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Calculating Odds and Payoffs in Horse Betting

Calculating Odds and Payoffs


If you are passionate about learning horse betting then this guide will be of great help. You will learn
how to calculate the payoffs based on the odds as well as reading the tote board.

Understanding the odds and payoffs

The common odds is the win odds noted on each horse but literally they do not tell us much about what
the horse will pay but rather the profit you will get for the bet. For instance, if the odds of a particular
horse show as 6-1 this means that you get to receive a profit of $6 for each $1 wagered, 6-5 means that
you get a profit of $6 for each $5 wagered.

For example, if you bet $2 on a horse with odds 6:1 and the horse wins, then your dividend payout
would be $12. However, on a toteboard, the odds can be rounded off at which for 6:1 the actual odds
would be 5.6:1. The odds are rounded down due to the rules of the track. Thus, your actual payoff may
differ from the toteboard but the difference is not huge. The payouts are rounded down to the nearest
nickel and this rounding is known as breakage.

Tip: The low the odds, the low the payout/dividend. For instance, if a horse has odds of 4:1 and the
other 12:1 this would mean that the horse with odds 12:1 has a higher payout.

One thing you need to take note is that the favorites usually have low odds while the underdogs have
slightly higher odds. Therefore, if the favorites win, the payout is usually low while the reverse is true, if
the underdogs win, the payout is tremendously high.

Thus, when placing your bets, it’s wise to make straight bets on horses that have low odds at which they
have a chance of winning or showing in a race. On the other hand, in order to get a good return on your
investment, a bettor should be able to place various bets in any one given race.

Hence, it’s wise to place many bets in one race than placing several bets in different races. Therefore,
when reading the racing form, the horses with low odds are the favorites while the rest are underdogs.
However, in horseracing most races are handicapped meaning that the horses competing are of the
same level at which predicting the winner is very difficult but previous performance can give you a clear


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