Horse Racing Bets That Offer the Best Value

When you first mention value and betting some people think the two do not go together. Getting is taking a risk, gambling, and value describes how useful something is. For instance, you might think your computer is valuable to you because you use it to shop online and find great deals, another example of value, but the truth is that good gamblers look for the bets that return the most profit for the money they risk, another example of value.

There are many ways to wager on a horse race. The most simple wagers are called straight wagers. Examples are win, place, and show. The win bet is the simplest of all. If your horse is the first across the finish line then you win and get to split the win pool with all the others who bet on that horse to win. Place position is second so a place bet is a winning bet if your horse is first or second. Show is for third position and if your horse horse racing reading finishes in any of the top three spots you get whatever the show payoff is, but place and show have one big disadvantage over win.

The win pool is divided only among the people who bet on a horse to win and then their horse actually does win the race. If, on the other hand, you bet a horse to place, you still collect whether it is first or second so twice as many people may hold a place ticket and place usually pays less than win. Show is divided among the people who backed the top three so that is almost always less than the win or place payoff, depending upon how many people backed the horse, that is.

More complicated bets such as trifectas and exactas and pick threes are called exotic bets. Not only are there many combinations or possibilities that may occur (a 5 horse race has 60 possible trifecta combinations) but the takeout, the charge that is levied against the bets by the state and race track is usually higher.

So in shopping for value you must be aware of the amount of money you’re charged for making a bet. The takeout, or vig. as it is sometimes called (short for vigorish) varies from state to state and according to the types of wagers. It may be as low as 15% for a win wager to as high as 28% on an exotic wager. Straight win bets typically offer the best value unless the race track has a special promotion to encourage a particular kind of wagering.

How likely a horse is to win compared to the amount of money actually wagered on that runner is another consideration. Since the odds may not necessarily reflect the true chances or probability of a horse winning it is possible that some horses are under valued or over valued. Favorites are often bet down below their actual chances of winning as are long shots, those horses who are at long odds.

Though it varies from race to race, a rule of thumb for novice bettors is to wager on horses in the mid range of odds. Your best bet therefore is usually the straight win bet on a horse that is not at the lowest odds and not at the highest odds. Value betting on a typical race would usually be on horses who are in the range of 3-1 to 6-1. However, please remember that wagering on horse races is a risky business and you should never risk more than you can afford to lose.

Even professional handicappers work very hard to eke out a small profit because horse racing handicapping and betting is one of the most difficult of the intellectual sports.