Horse Racing Bet Types

Horse racing betting dates back centuries in certain parts of the world, and to this day, the sport still remains a favorite among sports bettors. We’ve crafted this article concerning the various horse betting types to educate you, and help you in your online horse racing betting endeavors. 

We hope that by the end of this short read, you will be feeling much more comfortable in putting these horse racing bet types to use. We also hope that the details and advice contained in this piece will bring you more success when betting on horse racing overall.

Without further ado, let’s jump straight into it.

Moneyline/Tournament Outright 

These two horse racing betting markets are often seen with many online bookies, and they are some of the fundamental markets for horse racing. Let’s look at the moneyline markets first of all.

A moneyline market is where you bet on the actual winner of any individual race, and with horse racing, you can see markets where the odds are 4.0 or above. This is just one of the reasons that horse racing betting is so popular, and so thrilling for fans all over the world.

Secondly, we have the tournament outright markets. This is where you can bet on the eventual winner of a particular horse racing event. Given that some events consist of multiple heats, and some horses having to go through qualifying, you really can get some top odds with tournament outright markets. 

Regardless of which type of bet you choose to go for, we would always advise checking out the form book of these horses, as well as seeking out undervalued horses. These are the markets where you can wager less money, but the payouts can be greater.

To Place

When making a horse racing bet where you have backed a horse to place, this basically means that the horse must come in either first or second for you to win the bet. This type of bet has a few positives and negatives to it, which we’ve outlined right here.

When making a ‘to place’ bet, you initially have a greater chance of winning the bet because the horse doesn’t actually need to win the race for you to cash in. On the flip side, the return that you get for your money is always less with this type of bet compared to a moneyline or tournament outright bet. So needless to say, although you have the added security of an additional place in the bet, you won’t get as much cash.

Each Way

Throughout this guide to sports betting, this is probably the most confusing. An each-way bet is actually two separate bets rolled into one, as the initial part of the bet is for the horse to win, and the second bet is for the horse to place. The general terms for this bet are dependent on how many horses are actually taking place in the race.

For example, in a horse race where there are only between 5-7 horses running, the ‘to place’ section of the bet will only pay out if your chosen horse finishes in first or second. If there are between 8-15 horses running in a race, the each-way bet will payout if your horse finishes inside the top 3. Any horse races where there are more than 16 runners means you will get a payout if your horse finishes inside the top 4.

The actual odds change based on these each-way markets too, ranging between ¼ and ⅕ for the total payout. Much like the ‘to place’ bets mentioned above, it comes down to whether you would like to increase your chances of winning in exchange for a smaller overall payout. 

To Win By (Distance)

Every single horse race that takes place will have this betting market available. Given that it is a race, after all, it goes without saying that different horses can win by different lengths, and there are often some rather appealing markets for this type of bet.

The winning distance is calculated based on the space between the winning horse and the one that finishes second, and this is described in a few different ways. To start with, online betting sites will often list these markets as ‘winning length, and the maximum winning length that you actually bet on is up to 12 lengths. 

There are also smaller markets available for if you think a horse will win by less than a length. This starts with the nose at 0.05, short head at 0.1, head at 0.2, short neck at 0.25, neck at 0.3, half-length at 0.5, and three-quarter length at 0.75.

This type of betting is, of course, risky, but it does give a bit of excitement when watching the big-time races unfold before your eyes.


While we’ve identified the main markets and horse racing terminologies and events in the beginner's guide to horse racing betting, there are other details available, although these would be reserved for more advanced bettors. When you are experimenting with any of the above bets, we would advise running through a couple of events using a small amount of money, to begin with. This should reduce the initial risk while you are building up your familiarity with these horse racing betting markets.

If you are ready to roll and eager to get started with your horse racing betting adventures, just choose an online bookmaker that you’d like to sign up with, and watch out for the upcoming races!

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