Top 6 Horse Racing Betting Strategies


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Horse racing has been around for centuries and is one of the most popular spectator sports worldwide. Millions troop the racetracks annually, and several others bet on their favourites in every major event, including the Kentucky Derby, Melbourne Cup and other prominent races.

These engagements have contributed to the stable growth of the global horse racing market, which experts valued at USD$402.3 billion in 2022. This figure is expected to reach USD$793.9 billion by 2030.

Like any other spectator sport, it takes knowledge of the game and the players to formulate a horse racing–betting strategy. However, with several betting options, newbies can start simple and eventually move to more complex systems after building their skills. Below, you’ll find some betting strategies to consider.

Betting strategy #1: Straight wagering

A single bet is perhaps the safest betting strategy that works perfectly for beginners. Under this method, punters collect prizes if any of their favourites win. A bettor can place a ‘win’ bet if they’re confident about their runner copping the top spot. A ‘place’ bet lets you win if the thoroughbred places in the top two. And finally, a ‘show’ bet enables you to win if the runner gets any of the three spots.

Straight wagering adds a palpable edge to thrilling races like the Wyong Gold Cup. When you’re considering the Wyong Cup odds, opting for straight wagering can be a fascinating dance between risk and reward. Its slightly conservative nature balances out any major losses while leaving room for potential wins.

Betting strategy #2: Multiple horse betting

Some bookies might allow an ‘across the board’ wager, which mixes two or three straightforward betting options (win, place and show) to increase your chances of collecting a payout. You’d have to make the winning bets for all conditions before you could collect, though. Besides mixing all the straight bets, punters can wager on two or several horses to place differently in one or more races. These bets are called exotic wagers.

For example, a standard exacta bet enables you to wager on two horses to finish in the top two spots. Betting on a boxed exacta is also an option, where you can collect pot money if your two runners place first or second. That said, it costs more to wager on a boxed or reverse exacta than a standard exacta. Trifecta and superfecta wagers allow punters to pick the top three and four placers, respectively.

Besides choosing multiple horses, punters can also determine the runners most likely to win two consecutive races in a daily double bet. This method can be used in longer-running horse racing events like the Melbourne Cup.

Finally, there’s a ‘pick’ wager, where bettors can predict the top finishers of a certain number of consecutive races. For instance, betting on a Pick 6 wager means a punter has to pick the winner of six races, not the top six placers of an event. In this strategy, you can increase the probability of winning, although the risk also rises as you pick more runners.

Betting strategy #3: Betting on the ‘beaten favourite’

While the first two betting strategies bank on the winners and placers, this wagering method does the opposite. Instead of favourites, punters place their bets on a runner with recent losses but had good winning records before their defeat. This strategy is also called the ‘beaten favourites’ system. This system operates on the principle that the loss is a temporary flak and the runner can still become a dark horse, literally and figuratively.

When using this betting strategy, punters must study the horse’s performance history and rankings, trainers and similar aspects to ensure that your bet can make a strong comeback. Tapping this strategy can be lucrative, especially if you’ve mastered the art of spotting the ‘beaten favourite.’ That’s because these seemingly losing horses have higher market odds, meaning you’ll also collect higher payouts if your bet wins. That means you’ll still collect even if the amount isn’t as high as the most profitable bets in horse racing history.

Betting strategy #4: Lay betting system

Regarding placing stakes on a losing runner, here’s another horse race–betting strategy that works in contrast with the others: lay betting. Tapping this strategy enables a bettor to wager against a contender or place wagers on the thoroughbred most likely to lose. Thus, you’ll win if your horse fails to make it as the top finisher.

Using this strategy, you can pick two to three race favourites and start evaluating their odds. In addition, you can also select other runners with the lowest chances of winning, also known as the event’s underdogs.

Betting strategy #5: The Dutching strategy

The Dutching strategy is said to have originated in the 1920s, named after its inventor, alleged mobster nicknamed Dutch Schultz. To begin Dutch betting, you must be familiar with the Dutch betting techniques that enable punters to adjust the bet, stake and profits using mathematical formulas. The idea is to bet on several options that will allow you to collect a payout no matter the results of the race.

The main idea is to divide your stakes to collect profits no matter the odds on the horse you’ve bet on. In a simple equal-stake Dutching system, a punter places the same bet amounts on the two strongest contenders, keeping the projected returns and the profit in mind. For instance, if a winning bet can get you USD$50, wager USD$12.50 for each horse for a total stake of USD$25. If your chosen horse wins, you’ll collect USD$ 25 in profit.

Again, this is only one of the many ways you can use the Dutching model. If you want to tap this technique, make sure you familiarize yourself with the design first and use an online Dutching system calculator for quick computations.  

Betting strategy #6: The Yankee strategy

This betting strategy is one of the oldest techniques available, earning the moniker ‘the grandfather of all betting strategies’. A Yankee betting strategy can be confusing, but beginners can quickly get the hang of it once they try.

This betting method covers 11 bets of equal value but is divided into four horses in various races: six doubles, four trebles and one fourfold. Two or more of your chosen runners must win or place in the race for you to win, depending on the type of wager you choose. Some punters can earn generous rewards for using this strategy to bet on several of the world’s most famous horse racing events.

The Dutching strategy isn’t a foolproof technique, and the risks remain. However, it can also become profitable if you know how and on which runners to bet.

Wrapping up

When placing stakes on a thoroughbred, a punter has to consider several factors, including the runner’s performance history, trainer, jockey and handicap. Choosing the right betting strategy is also as important, as it can spell the difference between winning and losing—even if it doesn’t guarantee positive outcomes.

By studying the various techniques in this blog post, punters can exercise caution and use their heads to make the right choices. This is valuable in any betting activity, where some might lose a lot before making a winning wager.

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