Handicapping 101 Guide

Do you want to become a master of EZ Horse Betting? Are you ready to win real money at an online racebook? We’re here to help. Before you can join the best handicappers you just need a little refresher course. Think of it as a college class called Handicapping 101. Every horse racing bettor has to start somewhere, and it’s always a good deal to start with the basics.

We’ve put together a little Handicapping 101 mini-course that stresses some basic concepts of race horse betting. While there are no guarantees in horse racing, we can promise that your chances of winning will greatly improve if you follow some very simple advice. Grab a pen and a notebook. Class is in session!

Start Betting Horses Online

There was a time when the only race betting you could do was at a local race track or an OTB betting parlor. That has changed. It is now possible to bet horses with an online racebook. We believe that your chances of winning are increased when you use this method.


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An online racebook offers multiple advantages. First and foremost is the fact that you won’t have to travel to do your betting. Just fire up your computer, tablet, or phone and bet without leaving the house. No standing in line at the betting windows, no dealing with extreme temperatures, and no rude patrons to distract you from your handicapping.

Another advantage is that you have access to more tracks. You don’t have to limit yourself to one racing circuit. You can play tracks all over the United States, the UK, Australia, and even Japan. With so many choices, you will always find a race that is worth betting.

Some online racebooks will even give you rebates on your betting losses. You could earn as much as 5% cash back on losing wagers depending on how much you bet and which racebook you choose. Many online racebooks also offer loyalty programs that are designed to reward you for consistent play. You can earn free money to make bets, merchandise, or free past performances.

When you add it all up, betting the horses online will save you money. Every dollar that you save is another dollar that you can add to your betting bankroll.

Manage Your Horse Betting Like a Business

If a business were started without a plan, the result is likely going to be failure. The same can be said for horse racing. The top handicappers bet with the same mentality that individuals use to run a business. That is to say that they minimize expenses and maximize profits. They approach horse racing like an investor.

Betting like a business means having a solid money management strategy. You can’t just log in to the racebook and start throwing money around. You need to have a good starting bankroll, win limits, and loss limits. You also need to establish some kind of record keeping system. You need to know at a glance how much money you are spending on race bets and how much you are winning or losing.

Different handicappers will recommend different systems. We advise that you begin with no less than 50X the minimum straight wager in horse racing. The minimum on straight bets is $2 at most tracks, so you need to deposit $100 into your online racebook account to begin. If you plan on making exotic bets that cost $10 or more, adjust the math to reflect the cost of the bets.

Let’s say that you have chosen to make straight wagers. At a $2 minimum, a $100 bankroll means that you could lose 50 bets in a row before going broke. That kind of setup is giving you the best chance to win money. If you can’t book winners in a series of 50 bets, maybe handicapping isn’t the right thing for you.

We would recommend 50% of you total bankroll as a win limit for each betting card. So, if you started with $100 and won $50 for the day, stop and take your profit. As a lost limit we recommend 20%. If you lose $20 on a single card, stop and try again tomorrow. Doing this will keep you fresh and focused on winning. And, think about it. To reach your loss limit when playing straight $2 bets, you would have to lose every race on a ten-race card. That’s probably not going to happen.

Any kind of gambling is a long game. One day’s results does not tell the whole tale. You need to give yourself the chance to make consistent money over a long period of time, and having limits will let you do that. You also want to be putting a portion of your winnings back into the bankroll so that you can build up and make larger bets.

Learn How to Read the Past Performances

Every handicapper knows how to read past performances. You should start obtaining past performances from your favorite circuit and studying them on a daily basis. These charts use special types of shorthand to designate different things. You should be familiar enough with the shorthand to recognize important data at a single glance.

Past performances can be expensive. Some services like the Daily Racing Form offer packages of PPs that can save you some money. You might also be able to purchase a print subscription for the US region in which you live. Do not neglect this valid expense. PPs are the only source of information you have for figuring out which horse will win a race.

Did you know that some online racebooks will give you free past performances when you wager a certain amount each month? Check out some of the racebooks we recommend to see which one of them offers the best deal.

Be Prepared to Lose Often

Horse racing is not a betting game that you can win at every day. As a matter of fact, you will lose more bets than you make. Sure, you may have a rare occasion when you are winning every bet you make. Enjoy this because it will not last, and don’t forget to save back some money for a rainy day when you are winning.

The very best handicappers in the world are lucky if they can cash one out of every three tickets. This means that they are winning 33% of the time. Now, think about that for a minute. What does that tell you? It should tell you that the horses you bet on should be priced at 3-1 or better in order for you to break even. If you are betting horses at lower odds than this, you are ultimately going to lose your bankroll.

Try to embrace a philosophy of fewer wins at longer odds. When you bet horses that are offered at 5-1 or better, you will not cash as many tickets. But the tickets you do cash will be bigger. You don’t have to have as high a win percentage when you only play horses at long odds.

We’ve given you four foundations of Handicapping 101. There are more, of course, but if you remember these four things you will be in a much better position to win money. Remember that learning how to bet the horses takes time and lots of practice. Check our Bovada racebook review, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere! Read our tips often and you’ll be off to the race. Also, you may want to check the best horse racing books too.

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