How To Read Online Betting Odds? A Quick Guide

Those who have ever been to a horse race know the thrill and excitement of the event. People not only enjoy, but they totally immerse themselves within the game and feel the tension rising as their favourite horse runs the lapse. Any fan of horse race would tell you that betting is probably the best way to engage in the race. Not only will you get to actually “feel” the race, there is also a chance that you win a hefty sum through betting if your luck favours. If you want to increase your chances to win, you need to know how to read betting odds.

What Are the Odds?

Well, “odds” in horse racing betting means the chances of winning. Odd is the return you can expect if the horse you place the bet is successful. It refers to the amount of money bet on a horse. The more money is placed as bet, the less are the odds.

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For example, the odds of 7-2 means for every $2 invested, the punter will get $7 in return and the total return in this case is $9.

Again, if a horse is at 1-1, it means that for every $2 invested the profit will be $2, making the total return $4. Or if the odd is 1-2, then it means the profit is $1 for $2 invested making the total return $3.

The Pari-Mutuel Betting

The pari-mutuel betting system is the most used betting system in USA. It is also known as pool betting and commonly used in short sporting events like horse racing. In this system all bets of a particular type such as win bets, show bets etc are placed in separate pools. A percentage of the pool is withdrawn to be invested into racing and the remaining funds are paid out on winning wagers. Unlike the odds format mentioned above the mutuel payoff includes the original investment, not just the profit.


For example, in a 5 horse race, if the total pool is $1900, then the 15% takeout is $1615. Now if a horse with a bet amount $500 wins, then this amount will be deducted from the pool and will be divided among winners.

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Now using this information you can calculate your profit from your wager. For a horse at 7-4, divide 7 by 4 (1.75), multiply this number by 2 (3.5) and add 2 and the final payout is $5.50. So if you invest $10 at a mutual payout of $5.50, multiply $5.50 by 10, then divide by 2 and the final payout is $27.50.


You can bet on a single horse to win, place or show in one race. However, there are bets available which let you select the first two, three or four horses. There are bets like exacta, trifecta, superfecta, which all come under the pari-mutuel racing bets.

Calculating the racing bets can be tricky, especially in case of pari-mutuel betting where payouts are constantly changing. However, if you know how to read betting odds it should be a breeze for you!

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