Should You Bet Odds-on Horses?

One of the most important concepts of horse betting is something known as value. To get value means that you are getting the best price for your bets. The higher the odds on a horse, the more value you receive. Sometimes a favorite is so prominent in the betting that you cannot see a way that it can be beaten. The problem is that the horse is an odds-on favorite, meaning that it will return less than even money. Do you bet the horse anyway or should you pass the race?

What Are Odds-On Favorites?

Odds-on or prohibitive favorites are those who have been bet so heavily that they now will pay less than even money. In some cases a strong favorite can be 1/5. This means that you would only win $1 for every $5 that you bet. It doesn’t take a financial adviser to realize that this is not a very good scenario for bettor.


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In any gambling game the idea is to risk a little to win a lot. By doing this you are improving your chances to walk away with a decent profit. In contrast, if you are betting a lot to win a little then the game will soon run you over and you will lose your shirt.

The odds-on favorite is a tricky horse to deal with, but there are a few ways you can handle odds-on favorites to actually increase their rate of return. The most effective of these is to use them in multi-race wagers or exotics where they can be coupled with longshots for a better return.

Increasing the Odds on A Horse

One way that you can increase the odds on a race horse is to couple it with other horses that have longer odds. How do you do this? With exotic wagers like the Daily Double and Pick Three.

You can use the odds-on favorite as a key horse which will then be played with a longshot. Let’s use the Pick Three as an example. In the Pick Three you are required to choose the winner of three consecutive races. In the first race you choose the odds-on favorite who is listed at 1/5 for a key. In the next two races you choose horses at longer odds.

You win your Pick Three and the return on your $1 investment is $50. Had you chosen to bet the odds-on horse straight, you would have received $0.20 for your $1 bet! By using the horse in an exotic wager you turned it into a 50-1 selection.

Opportunities like this do not arise every day at the track. But when they do you need to tale advantage of them. Don’t give up the idea of betting just because a horse is odds-on. Think creatively and find another way around.

Betting the Odds-On Horse Anyway

The whole concept of value revolves around whether or not a horse is worth what you stand to get in return. If you have handicapped the race and believe that a horse should go off at odds of 1-5, taking 3-5 is still considered value because you are getting more than what you think the horse should be worth.

In this case, your best play may be to bet the odds-on horse anyway. But EZ Horse Betting would caution against wagering too much money on these short-priced horses. They disappoint far more often than they come through.

Passing The Race

Watching the races at your favorite online racebook isn’t much fun without a betting interest. You want something to root for, and having your money in play makes the race more exciting. With that being said, sometimes the best thing you can do is pass the race and wait for a better opportunity.

If your desire to make a bet just won’t subside, try doing what Andrew Beyer does. He will set aside a very small sum of money to make an action bet. An action bet is a bet that you don’t necessarily expect to win. It is simply made for enjoyment so that you can enjoy the race more fully.

The next time you have an opportunity, why not create an account with one of our recommended online racebooks to bet on horses? You can receive free past performances and a nice welcome bonus when you sign up today. 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!  In just minutes you can be betting the horses from home on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. The best part is that U.S. Players are welcome!


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