With experience betting on horse racing professionally and also running an advisory service I can say with some certainty that it is one of the easier sports to find value in. Where there’s value there is money to be made.
Unfortunately bookmakers know that this is the case too. Some operate under a zero tolerance policy towards us racing bettors while others seem to live with us. In the following article I’ll try to show you what to look for in a good bookmaker. This is not a “how to win betting horse racing” article but hopefully with my suggestions you’ll be on the right path.
Horse Racing Bets Available at Different Bookies
The range of bets offered is pretty important while being fairly standardised within the industry. Win and place betting are a given, as are forecast and tricast bets.
Accumulators or parlays should be accepted by any bookie worth their salt, some even give bonuses on winning accumulators which if done right can be very profitable.
What I really look for are those books that offer more niche markets such as betting without the favourite or betting to lose (laying). The reason for this is simple, the more markets a bookmaker has on a race the more opportunity there is to find a value bet.
How Good are the Odds?
The odds offered by a bookmaker are of vital importance to making money betting on horse racing.
From my experience books seem to fall into two camps with regard to compiling their odds. The first and more preferable are those that handicap the races themselves via their team of traders. The second and least favourable are those who seem to take a shortcut by either take their odds from exchanges or by ensuring their prices are lower than those from the first camp.
Those from the first camp will generally display their odds a lot earlier than those from the second. This is something to look out for.
When it comes to making money with horse racing we need to be looking for mistakes otherwise known as value. These mistakes are more commonly made by those books that compile their own odds. They may have a team of highly qualified traders and a suite of software worth millions but this in no way makes them perfect.
Handicapping a race is practically predicting a future event. No amount of mathematicians or million dollar software can predict the future.
Bookies with Special Offers
The main offer you should seek out is “Best Odds Guaranteed” or BOG. This means if you take a price on a horse and for whatever reason the price drifts you will be awarded a pay-out at the higher price should your horse win.
BOG to me is quite important to any bettors’ bottom line while also being an indicator of a good bookmaker. Those unwilling to offer it are saying they are scared of accepting action on racing and therefore will generally have a bad selection of markets with bad prices to match.
Some books also have nice “insurance” type offers such as; money back if your horse finishes in X position or if your horse falls. These are often underrated offers that reduce variance for the bettor and like BOG is an indicator of a good bookie.
There are literally hundreds of bookmakers out there who offer horse racing but not all are created equal. When you are choosing which to give your business to you should consider things such as how safe your money is, how likely they are to honour your wagers and how established the book is.
That last thing you want is to be getting the best prices around and making tons of money on a small independent site only to find out they’re going under and taking your money with them.
Look for established brands, these normally have sponsored race meetings. They also generally sponsor football teams and have a large presence both online and in traditional media.
Software and Ease of Use
Betting horse racing profitably is often a matter of seconds. Meaning once you’ve found an agreeable bet can you navigate to that market and get your money on before the bookie realises its mistake and changes the price available.
A well designed and easy to navigate website is therefore of paramount importance.
Mobile betting in this day and age is almost a compulsory addition to a bookies offerings. It is quite important as a bettor to have the ability to place a bet anywhere at any time. It’s also a matter of convenience, nobody wants to sit in front of a computer for hours on end.
I would be wary of books that don’t support mobile betting.
Best UK Bookmakers for Horse Racing - My Picks
Given what I’ve outlined above plus my own experience I’ve selected two bookmakers who I feel are ahead of the curve in regards to betting on horse racing.
Picking out the top books is fairly subjective in that some may have a great experience with bookie X but not with bookie Y.
However, in my opinion you can’t go wrong with either of the following;
My favourite bookmaker by far, they tick all the boxes.
Being a huge brand they are one of the more trustworthy bookmakers out there. Your money is 100% safe and you needn’t worry about your bets being honoured.
WilliamHill embraces horse racing and the customers who take part in it. They have all the markets per race one could want. Often offering the best prices available and taking action on them far from the off they’re great for the value bettor.
They have Best Odds Guaranteed on all of their races with some of those other insurance type offers too.
Their site is simple yet sleek, easy to navigate and fast. The same applies to their mobile app. In other words, they tick all the right boxes, and usually have a free bet offer or two for new punters too. Check out www.williamhill.com now to see the latest deals.
I’m a big fan of PaddyPower. Making up the majority of bricks and mortar branches in Ireland their reliability and trustworthiness is without question.
Their Prices might not necessarily be the highest available as often as William Hill but they make up for this by having more money back offers than any other bookmaker.
They offer BOG and a great easy to use website with mobile betting to match.
PaddyPower have a nice €50 free bet for new accounts so sign up and start placing you racing bets at one of the best bookmakers around. Check out the best odds now at www.paddypower.com
Betting on horse racing is my favourite form of gambling hands down. If you like money it should become at least one of yours too.
Be vigilant in picking the books you give your business to and always make sure you’re betting with the best books possible.
Use the tips above to ensure you’re not missing out and above all else enjoy the ride.