You may think that pricing up a horse race (providing odds for each runner) is the job of the bookies or the layers on Betfair – but most professional horse racing punters will price up a horse race before they look at the odds available at the bookmakers or on the betting exchanges.
The reason for this is professional horse racing punters are always looking for value bets, which are bets where the odds that are available are bigger than they think they should be. Of course, the only way they’ll know this is if they’ve priced up the race themselves before the odds become available.
What Is A 100% Book In Horse Racing?
Before you start trying to price up a horse race, it’s a good idea to understand what a 100% book is. This is when the odds of all runner add up to 100%, meaning if you bet on each horse to win the same amount of money you would get the same amount back as you put on regardless of which horse won.
At its simplest, a 100% book for a two-horse race where both horses are deemed to have the same chance of winning would see both horses priced up at even-money.
To see this as percentages, you need to add 1 to the odds and then divide 100% by that figure. In this instance even-money is 1, so 1+1 = 2. 100% divided by 2 = 50%. So, two runners at 50% each = 50% +50% = 100%. This is easier to see on the betting exchanges, where the price is shown as a decimal, I.e. even-money is shown as 2.00.
If you want another example, we’ll use a four-runner race where all four runners are deemed to have the same chance of winning. In this instance, all four runners would be priced up at 3/1 (4.00). 100% divided by 4 is 25%. In reverse, 25% + 25% + 25% + 25% = 100%.
Of course, it’s rare that you see a five-runner race where all five runners are the same price. So, you might see a four-runner race priced up at evens (2.00), 4/1 (5.00), 4/1 (5.00), and 9/1 (10.00). That is 50% + 20% + 20% + 10% = 100%.
You can now see that how to price up a horse race is simple in theory. But imagine trying to do that with 40 runners in the Grand National – difficult right!
But the good news is if you find it hard, then it’s also probable that the bookies are going to make lots of mistakes when it comes to pricing up horse races. These mistakes are what, as punters, we’re trying to exploit.
Why Don’t Bookmakers Bet To 100%?
Bookmakers don’t bet to 100% for a few reasons. The first is they build in a percentage for themselves, which is the way they make money. They also build in percentages to allow for fluctuations in the market, as prices of horses often contract and get bigger in the build-up to a race. This is simply the powers of demand and supply.
That’s why when there’s a three-horse race where all three runners have an equal chance of winning, the bookies may offer only 7/4 (2.75) about each of the runners. Odds of 7/4 equate to 36.36% of a book, so 36.36 x 3 = 109.08%. Theoretically, that means the bookies have built in a 9.08% edge for themselves and, if all horses are backed equally, they are guaranteed to make a profit.
When Should I Bet The Odds In Horse Racing?
You should bet the odds in horse racing when you think the odds available are bigger than the odds you think your selection should be. Bookmakers may try to build an edge in for themselves with their odds but, even though you should price the race up at 100%, you’ll still find value prices to bet on.
Let’s take the 3-runner race as an example. The bookies go 7/4 (2.75) each of three but you may have priced up the race with one horse at even-money (2.00) and the other two horses at 3/1 (4.00). That means you’ve priced the race up at 100% but, despite the bookies pricing it up at 109.08, you can still back your even-money selection at bigger odds than you think it should be – now that’s a value bet! This is when you should put your money down and back your own judgement.
Will Being Able To Price Up A Horse Race Help Me Make A Profit From Horse Racing?
In theory, being able to price up horse races and find value bets should help you make a profit from horse racing. Of course, you still need to have the ability to pick a regular supply of horse racing winners at value prices. This is a completely different skill and you’ll normally have to spend a lot of time studying the form book.
You’ll need to take into consideration lots of different factors, such as the draw, the going, types of courses, trainer form, and jockey form. You’ll need to understand these and reflect how they may affect a horse’s chances of winning when you price up a horse race.
Is There An Easier Way To Make A Profit From Horse Racing?
Many people simply don’t have the time to do the work that a professional punter does and, if you don’t, it’s difficult to make a profit from horse racing by backing your own judgement. The great news is there are proven profitable horse racing tipsters that are willing to share their tips with you.
Many horse racing tipsters will offer you free tips or a cut-price offer to subscribe to their services. They do this to showcase their talents, so you can decide whether paying a monthly subscription is worth the money to save you all that time and effort pricing up horse races to make a profit.
The choice is yours, but we hope that’s answered your question how to price up a horse race. If you want more information about horse racing or other types of sports betting, you’ll find lots more useful information here on the blog.