The Odds

The odds we bet are a percentage. You will not see odds by percentage on the tote board. The board lists 8/5 as the odds.

My approach to betting is a key horse bet for the exacta. The key horse that I bet can come in first or second. I apply odds to percentages to know when to bet or when to pass.

The Daily Racing form lists decimal odds, not tote board odds.  8/5 odds in the Form would be listed as 1.60. There are two more things that go with odds; the payout of 8/5 pays $5.20 and the percentage of 8/5 is a 38% win rate.

Anyone who would like a copy of this Odds % Table send a note to

I do not set odds on my bets. The percentage on the trainer or jockey-trainer tells me what that trainers odds are so I can determine if I want to place a bet.

I also use odds to pass bets. If a trainer has a 40% exacta stat (where he finishes 1st or 2nd 40% of the time with this stat) this 40% means his odds are 3/2.

If the horse is on the board at 3/1, a 25% hit rate and drops 7 odds level’s to 7/5 which is a 42% strike rate, he can still be a play only if his odds are above 7/5. I pass if he is 7/5 or lower at post time.

Equating odds to their percentages makes passing races easy for two reasons; I avoid low paying exactas. And I avoid the emotions that are there when they hit and I lose money on an underlay. Betting underlays will break every handicapper.

To me any odds level that demands a 50% hit rate or more is an automatic pass.  That would be lowest paying from even money to 1/10 seven odds levels.

This chart shows the 4 elements and how to bet and pass based on a percentage.

Decimal odds
Pay Out

My Bet today is at Aqueduct Race 3 #7 Horse Ballard High 5/2.  On Debut 1 Sprint Linda Rice has went to post with 117 first time starters, she hit the exacta with 28, a 23% exacta hit rate.  Linda Rice is a give em a race on their first start to see what she has in the horse and on Debut 2 sprint she is 82-46-56%.
Just completed a New Jockey-Trainer Exacta Report this week for the Illinois Circuit which includes Hawthorne (opening day 3/30) and Arlington Park.
Today thru Monday 3/26 Save 15% site wide on all Ed Bain publications by entering Coupon Code 15OFF upon checkout in our Book Store
The 12 Jockey-Trainer Exacta Reports are available in pdf for immediate download upon purchase OR in book form which takes about 10 business days to deliver are:

New York Circuit: (Includes Aqueduct –Belmont -Saratoga)
Southern California Circuit: (Includes Del Mar-LRC-Santa Anita)
Kentucky Circuit: (Includes Churchill, Keeneland, Ellis, Turfway)
Finger Lakes
Golden Gate
Illinois Circuit (Includes Arlington Park and Hawthorne)

3 Replies to “The Odds”

  1. Good Question. I do use the morning line odds. The morning line odds will change as soon as the pools are open. The morning line is a guide. Once we start betting I then play percentages which are odds except they are more accurate. The reason why they’re more accurate is the line maker is trying to guess what the crowd will bet as the favorite and the crowd has their own opinion which can be different from the line maker. It’s much easier to understand odds in a percentage form than just trying to think that the morning line which by the way is a very difficult job that the morning line is entirely accurate.
    The second question is no I do not change on the fly. I make mistakes. I place the bet and then don’t bail out and pass the bet when the odds get too low. The great thing is you have the percentage of odds and I’m betting percentages on a jockey-trainer or trainer and that percentage does not change.

  2. I received another really good question that I want to share here along with the reply:
    Question: Are we supposed to only use the morning line odds to determine if the horse is a favorite or non-favorite for the 4+30 and automatic methods, or are we supposed to also use the horse’s tote odds?
    Reply: Good question. The way I handicap odds for a play; I start with the morning line. If his morning line is 9/5 or under I pass. The reason is I can expect a 3 to 4 level odds drop from the morning line. So I can expect that 9/5 horse to go off around 6/5. The morning line odds level that doesn’t drop as much starts at 3/1. Generally you can get 5/2 or 2/1 at post time.

    Once the betting starts, the morning line doesn’t mean anything and then you have to be willing to understand low payouts, underlays and mistakes. I’m not saying you can’t hit low paying horses, their payouts are really depressed. The way I play most trainers is I choose horses statistically that are superior thru the trainer stat and then bet into the percentages for the exacta. So I have a 3/1 shot, has a 40% exacta hit rate for the trainer. That means at 3/2 which is 6 levels odds drop. Anything above 3/2 is a bet for me. Everything below 3/2 is a pass. The reason for this approach is I avoid betting low paying underlays and the percentages are how I determine what odds level to bet or pass.

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