Does horse racing betting differ from other types of sports betting? It is an interesting question because you look at a sportsbook and you will commonly see a separate section just for horse racing betting.

It is often treated as a separate entity away from the likes of football, cricket and rugby betting. But are there any real differences?

Is it easier or harder to win in horse racing? What are the factors that affect the outcome?

How do you choose the best bets from both traditional and brand new horse racing bookies in the UK?

Here are some things to keep in mind about the key differences between horse racing betting and making wagers on other types of sports.


The first thing we can look at is variables. There are a lot of these in horse racing, to the degree that the average punter may not realise. The variables are telling factors which take betting well beyond just the form and ability of a horse.

You can’t take a sprint star who is an expert at 7 furlongs and then expect them to fare as well over a one-and-a-half-mile trip. That’s an extreme example, but horses do chop and change distances that they are sent out over as their career progresses.

Horses are tested at different distances for purposes of development and of course, prize money.

But it’s not just that, there are conditions of the racetrack which are huge, as some runners thrive only when things are firm underfoot and won’t be as happy if the ground has had some rain. There are different turf and artificial surfaces to consider as well, plus the directional bias of a course.

A partnership with a certain jockey can be a factor as well, so there is a lot that can influence the performance of each horse. So horse racing betting can require more research and analysis than other sports betting, where you can rely more on basic statistics and trends.


Compare that to a football match from the Premier League. There is generally a clear favourite in a game.

Sure, factors like which team is at home, injuries and tactics play a part in the outcome of that match. But a team like Manchester City are as likely to win at home against a mid-table team, as they are away.

So the factors surrounding football are not as heavily nuanced as they are when it comes to horse racing betting.

It’s just as important to keep an eye on statistics, football tips and the latest news of course, but the degree of factors influencing an outcome are less.

What About Market and Bet Variety?

There is a difference here in that horse racing is more limited in terms of the markets that you will see. You generally have a selection of the outright winner, each way, a forecast and a tricast and that’s about it.

There is not the same amount of market variety as you will find in other major sports like cricket, football, tennis and rugby. That having been said, there are still a lot of ways that punters create different types of bets in horse racing.

Wagers like an accumulator, a Yankee or a Lucky 15, more specialised, complicated and expansive bets, are commonly played in horse racing. There is usually a lot of horse racing on any given day from different racetracks, each hosting around seven races per day.

So punters like to pull together several options from the racecards on the same day to try and build bigger bets. It’s an approach that usually targets strong race favourites, trying to compile such runners together to target bigger profit.

In Summary

Horse racing betting can be just as exciting and thrilling as other sports betting. There is no intrinsic difference in the practice of betting on it against other sports.

You study the stats, look for the best odds, make your selection and place your bet.

It is just that horse racing betting has those major factors which can affect the risk in bets.

That is why in a horse race you will see biprices like a 3/1 favourite, because of how all those many factors pile up to make the race potentially volatile in terms of outcome.