Many people who handicap horse racing are good at figuring out who the best horse is and putting together a sort of hierarchy so they understand which horses are the most likely contenders. The problems start when they try to figure out what odds those horses should go off at and what are fair odds for each horse. It is the one skill that separates professionals from amateurs and winners from losers.

Therefore, to be a successful, winning handicapper, you must learn how to determine fair value. You will never make money betting on horses until you know when to bet on a horse and when to lay it out based on the odds.

On the other hand, if you can develop this one skill, you will be able to make money playing the horses. There are many people trying to do just that, and as economic times get tougher, there will be even more trying to supplement their earnings from the races, which means more money in the pots and more money to pick winners.

But before we get into the details of finding value, let’s make sure you understand what I’m talking about, since I just touched on the topic of picking winners. Many people can pick the most likely winner of the race, and therefore many favorites win races. This is very important. Picking winners is not enough, you have to pick good bets. There are times when the horse you think is most likely to win the race will not be the best bet in the race.

The reason for that is that the horse that is most likely has been bet below its fair value. That means another horse is likely to walk away with generous odds, so if it wins, you’ll make money on it. Let’s say that the favorite in the race is actually the best-looking horse and deserves to be the favorite. Let’s say you think it has a 35% chance of winning. But it ends with 1-1, even money! It’s a lousy bet because it will only win about one out of three races with a payout so small it doesn’t even cover your bets.

But in the same race, another horse appears to have about a 20% chance of winning, and it goes off at 6-1. This horse is by far the best bet and indeed a good bet. Although this type of horse will win less often, you will make money if you continue to back these types.

So how do professionals come to these conclusions? They use factors and percentages to understand each horse’s chances. A professional breaks a race down into handicap factors and then watches many races until he or she knows how important each factor is and what percentage of horses win when they have a certain score according to that factor.

In other words, each horse has a mathematical score in each race. That score is simply compared to the odds to arrive at fair value. The upshot of all this is that you should look for good games based on real value to be a professional. Leave the “pick winners” game to the recreational handicappers who pay for their entertainment by backing cheap winners at lousy prices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.