Before You Bet's horse racing guru from Tim's Tips offers our readers some great Horse Racing Betting Strategies and outlines the Importance of staking and maintaining a racing bankroll.
People often ask me what the most important thing is when trying to make a profit from betting on horse racing. Doing your form is obviously a major part of building confidence and gaining knowledge of what you are betting on, but how much you stake on a single race and how you go about splitting that stake is just as important.
Many punters have no plan or structure to their betting, so it’s important to outline the basics to maximise your profits and minimise your losses.
I’ve broken this down into five key points to maximising your success as a horse racing punter:
It is easy to get caught in the trap of depositing a low amount of money into your account and staking that amount on a single race in the hope that it will win and allow you to bet bigger. Quite often it will lose and you’ll deposit again and again in an attempt to chase your losses. It’s a vicious cycle that rarely ends in success.
If you are serious about making a profit you need to allocate a specific amount of funds strictly used for betting purposes, known as your ‘bankroll’. The golden rule of betting is to only bet what you can afford to lose.
Your bankroll could be any amount, but for me it is important to start with a decent amount that allows you to win more than just a few dollars, and have only a small impact if you lose. Your bankroll could be $100 or it could be $1,000, but the important thing is to establish that specific amount and ensure it is an amount you are comfortable using. Once we have a bankroll established, we need to have a system in place for how much we stake on any race.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to bet no more than around 5% of your total bankroll on any given race. Yes, that means if you start off with a $100 bankroll, you might only be betting a total of $5 on a race. Interestingly, I find that as I win more, I tend to decrease the percentage of my total bankroll bet per race (many would think it would be the other way around). If my bankroll is near on $1,000 I try to stick to a $50 maximum bet (5% of the bankroll). That doesn’t mean $50 on any one horse, that means a total of $50 bet on the race, which might be spread over 2-4 horses in the race.
Another method that some find more effective is to bet a certain amount in order to win a certain amount. Essentially, this means you might set out to win a total of $50 on a race, and structure your stakes around achieving that. I’ve found both of these methods effective, and it really comes down to personal preference, but betting a percentage of your total bankroll is probably an easier way to limit your losses and keep track of your progress.
The most important rule with staking is to remain disciplined to your structure and strategy. If you have staked an amount which makes you nervous or uncomfortable to watch, you’ve bet too much. Additionally, experiencing consecutive losses is bound to happen at some point, so remaining disciplined to your staking method will mitigate even the worst losing streak and help keep your bankroll steady. You’ll find that if you are stuck in a losing streak, your decreasing bankroll also means a decrease in the size of your bets, which means you are able to stay in the game longer and bounce back relatively quickly.
This is another key component to maximising profits and minimising losses in horse racing betting. In about 90% of the races I bet on, I back anywhere between 2-4 runners. The process I use involves backing one runner hard and having a ‘saver bet’ on the other selections.
For example, if I wanted to stake $50 on a race and I really fancied one runner at $3.00 and two other horses I considered as dangers at $7.00, this would be the structure of my staking:
As you can see, we have sacrificed some potential winnings from Horse 1 in order to cover our losses if either of the other two horses were to win. This situation allows us to still net a decent profit if Horse 1 wins and win nearly our entire $50 stake back if either Horse 2 or Horse 3 were to win. The important thing here is that we are minimising our chances of losing which gives us a much better chance at sustaining a healthy bankroll.
Of course there are situations where it is suitable to put the entire stake on a single runner, but I only tend to do this if I am extremely confident and the odds are less than about $2.70. This is a rare occurrence and should only be done sparingly. It is better to sacrifice a small slice of the winnings in order to maximise your chances of not losing, ultimately keeping a healthy and stable bankroll.
One thing I pay a lot of attention to is the market. I’ve had a lot of success purely following the money because more often than not the market is right in this game. A website I like to use is www.bestodds.com.au/odds/horse-racing/ which shows exactly what runners have been supported in the market. If there is very good backing for a horse in the minutes leading up to the race it is a good sign that they are going to run very well, and I’ve had plenty of success purely backing the best supported runners in a race. Often there is more than one horse that is well supported and that is where you can also back multiple runners to minimise the chances of losing.
If you are keen on a horse and it is met with no support in the market it is not exactly a positive sign. For example, if a horse I liked drifted from $3.00 out to $4.50, I probably wouldn’t even bother backing it because the drift in the market gives an indication that the horse isn’t expected to run well enough to win. Of course there are some instances where the market is completely off and a horse defies a massive betting drift to win, or a horse well supported runs a shocker, but more times than not the market tells the tale before the race is even run.
If you are serious about actually making a profit from gambling, and horse racing in particular, it is important that you remain disciplined in both your methods and especially the amount you stake. Many punters get drawn into the vicious cycle of chasing their losses. This is why it is important to set aside a designated bankroll for betting – an amount that you should be comfortable losing. As aforementioned, this bankroll could be a specific amount you allow yourself to bet with each week. You should be prepared to face some losses, and if you lose the money you’ve set aside the bet with for the week, don’t get caught depositing money from other areas of your budget.
For most of us, punting is a way to enhance our enjoyment and engagement of the races, with the possibility of winning a few bucks along the way. For some, it’s a bit more serious and a lot of time and effort is put in to improve the chances of making a profit. Whether you are a casual punter or a dedicated form student, incorporating a strategy into your betting is imperative and is highly likely to increase your chances of remaining in the green in the long term. Good luck and good punting.
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