Betting odds can be tricky to get your head around when you’re first entering the world of gambling and horse racing odds, in particular, can be complicated. Casino odds are typically fixed but horse racing odds are more fluid and can change over the course of a given race day, which makes it complex for newbies to get the hang of. In this guide, we’ll take you through the ins and outs of horse racing odds and how best to understand them.
What are Odds?
Odds are a mathematical representation of the likelihood of a certain outcome happening, worked out and displayed by race results & cards. In horse racing, this means the likelihood of a specific horse passing the finish line first. Odds also tell you how much your bet will provide you with in terms of a profit if your wager comes in. Once you know how odds work, you’ll be able to quickly assess your chances of winning and how much you could make if your bet wins. The odds vary from horse to horse and also from race to race, as well as from one bookmaker to another.
Fractional odds are the most common when it comes to horse racing and they’re also the easiest to understand, so they’re great for beginners. They represent the probability as a fraction, as the name suggests, with the left-hand number showing you how much you stand to win and the right number showing you your initial stake. For example, if you place a bet of £1 on odds of 4/1, you’ll receive four times that amount, plus your initial stake – so in this example, £5. With fractional odds, you’re only dealing with whole numbers, which is what makes them so much easier to get the hang of. So, instead of odds of 4.5/1, bookies will double the amount to create odds of 9/2. But the principle remains the same as with the other examples, so an initial stake of £2 would earn you £18 (2 x 9) plus your initial bet of £2, so £20 in total.
Fractional odds are more common in the UK but if you’re betting with online bookmakers, you might encounter decimal odds, so it’s important to understand how they work. With decimal odds, your initial bet is included in the number. So, if you had an even number bet where the reward is equal to your stake, it would be shown as 2.0. Likewise, a fractional odd of 5/1 (where £5 is won for every £1 stake) would be displayed as odds of 6.0 in decimal format. If you want to quickly work out your return from a decimal format, simply subtract one number from the other and multiply the remainder by your stake – 12.0, for example, with a stake of £1 would be 12 – 1 = 11, multiplied by 1, giving you a return of £11. Similarly, if you stake £10, your return would be £110 using this format.