like to run on, the weight they’re carrying, the jockey riding them, etc. – there are other ways to try and determine which horse to bet on. This is through the odds. A favourite horse to win will have the smallest odds, that is the lowest payout. Often referred to as “evens”, these 1/1 odds mean you’ll simply get back what you bet on the horse, to begin with.

Look at the list of other horses and see what their odds are an example: A horse that’s offered at evens has a 50% chance of winning. A horse at 4/1 will have a 20% chance of winning. While a horse at 9/1 only has a 10% chance to win.

However, if this last horse were to win, then you’d get a much bigger payout. It might sound complex, but it isn’t really. The smaller the odds, the more likely the horse is to win meaning that you’ll get your money back and hopefully some extra.

Two jockeys during horse races on their horses going towards finish line. Horse racing betting concept

Fixed odds, SP

It’s now time to get into the nitty-gritty of some of the terms used for odds within betting. Fixed odds are when the odds remain the same once you’ve placed your bets. As is the case with many sporting events, betting odds can change the closer it gets to the race as conditions change in favour of different horses. Fixed odds mean that if you placed a bet at one price and the odds drop, later on, you’d still be paid out at the odds in place when you placed your bet.

SP is another commonly seen notation and stands for starting price. This means that if you bet SP, you won’t know what the odds for that horse are until the race begins. If you win, you’ll get paid out at that starting price. This is usually done for the favourites. Not that this is so much to do with the betting, but at this stage, it’s important to note what NR means nonrunner. If you’ve bet on this horse, you forfeit anything you placed on it.

What are the betting types?

Each way bets are commonly seen online. This means that you are simply placing two bets in one. You bet once that the horse will win and once that it will get placed, usually meaning that it’ll come second or third. This is a safer way to bet, as it means that you are more likely to get some money back. However, if the odds for the horse are 8/1 and it wins on an each-way bet, you won’t be paid out the full price but rather 1/4 or 1/5 of the odds.

Other popular bets include on the nose, where one specific horse will win. Doubles are where you can select a win for two different races. This doubles the odds of the horses by each other so payouts can be massive. Folds are similar and built up of 3, 4 or 5 races with a horse picked from each race. To win, all horses must win their race. However, you can also place this as each-way bet too. There are many more options and, as you learn the system, you can test them out.


Betting on horse racing is an exhilarating experience. Many online sites will also stream the games live so that you can actually sit in on the action as well. Even if you don’t win all the time, horse racing is so exciting to watch that this can be worth it in itself. That being said, this is still gambling so please be responsible and keep an eye on your bankroll so that you don’t get too carried away! What are you waiting for? Give it a shot now!