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from our USA correspondent

How to Bet on Horses – Top 5 Basics
21/03/12

For newbies and advanced bettors alike, the best way to go about their horse racing wagers is to take advantage of the handicapping picks available at various online horse racing operations. The first thing one needs to learn in order to be able to make heads and tails of these picks is to read the tiers. The tiers are color-coded and their significance is always major. Most handicappers use colors from green to yellow on their tiers palette, with the addition of a grey tier which is always posted at the bottom. Grey is pretty neutral and horses included in this tier are unrated horses, which means they’re not bad, it’s just that the handicapper doesn’t have the necessary information on them. These may be foreign horses or new entries which have gone un-handicapped for whatever reason. The recommended course of action on these horses is to handicap them manually to see what kind of threat they pose for the other tiers.

© Caroline Norris

Epsom

Within every given tier, horses are ranked from best to worst. This ranking however isn’t a particularly strict reflection of the horses’ abilities, because within a tier, the horses are very closely-bunched ability-wise. Which tiers should you consider for your simple bets like Exactas and Trifectas? The top tier is your obvious target in this case. For pick 3 and pick 4, the top tier is also a good starting point, but for such bets you may want to consider mixing in a few horses from the second tier or even from the grey one – depending on the circumstances.

Betting as much as possible may be a good way to take advantage of an edge, if you can secure one. Otherwise though, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. Try to pick your races wisely and only bet the ones with a smaller top tier, or without a grey tier. The grey tier will always mix things up quite a bit because it introduces an unknown into the equation, which you could definitely do without.

While bankroll management always preaches caution in regards to horse racing, you should always be aware of the fact that it will take money to win money, that is if you’re aiming for a significant sum. If there’s a race you like, don’t be stingy with your wager. You do not want to end up like those guys who subtracted a horse or two from their Superfectas, saving a few dollars only to lose hundreds of thousands in possible revenue on account of it. I’m not preaching that you should just throw money at the exotic bets, but you have to be aware that such bets require a significant overlay to generate a return. If you cannot afford to place these exotic wagers, stick to Exactas, Doubles and Quinellas.

Besides the actual picks that you get off someone else, do your own handicapping too. The past performances of a horse are right up there in importance with the picks of an experienced handicapper. Recent workouts stand out by a head and a shoulder in this respect, because they can act as tie-breakers between two horses with similar past performances. The horse with the best recent form is the obvious pick in this case.

Always take your wagering online. Online bookies entice bettors through various sign-up bonuses and some of them even offer loyalty bonuses reminiscent of poker rakeback. Loyal, high volume players may even earn the VIP treatment, which is like the poker prop treatment in online poker. For poker propping details, check out pokerprops.com.

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