How To Understand Different Types Of Horse Racing Bets

A little know-how is always a good thing and when it comes to horse racing, understanding the basics to placing a sports bet is essential. Taking the time to understand odds as well as knowing your straight bet from an accumulator can pay off, as well as making placing a wager more enjoyable. So, before you fill out your next betting slip, why not read our guide to understanding the different types of horse racing bets like lucky 15 with tomorrow’s racing fixtures. 

The lowdown on odds

Before placing a bet, it’s important to understand a horse’s odds and what they mean should it pass the line as the winner or placed. For each horse in a race, they are rated on their chances of winning; in short, their odds on being the winner. The lower the odds – eg. 2-1 – the better chance the horse has at winning. But low odds also mean a lower pay-out on your bet. On the other hand, high odds, such as 25-1, means a horse is considered less likely to win, but if they do, you are in line to get a higher return on your initial stake. 

Now we have covered the odds, we take a look at the main types of bets you can place on a racehorse:

Straight bets

These are the simplest bets and the best place to start if you are a horseracing newbie:

  • To win – as the name implies, this is a bet on the horse you think will be first past the winning post, so an ‘all or nothing’ type of wager as you get nothing for any other places. A to win bet will need some research on the horses so you know their form and are confident in your selection. However, it is a straightforward way of placing a bet, particularly if you are betting low and for fun. 
  • To place – a place bet spreads the risk of your wager by letting you bet on a placed finish rather than a straight-out winner, so you can get a pay out whether your horse wins or comes 2nd, 3rd or 4th. However, the return on the bet is a sliding scale as you get a proportion of the win if your horse is only placed. 
  • Each way – this is where your bet is split, so you wager on your horse to both win and place. If your horse wins, happy days as you get a pay-out on both the win and the place. However, if your horse only places, you will lose the win portion of your bet and get a pay-out that is a fraction of the win price. 

Forecasts and Tricasts

You need to study the form more in these types of bets as you will be aiming to predict the order of the first two (forecast) or first three (tricast) horses past the post in a single race.  


Also known as a combination bet, the accumulator takes the focus away from a single race and gets you to spread your betting attention across several races that are run consecutively. With an accumulator you assess the form of the horses in four or more consecutive races, selecting a horse in each race to back. Any winnings from the first race will then be used as the stake in the second race and so on, subject to you getting a horse placed in each race.  If successful, accumulator bets can yield the highest return of any of the bet types listed in this guide. However, one loss in any consecutive race will end the bet and you get zero winnings.