What does odds mean in horse race betting?
Placing it in the most basic of terms, odds in horse race betting are the numerical portrayal of how likely each horse is to win in a particular race. It’s one way of giving punters an idea of the probability of a horse in winning and the amount they can earn back if they choose the right horse.
How do you get the best possible odds in horse racing?
To get the best possible horse racing odds, it’s not just important to understand odds but also the current betting landscape.
As you can see, betting late gives you the advantage of obtaining market percentages far more in your favour than betting early. Truth be told we still find a lot of members of horse racing tipping services suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and have a tendency to back horses predominantly at fixed odds rather than alternative methods.
People seem to get ‘frustrated’ if they ‘miss a price’ when a winner firms, yet don’t seem to have the same ‘frustration’ when a horse they back at a fixed price drifts to a big price and win. Of course successful horse racing analysts will have many winners that firm rather than drift, but that doesn’t mean that all bets should be blindly placed at fixed prices at all times.
All the professional experts providing tips through Winning Edge Investments provide information on whether to back a horse at fixed odds, or to bet late, or a combination/blend of the two. Officially we record drifters using methods such as Betfair SP or BOB. You will match/equal officially recorded odds by using these methodologies, but we urge members to aim to exceed official odds by following the tried and tested recommendations below.
20 Tips for getting the best possible odds
The aim of the Fair Odds Recording methodologies at Winning Edge Investments is for every member to beat the price recorded in official results, or at the very least match them.
Below is a summary of the top 20 ways to get the best possible horse racing odds, and greatly exceed official results:
1) Use odds comparison websites
One of the major factors - if not the major factor - in betting profitably is always striving to get the absolute best price possible.
Once all the work is done and you’re onto a good thing, there’s no bigger ‘own goal’ than taking an inferior price. It takes the same amount of time and effort to place the bet, yet you get paid (sometimes substantially) less.
When you’re following any of our horse racing services, it’s important that you aim to get the best prices possible. There’s no point going to the one bookie and just taking their price when others are paying better.
Take yourself back to the old-school betting ring at the track…you wouldn’t do it there! You would always search for the best price and zero in on that bookie.
Thankfully, odds comparison sites allow you to replicate that when betting online. Rather than having to make your way around all the different bookies’ websites or apps, odds comparison sites allow you to just pick your horse race or sporting event and see multiple bookies’ prices side-by-side.
There’s a few odds comparison options out there. In our opinion, the best one available is Dynamic Odds. Click the link and get an exclusive 4-week free trial.
What makes us say that Dynamic Odds is the best?
If you aren’t using Dynamic Odds you are costing yourself a fortune in additional profits. It amazes us that there are still members that are still not utilising this tool. Even a small punter working full-time will boost their profits substantially using Dynamic Odds.
You can check, compare prices and even place bets through your laptop or mobile with all your bookies using the dynamic odds platform.. This is much quicker and more effective than betting through each bookie app or website separately. Don’t forget clicking our link gets you a 4-week free trial, so if you haven’t tried it yet, get onto it now.
The premium version only costs $35 a month. For the extra money you’ll make by being able to easily take better prices, that’s an absolute bargain. Trust us, it’s worth every cent.
2) Have many bookmaker accounts
The basic rule with corporate bookmakers is simply to have access to as many as possible, as it gives you a better chance of always being able to bet the best price. Take your betting bank and spread it across as many bookmaker accounts as possible. It’s far better to have your bankroll evenly split across 10 bookmaker accounts than all sitting in one.
There’s a lot of options out there when it comes to bookies. Our suggestions, in order of importance/benefit are as follows:
Betfair, Vicbet, David Dwyer, TopSport, Bet365, Sportsbet, Sportsbetting, NSW Tab, VIC Tab, Ubet, BlueBet, Ladbrokes, Neds, BetEasy, TopBetta, Betstar, Bookmaker, Tabtouch, Best Bookies, Unibet, Palmerbet, Playup, Bbet & Betdogs.
3) Bookies with a buffer
If you’re not usng Bet365, make sure to sign up immediately!
