Bringing specialist expertise in rugby (both league and union) and cricket, Ella Miller is a dedicated member of the Wetten team with years of experience in creating betting-related content. Having started writing about sports with her own blog while at university studying journalism and, post-graduation, turned her wordsmith abilities to writing for a variety of different sites. She joined the Wetten team in 2019 and is now a Contributing Editor for various sections of the site. When she’s not working for Wetten, Ella loves attending any rugby or cricket match she can get to, horse riding, and tending to her garden.
10 Tips & Horse Betting Strategies That Work
Want to know how to bet on horses effectively? This horse racing betting guide tells you all about smart strategy!
There are many different approaches you can take to horse betting strategy, so what is the best? Here, you can learn a number of different methods. This is more than an online betting guide – it’s how to bet on horse racing and do well. Follow these expert strategies and you won’t go wrong.
There is more than one way of how to horse racing betting strategies. Certain methods suit different punters. From seeking each-way value on events to hedging your bets in major handicaps and races with big fields to Dutching and assessing favourites, there is so much to take in.
Sound horse betting strategy also involves following what happens on the exchanges like Betfair, studying form and race terms. Each of these will help you to make better betting decisions. That is what this horse racing betting guide is all about. No system can guarantee winners, but should throw up more success than failure. Let’s look at how horse racing betting strategies work in individual detail.
How to Bet on Horses – Look for the Each-Way Angle
Any how to horse racing betting guide will tell you to bet each-way when whenever possible. This can mean playing win and place bets separately or together. The rationale behind this is that, provided you can at least double your money on a place wager, there is value in doing so. Race terms for each-way betting do vary between a quarter and a fifth of the outright betting odds depending on the number of runners and type of race.
If extra places are available, this only adds to the incentive to look for each-way value. As you will see below, it can be worth opposing the favourite for a variety of reasons. There may be greater value in finding a bigger priced horse running into a place. Always look out for this angle.
Hedge Your Bets in Big Fields & Valuable Handicaps
There are times when it makes sense to bet on more than one horse. This is how to bet on horse racing in events with big fields and major races like the Melbourne Cup handicap held in Australia. There is nothing wrong with hedging your bets in this way. The reason for this is that cases can be made for quite a few runners.
Valuable handicaps are the target for many leading horses, especially ones that allow entries from overseas and around the world. Combining this with the each-way horse betting strategy also makes perfect sense. There may be extra places available and real value as big priced runners outrun their horse racing betting odds and finish in the frame. That alone explains why hedging your bets makes sense.
Consider Dutching – How Horse Racing Betting Works When You Fancy Two
Dutching is where you split your total stake on two or more horses, but adjust them such that you will make a similar profit regardless of which horse wins. This is a perfectly legitimate way of gambling. All guides of how to bet on horses praise it. You need strong numeracy skills and do the maths based on the odds available, but there are also Dutching calculators that take the complicated aspect of this away.
The downside with this is that only one outcome can win outright. As any horse racing betting guide will tell you, there are pros and cons with any system you choose to use. Benefits outweigh drawbacks, however, especially if you get a winner. You will be well into profit and the lost stake on other horses that you used for Dutching won’t matter.
How to Horse Racing Betting – Treat Favourites with Healthy Scepticism
On average, favourites only win races roughly a third of the time. Therefore, backing them blind is not recommended as how to bet on horse racing by experts. If it was, then you would lose money more often than not. You want to be looking at opposing favourites wherever possible, then, as that is what the data says.
If there are any doubts about a favourite, including not having high odds which thus aren’t value, you should look to take them on. This is especially important in competitive races. A weak favourite is one that you should definitely oppose. It can pay to look beyond the market leader, and there are certain circumstances which apply.
Backing the Outsider of Three
In smaller field races, many of the how to horse racing betting guides recommend taking the favourite on. This can be because these can be run as very tactical affairs. This has led to a popular horse betting strategy – backing the outsider of three. Whatever its odds and implied probability suggest, in terms of the field there is a 33 per cent chance that the least fancied runner will outrun its price and cause an upset.
Using a statistical basis for how to bet on horses in races like this may not help you. Favourites can and do disappoint, hence the birth of backing the outsider of three. Underestimating the underdog in these small field races could be a mistake, then.
Are Beaten Favourites Worth Forgiving Next Time?
Beaten favourites are horses with something to prove, but there could be genuine excuses for them not justifying their place at the head of the market previously. As any horse racing betting guide will tell you, it is always worth forgiving one run in case something unforeseen occurred. This could include being short of room at a key stage in the race, being hampered by a faller or not completing because of that.
