The Duel

How Horse Racing Odds Work 101

David Kaestle
How horse racing betting odds work.
How horse racing betting odds work. / Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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While the numbers and symbols of betting on horse racing are similar to that of sports betting, there is one key difference in how odds are assigned and moved when a bet is made.

In sports betting, once you make a bet, you are locked into the price that bet was when you placed it. With horse racing, the odds are fluid and constantly moving no matter when you place the bet.

Every morning a track will release its morning lines, which are the oddsmakers' projection of odds for each horse in each race that day. However, as money comes in, the odds will shift, similar to sports betting, but with horse racing, you are locked in to whatever the odds close at when the race goes off.

So even if you bet a horse in the morning at 10/1 odds for the afternoon race, if by the time it goes off those horse's odds are at 6/1, then your bet will count at that 6/1 number. Granted this can also go the other way and you can end up getting better odds than when you originally placed the bet.

In terms of payouts on your odds, those are the same as sports betting fractional odds. Most horse racing bets are thought of in the standard $2 bet. So a horse that goes off at 4/1 odds, if that hits, you would get back $8.

To compare those to American based odds, 4/1 odds would be the equivalent to +400 odds. They both mean the same thing, they are just displayed in different ways, just as decimals and fractions can mean the same thing displayed in different ways.


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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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