Odds are the single biggest aspect of horse racing that a punter needs to keep in mind. One can research horses until they are blue in the face, get tips from all the best websites, and even study horse blood lines, which are all good things to do, but when it comes right down to it, odds are likely the ultimate deciding factor what will determine where a punter puts his or her cash.
But at this point you might be sheepishly admitting to yourself that you don’t really understand odds, and really just pick a horse based on how much you like the name. Hey, don’t sweat it, everyone was a beginner at some point, and being new to anything, it isn’t a bad thing – it just means there is plenty to learn! Take heart in the fact that you can learn the basics about odds right now, in one short article.
What are Odds?
Bookmakers give odds to all horses involved in a race, which determine two extremely important aspects of that horse. The first aspect is that odds represent how likely a horse is seen as placing in that particular race. Or, coming in at least in the top five. So, if a horse is given low odds, such as 1/2 the horse is seen as very likely to do well. If, however, the horse is seen as l
ess likely to succeed, the odds will be high, such as 1/10. Note that the same horse in a different race will be assigned different odds, since the odds take into account all the horses in that race.
So doesn’t it make since to simply place a bet on the horse with the lowest odds, since that horse is favoured to win? Not necessarily. First, it should be kept in mind that odds are not guaranteed predictions of results. They are simply guesses, based on the history on reputations of those horses. So low odds do not guarantee a winning horse. And second, odds also determine how much a bet placed on that horse will pay out. A 10$ bet on 1/10 odds will grant a huge $100 pay out, while the same bet on 1/2 odds will grant only a $20 pay out. Hence, betting on an underdog horse that happens to succeed is a great way to rake in loads of money.
How are Odds Decided?
There are a number of aspects taken into account when bookmakers decide odds, including the history and reputation of the horse, recent success rate of that horse, and even things like weather and other climate conditions. Once again, odds are simply estimates, or guesses, as to the likelihood of each horse placing.
The very fact that odds assigned are often wrong is what makes horse race betting so interesting in the first place. A smart bet maker can see a winning horse when bookmakers overlook it, and place a huge bet on a winning horse that has been assigned high odds.
Or, a bet maker can learn a tip off that a horse has been assigned how odds, but is due for a win. Keeping an ear to the ground, and jumping on such betting opportunities when they arise is what separates a good bet maker from a great one.