Odds tell you how much you could win by placing a bet on your preferred horse.
The odds will change as the race draws nearer to the post time because the bookies make adjustments in accordance with how much money is being placed on each competitor. The more money, the shorter the odds.
The favourite will have the shortest odds because it has the most chance of winning, so more people will bet on it.
Odds-on means that the amount you win will be less than your total stake should your horse win. This situation often arises if one particular horse in the race is judged to be greatly superior to the rest.
Note: If you win your bet your stake is always returned to you.
Ways of expressing odds
There are three main ways in which odds are displayed
UK odds are displayed as fractions to calculate your potential return multiply your stake with the odds and as a result you receive your net winnings. Add your stake and you know what your total payout will be if you win the bet.
The odds are usually of the form x/y (e.g. 5/1, 9/5). Dividing x by y gives a ratio to 1. The smallest ratio or the largest amount of money on a number represents the favorite.
Payout is calculated by (odds ratio to 1) x bet amount + bet amount.
e.g.1 – For odds of 3/1, the approximate payout for a £2 bet is 3 x £2 = £6 + £2 = £8.00
e.g.2 – For odds of 5/4, the approximate payout for a £2 bet is 5/4 x £2 = £2.5 + £2 = £4.50.
When using European odds (decimal odds) just multiply your stake with the given odds and you know what your total payout will be if you win the bet. If you want to know your net winnings just deduct your stake from the total payout.
e.g. For odds of 1.7, simply multiply your stake by 1.7, the approximate payout on a £2 bet will be 1.7 x £2 = £3.40 (£2 of which is the original stake)
A third method of displaying odds is used in America on sports events.
In the United States they view a bet from the 100,- USD perspective – either you have to place 100,- USD on your favourite team or you have to place a certain stake to win 100,- USD.
In American sports the second team named is the home team.
Using an American Football game as an example:
|San Fransisco 49ers||-260|
To win $10 betting on the Bears you would need to $26.
Betting $10 on the 49ers, you could win $28 ($18 net winnings)
There is a simple conversion to american odds into decimal ones
49ers 100/260 + 1 = 1.39
Bears 180/100 + 1 = 2.8
The SP or Starting Price is the odds available on a horse at the start of a race.
The SP is set by taking a rough average of the odds offered by the various bookmakers at the racecourse at the time the race starts.
Each way bets
An each way bet is really two separate bets. The first bet is a standard win bet. The second is a bet that your selection will get a place.
e.g. £5 each way = £5 to win and £5 to get a place.
Total staked = £10
Obviously, a horse is much more likely just to get a place than it is to win. The place section of the bet is therefore paid out at reduced odds. These are normally either 1/5 or 1/4 of the win odds.
There are many more kinds of combination bets.