Horse Racing 101; Understanding Horse Racing Odds

Horse Racing Understanding Odds

If you are interested but new to the world of horserace betting, trust us, you need some horse racing help tips so that you can understand a few things before you jump at it. Perhaps, you’ve learned how to pick a winner on the tracks; getting the hang of the odds involved in horse racing is also important if you want to take advantage of the available bets at the bookies. That said, here’s a crash course just for you, horse racing 101: understanding horse racing odds.

Horse Racing Odds: The meaning 

When you place a bet on a horse with an amount of money, you’d expect to get returns. The odds are basically what determines your total returns if the horse you backed is successful according to your predictions. Odds are displayed in two ways, whether online or at the bookmakers stand, inside the racecourse venue. These are the fractional or decimal odd display systems. 

Fractional odds system.

This system is a bit complicated for some people, but it’s a no-brainer. An odd fractional system is usually displayed in this format: 7/2, 4/2. Sometimes, you can also see fractional odds in this format 7-2 or 4-2. This means Seven-to-two or four-to-two, as the case may be. 

Therefore, a 7/2 or 7-2 odds means that for every £2 you bet, you’ll get a return of £7. Meaning, if you place a bet of £2, you’ll get a total return of £9. So, a £4 bet will give you £18. i.e., £7 X 2 plus your initial £4 pounds stake.


Sometimes, the numerator or the first number can be smaller, for example, 1/2 or 1-2. This is common when the horse you are backing has a higher winning chance or is the favorite in the race. You’ll identify such a bourse with an F beside the horse’s odds. 

Altogether, it means that for every 2unit or £2 you bet, you’ll get 1 unit or £1 plus your stake, i.e., a total of £3. The returns look small, right? That’s because horses with higher chances of winning are technically easy picks for punters, so bookies make their odds smaller.

“Even” odds in fractional systems

It’s possible to have even odds like 1/1 or 1-1. It is displayed as EVS. This means that for every amount you invest, you’ll get the same amount back plus your initial stake. For example, a £2 bet on a horse with 1/1 odds will give you a total return of £4. 

Decimal odds system.

You’ll find this a lot easier as this odd is displayed in this format: 5.00. To know your return, multiply whatever your bet amount by the 5 if you placed a Win bet. An equivalent of this odd in fractional format is 4/1.

Now that you understand the odds, here are a few be you can jump on if you are just learning the ropes.

  • Win bet: whatever the odds, this is a bet for a horse to win: nothing more, nothing less.
  • Place bet: your odds are improved here as you’ll get a return even if your horse comes first or second.
  • Show bet: you get returns if your horse comes in first, second, or third
  • Exacta: backing two horses to finish in the specific order.
  • Superfecta: backing four horses to finish in a specified order. 
  • Boxing: you can improve your odds by boxing your exacta and superfecta. A boxed bet means you are covering the uncertainties or possible outcomes of your prediction. For example, you can box an exacta that horse X Wins/horse Y places, and also that horse X places/horseY wins. 


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