Knowing how to read horse racing odds is one of the first steps towards being a successful bookie, gambler, or both. It’s astonishing how many people throw bets at races without having the slightest clue as to what a tote board is. While the numbers on the board might seem intimidating, it’s actually easier than you think to read and comprehend horse racing odds. By learning these odds, you’ll be able to form and calculate better bets for maximum gain.
Reading The Odds
The easiest information on the tote board to understand is the win odds quoted for each horse. It’s not stated how much the horse will pay, but rather the amount of profit you’d receive and the amount you’d have to bet to receive it. For example, 10-9 means you’ll get ten bucks in profit for every nine that you wager. 20-1 odds would mean a twenty dollar profit for every dollar wagered, so a $2 bet would net you $42 for a winning wager. Racing tracks also have different rules regarding payoffs. Payoffs use the odds and are rounded down to the nearest nickel or dime. This rounding is called breakage, and is the difference between what betters should receive on a winning bet and what they actually receive. This outdated concept was implemented decades ago to save tellers from doling out odd amounts and to keep the flow of customers moving.
Calculating The Odds
If you’re new to horse racing, you may be asking yourself “what are good odds in horse racing?” and “how are odds determined in horse racing?” To calculate the exact odds on a horse, you’ll need some numbers from the tote board. You’ll need the total win pool and the amount bet on that horse. Before the track pays off the winners, the “take” is deducted for state and local taxes, track expenses, and profit, which generally ranges between 14-20% of the total pool. Simply subtract the take from the total pool, then subtract the amount bet on your horse to give you the payout. Divide this figure by the amount bet on your horse for exact odds. This figure will then be rounded down to the nearest nickel or dime due to the aforementioned breakage. So, what are some good odds? If a horse has a 50% chance of winning a race, then 1-1 odds would be fair and 2-1 would be good.
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