It would seem that gone are the days when all you had to do to place a bet was to head to your local bookies. Even then the number of them around were few and far between and they certainly were not as glossy or as inviting as they are these days.
And while it still absolutely possible to head to your high street bookmakers to place a bet, many people are now opening accounts and betting online. There are a number of reasons for this development including the ease and convenience of being able to put a few quid on a horse or a football game no matter where you are.
You can often also find a huge amount of choice at your fingertips and take a look at betting options outside of the straight forward win or each-way bet.
Betting online also allows you to directly compare the odds on offer from multiple bookmakers enabling you to go with the best odds and therefore potentially increase the amount you take home – that’s of course assuming you win!
Working Out The Odds
For those of you unsure about how bookmaker odds work, don’t worry, it’s very straightforward. In the UK odds are generally quoted as a fraction i.e. 10/1 or 25/1 etc…
The first number (10) represents the amount returned to you for a straight win bet and the second figure represents the unit stake needed to generate that return.
Essentially, you could win £10 for every £1 you bet. Wager £10 and you could win £100 and if you reduce the stake to £0.50p you could get £5. If you lose the bookmaker keeps your stake (the money you bet).
Now on any given horse race, including the Grand National, bookmakers will offer different odds on the same horse. So betting strategy number one is to shop around and make sure you’re getting value for money.
If the horse you like the look of is 25/1 on one bookmaker site and 33/1 on another then make sure you grab the higher odds to increase the amount you could potentially win.
Increasing Your Returns
If you’re a bit more familiar with betting online and want to increase your potential returns you could always look at Dutching as a betting strategy.
This is where you fancy two horses in a race and think they could each be in with a shout of winning so instead of putting all your money on one of them, split the cash and put half on each.
As long as one of them wins and the odds aren’t too short you should be able to at least get your stake back and in many cases make a profit.
It may be smaller than if you lumped all your money on it but it’s still a win!
As far as betting strategies go, and certainly in horse racing, you can’t beat ante-post betting for getting the best odds available.
Ante-post odds are usually much higher BUT, and it’s a big BUT, if the horse you back doesn’t run, gets withdrawn or for any other reason and doesn’t start the race then your bet is gone. You won’t get your money back.
Being new to horse racing betting can feel intimidating. You can always head to a bookmaker and the staff will be happy to answer your questions but if need more time to figure things out then online betting is a good option.
Every bookmaker has sections on guides to betting and the steps are clearly laid out making things very easy.
Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the basics then you can take some time to delve a little deeper into the various betting strategies that may offer better returns on your money.