The tote board may seem like a big jumble of numbers at first glance but the truth is that it can be your best friend when it comes to horse betting and figuring out the odds and your payoffs.
The board offers a wealth of information which, once you know how to use that information, can make you better at horse betting.
How to Calculate the Win Odds and Payoffs
The win odds and payoffs go hand in hand because they give you an idea as to what horse appears to be worth bidding on while also letting you know what you stand to win should you bet on each particular horse. This works by calculating all of the money bet on each horse, with the total amount being referred to as the “win pool”. From the win pool, the track will then subtract their “take” or “takeout” which is the percentage that they keep in order to cover their expenses, taxes and profit. The odds and probable payoffs are then derived from those factors. The reason that they are considered “probable payoffs” is simply because the amounts are generally calculated assuming bets of one dollar. Calculating your exact payout—or anyone else’s for that matter—requires dividing that number by the amount that you actually bet on the horse.
One of the most confusing things for beginners in horse betting about horse betting win odds is that they’re constantly changing on the board. The reason the numbers continue to change until the race is closed is because the odds reflect the amount of bets being placed on the horse as they happen. This means that a horse can start off with great odds when betting opens and end up with less than favorable odds by the times the race closes. Paying attention to these ever changing numbers can work in your favor and even lead to big payoffs with a little patience and some luck. This is the reason why you’ll often see bettors waiting down to the wire before placing a bet. This tactic is often referred to as “handicapping” and common amongst avid horse bettors. It’s also a tactic worth trying as doing your homework and really studying the odds can mean a successful day of horse betting!