Bet365 routinely offers the best early prices on racing, and in addition offer an SP guarantee. Bet365 pay out best of fixed price or SP, whichever is higher. It can be worth at times taking a lower fixed price to secure the potential benefit of 'drift protection'. Whilst this is often a good option, best tote or Betfair SP will usually outperform SP on any drifter. Taking early prices with Bet365 will give you the opportunity to exceed official results, with the SP buffer available if the horse does drift.
Bet365 are well known for banning winning punters, but with NSW and Vic now having minimum bet laws in place, Bet365 is right back in the picture for everyone. Use them where their price is above or close to the 3rd best fixed price in the e-mail as there is an SP buffer (as long as you aren’t restricted from this product).
Betfair routinely offer the best odds available in the market for horse racing, particularly during the last 15 minutes of betting.
Usually Betfair gets you the best odds on horses drifting in the market, and on horses at big (double figure) prices. It is a must have!
We could write an essay on the prices available on Betfair on some of our winners, but a handful of examples from Dean’s Tips are below. As you can see, at all spectrums of the market you can get great prices on Betfair even just at Betfair SP:
5) BOB (Best of the Best)
This is a great product that gives you the best of 3 totes or Top Fluctuation (note Top Fluctuation is calculated from 25 minutes before race start time - not from the opening price).
BOB is usually better for horses at single figure odds, and BFSP (Betfair SP) better for horses at double figure odds.
6) Additional late betting stake on big drifters
One opportunity to consider is increasing your stake on a dramatic drifter.
The Kelly Criterion (widely regarded as the best formula to use to determine the optimal size of a bet), suggests that to maximise long-term profits and create a greater edge, the more you should bet. So, as an example if you rate a horse a $3 chance and can get $7 in the market, you should bet MORE than if you could obtain $5 in the market.
This theorem is why we recommend having another bet at our runners if the price drifts to around 50% or more above the recommended price.
Some reasons that horses drift dramatically on Betfair include;
These reasons have already been assessed and considered by our expert professional analysts - drifters should not concern you in many instances.
If you lock in an early price and then the horse drifts significantly (close to 50% or more), it is certainly worth backing again on Betfair to get your average price up, to exceed official results.
There have been plenty of significant drifters that have won at odds far greater than official prices. It's simply about taking additional advantage when one drifts.
7) Get on track
It’s becoming well reported that top fluctuation prices available on track at the racecourses are well above those reported through the Official Prices (which require a ridiculous 6 bookmakers to all have the price for the fluctuation to be included). Heading to the track to bet can get you better prices than available online.
8) Other bookies not considered in opening fixed prices
Many bookies such as Unibet, Palmerbet, Betstar, Bookmaker, Neds & Pointsbet are all not included when stating the 3rd best fixed price. You can often get bigger fixed odds using these bookies.
9) Bookies not on Dynamic Odds
A very large proportion of members bet using Dynamic Odds, and take the best available prices from that selection of bookies. As a result, there are several bookies whose prices are not shown on Dynamic Odds. They are also not considered in official results or betting information.
However, many members do bet with these bookies, and often find they get greater prices than main bookies. The other bonus is that as these bookies are lesser known & not on Dynamic Odds, their prices are often available a lot longer. If you happen to miss an early price, it is worth looking at these bookies to see if the price may have held, as they often do hold much longer than the bookies on Dynamic Odds.
Options include: Unibet, Palmerbet, Betstar, Bookmaker, Neds & Pointsbet.
10) Horses drifting to better prices than quoted before alert sent
This actually happens fairly often. By the time the alert is sent, often a horse has drifted out to prices greater than stated, but nonetheless that stated price is recorded. For example, there was one occasion where a horse was advised at $3.20 when the e-mail was sent, but was $4.40 about a minute later. The $3.20 price was recorded for that winner.
