Smart Horse Racing Bets

To win at betting horses online you need several things. You need a bankroll. You need patience. You also need to make smart horse racing bets. The difference between winners and losers in horse racing comes down to who is making the best bets. At the end of the day you are competing with other horse bettors in the parimutuel system.

Here are 8 tips from the pros that will help you make smart horse racing bets. Don’t neglect any of them and you will be well on your way to making a profit at the race track.

Do Your Horse Betting Homework

Horse racing is a gambling game that rewards knowledge. You have to study the horses, jockeys, and other factors on a racing circuit if you want to win consistently. Doing your homework means having access to the right tools.


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You need to become familiar with past performances, also known as PPs. You should be watching a lot of horse races at your favorite online racebook. It also helps to listen to some professional handicappers, but never substitute that for your own research. You can only make an informed opinion when you have done your horse racing homework.

Never Bet Just to Bet

The only time that you should be betting a horse race is win you have a solid opinion. If you are not comfortable with projecting an outcome, skip the race. Betting just to bet is called action betting. Any handicapper will tell you that action betting is a sure way to lose your money.

There are some horse racing bettors who say that they cannot enjoy horse racing if they do not have money on an event. Andrew Beyer says that he allows himself a very small number of action bets because he will get bored if he is not betting. That’s fine for Andrew Beyer who seems to throw away more winning tickets than you or I will ever cash. Only make a bet when you have an opinion.

Make Win Bets

Smart horse racing bets are bets that are made to win. You should not be making many place bets, and you should be avoiding the show bet altogether. These bets are not going to give you the return that you need to stay in the game over the long haul.

Most people resist making a win bet because they lack confidence in their handicapping skills. There is no easy way to say this. If you lack confidence as a horse bettor, wagering on horses is not a game for you. Work on improving your skills until you are comfortable making win bets.

Don’t Play a Quick Pick Ticket

There are some horse racing bets that ask you to make multiple bets on multiple horses. These are called exotics. An example of an exotic would be the exacta. This requires you to pick the winner and second place finisher in a race. A superfecta requires you to pick the first four horses in exact order. That is almost like playing the lottery.

There are horse racing bettors who approach this horse racing bet in exactly that way. You can choose a Quick Pick option at your online racebook that will select the horses for you. How silly is that? If you want to play the lottery, stick to the lottery. Your chances are just as good and the payout is much larger.

Stop Using ALL in Exotic Bets

A similar practice is to use the ALL button when making an exotic ticket. The Daily Double requires you to pick the winner of two consecutive races. Let’s say that you like a horse in race 1 but have no clue who will win race 2. You bet a Daily Double with ALL in the second race. You are simply stating that you have no opinion.

If you do not have an opinion on a horse race, you should not be betting on it. Period. The ALL button will provide a win here and there, but in many cases the payout you receive will be less than what it cost you to play the bet. That can really hurt when the horse you picked to win the first race does in fact score a victory. If you have no opinion, bet the horse you like to win instead.

Only Bet at 3-1 or Higher

The real secret to making smart horse racing bets is to demand a price whenever you wager. A price is the odds you are given on the horses that you bet. A good rule of thumb when betting to win is to demand that horses be offered at 3-1 or higher. This means that you only need to win one of every three bets to break even.

The very best handicappers win 30% of the time or less. They know how to bet, and they only bet when the odds are favorable. You should know the odds that you are willing to accept on each horse that you bet, and know this before you make your wager. No horse betting at odds lower than 3-1.

Shake Off Your Losses

Losses are a part of the game at horse racing. No matter how good you are, there will be losses from time to time. A loss can affect your mentality. Big losses can shake your confidence to the core, making you hesitant to wager properly in the future. You have to learn how to shake off the horse racing losses and move on.

Take a break. Go play a round of golf. Do something fun. You may need to get your head out of horse racing for a while until you can come back and refocus on the best way to approach the game.

Eliminate Weak Favorites

Too many horse racing bettors focus on picking winners. This is fine, but picking losers can be just as profitable. You can make money betting on horses when you know which horses not to bet. You should develop your skill at identifying false favorites.

Favorites are the horse in a race with the lowest odds. The favorite in a horse race only wins one out of every three races. If you are only betting favorites, you will lose money. It takes time and practice, but you can learn to spot favorites that may be ready for a defeat.

Bonus Tip – Use a Good Online Racebook

We will end this discussion on smart horse racing bets by encouraging you to bet horses online. Betting with an online racebook is going to give you access to more race tracks. That means more betting opportunities.

We recommend Amwager and a few other online racebooks. Some will give you a nice bonus when you sign up. You can use that bonus money to help build your bankroll.

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