How Are Horse Racing Odds Calculated?

Horse Racing Odds are calculated in a variety of ways, as there are different types of horse racing markets to consider. Online or high-street bookmakers may offer ante-post odds, on-the-day odds, and SP odds. There are also betting exchange odds, Tote pool odds, and on-course odds.

How Are Ante-Post Odds Calculated In Horse Racing?

Individual bookmakers are responsible for publishing the odds they want to offer for ante-post markets for big races or big meetings such as the Cheltenham Festival, Royal Ascot, or Glorious Goodwood. Bookmakers employ odds-compilers to construct markets based around the chances of each horse.

They will come to their conclusions about what odds to offer based on the form of the horse, as well as other statistics such as a trainer’s record in the race on or at the meeting under scrutiny. Bookmakers will then offer these odds to punters. The odds then become subject to demand and supply and may be pushed-out or shortened to reflect this.

How Are Odds Calculated For On-The-Day Horse Racing Markets?

Individual bookmakers are responsible for publishing the odds they want to offer for on-the-day markets. Many bookmakers publish these the night before, though some such as William Hill notably publish their odds earlier than others. This is a brave move as, though they will take any early money from punters, they can also take a big hit if their odds compilers have got a horse’s odds wrong in the eyes of the punters.

Smaller bookmakers also use odds-compilers, but some wait until several of the established bookmakers such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, Bet365, Betfair Sportsbook, and Paddy Power have published their odds. This is because they probably don’t pay their odds-compilers as much as the big bookmakers and want to make sure they haven’t made any big mistakes before publishing their odds.

How Are Horse Racing Odds Calculated In The Tote Pools?

Tote Pools are completely different to the odds offered by leading bookmakers, though many bookmakers now take Tote bets or offer Tote odds if you prefer. But if you’re betting into the tote pools, the odds that Tote Bets are paid out at can be completely different from the SP, which we’ll talk about shortly.

Basically, Tote pool odds are calculated by the Betfred, the bookmaker that now runs the Tote betting pools in the UK. The total amount bet is added up and Betfred take a deduction, much of which is ploughed back into horse racing for the good of the sport. The remaining money is then divided by the number of winning bets and declared to a per £1 dividend.

How Are Betting Exchange Horse Racing Odds Calculated?

Betting Exchanges aren’t bookmakers, they simply charge anyone that wants to bet on them a commission for using their services. Betting exchange odds are again fuelled by demand and supply, with matched bets struck at a price that backers are willing to take and layers are willing to lay.

It’s also possible to place bets on the Betfair betting exchange that will be settled at Betfair SP, which is declared after all Betfair SP bets and exchange bets have been balanced.

How Are Horse Racing Industry SP Odds Calculated?

On-course bookmakers are made up of a variety of representatives from the big bookmaking forms and many smaller bookmakers that prefer to bet on course than in shops or online. Captive audiences that had come for a day at the race used to mean that on-course bookmakers used to get away with offering reduced odds, but that has changed due to punters being able to use their mobile phones and internet to get better odds with either the online bookmakers or betting exchanges.

However, on-course bookmakers will still shorten-up plenty of horses if they get the chance. That is why Industry SPs are often lower than the best prices that were available online or on the betting exchanges. Industry SPs are normally decided by a set of officials who take the average prices from a variety of on-course boards when a race starts.

How Are Horse Racing Odds Being Calculated During Covid-19?

Covid-19 has had a big effect on the world of horse racing in the UK in 2020, with horse racing going ahead without crowds, which means there is no need for on-course bookmakers. That means that racing authorities have had to come with up with a new way of declaring the odds horse for Industry SP’s

SP’s during the Covid-19 period, Industry SPs are being calculated using a system that ingests and analyses the odds-feeds of between eight and 12 of the major off-course bookmakers. The starting prices declared are an average price from bookmakers offering prices at each-way terms matching those declared according to the rules of racing. For example, 1/5 odds 1-2-3.

The odds offered by the bookmakers used in each calculation are decided into two equal halves, with the shortest odds in the half with the best odds on offer being declared as the SP. That means the SP will have been offered by at least half the bookmakers, and you could have probably got better odds by shopping around.
Hopefully, horse racing will soon go back to normal, but we hope that’s answered your question about how are horse racing odds calculated. If you’re looking for more information, you’ll find lots of articles here on the Betting Gods blog. If you need help picking horse racing winners, check out our stable of professional horse racing tipsters.