Jolly Odds Logo

Horse Betting Calculators – Simplify Your Life at the Track

Serious punters prefer to place complicated bets at the track, in order to generate higher returns. But determining the true odds of exotic bets, as well as the optimal stake position you should take and the real profit you can win, is nearly impossible without technical help. The tools that real punters use are horse betting calculators.

Here’s a look at the wide assortment of calculators you can use, as well as the different types of wagers you can make on horse races.

Horse Betting Calculators

Sadly, a horse betting calculator is not going to help you pick specific horses to bet on. Instead, these calculators are a critical tool to use in the business of horse betting. Make no mistake; if you are a regular punter or thinking about becoming one, then you need to treat the process seriously. This means no grabbing a pint at the local pub and placing random bets with your bookie on a whim. You need to track and analyze the odds of races. Doing your research, with the aid of horse betting calculators, will give you the statistical information you need to go about betting in an organized fashion.

It’s extremely easy to use most betting calculators today, thanks to the Internet. Although each calculator will differ slightly depending on the website providing it, the basic steps are always the same:

  1. Obtain the odds for the races you are interested in
  2. Determine the bets you are considering
  3. Enter the odds into the boxes provided on the calculator
  4. Choose the type of bet
  5. Choose a specific calculation

Most betting calculators will give you the option of many different possible calculations. That way you can evaluate each individual wager, and your overall wagers for a day or week, from multiple perspectives. Common calculations include:

Using this information, you can decide whether the bet you are considering provides the type of return you are comfortable with. You can also record the information for one bet and then compare it to other potential bets. This allows you to make an informed decision regarding the best wager on a profit-versus-risk basis. The information also helps you remove any emotion or impulse from the decision-making process, since you will have cold, hard numbers at your disposal.

A critical step to being a successful punter is thinking on a larger scale than amateurs. Amateurs focus on a single race. If they win, they are in heaven. If they lose, they think the end is nigh. This is the wrong approach; a good punter knows he will win some and lose some. The key is to combine different types of bets so that you come out on top overall, which means focusing on the big picture: all of the bets placed over an entire day, week or even month. A horse betting calculator is critical to this process because it helps a punter stay organized and informed throughout the season.

Types of Calculators

There are four basic types of horse betting calculators:

  1. Dutching
  2. ARB
  3. Kelly
  4. Odds Conversion

Dutching Calculator

A Dutching calculator is used to determine the amount you have to bet on a variety of horses in a race, to gain a specific return. For example, you might believe three horses have a possibility of winning a race. Using a Dutching calculator, you can enter the odds on each horse and then the total amount you wish to bet. The calculator will then tell you the stake you need to place on each of the horses, in order to return a specific profit if one of them does win.


ARB Calculator

Also known as a Back/Lay calculator, an ARB calculator essentially shows you how to make a profit using arbitrage when betting on a race. The idea is to “back” one horse in a race with a bet. You then essentially bet against yourself, by “laying” the bet – that is, by using an exchange to bet on all of the other horses in the race. This should produce a flat return minus any commission. However, the odds will move up and down a bit as the time to the race expires. This creates a gap between the lay and back bets, which potentially produces a profit. Trying to calculate the best arbitrage positions in a horse race is incredibly complex, but can be consistently profitable. Using an ARB calculator is a must for any punter pursuing this strategy.


Kelly Calculator

Named after Bells Labs scientist John Larry Kelly, Jr., a Kelly calculator is used to first take the total amount you want to spend over a period of time, and then determine the optimal amount for each individual bet. The easiest way to think of this is to consider a day at the track. You want to place bets on six races, and you have 100 pounds to bet. How much should you wager on each race? If you enter the odds for each horse, the Kelly calculator will tell you the best distribution of your stakes. For example:


Odds Conversions Calculator

Bookmakers place odds on horses in different ways. One may only show fractional betting odds while another bookmaker may quote American-style odds. With an odds conversion calculator, you can input one type of odds and the calculator will show you the equivalent odds for other types of betting. For example, you might enter decimal odds quoted in the UK on a horse race, and the odds conversion calculator will show you the equivalent fractional odds for the horse. This is a simple, but useful calculator.

Types of Bets

To get the most out of a horse betting calculator, it helps to have an understanding of the potential bets you can place with bookmakers. They range from the simple single bet to very complex, but lucrative, bets such as the Lucky 15. Here’s a rundown of some of the more popular bets.

The single is a bet placed on one horse in one race. You’re betting that the horse will finish in the win (1st), place (2nd) or show(3rd) positions. This is an extremely popular bet among amateurs. The problem is that it doesn’t pay well unless you bet on horses with long odds. The more sophisticated bets which follow are preferred by serious punters looking for a bigger return for a nominal amount of increased risk.

