Betting on Upsets

Do you want to make large profits betting horses at an online horse betting site? The consistent winners are those who perfect betting on upsets. An upset in horse racing usually results in high payouts, but these bets are difficult to spot and win.

EZ Horse Betting has created a brief guide that will give you the information you need for betting on upsets. You can find these bets on a live race track, or you can find them every day at your preferred online racebook.

What Are Upsets in Horseracing?

The best way to define an upset would be as an outcome that is unexpected, or an outcome that defies the norm. When a horse wins that the public did not expect to win, that could be called an upset. As you can probably imagine, upsets usually result in large payouts for a few lucky bettors.

Upsets happen every day in horse racing. They can occur at the smallest tracks and at the largest. The reason for these opportunities is that the public is actively involved in picking winners at horse racing. It is the betting public which determines which horses will be deemed the favorite when the gates open and the race begins.


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As a handicapper in general, the public is pretty good. They get it right about 30% of the time. That’s a respectable number, but it opens the door for plenty of upsets. When you can determine that the public has made an error, betting opportunities abound. The upset may be on the horizon.

It is one thing for the public to create a false favorite in horse racing. To truly be an upset, though, a winning horse needs to be one that was perceived to have little chance of winning. Seabiscuit in his legendary match race with War Admiral may have been one of the biggest upsets of all time. Many people were rooting for the little horse to win, but many insiders in horse racing felt that he would be beaten.

Or how about Birdstone upsetting the Triple Crown run of Smarty Jones in 2004? That was an upset for the ages. Fans in attendance were so upset that they pelted Birdstone’s owner with trash following the race.

Spotting a Potential Upset

We mentioned before that upsets happen every day on the race track. This is true. Every race card will yield a few moments that leave bettors scratching their collective heads, wondering how a certain horse was able to pull off a victory. With so many upsets, finding them should be easy.

Not so fast. Handicapping is a skill that can take years to perfect. Some would even go so far as to call it an art form. Finding winners is hard enough. Locating the horse that has the potential to upset a favorite is very hard.

Spotting a potential upset begins with identifying a vulnerable favorite. You should be able to determine which horses have a chink in their armor. There will be something in the past performances that does not seem quite right to you. When your senses tell you to look closer for vulnerabilities, listen to them.

The favored horse may have been racing too often. Maybe it is trying a new distance today for the first time. Bandages added to the legs can indicate a potential problem. You have to know which of these things matter and which of them will have no impact on the favorite’s ability.

Likewise, you should look for horses that have the potential to be an upset. A horse that has a reputation for performing poorly is likely to do that again today. Don’t think a horse will suddenly improve when it has demonstrated that it has no will to win.

A horse that shows recent poor performances may have a legitimate excuse for them. When you look closer, you might find that the horse was not doing well with a certain trainer or jockey and that a change has been made. Maybe the horse was competing at a level above its head and it being dropped into a lower class today. There are many factors which could work together to improve a horse’s chance to win, making it a potential upset.

Strategies for Betting the Underdog

Certain betting strategies are well-suited to taking a chance on the underdog. One of these would be including potential upset horses in exotic bets like the Pick 4 or superfecta.

When you use longhsot horses in exotic bets you are creating the potential for high profits. The reason for this is that the level of difficulty increases the risk of the bet, and risk increases the potential reward. A long-standing truth in horse racing is that betting a little to win a lot is a good approach. Of course, you will have a few losers along the way. But you need fewer winners to break even.

Betting upsets straight can also be profitable, but many bettors are not comfortable making wagers on horses that are 30-1 or higher. Rightfully so. These horses do not win their fair share of races, and in most cases they are a poor bet. That’s why it may be more profitable to use them in spots underneath.

Underneath means the spots that complete an exotic ticket. This would be the second and third spots in a trifecta, for example. You don’t always need an upset to win in order to make a large profit. Sometimes you only need the horse to run second or third when you couple it with a horse that has a better chance to win.

We would recommend that you create your own special notebook for keeping track of the underdogs that you bet and the strategies that you use. Over time you will come to refer to this book of angles and let it inform your betting on upsets.

When Underdogs Really Aren’t Upsets

Just as there are false favorites, there are also false underdogs. Some horses just fail to get the attention that they deserve at the race track no matter how well they do. When they win a race the crowd can’t believe it, but the smart handicapper has seen it coming all along.

Maybe you have been watching a horse that has consistently gotten better in its previous races. It has been finishing better with every outing, and now it looks poised to win. The problem is that the horse is facing some legitimate tough competition. Maybe this horse winning would not be such a surprise when you look at it on a deeper level.

There are few feelings that can beat the satisfaction of knowing you have spotted a horse which others have overlooked and dismissed as a loser. That makes all the hard work you have done as a handicapper worth it.

Are you ready to try betting on upsets with one of our recommended online racebooks? We encourage you to sign up today and start wagering with your computer, phone, or tablet. Be sure to claim any bonus that is offered to help boost your bankroll. Check our Bovada racebook review, BUSR, MyBookie, BetUS, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!

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