Whether you bet on horses occasionally for a bit of fun or regularly with a goal of making money, you should do everything you can to improve your chances of winning. As with pretty much every form of gambling, there’s nothing you can do to guarantee that you win every single time unfortunately. However, there are certain things that you can do to help improve your chances.
For one thing, you should always try and look for value when betting on horse racing. You should also make sure that you practice good money management. On this page we have explained the concept of value and how it applies to horse racing betting, and also offered some advice on how to manage your money. We’ve provided a little tip on how to get some extra value out of your betting as well.
Regardless of how good your betting skills are and how well you know your horse racing, you simply will not win all of your bets. You may well have times when you go on a hot streak and pick a lot of winners but equally you may well have times when you go on a cold streak and nothing works out for you. Over a prolonged period of time the chances are, at best, that you win a slightly higher percentage of your wagers than you lose.
In some respects it doesn’t even matter too much what your ratio of wins to losses is. Indeed it’s possible to make money from horse racing betting even if you lose more wagers than you win. If you generally back outsiders at fairly high odds, for example, then one win every few bets could still turn you a healthy profit. Of course if you’re mostly betting on low priced favorites then you’ll need a higher win ratio. The main point, though, is that it’s ultimately about how much money you win and not how many bets you win.
The key to successful horse racing betting is in understanding the concept of value and knowing how to find good value bets.
The concept of value in horse racing betting, or any form of gambling for that matter, is something that a lot of people either overlook or just don’t understand. And yet value is arguably the single most important thing in betting. A lot of people make the incorrect assumption that simply getting high odds represents value and getting low odds means poor value. This is really not the case.
In a betting sense, value is essentially about the odds of a wager compared to the actual likelihood of that wager winning. Take, for example, a horse with odds of 10/1 (11.00 in decimal odds, +1000 in moneyline odds). Many people would think 10/1 is great value – after all you win $100 from a stake of just $10. However, if the horse is a complete no hoper and only really stands about a one in 20 chance of winning the race then there’s no value at all in backing it.
Now imagine there is a horse in the same race that has odds of just even money (2.00 in decimal odds, +100 in moneyline odds). A wager of $10 on this horse would “only” win you $10, but if the horse is far and away the best in the race and likely to win nine out ten times then this is actually an excellent wager. Theoretically if the race was run ten times you would win $10 nine times and lose $10 just once.
Basically, odds by themselves do not represent either good value or bad value. You have to take into consideration how likely a wager is to win. It’s perfectly possible to make money out of betting mostly on low priced favorites and it’s perfectly possible to make money out of betting mostly on high priced outsiders. If you take value into account every time you make a wager then you stand an excellent chance of making money out of your betting.
Of course the difficulty comes in assessing the value of a particular wager. This is not an exact science by any means and it comes down to a matter of opinion really. If you have a decent knowledge of horse racing though and put some time into studying form and looking at relevant statistics then you should be able to make well informed judgments on where the value lies.
Understanding value and being able to find value bets is not necessarily enough in itself. You also need to manage your money properly. This is a very important skill and one that any successful gambler needs to have. You would be amazed at how many people lose money not through any lack of knowledge or ability to find value, but simply through not managing their betting bankroll.
If you have a decent system for your bankroll management and the discipline to stick to that system then you will dramatically improve your chances of being a long term winner.
There’s no single correct way to manage your money but there are certain guidelines you should try to adhere to. Ideally you should have a sum of money that you allocate to your betting and keep separate from all your other money. You should then have some rules in place about how much and how often you can add to your bankroll if required, and how often you will take a percentage of your profits out of your bankroll.
With your bankroll in place you then need to decide what percentage of your bankroll you want to bet as your standard stake. This can be anything you like really, depending on your attitude to risk, but 1% or 2% is probably best. It certainly doesn’t want to be over 5%. Whatever percentage you decide on, make sure that you stick to it and don’t start increasing your stakes to chase losses.
By betting with a fixed percentage of your bankroll every time, you should be able to ride out any runs of bad luck and still have funds remaining to try and turn things around. If you stake just 1% of your bankroll every time you bet then you would need to go on an incredible losing streak to lose it all. If that happened then you might have to think that betting is not really for you anyway.
There’s one very easy way that you can help yourself maximize the value you get out of your horse racing betting. That is to place your wagers online with a horse racing betting site. Most sites will give you bonuses when you first sign up and many of them also give you additional rewards if you keep betting with them regularly. These bonuses and rewards are great for boosting your bankroll and represent extra value just for depositing and placing your chosen wagers.