Author: Lindsay Griffin
Making bets on horse racing seems like it would be a simple task, but in reality, it is quite complicated.
It is true that some people can and do make their entire living off of gambling on races. However, those people are few and far between for a few reasons.
The first reason is, of course, that horse racing is unpredictable. Rich Strike taking the world’s most famous horse race at the astronomical price of 80-1 certainly reminded us of that.
The second reason, however, is that the biggest profits come not from straight bets, but from exotic wagers that involve either betting multiple horses in a race, or multiple races on a card. This can make betting confusing and can make it much more difficult to keep track of actual profit.
A betting calculator can help.
What Is A Betting Calculator?
A betting calculator is, quite simply, a tool that helps a horseplayer know what kind of bets are available, how much each bet would cost, and how much money the horseplayer stands to make. Some betting calculators are formula sheets, while some involve a bettor simply entering the wager they wish to make and having the program complete the calculations like a typical calculator would solve an equation.
Calculating Win Odds and Payoffs
For those who are not mathematically inclined, odds can be perplexing. Many betting calculators, such as the TwinSpires horse betting calculator, show common odds seen on tote boards and then display how much money you would receive back for cashing a standard two-dollar win ticket.
Calculating The Total Cost Of Your Wager
More experienced horseplayers often make what are called “exotic wagers,” which are types of bets that involve either multiple horses or multiple races. It is possible to make massive profit with these kinds of bets, but the chances of actually winning become even higher because so many factors are included.
As the bets account for more options, they become more costly, and this is where a lot of people stand to lose money. A betting calculator, in addition to translating winning odds, can also keep track of the expense of each type of bet.
Many tracks have their own betting calculators on websites or apps. Santa Anita’s betting calculator involves the user selecting the type of bet from a drop-down menu, as well as the base amount of money for the bet. The base amount is not the cost of the wager; rather, it is amount which determines your payout, since when you place certain exotic bets you are essentially combining several bets into one.
To speak more plainly, let’s say you wished to bet a trifecta and the base amount you select is one dollar. You could bet a straight trifecta and select Horse 1 to win, Horse 5 for second, and Horse 10 for third. The cost of your bet would then be the same as your base bet, as there would only be one winning scenario.
However, you also have the option to add other situations into your wager. For example, you might like the three aforementioned horses, but maybe you are not so sure what order you think they will finish in. In that case, you might select Horses 1, 5, and 10 for first, and then again for second and third. That would involve six different scenarios in which you would cash a ticket, but the price goes up to $6.00.
You may also have an idea of who will finish first, but not be sure at all of your second or third choice picks. Perhaps you like Horse 1 to win, Horses 5 and 10 for second, and everyone else in the race for third. If you were to use the betting calculator above, you’d see quickly that you would be risking up to $22.00 on that single wager, but there are still multiple chances for you to return and collect your winnings.
Gambling on horse racing is sometimes like balancing on a tightrope, having to constantly weigh your costs against your potential profits. A betting calculator can help you stay accountable and look realistically at your risks and rewards.