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Guide to online horse race betting

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Online sports betting sites have effectively placed a casino or horseracing portal in every home that has an internet connection or mobile device. Horse race betting involves terminology unique the sport. We explore these below.

When placing a bet, your stake is the amount of money you are willing to gamble. The minimum stake you can place at most racecourses is £2. If you're a winner, your winnings are calculated according to your horse’s odds.

Some of the principles of the financial marketplace also apply to wagers on horse racing. Typically, a bettor can earn a higher return on investment (at least in the short term) by assuming more risk. Thus, bookmakers assess odds in such a way that provide more winnings for punters who place wagers on long shot horses. There are less winnings available for selecting runners that are favored to win because these horses pose less risk.

Thus, the odds (often referred to as the 'price') are a way of expressing the probability of a horse winning a race. Prices can be ‘odds against’, ‘even money’, or ‘odds on’.

Odds against (i.e., 2/1, 7/1, 15/2, etc.) takes place when your horse's perceived chance of winning the race is less than 50/50. If your horse wins, you will receive your stake back plus your stake multiplied by the odds against it. For instance, you stake £10. If your horse wins at 2/1, you will receive: your £10 back plus your stake multiplied by the odds (£10 x 2) or £30 in total.

Even money is when your horse's perceived chance of winning the race is 50/50. If your horse wins, your stake will double in amount.

Odds on (i.e., 1/2, 4/7, 3/10, etc.) is when your horse's perceived chance of winning the race is more than 50/50. If your horse wins, you will receive your stake back plus your stake multiplied by the odds on it. Because these wagers pose less risk for the punter, the returns are lower than ‘odds against’ bets.

Instead of a horse's odds being expressed as a fraction, bookmakers often regard odds as 'long' or 'short'. Odds that are said to be long (e.g. 50/1) point to the fact that a horse is very unlikely to win the race. Short odds (e.g. 2/1) indicate that a horse has a good chance of winning.

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