Horse racing is included in the sports gambling segment, but it is anything but a typical sport. Most sports, including football, soccer, tennis, basketball and more, require that the gambler focuses on the athletes only, but horserace betting is different. Gamblers have to consider both the athlete – the jockey – and the horse itself. Adam Bjorn, a gambling industry executive and expert on horserace gambling, provides insight into how to create more successful gambling strategies for horse races.
Horserace gambling has a niche following and often doesn’t attract the same level of action, except for the more prominent races like the Belmont Stakes, that most sports do. Part of this is due to the difficulty involved, even though horserace gambling isn’t rocket science. Says Bjorn, “There are a number of tools available today, such as those offered by Equibase, that make it easier than ever before.”
Equibase has been around for about 20 years and offers a uniform, industry-owned database of racing information for North American Thoroughbred tracks. It provides an array of handicapping products, stats and video race replays so that gamblers can assimilate all the data as they’re getting ready for the next race. Equibase includes stats for horses, trainers, jockeys and even owners, and recently expanded its portfolio to include Excellence indicators that give details on an individual’s or a horse’s greatest achievements.
One of the more important aspects of horserace gambling, like most forms of gambling, is bankroll management. Asserts Bjorn, “Any long-term gambling strategy in horse racing requires the use of bankroll management in order to control resources and be able to stay longer in the betting world. You don’t want to stray away from your goals and need to remain disciplined in your approach.”
One of the most popular forms of bankroll management is to target shorter-priced horses. Often, gamblers will raise their stakes in these races and, although the return may not be as high, it’s a great way to keep the bankroll from running out of funds quickly. This format is particularly useful for gamblers who are either starting with limited funds or who have seen their bankroll decrease rapidly.
Another option is to target bigger-priced horses. There is an inherently greater risk, but there is also the possibility of a greater return. However, caution needs to be observed since it requires a greater injection of cash, and gamblers need to do thorough research on all aspects of the race before placing their wager.
There is also the each-way option. This is a type of wager that allows the gambler to select two options in a race – which horse will win and which will place – in order to increase the odds and, in turn, the payout. However, the wager is only paid if both choices prove to be correct.
In preparing to place a wager, in addition to selecting the race and the option as discussed above, it’s important that gamblers also ignore trainer and jockey comments. Both of these individuals will obviously want everyone to think that they have the best horse in the race and may make comments that aren’t completely accurate. However, gamblers need to take these comments with a grain of salt. Instead of listening to them, trust the stats and tools like Equibase before making the bet.
If sports gambling has shown anything, it’s that the oddsmakers don’t always get it right – the favorite in a sports contest or a race doesn’t always emerge victorious. Bjorn states, “There’s nothing wrong with looking at the odds that bookmakers have put up for a race, but don’t rely solely on that data. Do your research, check out previous race videos and the stats and, once you have all the data, then make your selection.”
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