Winning Bets In Greyhound Racing
By: Brett T. Mason
In the modern world of greyhound racing players have been forced to play exotic wagers to get a reasonable return on their larger investments. When you compare the $100,000 plus win pools of thoroughbred racing to the anemic greyhound racing pools of less than $1,000 and the reason becomes clear. To extract any value at all in the sport of greyhound racing you must play exotic pools.
I play the horses and the puppies. I play both sports in completely different ways. What works in horse racing will not work in greyhound racing. It requires two completely different skill sets. When asked which I prefer my answer is always horse racing. It only makes sense if you think about it. When playing the horses I am simply looking for likely winners and then seeing if playing that horse to win will be profitable for me. In greyhound racing I have to find a winner then evaluate 7 other contenders to run with my key winner. I also have to analyze how many combinations I can play to give myself a shot at winning while keeping those combinations small enough that my wager will be profitable. I have always loved a good challenge, but given the option I'd just as soon play a greyhound to win. With the prospect of improved win pools to play in, hopefully in the near future, I decided to visit this possibility and discuss the things involved to be profitable with this form of play.
The first step is handicapping obviously. In my opinion I would only be doing you a disservice by trying to summarize how to handicap greyhounds in this short article. That is why I created an online greyhound university to teach. It takes training, time and effort to become good at handicapping. It certainly isn't something I can teach in this short article. But I can give you a few pointers and how to apply them to playing win pools.
Speed, Class, Early Speed and Form are the primary fundamentals of greyhound handicapping. Those are the basics. Past that it is opportunity. That would be the set up of the race you are analyzing. None of those factors mean much if a greyhound is in a race that presents conditions that will give it a long shot of winning. There is much information online that you can Google and read for free on the topic of Speed, Class, Early Speed and Form. Using that information you you will develop your handicapping method.
Once you have a method you need to determine how accurate it is. In today's world of online data it is much easier than every to gather results and see how your picks perform. You need to play on paper and compile results and statistics to know how good you are at picking winners. Most handicappers find that they perform better in some races than others. Some players specialize in Maiden races, or route races etc. Know what your strengths are and what your average win percentage is.
Once you have a handicapping method your role as a player becomes simple. You want to bet your selections in a profitable way. Below is a fictional example of how this might be accomplished
Let's say you have determined that you can pick the winner in Maiden sprint races about 40% of the time. You also know your 2nd pick comes in to win about 25% of the time. You could even go further if you have the records to support it and say your 3rd pick wins 15% of the time. To play Maiden races for profits you simply need to make wagers that will yield a profit long term. Remember it's never about whether you win or lose a specific race. It's about playing a volume of races and making more from cashed tickets than you originally wagered. This is why record keeping is so important.
In the above example will assume your top 3 picks are 1, 2 and 8. One paper with their win percentages it would look like this
1 - 40%
2 - 25%
8 - 15%
What does that mean translated into odds? You will need to know this to make good decisions.
40% winners means true odds of the dog winning are 1 in 2.5 or 1.5/1 against. 1.5/1 in tote board odds is expressed as 3/2.
If you don't have a good understanding of odds vs win % here is a chart to help you.
Win Odds - Win%
1/10 - 90.91
1/5 - 83.33
2/5 - 71.42
1/2 - 66.67
3/5 - 62.50
4/5 - 55.56
1/1 - 50.00
6/5 - 45.45
7/5 - 41.67
3/2 - 40.00
8/5 - 38.46
9/5 - 35.71
2/1 - 33.33
5/2 - 28.57
3/1 - 25.00
7/2 - 22.22
4/1 - 20.00
9/2 - 18.19
5/1 - 16.67
6/1 - 14.29
7/1 - 12.50
8/1 - 11.11
9/1 - 10.00
10/1 - 9.09
11/1 - 8.33
12/1 - 7.69
15/1 - 6.25
20/1 - 4.76
25/1 - 3.85
30/1 - 3.23
50/1 - 1.96
99/1 - 1.00
Don't let the math and decimals and percentages scare you. With a little time you will become very familiar with it. I like using easy example to get people started. Once you grasp the easy ones it helps you understand them all. We all are usually more comfortable of tens. It's the foundation the dollar is founded on and we are generally more comfortable with it.
If a dog has a 10% chance of winning, then he has a 1 in 10 chance. If you divide 100 by 10 you get 10. So there are 10 blocks and our dog has ONE of them. So 10% is a 1 in 10 chance of winning.
Now odds are represented as ODDS AGAINST. So if a dog has a 1 in 10 chance of winning, the odds AGAINST him are 9 to 1. This is commonly represented as 9/1 or the odds you usually see on a tote board.
To be profitable, if you know a dogs odds of winning all you have to do is get the win pool to pay you MORE than those odds! It's pretty simple really.
So back to our example
1 - 40% 3/2 odds
2 - 25% 3/1 odds
8 - 15% 6/1 odds
So we would handicap the race and be ready to play well ahead of post time. It's as simple as comparing the odds the crowd is giving you compared to the greyhounds odds of winning.
Lets say with 1 minute left to wager the 1 dog is at 1/5 odds on the tote board. The win pool is giving you way less than the actual odds of this dog winning. You need to get MORE to show a profit at the end of the week, month and year. Remember the odds table is fair odds. You need to get MORE than that as a return.
Your 2 dog has a 25% chance to win from your records. That is 3/1 odds. Looking at the tote board you see the 2 dog is at 6/1. That's a double overlay! The crowd is willing to pay you twice the actual odds of this greyhound wining. So the best play in this race is to bet the 2 to win, even though there is a 40% chance the 1 will actually win the race.
This means 75% of the time you will actually LOSE the race. But remember... winning or losing one race is not the issue. Making money is the issue. Let's look at the 2 dog we bet above hypothetically.
By your own research this dog should win about 25% of the time. This means he will LOSE 75% of the time. But let's look at a series of 12 races. This means that 12 times this month we bet a 3/1 dog at 6/1 odds.
Bet $2 12 times for a total of $24 in wagers.
Dog wins 3 times (25%) at 6/1 odds
You collect $14 each time. 3 X 14 = $42
And that is how you lose 75% of the time and still make money
Betting to win is part art and part math. But it is far less complicated than constructing a complicated exotic wager. If you can hone your skills on the 'art' part of the process, the math part does the work on it's own.
Now get to work on playing to win in the WIN pools at the greyhound track!