Betting on Horses

Horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the world when it comes to placing sports bets. The major events attract a huge amount of wagers. Races such as the Kentucky Derby and the Grand National are watched by millions of people, and the vast majority of the audience have some money at stake.

Only a small percentage of people watch horse racing purely for the love of the sport. In fact, if it wasn’t possible to wager on horse races, the sport would probably die out. The exciting nature of horse race betting is one reason it’s so popular. Another reason is that it’s easy to get started. Anyone of the right age can place a wager on a horse race without knowing much at all about either horse racing or betting.

All new experiences can appear daunting as they are new to you. Also, there are lots of different bets and terminology to keep up with. We believe it’s important to understand a few basics before putting any money at risk. It’s aimed primarily at total beginners, but even those who’ve bet on horse racing before can learn something new here.

Types of Horse Racing Wagers

Straight Bets

Win: The simplest bet you can make on a horse race. A Win bet is an attempt to predict the horse that will win the race. If the horse wins, you will collect on your bet. The odds listed for the horses on the toteboard are the Win odds for each horse. For example, if a horse shows ‘5’ on the toteboard, if you bet him to Win for £2, you will get back £12 (5 times £2 plus your original £2 bet). This £2 payoff of £12 would also be shown on the result payoffs under the Win column (1st column) for the horse when the race is official.

Place: A Place bet is fairly easy to understand and one of the simplest horse bets you can make in racing: simply pick the horse you think will cross the wire first or second. The Place bet payoffs are lower than a Win bet because the pool of monies wagered is split between the horse that wins and the horse that is the runner-up.

Show: A Show bet is one of the easiest bets you can make in horse racing: You simply pick a horse to finish in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd position of a race. If your horse runs first or second or third: you win your Show Bet. If your horse doesn’t finish in the top 3 “off the board” you lose.

Across the Board (Win/Place/Show): This is a combination of the Win, Place, and Show wagers. If you bet a horse “across the board” you are effectively betting him to Win, Place, and Show. If the horse wins, you collect on all 3 bets. If the horse comes in 2nd, you collect the Place and Show payoffs. If the horse comes in 3rd, you collect on the Show bet only. Since this is 3 bets combined, a £2 bet “across the board” will cost £6.


Win/Place, Place/Show: These are simply 2 bet combinations of Win/Place and Place/Show. For a £2 bet, they cost £4.

Odds Payout with a minimum of £2

Here is a payout graph which will help you understand fractional odds and the payout you should expect to receive.

Odds £2 Payoff Odds £2 Payoff   Odds   £2 Payoff

1/9   £2.20               8/5 £5.20        7/1        £16.00

1/5   £2.40               9/5 £5.60        8/1        £18.00

2/5   £2.80               2/1 £6.00        9/1        £20.00

1/2   £3.00               5/2 £7.00       10/1       £22.00

3/5   £3.20               3/1 £8.00       11/1       £24.00

4/5   £3.60               7/2 £9.00       12/1       £26.00

1/1   £4.00               4/1 £10.00        13/1      £28.00

6/5   £4.40              9/2 £11.00       14/1       £30.00

7/5   £4.80              5/1 £12.00       15/1       £32.00

3/2   £5.00              6/1 £14.00       16/1       £34.00

Where can I place a bet on a horse race?

If you find yourself wanting to place a horse bet but you don’t know where to go you can either visit your local betting shop or else, you can visit an online bookmaker the choice is up to you. If you do choose to place a bet with an online bookmaker, then you must make sure they are reputable. There are many different online betting companies to choose from so some key feature we would look for is a company that is licensed to offer sports betting, that accepts multiple payment methods, 24 hour customer service and more importantly competitive odds. You can take Unibet as an example of a reputable online betting company. You can place your horse bet with Unibet or shop around for a betting company of your choice.

Whatever you choose to do we wish you luck and lots of winnings!