The basics of Betting

There are many sports you can watch without even thinking about betting on, even if you are the biggest of beters. However racing is not one. A day at the races simply wouldn’t seem right without a bet or two. It adds to the excitement of every race and you find yourself screaming out horse names that you can’t even pronounce (or is that just me?).

Horse racing is very much a sport that to really feel the whole experience of the day you need to have a small bet. Whether you’re the punter that reads the Racing Post the morning of the races assessing form, the going, records tec or just the there for a fun day out and bet on a horse because it has a funny name. With all the bookies at the racecourse you can’t escape a bet.

I am well aware that some of you may be a seasoned veteran and know a whole lot more than me when it comes to betting but for those of you new to betting hopefully this piece can help you understand a little more about it and help you understand what you’ll be getting for your money, quite literally.


Let’s start as simple as it gets and the most important thing about betting, the odds. If a horse is placed at evens in the betting market it means you will receive the amount you bet in return plus your original stake, for example, if you place £10 on a horse prices at 1-1 (evens) you will receive £10 in profit and your original stake, totalling £20.  “odds on” for a race means that it is more likely to win than not. Odds on is when a horse is priced at less than evens, for example 1/6 then if you bet £6 and the horse wins you will receive your original stake plus ⅙ of that original stake, in this case £1, totalling £7. Finally there are odds when a horse is priced at above evens. For example, if a horse is priced at 7/1, you can place £1 on this horse and if it wins you will receive £8 in return, £7 in profit and the extra £1 you placed, this is the kind of price you want!


An accumulator is a bet that combines multiple selections into a single bet that will only win when all parts come in. The advantage of an accumulator is that odds are much higher but obviously, this comes with an increased risk, only a single selection needs to lose for the entire bet to lose. An accumulator works by multiplying the odds of your selections together.


An each way bet is made up of 2 parts: the ‘win' and the ‘place'. Each part is an equal stake, for example, a £1 Each Way bet will have £1 on the ‘Win' and £1 on the ‘Place' making a total stake of £2. The win part of your bet is on your selection to win the event, and the place part is on your selection to finish either first or in one of the number of places, depending on the size of the race this can be 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or even 5th.

If your selection wins the race then both parts of your bet pay out. But if your selection only places, you will lose the win part of your bet (and lose that part of the stake) but get paid out on the ‘Place'.

The odds for the place bet are given as a fraction of the odds for the win and will be displayed to you when you place your bet, these are usually ¼ or ⅕ of the original odds.