Realistic Expectations Lead to Horse Racing Betting Success

Whether you call it investing or gambling, horse racing handicapping and betting is very risky and usually leads to a loss for the horse player. If you compare it to other forms of gambling or investing, however, how does it hold up? What should you expect to profit from your wagers?


First let’s take a look at several other forms of gambling. Starting with lotteries we find one of the worse bets on the market for the gambler. The odds of ever hitting the big payoffs in the multi state lotto’s are staggering. You may only invest a few dollars, but the payback is still very small, just pennies on the dollar. While you may argue that the money that is lost on the lottery goes to support municipalities, the reality is that those funds have to go through a lot of channels before they make it into state and local coffers.


The infrastructure that supports and maintains the lotteries in many states is expensive so the good that the money supposedly does is watered down, much like the actual money that makes it back to those who purchase lottery tickets. Instant scratch tickets usually do show the odds of winning in the small print on the back, but it is only there because the printers are forced to show you just what a lousy bet it is.


At the horse races, if you always bet the favorite, you will lose whatever the takeout may be and perhaps a few points more. Let’s say the takeout is 18% and you lose another 7 points due to the favorite being over bet. That means without handicapping, just playing the horse with the lowest odds, you will lose about twenty-five cents on the dollar. Try buying $100 worth of lottery tickets and making $75 back.


While gambling in a casino may be exciting, if bright lights and loud sounds are to your liking, most casino games are poor bets as well. Those big glitzy casinos didn’t get built off charitable donations. They were built off the nickels and dimes and hundred dollar bills that find their way into the casino and never find their way back out again. Most people who walk into a casino with $100 do not walk back out with $75.


On the other hand, and here is where we actually start to make some sense of all this, what do you expect to make when the odds are 5-1 against? If you bet on a horse at 5-1, how often are you really going to win? Even very good handicappers realize that they are lucky to make ten percent profit. While that isn’t much, how do you handicap a slot machine or lottery ticket? You can’t.


You can work very hard and make about ten percent, or perhaps a little more if you are a very good or lucky horse racing handicapper, but you just can’t improve much on those other risky bets.

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