Understanding the Basics of Betting

The Spring Racing Carnival is in full swing and with plenty of racing still ahead, we've put this handy guide together to help those of you who don't know how to understand the odds when you're placing a bet.

At the 2016 BMW Caulfield Cup, pre-race favourite Jameka took out Race 8 and returned $4 for every dollar that was invested in that result. You might wonder how, at $4, Jameka was the favourite - with favourites usually sitting around the $1.50 -$3 range.

Odds are created by the relative chance of a horse winning. The bookmakers take into account each horses' form from previous races, (its form being how the horse has performed in its previous races), its trainer and the track (that could be soft or hard), which all impact the likelihood of it winning.

U-Bet analyst David Gately says that for the inexperienced better, the best approach is to bet within your budget. "Set yourself a budget, then seek advice from experts - whether that's online publications or magazines - and then, ultimately, you should look to stagger your bets."

"A good strategy is a winning one!" he laughs. "Look for where the value is. Go for a race that has high odds and stagger your bets according to the value, so put less of a wager on the higher odds so you're not risking as much."

As for beating the bookies, racing.com Punter Clint Hutchinson says it's definitely possible; "If you do the research you can definitely win." Clint's advice is to try something called a flexi bet, which involves a lot of horses at a smaller percentage across different races. Flexi betting is also called 'boxing' your horses. So if you take a boxed trifecta and select 6 horses, then you won't get the full trifecta dividend, you'll get a percentage. Those 6 horses can come 1st, 2nd and 3rd in any order. Therefore an investment of $25 will get you 25% of the full dividend. It's a great way to go in the Melbourne Cup!

Along with Flexi Bets, there are various terms that can easily go straight over your head. For that reason, we've defined a few of the most common phrases you'll come across at the racecourse in the infographic below. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way in understanding the market.

Good luck with your next bet - but of course, remember to gamble responsibly.