Horse Racing Odds

Horse racing has been one of the most enduring sports to bet on. Horse racing odds have been known to be available since the 1600s and possibly earlier. For the online betting site, you can find horse racing betting lines via the sportsbook or the racebook. Horse racing is available all year round although the main races of note are the Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes, and Kentucky Derby along with the Breeders’ Cup.

How Do Odds Work in Horse Racing?

To start betting on horses, you need to have the horse racing odds explained unless you’re a seasoned bettor. You learn how to read horse racing odds by figuring out what the moneyline is or the “American odds”.

This is when odds manifest as a positive number or negative number. The positive number indicates how much you win on a $100 wager while the negative number shows how much you need to wager to win $100. Alternatively, odds can also be in decimals or fractions.


Horse racing odds are available almost all year round via the futures market. This is when you bet on a horse to win a particular race even when that race is far into the future. For instance, you can bet on a horse to win the Kentucky Derby several months in advance.

Win, Place, Show

On the racebook, you can bet on a horse to “win”, “place” or “show”. Betting on a “win” is straightforward, if the horse finishes in first, you win the bet. Anything else is a loss. A bet on “place” is a bet on the horse to either finish first or second. “Show” is for the horse to place in the top-three, either they finish first, second, or third.

You can also bet on all three, win, place, and show. This is called “across the board” and your bets are put into one ticket. The ideal scenario here is for the horse to win as all three bets will be paid. A second-placed finish pays win and place while a third-placed finish only pays for show.


Props in horse racing betting can be plentiful when it’s the right event. In big races like the Preakness Stakes or Belmont Stakes, you can find a plethora of prop bets. These are bets that deal with specific scenarios of a race such as the winning horse having an odd number or what the best finishing position is between a number of horses.

Examples of Betting Horse Racing

Horse racing odds can take time to learn, especially when betting on them in the traditional sense. Let’s explain the concept of the win, place, and show as an example.

Triple Brown has a moneyline of 12-1 to win (+1200). You place $100 on him to win, your payout is $1,200. A place bet on him pays 4-1 (+400) and your payout is $400. A show bet on him is at 3-2 (+150) and you win $150.

Now, betting across the board requires a bit more math. If you do that, you will stake $300 in total wagers if you place $100 on each. Triple Brown finishes in second place thus paying you $400 for “place” and $150 for “show” for a total of $550 thus yielding a profit of $250.

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