If you consider yourself a novice at wagering on horse races, it is only natural that you will start learning from scratch, and you will mainly focus on the intricacies of the sport and the bet types you can decide between. For those who are now learning the ins and outs of horse race betting, the slew of bet types they can choose from can undoubtedly be somewhat intimidating.

Traditional or straight bets, as they are also known, might be the best starting point for punters’ betting session because of their straightforwardness. There are three main types of straight bets, and these bets are one of the best options punters have when they want to keep their horse race betting session simple.

In spite of the straightforwardness of this bet type, punters should come to grips with its intricacies, payout structure, and rules before they start making real-money show bets.

Show Bets in Horse Racing Explained

What punters will find as they wager on horse races is that this sport offers lots of betting opportunities that will measure up to the requirements of up-and-coming and seasoned bettors alike. Straight horse racing bets, show bets included, can undoubtedly help gambling enthusiasts make their mark, which is the reason why they should not remove such wagers from their betting portfolios.

Show bets are simple yes/no propositions, and when placing such bets, gambling enthusiasts attempt to predict how the horse will perform in the race. This is not the case with exotic bets, and when making such, gambling aficionados will need to worry about several horses or races at the same time. Show bets are wagers made on one steed that will finish in one of the top three positions. Thus, a payout will come punters’ way if the horse they have picked finishes the race in the first, second, or third position. Please note that no matter the position the horse will finish in, the payout punters will get will remain unaltered.

What punters should keep in mind is that the official order of finish is what determines the outcomes of the bets they make. Many gambling enthusiasts tend to think that their bets are determined as soon as the horses come across the finish line. Sometimes, the horses might seem as if they have crossed the finish line in a certain order, but punters should bear in mind that the outcome of their wagers will be determined when the official order of finish is introduced.

How to Make Show Bets

While making a show bet at their horse race betting site of choice or at the track, punters should pay attention to several important things. In the first place, they should remember the name of the track and the race number as multiple races are held each day. The amount they want to put at a stake is the next thing punters will be required to specify. Gambling aficionados should keep in mind that, on most occasions, if they do not enter a bet amount, the operator will automatically assume that they want to stick to the minimum bet amount, which usually is $2.

After they adjust the bet amount, gambling aficionados should specify the bet they want to go for. The number of the horse or horses punters want to bet on is yet another thing they will need to include in their ticket.

When betting online, punters will need to select the race they wish to wager on, then select the horse they think will finish in one of the top three positions, pick their preferred bet type, and enter the amount they want to put at a stake.

Is It Easy to Win a Show Bet

The main reason why gambling enthusiasts prefer straight bets over their exotic counterparts is that such wagers will not necessarily cost the earth and the chances of making a correct pick are significantly higher.

Considering this, when compared to win bets, for example, show bets give gambling enthusiasts much more flexibility as they will stand a much better chance to get a payout. Depending on the odds, such bets can bring punters thumping or small payouts, and this only depends on the race they prefer to wager on.

Punters should bear in mind that making place bets will only be possible, provided that the contenders in their race of choice are five at the least. In some cases, the least number of horses might be eight but this only depends on the sports betting platform they have picked.

Show Bets Odds and Payoffs

The way show bets payouts are determined is in no way different from the way the payouts of other wagers are determined. What punters should consider before they go ahead with their real-money bets, however, is whether their sports betting platform of choice offers fixed-odds or pooled betting because winning bets will be settled in a different way.

If pari-mutuel betting is used, all bets a race has attracted will go into a pool from which the house’s commission will be deducted. The amount the bookmaker will collect will then be separated based on the wager type and the horse gambling aficionados have chosen to bet on. Then, what remains in the pool will be divided between the punters who have placed winning show bets.

Speaking about the commission bookmakers collect, punters should keep in mind that generally, the takeout rate is lower with win, place, and show bets in comparison with exotic wagers.

At the conclusion of each race or after the official order of finish is presented, punters should check the track tote boards in order to figure out what returns their show bet will bring them. This is how win, place, and show prices boards might look like:


As soon as the race ends, the official prices will be introduced in such a way. The first column contains the numbers of the horses that have taken the top three positions. Then, there are the prices for the horses to win, place, and show. As you can see, all the three options are only available for the winner in the race because the horses that finish in the second and third positions do not satisfy the requirements for place and show bets to hit.

