Understanding The Horse Racing Betting System

The Kentucky Derby will be here quite soon, and the spring horse-racing season is already heating up. Other horse races can be found throughout the year, making it a fun spectator sport that just keeps on giving. You can make the games even more exciting by placing bets at your local Mesa horse racing bar on who you think the winning horses will be. You’ll get a thrill if you see your pick’s name come up, and you’ll even get a little extra cash.

Not sure where to start? You don’t need to be a racing or gambling expert to have some fun placing bets on the Derby or other horse races. Here’s a primer on how to understand the betting system and how to place your own bets:

Couple Enjoying The Kentucky Derby In O’Kelley’s Sports Bar & Grill In Mesa

The Kentucky Derby Favorites

There’s always a favorite horse to win a race. This is the horse that most people are feeling will win the race. You might choose to bet on the favorite as the closest thing you can get to a sure thing when it comes to gambling. The favorite will be clearly marked on the betting board. If there are two favorites, they may be referred to as “joint favorite,” and they will be marked with a “JF” on the board.

The Kentucky Derby Odds

Knowing the odds helps you decide whether you are making a good bet, and it helps you calculate your potential winnings. Odds are listed as one number to another, showing what you win compared to what you bet. For example, if the odds are 5-1, you’ll get paid $5 for every $1 you bet, plus the original amount you bet. If the odds are 6-5, you’ll get $6 for every $5 you bet.

Odds can be listed as fractions or decimals. If the odds are listed as decimals, you would multiple the odd by your bet. In the 6-5 example, you would turn that into a decimal by dividing six by five. Then you would multiply that number, 2.2, by the amount you bet. That’s how much you would win if you choose the right horse.

The Morning Line

When the day begins, the odds will be featured on a “morning line.” This is where you’ll see the odds determined by the race handicapper. These are the odds that will be featured in the race program, on the racing form, or on the screen. Throughout the course of the day, the odds may change. These will be updated on the screen or the board at your Kentucky Derby sports bar in Mesa.

Types Of Bets

When most people think of betting on horse races, they think of straight win bets. You pick the winner, and if you’re right, you win money. However, there are many other types of bets you can place. For example, you can bet on which horse will come in second or even third, known as place bets and show bets, respectively. You can pick the first three finishers in what is known as a trifecta. If you pick the finishers in the right order, it’s called a trifecta box. A trifecta key lets you choose the three horses and only specify the winner, with the place of the other two left to chance.

You can also bet on a superfecta, naming the first four horses to finish. You can choose a superfecta box and a superfecta key, as well. The more complicated the bet, the more the payout will be. However, the payouts for these “exotic bets” are divided among the winners, and the house also takes a cut.

You can win a lot of money by betting on the Kentucky Derby and other horse races – but you can also lose a lot of money. Make sure you understand what you are betting, and always know that you are taking a risk. If you bet just to have a good time, you will never lose.

Visit O’Kelley’s Sports Bar & Grill In Mesa!

You can watch the races and place your bets even when you can’t be there in person. O’Kelley’s Sports Bar & Grill hosts a Kentucky Derby viewing party every year at our local Mesa sports bar, and you can always watch the horse races on our many screens. We host off-track betting so you can put in a few wagers to make watching more fun and interesting. Kick back with a cold drink and some tasty snacks, and watch the horse races while you cheer on your pick for winner.


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O’Kelley’s Sports Bar & Grill

2120 W. Guadalupe Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85202

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 480-756-6069

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MON – SAT: 6AM – 2AM