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How to Bet on Horses; Your Racebook Betting Guide to Maximize Your Action

Posted by: Mariela Miranda

So you want to bet on horses? The world of online racebook betting is massive and immersive, and it’s no understatement to say that it takes a bit of learning in order to maximize your action. There’s no beating around the bush: horse betting is complicated. And keeping up with the intricate, ever-changing win rates and different types of bets require a bit of work. Nevertheless, this little handy guide aims to catch players up to the latest racebook news, as well as what bettors should consider before placing a wager on any steed. All will be revealed below.

How to Bet on Horses
How to Bet on Horses

Firstly, bettors have to find an event worth wagering on. Obviously, the most high-profile races will be at the forefront of bettor’s action. This includes the likes of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes, the Prix de l’Arc  de Triopmhe, the Royal Ascot, and even the Dubai World Cup. Betting on these types of events is easier than events that receive low-coverage because of the plethora of information that is available to help players increase their winnings.

So, once bettors know which event they want to wager on, the next thing they need to figure out is what kind of bet they would like to place. Naturally, the question of what pari-mutuel horse betting is arises.

Pari-Mutuel Betting Explained

The pari-mutuel system is one of the most commonly employed in the world of online racebook betting. Commonly referred to as pool betting, the pari-mutuel system is often used in short sporting events i.e. horse or greyhound racing where the winners are placed in a ranked order. In short, all the money or action placed on a particular race is placed into a pool and after the house takes its cut, the rest of the money is divided between bettors who placed the winning bet.

Essentially this is a type of system where you don’t know exactly how much you’ll take home if you win. In fact, the odds change as more people wager. This is the opposite of fixed-odds betting, such as money line betting or wagering on the spread, where people know exactly how much they’ll be taking home in case of a win.

Below is a step-by-step guide of how pari-mutuel horse betting works.

Pari-Mutuel Horse Betting in Parts

Firstly, all bets one particular event are placed into a pool. Secondly, a cut is taken to cover taxes, expenses, and profits deducted from the pool. This is the aforementioned takeout and will usually snag 15-22% of the pool, depending on the nature of the event. Accordingly, payoffs are calculated from the remaining pool and are shared by players who placed the winning bet. In essence, all one needs to do to calculate the payout is to take the sum of bets placed on a race and take the house cut. What remains is the winning pool to be split amongst the bettors who placed the right bet.

Types of Racebook Bets

Players have a multitude of pari-mutuel bets to place when using sports betting sites to wager on horses. These include;

Win: A bet on the horse you think will win e.g. finish 1st.

Place: A bet on a horse to finish second, but is still considered a win if the horse finishes 1st or 2nd.

Show: A bet on the horse you think will finish third; still a win if the horse finishes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.

Exacta: A bet on the horses you think will come in both first and second. Both predictions need to be correct in order to be a win.

Trifecta: A bet on the horses you think will come in first, second, and third. All three need to be correct to win.

Superfecta: A bet on the horses you think will come in first, second, third, and fourth. Again, all need to be correct to win.

Boxed Bets:   An exacta, trifecta, or superfecta that is does not need to be in the exact order to win.

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