How to Read the Odds at Horse Betting – The Only Way to Know What’s Going on

The lines at the track have changed. Instead of long odds on pre-race horses, you’ll now find the favorites at the top of the board. Not only that, but there are also a host of different wagers available, including props, teasers, and dollar bets, just to name a few. Let’s explore how to read the odds at the track and make the most out of this evolving betting landscape.

Know The Lingo

The first step in getting the most out of your horse-betting experience is familiarizing yourself with the terminology used by the racing types. These are the words that the racing fans use when talking about the horses in the race and how they’re going to perform. Keep in mind that not all sports fans are created equal, and many of them will be quite confused by the racing lingo.

To give you an example, here’s a short list of some of the popular terms used when talking about horses:


This is the horse that the people are rooting for. The favorite is the horse that the bookies favor to win the race or match up. The favorite is basically the opposite of the also-ran. When one of the horses in a contest is the favorite, this usually means that the public thinks that horse will win the race or match up. Sometimes this is the case, but it mostly just means that the favorite is the horse with the most money on it. In some cases, a horse can be the favorite for one race and also the also-ran for the next. It’s all about which horse gets the most action. If you’re looking to place a quick wager on a horse, try searching for the favorite instead of the odds.

Market Weight

This is the weight that the public thinks the horse should be given according to what they’ve heard or read about the horse in question. For example, if the public thinks that a horse is particularly fat, they’ll often bet on them at a lighter weight than their usual. Remember, however, that the public can be quite fickle and will often get bored of a particular horse after a while. If you’re looking to place a wager on a horse that you’ve never heard of, check out the online resources to see what others are saying about them. You can also ask other bettors for their opinion or check out other sources such as the press or the Internet.

Race Weight

This is the weight that the racing authorities assign to a horse based on their opinion of the horse’s likelihood of winning. It takes into account a variety of factors, including the quality of the horse and its past performances. One of the main reasons for assigning a race weight rather than a market weight is that the odds change based on the race weight, so it avoids any discrepancies. The lower the race weight, the higher the odds. It’s simpler than figuring out what the market weight should be and then adjusting the odds accordingly. Keep in mind that the racing authorities’ opinion can be very subjective, so always take this factor into consideration before placing a bet based on the race weight.


This stands for odds, or the ratio of wagers on one horse to those on the other. For example, if a bookie offers 4 to 1 (4 to 1) odds on a horse, this means that there’s a $4 (bet) $1 (wager) on the horse. If you’re interested in betting on a horse that you’ve never heard of, try searching for them based on the odds rather than using a pop-culture inspired nickname or trying to figure out what weight to use.


This is the person (s) responsible for preparing the horse for the race. Trainers can be of any species (even humans!), and they work with the jockey to get the best performance out of the horse. They are usually highly experienced in riding and training horses, and they focus on the physical, mental, and social preparation of the horses for the race and after. When placing a bet on a horse, you’ll almost certainly be asked about the trainer. This is usually a sign that the odds are very long or that the bookie thinks that the public will back the horse based on its training alone. If you’re looking to place a wager on a horse that you’ve never heard of, try searching for them based on their training rather than using a nickname or popular foal coversition. If you’re not sure who trains a particular horse, ask other bettors or check out resources, such as the Internet.


This is the person (s) responsible for getting the horses into the race and driving them around the track during the race. During a race, the jockey rides on the back of the nervous horse, controlling the action and keeping it going smoothly for the pacer or the owner of the bet. If you’re interested in betting on a horse, try searching for them based on the jockey’s past performances rather than using a popular foal coversition or nickname. Not all jockeys are created equal, and some of them are much better than others. If you’re not sure who the jockey is, ask other bettors or check out resources, such as the Internet.


This is the place where the race is being held (e.g., Turfway Park, Indianapolis, Ind.). It can be either a natural or a man-made surface, and it’s important to know the difference. Turfways are basically synthetic surfaces (meaning that they’re made of man-made materials) that are laid down to look like grass (though they are not grew from the soil). Turfways allow better horse betting because the horses can run faster, their strides are longer, and they stay on for more than one race.

On the other hand, tracks like Belmont Stakes are natural surfaces (meaning that they were formed by the action of water and wind upon the land) and are located in a more secluded part of the woods (which makes them less likely to be disturbed by hackers or other illicit animals). This is why it’s a bit more difficult to bet on a horse at a place like Belmont rather than a track like Turfway.


This stands for the paces (or the rate at which the race is conducted) of the race. Some races are run rapidly, while others are done at a more stately pace. If you’re looking to bet on a horse, it’s a good idea to look at the pace of the race to see if there are any advantages in betting on a special race where the goal is to cover the distance as quickly as possible.