Roger Kahn, a famous American Sportswriter, once called betting horse races an animated roulette, and rightly so. Play the game for a considerable time and loss is not just expected, but rather certain. However, by taking educated and informed swings and utilizing The Wizard’s selections, you can minimize the loss.
When it comes to horse racing, technical knowledge can only take you so far. You need the tactics that are not often publicized, the tips and tricks the pros use. You need the expert strategies to continual cash-winning betting slips.
However, a good bettor never shares his secrets, unless you are Wizard Race and Sports, where we are turning the entire industry on its head. Few experts are willing to share their horse racing secrets, but we are.
That said, there are still some experts out there who are willing to give out some little known tips. In this article, we asked our pros (The Wizard) and collected tips that will help you be smarter about your bets. We share the secret with you and explain it in detail. We recommend you review these tips and include them in your horse betting strategy.
Here are some tried and true tips for you.
1. You Can’t Make Money Betting Favorites
The top three horses in the odds table in every race track win on average only one out of three races. The horses with odds between 4-10 win way more races than the top three horses combined. These statistics should tell you that winning on the favorites is not always the smartest strategy.
In fact, the highest payout is when you can bet correctly on horses with odds higher than at least six. Most of the exotic bets (where you can win the most) in horse racing have the pari-mutuel system for payouts, meaning you share your wins with all the other winning bettors.
Most bettors play with a safety net and bet on the favorites. When you win, the payout is small since you are sharing it with most of the bettors. The payouts are so small that you are often better off with traditional bets such as Win, Place, Show.
However, when you are confident about the non-favorite horse winning, these exotic bets make sense; this is where you can win thousands of dollars for the smallest investment. You will be one of the few that bet on the underdogs, and when your selected horse wins, you get the majority of the pool money instead of sharing the pool money with the majority.
So, if you want to make real money in horse racing, discovering such scenarios and placing exotic wagers on the non-favorites is your way to earn it. Be vigilant in your selection and do not fall into the temptation of going with the crowd favorite.
Mob mentality might give you a safety net, and help you win some bets, but you will never win big with it. Throughout this article, there are several ways listed to identify the underdogs. Bet on these underdogs when you cross the beginners phase and want to earn big bucks.
2. Do Not Force Bets
Knowing when to play is as important as knowing how to play. There are many races where you are better off not playing at all, or playing super small for some fun.
For instance, select the right races. There are low-scale races almost every day in the United States. There are several reasons not to go for these random races.
Firstly, there is little to no historic information documented for these horses. This means you will be playing blind or with inside information—avoid both. Do not bet without a proper betting plan.
Secondly, more than 70% of the money is bet on less than 10% of the races. These 10% will have the biggest betting pool, so it makes sense to bet here to win big.
Even when you have selected your race, do not bet for every selected race. For instance, we discussed an example scenario in the first point (winning by betting on the underdogs). Think of a trifecta bet where you could win by betting on the non-favorite.
However, this will not be an option every time. Only when you are confident that the non-favorite will win does it make sense to bet. In any other case, pass unless you just want to have fun with small outlays. Do your calculations and assess your chances of winning versus the risk you can take.
Forcing bets will cloud your judgments and disappoint you. People lose out big due to forcing the game.
3. Be Flexible in Your Thinking
Even when you have done your calculations, made up your mind, and planned your bets, keep some wiggle room. There can be many situations that may still go against your judgments.
For instance, late scratches are a factor. This is when a horse is removed just before the race is about to begin. Vet recommendations, trainer request, late arrival, late injury (kicks a metal object while saddling and sustains an injury) are just some of the possible reasons. If this happens, you should use the wiggle room to re-evaluate your decision if the late scratch affects your betting plan (think on the lines of winning odds, pay-out value, and the like).
Another example is post position. After the entries for a race are taken, there is a random drawing for post position. Track biases are real, favoring inside or outside post positions. For instance, the innermost two posts and the outermost ones in a big field are usually the challenging ones. Post position can turn the star horse to a sure shot loser. Hence, you should be willing to re-evaluate after the post position draw.
Factors like late scratches and post position can bring significant changes to the race. You need to re-evaluate the race from two angles. First, consider how people will change their bets in the face of these factors. Second, consider how the results could change. Use these two angles to change your betting plan.
4. Do a Deep-Level Horse Analysis
As we already discussed, do not fall into the trap of the herd mentality. When you are betting on an underdog, you need to be confident about your choice. This confidence can come from a deep analysis from all possible angles. One of these angles is analyzing the horse, of course.
Here are some factors that you can use for your analysis.
According to statistics, horses that have recently won a race in the first three positions win the majority of their next races. That said, most of these horses also have form cycles. They run well for a certain period, then begin to rank down. Research from both these angles when you try to evaluate a horse’s present form. This is a common strategy used by experts.
You can go a step ahead and also look at the horses that have not won the last few races. Many times, these horses can also become good choices if they have shown some signs of getting better. Finding out about these horses can help you stand out.
At the far left of the past performance line, you will find the horse’s prior races. When a horse has had recent races, people are more certain of the horse’s fitness. The longer the horse has been out of racing, the less sure people are about its fitness.
However, competition AND training are the two avenues that help build fitness of the horse. You can get morning training workout information, as well. You can use this to identify if the horse is fit enough for a comeback even if it hasn’t raced for a while.