11) Bookies offering better prices than quoted after alert sent
There are occasions where bets are sent, but there’s still 1 or 2 bookies who haven’t put up prices yet. Even though early prices have been crunched, often these bookies will post their analyst’s initial prices. There was an occasion where we backed a horse from $21 into $11, and then 1 or 2 bookies opened 15 minutes later at $21. Those prices often sit there for a while as most members have already placed their bets.
12) Monitoring and betting late when market percentages are lower and more in your favour
When we advise taking a price with Best Tote/SP, Top Fluc, Betfair SP or BOB, that suggests we think the horse will likely drift from its current fixed price in betting.
Bets for most horse racing services are sent usually between 9am and 11am, but the market percentages are larger at these times. Whilst we often get outstanding prices on horses that have been mispriced and firm, on most occasions natural horse racing betting movements mean the prices drift back out towards start time as the bookies start to compete and the market percentages reduce.
This often means a horse drifts back out, but then gets backed again very late by big players. So, although the starting price may be close to or even lower than the early price, the horse has been much larger odds during betting.
Below are three examples that spring to mind, but these types of market movements are commonplace:
13) Not betting or laying back a runner on Betfair if a horse has become over bet
Often a horse gets ‘over bet’ and backed down to a silly, short price, particularly at the shorter end of the market. You can choose to simply not bet when the value isn’t there, or the horse is under the rated/minimum price advised - this will save you units in the long run and avoids taking ‘unders’. You can also set a minimum price on Betfair SP so that you never take below the minimum price you set / we advise.
Some smart members lay back runners that firm dramatically. This enables them to effectively have a ‘free bet’ on a runner, or even guarantee a profit regardless of whether a horse wins or not. This grants some members the opportunity to substantially reduce variance and bet reasonably risk free, particularly when backing runners expected to firm dramatically when advised by the expert.
Greyhound Genius is one service where this can be very effective as all bets are advised to be backed at fixed odds when the e-mail is sent, and the vast majority of bets firm in the market.
14) Take advantage of promos and bet boosts / top ups
Corporate bookies offer all sorts of horse race and sports betting promotions, such as money back if your win bet runs a place, or bet boosts etc.
Be sure to take advantage of these for as long as they are available to you, as they are excellent for adding cream on top of your profits.
15) Metro/City v Country/Provincial
Prices on runners for Metro/City races are much less influenced when bets are released than Country/Provincial races where they can be impacted. For Metro/City races (the major raceday in each state typically on a Saturday and Wednesday), three good options are either betting through Bet365 if you have the SP guarantee, using a Best of the Best product (highest of Best Tote and Top Fluc) offered by many different bookies including Vicbet, or again Betfair is your friend on Metro races also with amazing prices and liquidity available throughout betting, even if just using the Betfair SP tool.
Note the standard tracks for Metro/City racing are:
For Provincial & Country racing, taking some of the better fixed prices available at the time bets are sent is a good strategy, however if you are able to monitor prices even just on some days such as weekends, you will find through a combination of corporate bookies, Betfair and totes that you will get fantastic prices well above those recorded.
16) Consider the advised unit stakes
The advised unit stakes are an excellent guide on whether to bet early or late on selections. Based on your experience with a service, or assessment of their previous results, you can determine the standard amount. For many services the 'standard' amount the expert aims to collect on a win bet is around 5 units. If that’s the case and the service backs a horse for 1 unit to win, and the horse is odds of $5, that's about normal as a good bet. If the horse is odds of $10, then we stand to collect 10u if the horse wins, and that's a high confidence bet. This horse will often firm in betting. If the horse is odds of $2 we stand to collect 2u, so this is low confidence, or possibly just a ‘saver’ bet. This horse will often drift in betting.
So using the amount to be collected, with 5u (or the average collect) as the 'barometer', can be a reasonable indication of whether a horse will firm or drift, particularly at the extreme ends of the spectrum. This can help you decide whether to back the horse early at a fixed price, or take a late betting option such as BFSP/BOB/BTSP if not able to monitor.
