Betting on horse racing is one of the most exhilarating ways to gamble. It can also be one of the most enjoyable if you are into doing a bit of research before your wager. The unique thing about horse racing odds is they are constantly changing because the pools are pari-mutuel.
You are not betting against the house. You are betting against everyone else betting. The house takes their cut, but the odds are all based on how much money everyone watching the racing has bet.
Value betting in horse racing in its simplest form is finding a horse at a price in a given wagering bet or wagering site that doesn't make sense to either your research or to the morning line oddsmakers given odds. With an average of twenty minutes between each race, you have the opportunity to exponentially increase your odds of winning by learning how to read the program and learning how to read the tote board. A racing program is a must as it lists the horse's past racing history with the morning line odds. The tote board lists how much money is in certain betting pools as well as the most up-to-date current odds.
The best part about research is it's readily available and not that hard to calculate. Sometimes the simplest bets are the ones where you are simply trying to find good value in the Win pool.
Morning line odds are set by a trackmaster and listed next to the horse's name in the program. The higher the odds, the less chance the trackmaster thinks the horse has a chance of winning.
The trackmaster odd's maker realistically is trying to make a fair line for what they think true odds should be. Come the time of the race, odds change. People begin to wager on everything from name, to number, to jockey, to trainer, to color of the horse, or color of silks. Most of these are sucker angles.
Late money, the money that comes right before the race goes off, is usually smart money. We need to be the smart money. We need to look at how the odds have changed. If a horse goes from 3/1 to 10/1 by race time, there is inherent value if you believe the trackmaster's assumption on the race.
If you yourself handicapped the race and think that same 3/1 morning line didn't have a chance of winning one out of ten times, then it's still not a value to bet on them. It also helps to know that everyone loves a favorite.
People bet heavily on the favorites simply because they want to feel like a winner, even if it pays a profit of a few dollars. That is what creates value. At the same time, though, higher odds don't always equal value. If the trackmaster or yourself don't believe those high odds equal high value, then finding someone with more reasonable odds is key.
Different betting sites may offer different odds or even fixed odds. This is another way to find value. If you see a horse at 5/1 and the morning line is 3/1, bet the higher odds. If you think a favorite at 3/1 will be bet down to 1/1, bet the favorite at the higher odds.
Just because you are betting for value, however, doesn't always equal winning. Luck, skill, insider information, hot jockeys, bumping, etc., can affect a race. When you bet for value especially, it's possible to lose more singular bets than you win, but you could still be up money due to the fact that your winners provide you overall profit as they could pay at high odds. You can't get frustrated in the horse game.
If you have a plan, stick to it. If it's $10 a race and you've lost the first 5 races, that 6th race could pay you 10-1, and all of a sudden, you are up $50 instead of down $50. Needless to say, the more you know, and the more you stick to an educated plan, the better off you'll be in the end.