Horse racing offers one of the biggest sports betting markets in the world and that means punters of all persuasions can ante-up and test their mettle in a variety of ways.
Regardless of whether you're a high roller looking to stake thousands on a race or a casual punter simply speculating on a major race such as the Grand National, the online arena certainly has something for everyone. However, if you don't know how you're going to ante-up, then your chances of success are slim.
But surely it's just a case of finding a horse and betting some money? Technically, the answer is yes. However, if you want to give yourself the best shot at making money in the horse racing market, then a solid betting system is needed. Although some will suggest that horse racing betting systems are simply a myth, this isn't true.
The problem betting systems often have is that people wrongly assume that they are a magical sure-fire way to make money. The reality, however, is that these "systems" are nothing more than techniques for picking out value in the market. If you peel back the layers and blow through the bluster, any horse racing system is a great way to guide your selections when you want to ante-up.
With this in mind, we've broken down some of the more effective horse racing betting systems you can use to increase your EV. However, before we get into the ways in which you can pick a winner, it's important to outline the two main methods of expressing odds in the betting world.
Know Your Odds
Depending on where you are in the world and the race that's taking place, the expression of odds will come in one of two forms:
Fixed Odds Betting: In the virtual world, the majority of horse racing betting sites use the fixed odds system. With a fixed odds bet, the payout for a winning wager is agreed at the time a bet is placed and will not change.
Parimutuel Betting: In contrast to the fixed odds system, some sites will also offer the Parimutuel odds method. Although less common in Europe than it is in other parts of the world, this style of horse racing betting is controlled by a 'tote' system which takes into account all money in the betting pool and determines the payout odds of winning bets once the house's cut is removed. Essentially, Parimutuel betting differs from fixed odds betting in that the final payout is not set until the betting pool is closed.
Now we've cleared that up, the next thing to do is outline some simple horse racing betting systems that you can use to enhance your chances of success in the iGaming arena.
The Statistical Lay
To lay a horse in the sports betting arena means you are essentially betting against a runner. To use this system, you first need to find a race that has ten or more runners. Once you've found a suitable race, the key to this system is identifying the three favourites and checking out their odds.
Once you've found the top three prospects in the race, you then need to pick out the runners that have odds of between 3.0 (2/1) and 5.8 (4.8/1) and lay against the one with the lowest odds. Doing this, according to the stats, you should realise a winner around 80% of the time.
The reason this is true is because statistical analysis shows that horses with odds within these ranges (when in the top three picks of a race) only win around 17% of the time. This means a lay bet (i.e. a bet that the horse won't win) on these prospects should realise you a profit 83% of the time. Simple.
Back the Beaten Favourite System
Another horse racing betting system that has a good chance of success is the beaten favourite method. When a horse is highly touted but beaten in a race, the weight of public opinion often flows against them in the next race. As the wave of betting flows against the beaten favourite, the bookmakers are naturally forced to increase their odds on that runner.
Anyone that's experienced in the horse racing world will know that even the best horses can lose; regardless of how skilled they are. Because of this, it's easy to look past a single, unexpected, loss and ante-up on a beaten favourite. Indeed, because the horse will have better odds than it normally would, it then makes this strategy a viable long term proposition because whenever a horse is underpriced (i.e. the odds are longer than they should be), it will almost always realise a profit over time.
The Dutching System
For the mathematically inclined, one of the best horse racing betting system is the Dutching method. In a nutshell, this strategy basically ensures that when you bet on a selection of horses, you will make the same amount of money in each instance, regardless of the overall winner. Although the route to this goal involves some calculations, the overall premise is relatively simple. In fact, if you look online you'll find a myriad of calculators that will do a lot of the hard work for you.
To give you an insight into the process in action, you first need to find a race with a decent amount of runners (usually 10+). At this point you need to pick out two of the top three ranked horses with fairly generous odds. Once you've done this you need to work out the implied probabilities from the odds offered. After that you work out the stake necessary for each bet to guarantee yourself a set profit regardless of the outcome.
Here is the above process in action:
Implied probabilities according to the odds:
Implied Probability of an 11/1 runner = (1 / (11/1 + 1)) * 100 = 8.33%
Implied Probability of an 3/1 runner = (1 / (3/1 + 1)) * 100 = 25%
The Stakes Required:
Amount to stake on the 11/1 runner = (8.33 / (25 + 8.33)) * £10 = £2.50
Amount to stake on the 3/1 runner = (25 / (25 + 8.33)) * £10 = £7.50
Using this formula you should see that regardless of which selection wins, you will receive a £30 return on your investment.
As you can see, horse racing betting systems aren't a magical way to defy the odds and beat the bookies. Instead, these systems are designed to numbers and data to disseminate the betting market in a logical way. The end result, as you can see, is a solid way to refine your selections and improve your chances of making money in the horse racing arena.