How Do Odds Work in Horse Betting

By  //  January 17, 2022

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Horse racing betting odds represent the risk-reward relationship. Understanding how they are calculated is the first step toward becoming a better bettor. This page will delve into the subject, beginning with an essential guide to horse racing odds and progressing to additional information bettors require to wager intelligently.

It is not as difficult as it may appear to learn how to read the odds in horse racing betting. While familiarity with fractions is beneficial, you do not need to be a mathematician to understand how horse race odds work. Instead, it becomes second nature to examine a list of wagers and comprehend what they mean with practice.

Horse Racing Betting Odds Work

Betting odds on horse racing are essentially fractions. For example, when a horse is priced at ten to one, it is written ten to one. Similarly, a horse’s price range of 3-5 can be read as 3/5.

The “fraction” denotes the relationship between the amount of money you stand to win and the amount of money you must risk. For example, the first count (numerator) indicates the number of units you stand to win regarding horse racing odds. In contrast, the second number (denominator) shows the number of units you must risk winning that many.

For instance:

10-1 odds: You will win ten units for every one unit wagered.

7-2 odds: You will win seven units for every two units wagered.

1-5 odds: For every five units wagered, you will win 1 unit.

If the first integer is greater than the integer, your net profit will exceed the wager.

If the second number is greater than the first, you are betting on the “odds-on favorite,” Your return will be less than the amount staked. This occurs when wagering on famous horses – you stand to lose money because everyone bet on the same horse. If the odds on the favorite win, the betting pool will be split between multiple winning tickets, resulting in a smaller pool share for everyone.

Numerous horse racing betting websites and tracks display odds in fractional increments. Additionally, learn more about wagering types in TVG racebooks frequently and omit the one from odds representing whole numbers. For instance, your horse racing betting site may display 10 or 20 alongside horse names to indicate 10-1 and 20-1 odds, respectively.

Horse Racing Morning Line Odds

The morning line odds serve as a baseline for betting on each race in horse racing. A track oddsmaker sets each race’s morning line odds to reflect how he believes the public will bet.

After the morning line odds become available, racing fans can view the upcoming race and understand which horses are likely to emerge as betting favorites and longshots.

While the morning line probability typically indicates each horse’s relative strength, the oddsmaker is not handicapping the race. The oddsmaker’s objective is to accurately determine public sentiment to set the line and inform bettors of what to anticipate once betting begins.

Horse Racing Odds Jargon

One thing is sure: being labeled an amateur implies a lack of familiarity with and use of horse racing odds jargon. The following terms should be familiar to you:

Fixed Odds

A wager in which you receive the odds advertised by the superior operator at the time your wager is placed. 

Late Money

When a horse receives a large wager just prior to a race.


A term used to describe a strong favorite who must actually spend more money to win. A horse priced at 1/3 has a good chance of winning.

Long Odds

Although this is an underdog wager, if you win, you will receive numerous multiples of your stake. A horse at 50/1 is a long shot.

Short Odds

While there is a good chance of winning, you will only earn a small profit. A 6/4 odd is considered short odds.


If no one correctly selects the winners, the money won in a pari-mutuel pool. The money remaining in the collection is added to the pool’s subsequent instance.


A reward Even if no one correctly predicts the winners, the Pick 6 will pay a small consolation prize to a play that “almost” wins – this is how the term “consolation prize” originated. Typically, the consolation prize is much less than the total payout.

Minus Pool

If the total wages are insufficient to cover the legal minimum payouts to winning-tick holders, the track is required to make up the difference.

Odds Board

The tote board, which is typically located in the infield.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to horse racing chances, there are so many factors to consider that it’s understandable why some people find it difficult to understand. Take advantage of the opportunity to wager and take your chances at the track! We hope that this tutorial has helped you know horse racing odds and become a more confident bettor due to it.