Even if you understand the three regular types of sports betting odds, you may have a little difficulty when you try to read horse racing odds.
Horse racing odds are primarily listed as fraction odds, and most sportsbooks also offer them in American odds and Decimal odds formats.
However, some racebooks may also list horse betting odds as money odds.
In this article, we’ll stick to reviewing Fraction Odds and Money Odds.
Fraction Horse Racing Odds
The fraction odds indicate how much you will win per how much you bet.
A 6/1 fraction means you would win $6 for every $1 you bet.
A 13/2 fraction would mean you would win $13 for every $2 you bet ($6.50 for every $1, but fractions don’t include decimals.)
On a big favourite, you may actually have to bet more than you’d stand to win. In this case, the odds would look like 3/7 (win $3 for every $7 you bet).
Money Horse Racing Odds
The dollar sign indicates how much you will win on a $2 bet.
Horse racing odds of $14.30 mean you’d win $14.30 on a $2 wager. Money odds aren’t based on $1 bets because $2 is the minimum.
In order to see what you’d win if you bet more than $2, just divide the amount of your wager by 2 and then multiply that amount by the dollar sign amount. ($5 bet on $14.30 odds would equal $5/$2 = $2.50 x $14.30 = $35.75.)
Fraction Odds Don’t Include Original Bet, Money Odds Do
An important thing to remember about horse racing odds is that the fraction odds do not include the original bet you would win back, but the money odds do.
In other words, 13/2 odds are better than $13.00 odds. On the 13/2 fraction odds bet, you would win $13 on a $2 bet PLUS get your $2 bet back so you would actually net $13 profit. On the $13.00 money odds bet, you would win $13 on a $2 bet but not be refunded your $2 bet, so you would net $11 profit.
Horse Racing Odds Can Change If You Bet On Race Day
Another important thing about horse racing odds is that if you bet on the race on race day, the odds will constantly change until the race actually begins.
Horse racing betting uses the pari-mutuel system, in which oddsmakers post odds based on the amounts that are bet on each outcome. (To avoid this, you can bet on the race a day or more in advance, since advanced horse racing odds are fixed odds.)
It can be frustrating to bet on a horse at 10/1 odds and have it only pay 5/1 odds when the race begins, but it can work the opposite way as well.