People do not focus much on this second factor, and that can be the differentiator.
There are several running styles. Some examples include:
1. Pace-Setters: they run in the lead.
2. Stalkers: they are never more than four lengths back from the lead.
3. Closer: they are never closer than five lengths from the lead.
The vast majority of horses have a consistent style, but some horses have been known to change styles. It is not always easy to evaluate a horse from its running style, especially horses that change their styles. Try to form patterns for a horse’s running style and use that as an evaluating factor. Very few can master this, and if you can, this skill can make a difference.
5. Learn to Form and Recognize Patterns
Experts in the horse betting field are good at recognizing patterns from historic records. This is what helps them with more accurate predictions. For instance, experts track trainers and find out which ones are apt at producing winners. When a horse has not performed well historically, the trainer could make a difference and up the horse’s performance significantly.
There are form guides or racing forms that are available for most races. These guides have all the information about a race and the competing horses. Use this and multiple news sources to keep a track.
You do not have to dig too deep into the past. When you know you will be attending a derby in the coming months, you can start staying up to date with the current races, winning horses, their performances, recent activity of trainers and jockeys, and all the other relevant factors.
When you have shortlisted your players, then it makes sense to dig deeper. Look into the lifetime performance of your horses, see in which conditions they run well, what causes them to fail, who their jockeys were, common underlying factors in their wins, and so on.
Form patterns and rely on this consistency for your serious bets. These patterns give you more of a cutting edge than most other tactics.
6. Follow and Learn From the Experts
The experts in horse racing mean business. Some hire a team that continuously uses complex statistical models and high-power software to evaluate the bets based on every minor change on race day.
They dig deep into a large number of deciding factors, give these factors a numerical value and weightage, and keep formulating a betting strategy. They purchase a varying number of betting slips at different points of time (before the race, just before the race, seconds before the race).
They form a lot of combinations of different kinds of betting systems and bets under these systems to hedge their risks and maximize their payouts. Most importantly, they are very secretive of all of these steps. You need to observe the experts as much as you can to try to understand at least upper-level strategies like the ones stated here.
Many of these experts often interview, write blogs, and have a social media presence. Follow these to learn their betting philosophies and methods and find patterns in their wins. There is a lot of information on the internet about betting strategies, so following these experts will filter out a lot of clutter.
7. Racing Analysts Hurt You
The mute button on your remote allows you to tune out racing analysts who hurt you more than help you. Often, the racing analysts just focus on the recent races and performances. They use near history as the indicator to analyze if the horse will win in the next race.
However, many times, horses could just be having a temporary bad phase and they have been trained and prepared for the next race. Most people do not dig deep into the history, and by forgiving a couple of bad performances, you could be selecting a not-so-obvious winner. The Wizard goes deep uses a combination of historical and near terms performances to make the best analysis.
But in order to pick such horses, you have to silence the noise around you and make your own analysis and judgments. This also includes silencing the analysts and commentators.
Also, remember that the advice by these analysts/commentators is available to everyone. You cannot win big on a selection that is everyone’s choice.
8. Try Lay Betting
For races when you are unsure of who could finish in the top positions, you could go to the other side and try lay betting. Simply put, a lay bet is when you place a bet on a horse NOT to win a race. Instead of picking a winner, you are choosing a loser.
Sometimes, finding out who will finish last is easier than finding out who will finish first. In such cases, lay betting could turn out to be very profitable.
This is not one of the most popular bets, but if you are following this guide closely, you already know that money is where the crowd is not.
9. It’s Not Just About the Horses; Pay Attention to the Jockey and the Trainer, Too
Statistically, a small number of jockeys win most of the races. Hence, many enthusiasts and newcomers also make their selection based on the jockey. However, the experts know that just because a jockey won many races in the past does not mean they will win the next race if they are given a non-suitable horse. There has to be a match.
For instance, some jockeys are used to horses with a certain running style and fitness level. In those conditions, those jockeys are unbeatable. Without those, the match is not reliable.
Analyzing the jockey, the horse, AND the match is what will help you be smarter about this.
The same goes for the horse’s trainer.
Trainers need to be good horsemen, but they also need to have top-level training skills. Good trainers can overturn bad performing horses into winners. Again, this is a difficult evaluation factor. However, you could use this as an eliminating factor. If you find that the match between the horse and the trainer is not fitting, or have records of bad horses under the trainer, that could be a good filter.
10. Analyze the External Conditions
External conditions such as the weather and track distance also influence the winning probability of a horse.
Not all horses can navigate varying weather conditions equally. Sometimes, underdogs that can navigate harsh weather conditions better than the stars win for this reason alone. Track the winning horse’s last races and note whether there are records of similar conditions as the current race.
Breeding, running style, training field—factors like these could influence how a horse performs in different race lengths. Some horses do better in short races, while some excel in long races and others are indifferent. Check if the horse you bet on has the potential to manage the distance of the race.
The Most Important Horse Racing Secret of All!
Never believe anything another bettor tells you about his or her secrets. In other words, don’t take their words at face value. Even if you are a beginner, try your best to analyze as much as you can before you put in the big bucks. As Roger Kahn said, horse racing is just like a roulette. It is very easy to lose money, so be aware and be informed.