The double is a bet predicting two horses will finish in certain positions. For example, one might bet that a horse named Ferguson will win one race, with a horse named Wenger winning the next race. If that happens, the bet pays off at a better rate than it would on a single bet. If both horses doesn’t come in as chosen, then the entire bet is lost.

As you can probably guess, a treble bet is simply the next step up from a double. The punter must pick three specific results, and missing on any one of them means the bet is lost. However, the payout on a successful wager is big.

In horse racing, an each way (E/W) bet involves picking both the winner and the horse you expect to finish in place position. This bet is popular because it pays off even if just one of the horses comes in – both picks don’t have to correct. This makes it less risky than a straight double bet, but still lucrative.

An accumulator bet predicts how four or more horses will finish in a set of races. For example, you might bet on specific horses to win in races two, four, six and seven in a daily meet. The odds on the bet are very poor because it is unlikely all four horses will win. However, you can bet a nominal amount such as 20 pounds, and easily make four or five figures if the bet is won.

Accumulator bets are referenced as “folds.” For example, a bet picking five winners is a “fivefold accumulator” bet. A bet picking seven winners is a “sevenfold accumulator,” and so on.

A trixie bet is similar to an accumulator bet, but more forgiving. Instead of requiring all of the predicted finishes, a trixie bet only requires a certain number to do so. For example, our previous fourfold accumulator bet requires all four horses to win in order to pay out. With a trixie bet, perhaps only three out of four wins would be required. For this reason, trixie bets have better odds than accumulators but do not pay out as much.

A yankee bet is for punters looking to wager a small amount in hopes of a huge return. The yankee consists of bets on eleven different potential outcomes, combining a fourfold accumulator, four treble bets and six doubles. The odds of winning are high, but a small 20 pound bet can produce five figure wins. As you can imagine, a betting calculator is critical to figuring out the optimal approach to these bets in order to maximize returns.

If the yankee bet doesn’t wet your whistle, the Heinz bet should do the trick. The Heinz consists of a single bet covering 57 specific outcomes including:

The bet is not known as Heinz because of some crafty German who came up with it. It is actually named after ketchup. That’s right, Heinz 57.

The Goliath bet takes things to a level few would even try to contemplate. It covers 247 different potential outcomes covered by a confusing set of bets. The breakdown is:

  1. 28 doubles
  2. 56 trebles
  3. 70 fourfold accumulators
  4. 56 fivefold accumulators
  5. 28 sixfold accumulators
  6. eight sevenfold accumulators
  7. one eightfold accumulator

This bet is nearly impossible to win, but pays off massively if you do. It goes without saying that you should use a betting calculator for this play.

A lucky 15 is one of the most popular bets placed on a daily basis. You bet on four different horses, which are covered in 15 different bets:

  1. four singles,
  2. six doubles
  3. four trebles,
  4. one accumulator

If one of your horses wins, you automatically win at least one bet (one of the singles). If two win, you’ll get three different payouts (two singles and one double). If all four horses win, you win all 15 bets for an enormous payout. The name “lucky” is based on the fact that many bookmakers pay bonuses for certain combinations of wins.

Other Horse Racing Situations

There are two other types of events which can affect your punts. You should be aware of them, but thankfully they are taken into consideration by horse betting calculators:

Picture a race with six horses. The odds are set for each horse based on the each one’s potential for winning the race. Those odds, however, become inaccurate if one of the horses is scratched within 24 hours of the race being run. In these situations, bookies are required to deduct a certain percentage from winning tickets. The deductions are known as “rule 4 deductions” and vary based on the specifics of the race and odds involved. You will need to check with your bookie for the actual percentages.

Dead heats happen when two horses finish in a tie, meaning that the winnings will have to be split among two pools of punters. Here’s how it works: assume you wager 10 pounds on a horse to win at 10 to 1 odds. Your pick then finishes in a dead heat with another horse. In these situations the bet is split, with the amount being wagered divided in half. One half is lost by the punter, but the other half pays off at the original odds. In this case, the 10 pound wager would be reduced to 5 pounds, which would be paid off at 10 to 1 for a total win of 50 pounds.

Closing Thoughts on Horse Betting Calculators

Serious gamblers take their gambling seriously. If you don’t mind throwing away a pound or two, just keep doing what you are doing. But if you are committed to making real money, then learn everything you can about horse racing and the tools critical to achieving success. Horse betting calculators are the most important tools available.

Recommended Bookmakers
Bet365 horse betting calculator William Hill horse betting calculator BetVictor horse betting calculator