How can you pick winning horses and have the odds or statistics in your favor? The answer is within the question. You must have the statistics in your favor. Gambling, which is what betting on horse races really is, should be based on the odds. If the odds are in your favor you’ll come out ahead in the long run as long as you have enough capital to stay in the game.
The problem, of course, is that you have to know what the odds are of a horse winning in order to know whether or not it’s a good bet. That means the probability. For beginner and intermediate horse players I recommend starting with the statistics and then refining your picks a little with more handicapping.
Start with this statistic to narrow down your search for a winner. The winner of most horse races is found within the top three betting choices. About 70% of the time the winner is one of the three horses that has the most money wagered on it in the win pool. No matter how large the field may be, the winner is probably one of those three horses. It’s nice to find long shots and you will find some good longshot bets from time to time in a large field, in fact, the more horses the better.
However, in order to keep that cash flow that is so important to the small business, it’s a good idea to keep most of your betting confined to horses that are most likely to win as long as you can make a profit. There’s the rub. The way you refine your picks and make a profit from those three horses is by spotting the one that is a false favorite or doesn’t measure up to the other two. You weed out horses from the top three in order to winnow it down to a bet that will be profitable.
That’s when the handicapping factors come into play and where you have to use your judgment. It can be done, however, and it’s a lot easier to compare three horses to find one or possibly two that have an edge, rather than a whole field of horses. Start with speed and class and then factor in connections and form. In order to give yourself enough time to get the job done, look at the top four or five horses in the morning line.
The three horses that will be the top betting favorites are usually in that group. By having them handicapped before post time you’ll save some time. Remember, however, that your goal is to find the one that is the best bet, not necessarily the most likely to win. You have to compare probability with price or payoff. That takes practice, but you’ll find it can be done if you’re willing to put in the time.