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Handicapping and Horse Racing Mathematics


An Introduction to Betting Facts 


By our very own Handicapper from the 2007 Saratoga Racing Season – SaratogaSam


1 – The “number” is the lowest odds on the tote board. The favorite or “chalk” is created by the general betting public believing this is the horse with the best chance of winning.

2 – The chalk will win, on average, 33% of all races at a price of $5.20 or 8-5 odds. Average of win and price may differ from track to track. This amounts to a loss of 10% of invested money, but the take at most tracks is 15% to 19% which is deducted out of the track’s pool.

3 – The odds on horses under even money $3.90 or under will win 50% but lose 5% of invested money. Inside this group, the lower payoffs of $3.00 down to $2.10 will return a profit sometimes 5 to 7% !

4 – The favorite will run 2nd or place 52% and lose 5%; and they will run 3rd or show 70% and lose 2% of invested money.

5 – The second lowest odds and the third lower odds will win 33% at higher prices in the range of 2-1 to 5-1 on average—33% for favorites this three horse group totals +66%

6 – By adding the next two horses at 5-1 up to 8-1 will win 18%; this group of two added to the three lowest now makes this group of five lowest contenders the total of 84%—this is the 5 needed to concentrate on in handicapping or wagering action plans…but this group in all betting represents 51% of the horses

7 – The final group are by name called “long shots” at odds of 9-1 to 49-1 and win under 16%…..the final group of big long shots 50-1 and up to 200-1 win less than 1%……and represents the other half of all horses at under 50%.

8 – The lower the odds the better chance of each odds group beating the higher odds horses. This is the mathematics of the “Sport of Kings”.

9 – Inside the group of lower odds horses are “underlay or over bet horses” and the idea of a negative value lives in this group. You must learn to avoid this group of under lays or “sucker horses”…finding ways to spot these horses to not wager on and look for “value and overlay priced horses”…not easy but it can be done.

10 – In the future, the ideas of what to do and what to avoid will be placed in this site. As you read and digest this info, you will see the bigger picture of how to win at this fascinating game.

by SaratogaSam – On The Interwebs Since 2004

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