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How to Bet


Win Betting

Straight Bets  - Betting Horses to Win
By Kenneth Strong

Win betting is the easiest of all wagering strategies to understand – if your horse wins, you win. If your horse loses, you lose. Not to difficult to comprehend and a preferred betting strategy for millions of casual bettors.

Another reason for the popularity of win betting is the fact that you can see approximately what your horse will pay to win on the Tote Board before the race runs. In other words, if your horse wins – you already know how much money you’re going to make.


If the Tote Board lists a horse at 2-1 it will return approximately twice the original bet amount plus the original bet amount. For example, $2 to win on a 2-1 shot will return approximately $6. (2 * $2) + $2 = $6. Some Tote Boards will display the odds as 2-1 and others will display the actual payout of $6.00 or $6 and change.

Betting horses to win is the preferred tactic of many sharp handicappers and bettors, many of whom combine discipline, patience and a superior knowledge of horseracing percentages to show a profit on a regular basis.

Profitable win bettors know good value when they see it – and they look for it on the Tote Board after they have done their handicapping. The sharpest bettors want a certain minimum payoff on their selected horse and many will pass a race if they can’t get their price.

For example, if a horse is 3-1 on the Tote Board and the bettor thinks the horse should be 2-1, they have found themselves an overlay, or a horse that will pay more than it should based on sound handicapping. This represents good value. Conversely, when a horse is 2-1 on the Tote Board and the bettor believes the horse should be 5-1, he has spotted an underlay, or a horse that will pay less than it should to win – poor value and generally a bad bet.

Good value is required over the long haul in order to make up for losses on the bets you do not win. Logically, the path to profitable win betting is to know your own percentage of picking winners and then having the patience to wait for the right horses at the right prices.

For example, to earn a profit of 20 cents on the dollar straight win bettors must do one of the following:

Win 50 percent of their bets at approximate odds of no less than 7/5

Win 40 percent of their bets at approximate odds of 2-1

Win 33 percent of their bets at approximate odds of 13/5  

Win 30 percent of their bets at approximate odds of 3-1

To earn a profit of 40 cents on the dollar straight win bettors must:       

Win 50 percent of their bets at approximate odds of 9/5

Win 40 percent of their bets at approximate odds of 5/2

Win 33 percent of their bets at approximate odds of 3-1 or greater

Win 30 percent of their bets at approximate odds of 7/2 or greater

To some, the win percentages above might not seem that difficult to achieve, but in practice, due to the nature of the human psyche and the inability to exercise self-discipline under pressure – they can be quite challenging. Excellent handicappers lose money everyday at the races.

So what’s the real key to profitable win betting?

Know thyself first.

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