10 Tips and Tricks for Sports Bettor to Use for Horse Racing 

By Dennis Trusty / Guest Writer: 

As many know here in the Bluegrass State, Sports Wagering has become legal and I am seeing more and more people involved in sports betting all over the place — including the racetrack.

And, I have been thinking how can we get them into the horse racing marketplace and encourage them to bet on our sport, too.

You know we say:

“It takes moments to get into horse racing, years to master it.”

Well here’s a way for all of us who love to bet on horses to extend a bridge to our friends who are sports bettors: 

  1. You don’t have to bet a lot to make a lot: In Sports betting, a normal wagering amount is 100 dollars and some people new to that investment opportunity may say: “oh my goodness, that’s a lot of money to bet on something.” Well, most Sports bettors just utilize that denomination as a  normal bet amount. Horse players, on the other hand, have our minimum bets, too. But that amount is normally $2 dollars. Unlike Sports betting, though, sometimes a correct $2 dollar bet may garner you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in return. Not bad. Not bad, at all.
  2. Doubles, Pick 3’s, Pick 4’s, Pick 5’s and Pick 6’s are all just horse racing parlays: Winning multiple games are a parlay, pure and simple. Well, winning multiple races with a wager that is placed on Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 or Pick 6 is the same thing, in a way. Find a horse you feel is your one, big, confidence play and single around it and use more horses in the other races for more likely a chance to win, and that can get you a big payday. Ask an experienced horse player to help you craft your first or second tickets. You will get the hang of it, pretty quickly. 
  3. A jockey’s or trainer’s win percentage could be treated as a “player prop:” Know when a trainer hits wins at about 20%, and they have 4 horses in on the card. You can assume, by the easy math, they should win at least one of those races. So? Bet all 4 to win. Think when a jockey has “live mounts” up and down the card, and he hits at about 25%. Then, just bet him every race. You should have 2 or 3 winners. By simple percentages. Cashing tickets means you’ll feel more confident to play.
  4. Normally when you see a +500 you say “This team/person has no chance:” In horse racing that’s normal odds. If there is a normal card, let’s say, 10 races, and 2 of them win and you have the same amount bet on every 5-to-1 shot or over who you like, you at least break even. If 3 of them win, you’ll make money, and, again,  5/1 is normal odds winners.
  5. The normal, talented sports bettor is right about 40% to 50% of the time: The most talented horse player wins about 2 races a day, and the favorite only wins at .33% of the time, as well. But, due to the fact that horses can pay so good, it’s ok to win at a lower percentage. You can make it up, as they say, on volume. 
  6. Most every horse has a “specialty:” If you are a sports bettor, you wouldn’t expect Bam Adebayo to step out and start launching 3’s.  But you could expect him to garner a lot of rebounds. Well, in horse racing, we wouldn’t expect Zenyatta to be on the lead in a sprint race, either. There are horses that run better on the front end. There are other horses that are “closers,” and come from the back. There are “stalkers,” who normally sit right behind the front runners. It may take you a minute to determine what “style” a particular horse has or likes in a race. But once you learn it, it makes it easier to identify.
  7. Who about the rookies? So, in Sports betting, you know who the “Freshmen” or  the “Rookies” are.  When you depend on these athletes, you have to depend on the fact that “newer players” are going to be either studs or duds based on practices. In horse race, we have “Freshmen”  and “Rookies,” too. These starters are new horses, and our “practices” are the published workouts in the morning. Imagine the 40-yard dash.  This is a version of that. And, the more “works” and the faster the reported “times” are the best indicators of possible “studs.”
  8. Know who the horses are running against. By now, in the NFL season, you know how the Miami Dolphins are normally going to play. But one “word of caution” may come from an analyst who may say: “They haven’t beat anyone.” Just know it’s the same here. We have “key races,” where horses have came out of a race where other runners have already come back to win the next time out. Those are “italicized” in the program. Those races, even though they may be for less or the same money, could have been tougher than they appear on paper.
  9. It’s a players pool …so you not competing against the books: At least, in horse racing, it is the betting people who set the odds at “game time.” And, if someone feels like there is a “live horse” you can tell by simply looking at the tote board prior to the race. This is in comparison to a tradition sports wager. Take aim at the tote board for indications.
  10. The odds are not locked in. In horse racing the final odds fluctuate, based on the people betting on certain horses. So, if you bet a horse at 6-1, he could break out of the gate at 4-1, or break out at 10-1 depending on the final amount of money bet on each horse. That is contrary to a sports wager, which is set in stone when you place your wager. You can benefit from this practice. Often times, you odds can slide up the scale by “game time.”

Those are some small ways for you to compare horse racing and sports betting to each other.