An example was a horse called Flash Boy at Bendigo. Advised 0.5w but available market price was only $5. Given that's only a 2.5u win collect, locking in an early fixed price wasn't the way to go. Those who backed it with Bet365 got $9 SP, BTSP paid $10.90, BFSP $13, and last matched Betfair price was $14.50. One question that is asked is when should a bet not be placed if the value has gone? In general terms, advised bets should be placed, but the best way to explain is with extreme examples.
Firstly, let's say we advise 1u to win on a horse at $31 for a 31u collect. Should you back it if you miss early prices and it firms to $10? The answer is yes, because the 1u investment still stands to collect 10u and that's still a major collect and a big profit. The significant firming indicates simply how incorrect the initial market price was, but how much you stand to collect indicates the horse is still a value bet. If I advise 0.1u on a horse at $31, and it firms to $10 before you have bet, well then you only stand to collect 1u if it wins backing it at $10, well below what you would normally expect to collect on a winner with the service, so you could give this horse a miss as long term there's little value to be had taking unders on those runners.
A better example is if a service advises 1u to win at a horse at $5, and it firms to $2 before you've placed you bet. Again the original collect was 5u, but now with a 1u investment on a 2u collect, this no longer would be a worthwhile investment. It's an art, not a science, and ultimately your decision, but the above will help guide you towards when to bet early or late (or not at all in rarer instances).
17) One tip in a race v multiple bets in a race
If there is one bet in a race, there is more likelihood of that runner firming (particularly if the expected win bet collect is anything above 5u). When there are 2 bets in a race, it's often the case that one firms & one drifts. However when there are multiple bets in a race (3 or more), it is very rare they will all firm. Usually maybe 1 firms & the rest drift, or often they will all drift.
The only exception is if we aggressively back 3 runners at big odds to beat a short-priced favourite. If the short favourite drifts, the others could firm, but it can go the other way. Often exceptional prices are obtained on runners betting against a firm short-priced favourite. Again, the aggressiveness of the staking will guide you on whether to bet early or late. The more horses backed, the more that locking in fixed early prices without an SP buffer should be avoided unless the collect is well above 5u. When there are multiple runners in a race it is often a good opportunity to monitor or use BOB/BFSP.
18) Keep records and regularly review them, but don't worry about always getting the best possible price every time
It isn't possible, or required. All of our services are highly profitable, with results easily achieved by following the information contained here. Constant improvement in your betting practices will mean constant improvement in your long-term results, and that's the key to long term success with your betting. Take a couple of minutes out every day (or just once every now & then) to review the flucs & closing prices available of runners we back using dynamic odds & you will soon open your eyes to the potential opportunities.
19) Change your mindset: Don’t suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
As a general rule, many punters suffer from FOMO. They take a fixed price on most occasions. The market has changed dramatically and market percentages in early markets have continued to shift upwards to often 130%-135%, which is very high. Taking early fixed prices can be problematic also if there are scratchings, where heavy deductions can be applied, further reducing your final dividend.
A mindset shift for many is vital.
Realising that the Betfair market close to race start time gets down to around 102%, and waiting and attempting to monitor prices and bet late will result in better overall results for those willing to take the time.
20) Don’t be lazy, and stop making excuses
Whilst we understand most members have jobs, the reality is a large proportion of bets are sent on weekends, or outside normal working hours.
For all members, there will be periods where they are not working, and it’s at those times where members should look to greatly exceed official results by monitoring and placing bets late rather than blindly betting using Fixed or Best Tote/BOB/BFSP type options. Like most things in life, the more effort you put in, the better the outcome will be. Also like most things, the more you practice something, the better you become. In this day & age with smartphones, bookmaker apps & Dynamic Odds, etc, comparing prices and placing bets at the best odds has never been more simple & accessible.
Invest intelligently, don’t be lazy, put a little effort in, and don’t miss out on the even larger profits you could easily be achieving.
If you are interested to take your betting game to the next level, we recommend you to sign up to our newsletter to receive a copy of our free 130 page Betting Information Pack. We send out a weekly newsletter full of free Horse Racing and Sports Betting tips, ratings, education and information to help you become a far more profitable punter.