Horse racing is a fun sport but it is also extremely difficult to make a long term profit from it. Our expert Adrian Wall goes through the 8 key tips to becoming a successful horse racing punter.
1. Knowledge is essential
Yes, you might be at the races some day and you back a horse whose number is the same date as your birthday and you strike it lucky. Well done. However, long term you will lose hand over fist unless you are willing to put the effort in.
Form study is a vital cog in the wheel to try to deduce how an upcoming race will pan out and, more importantly, help find the winner. Educate yourself on every aspect of the sport. The more you know, the more it will benefit you in the long run.
2. Don’t fall for the favourites trap
About 30% of horse racing favourites win, so the advice is not to stay away from favourites, but to understand that they will not always win. If you backed an 11/10 favourite every time you placed a bet, the math says you will lose long term.
This falls back to knowledge. A horse might be odds-on in a 3-mile hurdle race at Cheltenham on soft ground but he has never raced further than tw0-and-a-half miles and his best form is on a quicker surface. Should he really be odds-on? Do the research and go find the value.
3. Don’t be loyal – shop around
The bookmaking world is such a competitive industry and many companies will try to lure you in to placing bets with them and only them on a consistent basis.
They can provide offers like loyalty schemes, existing customer offers or new customer offers like “50/1 Enable to win the Arc” as an example. Use https://myracing.com/free-bets/ to see which bookmaker can offer you the best deal today.
When betting on horse racing, make sure you shop around for the best price. A 10/1 winner is better than a 7/1 winner, right?
4. Bookmakers love multiples
We all have the dream of landing a 10-fold accumulator but is it realistic? No. The fewer selections you include in your bet, the more chance you stand of landing your bet, always keep that at the forefront of your mind.
If you’re betting to make money you have to think small and be patient. You might only win £20 in a week but next week you might win £30 and your pot can keep growing that way. It’s not a get rich quick scheme, but it’s better than losing £50 a week chasing “the dream”.
There’s a reason why you will see multiple coupons the second you walk into a bookmaker shop, because they want to immediately entice you into putting your £10 on a big accumulator that has close to no chance of winning.
If you are looking to place an accumulator, stick to three or four selections maximum. Once you find yourself putting that 10-fold plus accumulator on, you really are on cloud cuckoo land.
Bookmakers lose most of their money from single bets. This is why they are these days reluctant to take large bets over the counter and online.
5. Try to avoid odds-on shots
Where many punters fail is when they combine ten odds-on shots together to form a large odds accumulator thinking it has a great chance to win just because each individual horse seemingly has a great chance.
This is a major mistake. Going back to our point about favourites, only 30% of them win, that is less than one in three. So one in three odds-on shots will lose. Think about the math and the percentage calls always when betting.
You might fancy a pair of horses at 3/1 and 5/2 at Lingfield. Is it really worth adding a 1/4 favourite to that treble for the sake of a couple of quid extra? In this case, do singles and a double. Be smart.
6. Consider the special markets
Bookmakers hire odds compilers to run and keep track of the betting book for each race every day. Often, there is little value to be had. However, if you delve into some of the less well known markets, you might be able to gain the upper hand.
Betting without the favourite, Top 2 finish, Top 3 finish, To finish 3rd, Insurebet – 3 places are just some examples of other markets that are on offer out there along with winning distances.
Make sure you fully understand the market before you place your bets. Read the terms and conditions in full because many punters don’t fully understand what they are getting themselves into.
7. Bet with the head, not the heart
You have fallen in love with a horse. You love the horse so much that you convince yourself he or she will win every time it runs. Before you know it, you love the horse so much that you are losing a fortune following it.
Bookies love sentimental bets because they are not clever bets, they are bets from the heart. If you are serious about making a profit from the sport, keep educating yourself and take each race on its own merit.
8. Best Odds Guaranteed
It is absolutely crucial that you seek out bookmakers that offer best odds guaranteed on their horse racing markets. This enhancement alone can be the difference between winning and losing long term.
I once backed a horse at 9/2 at Wolverhampton the night before the race. The horse drifted all the way out to 20/1 at the off and went on to win. £20 @ 9/2 = £110 returned. £20 @ 20/1 = £420 returned. The best odds guaranteed secured me £310 more profit in just one bet. Use this to your advantage.