Horse racing is historically the most bet on sport in the UK and just about all online and offline bookmakers offer horse racing betting odds. Despite the growth of football betting and betting on many other sports, horse racing is still the most bet on sport in traditional betting offices.
Most UK-facing online brands offer customers a full horse racing service. Football is by far the most popular online betting sport, followed by tennis but then horse racing attracts most bets. Bookmakers issue pre-race, in-play and ante post horse racing odds for meetings in the UK and overseas fixtures.
Live TV coverage on free-to-view and subscription channels increase the interest in betting on horse racing, on the Flat, over jumps and at All-Weather tracks.
SmartBets is an odds comparison tool that covers football and horse racing. The main function of the site is to compare the odds on offer with leading UK bookmakers. For any event, the betting options are listed vertically on the page and the bookmakers are displayed horizontally.
The odds on offer for each horse with the featured bookmakers appear in a box or cell. The layout is akin to a spreadsheet.
Here is an example of a horse racing odds comparison grid showing horse racing odds. This table shows five horses and three bookmakers. However, in reality, there are often more horses and 20 bookmakers:
|BEST ODDS||bet365||William Hill||Betvictor|
At the meeting point of two coordinates is a cell in which x are the horse racing betting odds for a horse with a bookmaker. In this example, there are 15 variations as five horses are covered by three bookmakers.
SmartBets displays the best horse racing odds for each runner in a green font while the odds for the other horses with the other bookmakers use a light blue font.
SmartBets monitors the betting odds on horse racing for all the runners in a race with the featured bookmakers. This process is automated which means the grid is updated as soon as the odds change. Bettors also use bots to pick up any changes so they can take advantage of good horse racing betting odds.
The purpose of any comparison site, such as for insurance or holidays, is to flag up the best price. SmartBets functions in the same way by highlighting the best horse racing odds.
SmartBets compares horse racing betting odds from the following leading online bookmakers:
This list includes established UK betting brands that have a retail division and other bookies that only offer online horse racing odds today. Each bookmaker offers place terms which determine the proportion of the win odds and the number of places that apply for each way betting.
That type of betting market will be explained in more detail in another section of this article. SmartBets highlights the best betting odds on horse racing odds for each horse in a race and the place terms which are documented below.
Horse racing odds today are an expression of a horse’s chances of winning a race. They show what bettors win for a successful bet. Here is the calculation:
£10 bet at 16/1 = (10 v 16) +10 = £170.
The stake is returned for a winning bet. Odds can be displayed in fractions or decimals and tables show the conversion. Fractional odds of 16/1 are 17.0 in decimals. The stake is included in decimals so a 310 bet at 17.0 returns £170.
Bookmakers look at several factors in compiling odds:
In the UK, bookmakers issue horse racing odds 48 hours before a race. The final fields are declared two days before a race so bettors can assess the form. There can be non-runners which affect the odds.
If a horse is withdrawn near the time of the race and bookmaker cannot create a new market there are adjustments depending on the horse’s odds when it is withdrawn, called Rule 4.
Horse racing odds explained show that bets are settled at the Starting Price (SP) or the horse racing odds today at the time of the bet. There is a process for each horse race in the UK whereby the average price as a race begins is issued.
Bookmakers use this price to settle SP bets. The SP is subject to standard place terms for each way bets which are popular for runners with high horse racing odds.
Bookmakers create a betting market for a horse race. There is a calculation which determines what proportion of the book is taken up by each horse. For example,
Horse racing odds today of Evens suggest a horse has a 50/50 chance of winning a race. Here are typical horse racing odds in order with the shortest priced horse first and the calculation for a race with eight runners:
The total percentage for each horse in this race is over 100% which means the book is Over Round and there is a built-in theoretical margin for the bookmaker who compiles the odds. The skill is creating horse racing odds today that attracts bets on each option while making a profit for the bookmaker.
Horse racing odds are compiled on the basis of a 2% profit per runner which totals 16% when there are four horses in a race. The UK horse racing odds market is competitive so bookmakers cut margins to attract bets.
An odds comparison site like SmartBets highlights the bookmaker offering the best odds.
Horse races have place terms which are used to calculate the returns from each way bets when bettors wager on a horse to win a race and finish in the places. The place proportion of the win odds and the number of payout places are based on the number of runners and type of race. Here are the place terms for horse races in the UK:
The bookie’s margin for the place element of an each way bet is calculated in the same way as the win market. However, the margin is above 100% because bookmakers have to payout on the number of horses who finish in the payout places.
Bookmakers offer concessions on horse racing and the most popular are extra places and Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG). In a handicap with 16 runners or more, you might get five places to attract more business. Bettors who place a bet on a horse at early odds and the Starting Price (SP) is different will have any winning bets settled at the best odds.
This offer is usually available from the morning of the race but some bookmakers introduce BOG on the night before a race.
For ante post betting, bookmakers introduce non-runner/no bet (NR/NB) for major races. Bettors place bets well ahead of the race and take the current racing odds. If the horse is withdrawn bets are usually lost.
However, when the NR/NB rule applies stakes are returned and the horses are classed as non-runners. This concession is designed to encourage ante post betting.
Betting on horse racing is important for sports bettors in the UK, online and in betting offices. Here and here are the most popular types of horse racing bets:
The most popular horse racing odds in the UK cover the major champion races at the Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot and standalone races like the Grand National over jumps and the Derby.
There are ante post markets for these races which bookmakers introduce well in advance. The extra places, BOG and NR/NB concessions are common for ante post races.
Here are answers to some common questions about horse racing betting odds:
They express the chances for each horse to win a race and they can be a win or each way.
You can look at the odds with each bookmaker or visit a horse racing odds comparison site such as SmartBets.
Bookmakers compete with their racing odds and the bookmaker that offers the best odds varies. Best Odds Guaranteed means bets are calculated at the highest odds.
Selecting a horse is based on form, race conditions, ground and the trainer and jockey and other minor factors.
Value exists when the odds are greater than the horse perceived chances of winning a race which is a matter of opinion.
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