Judging a horse on one run is not how to bet on horse racing by any means. Beaten favourites should be assessed on a case by case basis as to whether a below par run should be disregarded. That relative approach is not a horse betting strategy that will appeal to less patient punters, but could be rewarding if you are prepared to put some time and research in. It’s worth remembering that when it comes to Cheltenham betting odds over in the UK at their big Festival, beaten favourites have a poor record.
Watching the Exchanges – How to Bet on Horse Racing
Sports betting exchanges are where the serious bettors play. That is why keeping an eye on what is happening on these platforms is part of how to bet on horses effectively. Peer to peer wagers can result in even better prices than regular fixed odds offered by online bookmakers and the returned dividends from parimutuel betting pools like TAB and the Tote.
Money can stack up on the exchanges both in support of a horse winning and to lay it, i.e. to lose the race. Watching out for these patterns should be part of your horse betting strategy as you can see whether the market speaks in favour for or against horses you are thinking of backing.
The Perils of Following a Gamble
Gambles do develop on both the exchanges and regular fixed odds sportsbooks. However, be warned, just because swathes of money being stake on a horse forces its price to tumble, it doesn’t come with any guarantees of success. Racehorses get backed all the time and don’t then deliver on whatever promise attracted so-called smart money to them.
Our how to horse racing betting guide is honest about that at least. Others are content to gloss over this uncomfortable fact but, here at Wetten.com, we want to be frank with you. Not all market support can be for winners. That is just the nature of horse races in Australia and beyond. It is well worth reiterating that no horse betting strategy or system is fail-safe or foolproof.
Like any decent horse racing betting guide should tell you, both conditions contests and handicaps will have horses that are better suited by the terms of the event than others. There may be a penalty structure in place for previous wins. You can compare this to official ratings and expert handicapping services, and see which horse comes out on top.
That is how to bet on horse racing properly. With handicaps, you are looking for something unexposed. In other words, the best handicapped horse in the race. Always remember with conditions races, fillies and mares will receive a gender allowance from colts and geldings. That may swing the terms in their favour. Conversely, there are also horses that are put at a disadvantage by them, and they should be avoided.
Becoming Students of Form
In order to develop the best judgment when betting on the horses, there are no shortcuts. Knowing the form and estimating its worth is invaluable. This is how horse racing betting pros who provide tips do it. You can improve your skills by studying horse races in advance and then reviewing the results with an eye on the future. This will require an investment of that finite resource, time, but it should prove worthwhile.
How to horse racing betting guides all agree. By all means lean on experts for picks to help you narrow down the field, but there is nothing better than drawing your own conclusions based on what you have seen and how you read the form. Everyone has a different opinion, and that is the beauty of horse racing.
Horse Betting Strategy FAQs
🐴 How do you bet on a horse successfully?
In order to make a success of betting on it, you need to know how horse racing works. That means understanding all aspects and elements of the sport. Only then are you ready to place wagers on horse racing in Australia or any other part of the world. In order to become a successful bettor, you have to understand value in the odds and know all the form among other things.
📋 What is the best horse betting strategy?
As any horse racing betting guide will tell you, good gambling strategies largely depend on the type of bettor you are. For some, mitigating potential loss is a key consideration. Others enjoy betting systems that allow them to eliminate horses from contention and narrow the field in a race down to a shortlist. Whatever strategy from a betting guide appeals to you, it’s important that you try out different approaches until you find something that suits your wagers best.
✔️ How can I improve my horse bets?
Improving your bets by finding better value is what every punter wants. Part of learning how to bet on horses is about developing a sixth sense about odds offered that are bigger than they should be. Even the top online bookmakers in Australia don’t always get everything right when pricing up horse races, so be on the lookout for opportunities where the odds are in your favour – not the bookies!
🌧️ What is the most important factor in horse racing?
There are so many factors behind how horse racing winners are found that the most important is relative depending on the bettor or tipster making selections. Many respect the value of previous course and distance form. For others, it’s all about acting in conditions or having the speed or stamina required to win the race in the going. Just remember, form is temporary but class is permanent. When you read horse racing betting tips, look at the reasons why an expert fancies the horse and see if you can draw the same conclusion yourself.
❓ How often does a favourite win?
This is how horse racing works from a betting perspective – the favourite has the highest implied probability of winning a race. This is a theoretical statistic, however, and in practice things can be very different. Not all horses run up to their past form and horse betting odds all the time. That is the great thing about this sport. Some horse betting strategy guides will advise you to only back favourites if you cannot make any credible case against them, regardless of their price.