Straight Bets – Betting to Win, Place and Show
Betting to Win
Many experts consider playing a horse to win to be the best bet in horse racing. If you bet on a horse to win, your horse must finish first.
The reasoning behind betting to win stems from the fact that you can see what your horse’s odds are by looking at the tote board before the race runs. You can then determine whether your horse’s odds represent good value based on your own judgment. This is extremely important.
Why? Because the real key to making a profit betting on horseracing is finding horses which represent good value – whose chances of winning are better than the odds displayed on the tote board (which are made by the public) – and betting enough of those horses to produce a profit. Successful horse players win by taking advantage of mistakes in judgment made by the public.
For example, the public determines the post-time favorite in every race. These favorites win approximately 31-33percent of the time at a flat bet loss of between $0.08-$0.15for every dollar wagered, depending on which study you care to look at. This is a universal maxim in horse racing proven by the analysis of hundreds of thousands of races – yet still argued over by inexperienced horseplayers.
What you really need to understand is the fact that if you bet only public favorites to win, many of which represent poor value – you will lose. Also consider the fact that the public is wrong 66 percent of the time. To win betting on horse racing you must take advantage of the public’s errors in judgment.
If your handicapping tells you that the horse you like has a 2-1 chance of winning and the odds displayed on the tote board say the horse is paying off at 5-1, you have found yourself an overlay – and good value. If your handicapping tells you that a horse you like should be 12-1 and the tote board says the horse is paying off at 2-1, this represents an underlay -and poor value. While favorites do represent good value on occasion, horseplayers looking to make a profit when betting to win should take note of the following percentages.
To make a 20 percent profit on each dollar wagered you must:
· Win 50 percent of your bets at average odds not lower than 7/5
· Win 40 percent of your bets at average odds of 2-1
· Win 30 percent of your bets at average odds of 3-1
To make a profit of 40 percent on each dollar wagered you must:
· Win 50 percent of your bets at average odds of 9-5
· Win 40 percent of your bets at average odds of 5/2
· Win 30 percent of your bets at average odds of 7/2 or better
Solid handicapping and the discipline to wait for good value plays make the above percentages achievable.
Betting to Place and Show
If you bet on a horse to place, your horse must finish first or second. If you bet on a horse to show, your horse must finish first, second or third. Betting to place or show offers you a better chance to cash more tickets, but the payoffs are lower due to the fact that the pool of money must be divided among more bettors.
In the case of betting to place, payoffs are made to those who bet the winner of the race to place, and to those who bet the second place finisher to place. In the case of show wagers, the payoffs must be divided even further, among three groups of bettors – those who bet the winner to show, those who bet the second place finisher to show, and those who bet the third place finisher to show.
If you do choose to bet to place or show, you are probably better off playing the lower-priced horses. Horses with higher odds tend to be underlays in the place and/or show pools, and produce better value when bet to win. Horses with lower odds, particularly favorites, tend to be overlays in the place and/or show pools.
Straight bets to place on public favorites will produce an average loss of between 8-12 percent. Knowing that the payoffs for place and show are lower, handicappers who bet horses to finish in these positions generally try to over come the lower payoffs by picking a higher percentage of winners.
That being said, if you can pick a higher percentage of winners, you can probably make a better profit betting on horseracing – by betting to win.