In spite of the fact that, in our example, horse number 2 has won the race and meets the criteria for all three bet types to win, punters will only get a payout for the wager type they have picked, and not for all the three traditional bets.

When fixed-odds betting is concerned, punters will work out what amount they will collect before they have even made their show bet. With this form of horse race betting, gambling enthusiasts will lock in the current odds, and how they shift afterward will be irrelevant to the wager they have made. It is worth mentioning that fixed-odds betting is not as widely available as pari-mutuel betting, especially when the three traditional bets are concerned.

The most obvious drawback of going for fixed-odds horse race betting is that punters cannot be sure that the horse they want to bet on will ultimately take part in the race, which is not the case with pari-mutuel wagering.

Considering that show bets win if the horse punters have chosen finishes in one of the top three positions, it is understandable that the potential returns will not be as impressive as the ones win bets promise to deliver.

As we mentioned already, most of the time, when making win, place, and show bets, the bare minimum for the amount punters can stake is $2. Still, some sports betting platforms and tracks might allow their users to go for smaller wager amounts, but this is pretty much the standard bare minimum.

Let’s suppose that you want to make a show bet, and the odds the bookie has introduced for the horse you have picked are ⅖. You are a risk-averse bettor, so you decide to put $2 at a stake. If we suppose that the horse finishes second, punters will collect a payout of $2,80. In order for punters to work out their potential returns, they are required to take the odds of the horse and multiply the first number by the amount they want to stake. Then, they need to divide the number they get by the second number and add the bet amount.

(2 x $2) / 5 = 4 / 5 = 0.8 + $2 = $2,8

When Should Punters Make Horse Racing Show Bets

Many seasoned bettors might say that they do not find much glory in straight bets while wagering on horses, but these wager types, show bets included, are undoubtedly the ones to start with until they get comfortable with placing real-money bets.

Gambling enthusiasts prefer to make show bets mainly because of the margin of error such wagers offer. In fact, show bets have a lot in common with place bets as they also offer payouts even if the horse punters have chosen comes up short.

Thus, show bets might do the trick for gambling enthusiasts when they think that the horse might have a good showing, but they are not confident whether it can become an outright winner. When they are not convinced whether the horse will finish the race in the first position, some punters tend to go for place bets, and although such bets also provide payouts if the horse does not win the race, they only pay if the horse finishes in the top two. The chances of winning will indeed be smaller but the potential payouts will be larger than the ones winning show bets award.

How to Handicap Show Bets in Horse Racing

Whether punters want to make show bets on a minor race or one of the significant events, it is ill-advisable to jump into placing real-money bets off the cuff. There are several benefits of sticking to straight bets when wagering on horse racing, and first and foremost, such wagers can help punters build their bankroll because they are not as risky as exotic bets.

Naturally, punters will find the larger payouts exotic bets offer far more tempting, but switching to such wagers right from the gate is unlikely to bring them the coveted prizes. Instead, punters will be more likely to get the most out of their betting session if they cash multiple small tickets instead of going for a multi-event bet, which automatically loses if just one selection does not hit.

As we said already, the commission tracks keep before they distribute winnings will be considerably lower for traditional bets, which undoubtedly works to the advantage of punters. The takeout the track collects is based on percentages and varies greatly between the sports betting platforms and the tracks.

There is no doubt that one of the best ways for punters to get an idea about the performance of the horse they want to bet on is to watch previous races and look into statistics. The more details gambling enthusiasts focus on, the more accurate their picks will be. Some of the things they are advised to look into are the jockey, the horse’s gait, and the speed, among others.

While making show bets, many punters wonder whether backing longshots or favorites is a better option. This only depends on the preferences of sports bettors, and what they should keep in mind is that picking longshots might work to their advantage as they will stand the chance to collect more whopping returns with relatively small stakes. Yet, gambling enthusiasts should keep in mind that the risk of losing the staked amount increases as well.

Placing show bets on strong favorites is what sports bettors should consider if they want to improve their chances of getting more consistent wins. It goes without saying that when compared to longshots, heavy favorites cash in traditional bets, show bets included, more frequently. In view of this, it is only natural that the returns punters will get to enjoy will not be that impressive.

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