What Does 4/5 Odds Mean in Horse Racing?

So you are finally ready to give horse racing a shot from a gambling perspective but want to ease yourself into betting and only focus on some of the heavy favorites? Well, look no further than this article! Let's cover the fact that horse racing only talks to their odds in fractions and how you can calculate a winning payout from those fractions. 

First and foremost, how do you know what the odds are in horse racing? Well, someone at the race track actually makes odds on horses and provides them as the basis for those races. Their odds are called morning line odds. They may be similar to what actually comes through come race time, but at other times, this is just a hypothetical view of one person. If you see morning line odds of 4/5 on a horse in the morning line, however, you can assume this horse is going to be a heavy favorite.

Then before a race starts, the current odds are placed on what is called the tote board. Also, you can see it on any TV at the track, which keeps the most up-to-date odds. People who don't know much about horse racing tend to only bet the favorite in each race, statistically speaking. 

However, only about 1/3 of favorites win on a macro level. This doesn't stop people from jumping on the favorite and lowering their odds, and therefore the payout if they win.

Horse racing wagering is done in pari-mutuel pools. You aren't betting against the race track. You are betting against everyone else betting on the race. The more money wagered on one horse, the less the payout is. And the odds are constantly changing even up until race time. When you go make your bet, your horse could be 4/5, but by the time the race goes off, they could be 3/1 or 1/5. You get the odds at the time of the race and not when you bet.

Horse racing is still one of the few places where all their odds are not in the more common - and + symbols. Described as a normal runline, 4/5 would be shown as -125. A horse that is 4/5 odds is similar to the odds you'd get on your typical sports bet either with a bookie or an online site. 

What is unique, however, is that horse racing has minimum wagers and usually bases a 4/5 win bet on what is usually a typical minimum bet of $2. A $2 bet on a horse of 4/5 odds would net you a win of $1.80 and make your total payout of $3.80. The average payout on a win bet is much higher in horse racing as most horses have much higher odds going into a race. 

Remember, though, when we mentioned that the odds are ever-changing? That 4/5 could change by post time, where a $2 bet on 3/5 would net you $3.20.   

Some horse players wait all day to make one wager on one sure thing. Odds are that horse will be 4/5 or less. A lot of people see doubling their money, or close to it at least, as the overall goal for the day. If you are only betting 4/5 shots or lower, however, odds are over time, you won't be finding yourself that profitable. Finding value in horse racing is where the real money is. Sometimes though, you'll even find horses who are value bets when they go off at 4/5.

The shortest odds in horse racing are 1/9, which holds a profit of 20 cents for $2. Find your value, and when necessary, pound those 4/5 favorites.  

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