Whether you’re a recreational punter or have aspirations to become a pro, if you’re serious about betting on horse races there are some crucial things you need to be doing.
The horse racing industry here in the UK may be a constant, but betting on horse races is anything but. Consistently picking the winning runners is a tough task for even the most experienced of professional punters, however, effective punting isn’t always about picking the winners. It’s possible to make a profit and pursue a professional punting career without having a long list of winning horses behind you.
If you’re looking to level up your game and become a smarter punter, here are six key tips to put in place in your betting strategy.
1. Informed Betting is Smart Betting
Sure, there’ll be those random wins here and there where you strike it lucky and back a winner based entirely on a whim, but becoming a smarter punter first off involves equipping yourself with as much knowledge as possible.
Study as many aspects of the sport of horse racing as possible. The more you absorb and understand about the sport, the easier it will be to calculate how a race will pan out and help you identify profitable runners.
2. Manage your Bankroll
Ask any smart punter or real money gamer for their top takeaway and it will undoubtedly be bankroll management. Even if you’re betting on horses on a purely recreational basis, the last thing you want to be doing is spending and potentially losing any profits you’ve made during a race.
When it comes to effective bankroll management, take inspiration from the ways in which poker players manage their wins and profits. Smart bankroll management is a key skill that involves setting out just how much you can afford to lose at an event from the outset and never going above that.
3. Use all of your Brain
If you’ve been in the game for some time, chances are you’ve already built up a list of favourites who you love to back time and time again. Loyalty to your horses of choice is an admirable quality, but it won’t get you very far as a punter if you keeping betting with your heart and not your brain.
Think logically and strategically about who you’re choosing to bet on. If you’re serious about making profits from punting, you really need to start weighing up the outcomes of each race purely on their own merit.
This same approach can be applied to bookies’ favourites too. While statistics show that on average, 30% of favourite horses do win, they don’t win all the time. Equip yourself will knowledge about the horses you’re considering backing, not all odds-on runners should be marketed as such.
4. Bet on Accumulators with Caution
One sure-fire way that bookies can entice punters into making big bets is by offering accumulators. Yes, that 10-fold bet might bring you the win of your dreams, but it’s hardly realistic. Spending your entire budget on a far-fetched multiple that offers very little chance of winning is the easiest way to not be a smart punter.
Building profits from horse racing takes time. You’ll find that smaller bets placed consistently will grow your pot from race to race or week to week. And if you must place that accumulator bet, stick to a maximum of three to four selections; the moment you start eyeing up those ten lines is the moment to walk away from the betting shop and take a break from punting.
5. Shop Around
The bookmaking market is hugely over-saturated and competitive, which means that bookies have to come up with new and inventive ways to keep punters placing consistent bets with them and only them. Loyalty schemes, offers, bonuses and rewards can sometimes be beneficial, but your focus should be on seeking out the best-guaranteed odds.
Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best possible price, especially when it comes to those big-ticket bets that you only place once or twice a year at events like the National or Cheltenham Gold Cup.
6. Don’t Ignore the Special Markets
And finally, don’t be afraid to dive into those lesser-known markets to gain a competitive edge. Types of markets to check out include Top 2 or 3 finish, Insurebet 2nd or 3rd Place and betting without the favourite. Make sure you do your research beforehand, however, and always fully read and digest the T&Cs of your chosen bookies.