Online bookmakers have expanded bet types on racing far beyond what is available from the three main TAB boards.
The primary cause of this expanded variety is that bookmakers have the leeway to accept more risk than the TABs. A secondary and equally important factor is that once the monopolies of the TABs have been negated, a true market where the forces of supply and demand come into play is present. This produces competition that would otherwise be absent. Where the pursuit of a profitable enterprise takes the place of a mediocre bureaucracy, innovation becomes the order of the day.
Online bookmakers are profit-seeking private businesses. Freed of the constraints of legislators whose main interest is avoiding risk, these bookmakers have changed the face of punting, and racing punting in particular, in ways that no one who accepted the reality that was the TAB boards could or would ever have anticipated.
For proof of this, one need only examine a characteristic bet type that is typical of online bookmakers, that is a type that offers punters an assurance of dividends guaranteed to exceed those of the TAB boards.
That said, we wanted to offer a brief summary of the different bet types, along with some of the key features and benefits of the different types. We are not suggesting that one type is superior to another or that we endorse any type. Each punter must ascertain which type best suits his/her preferences.
Someone with a more casual approach might be more than content with the occasional Win bet, whilst the punter who devotes some considerable effort to analysing multiple markets, examining past performance and other such factors might be drawn toward the more elaborate and exotic wager types.
That is not to say that a casual punter might not want to back a long-shot or look for one of any number of major race doubles or triples or that a wily veteran might not back a favourite when it was prohibitive, but this variety of punters and markets is what contributes to the appeal.
Sometimes referred to as Straight Out, this wager type is placed on one runner to finish ahead of the rest of the field. Backing the favourite, over a statistical sample of many races, has returned a successful strike rate of about 33 percent. Along with a less than encouraging one for three probability of a dividend, favourites are favourites for a reason and will not offer high odds. Experienced punters who enjoy the challenge of finding better paydays will look at other factors to discover some higher odds, hoping to find something offering 3 to 1 or better.
A wager where the selected runner will return a dividend for finishing 1st, 2nd or 3rd. A Place bet on a favourite has good opportunities for a finish in the top three, but the payoff will naturally be lower for 2nd and lower still for 3rd.
The caveat for this type of bet is that for a 3rd place runner to pay there must be 8 or more in the field. Five to seven runner events offer prizes for 1st and 2nd only.
3. Each Way
Each Way bets function like a Win bet and a Place bet simultaneously. Example: You bet $100 Each Way on Fine Cotton to win the Epsom. That would be $100 on Fine Cotton to Win and $100 on Fine Cotton to Place. The total amount wagered would be $200.
4. Best Odds
This bet type is one that was created by the bookmakers to incentivise punters away from the TAB. Winners’ dividends are guaranteed to be the better of the Starting Price and the official win dividend declared by one or more of the TABs, depending on the bookmaker. Some will give the top dividend of all three TABs, in other cases it will be better than one customer selected TAB. This bet type frequently varies in the exact rules according which bookmaker is involved and specific events often have some sort of proviso, but Best Odds will always pay better than TAB dividends.
5. Best Fluc/Best Fluctuation or Top Fluc/Top Fluctuation
Any time after wagering on a market has opened and up to a specified time period prior to a jump, bets have the opportunity to earn the top odds offered by the official on-course bookmaker as determined by the Bookmakers Pricing Service. This is an incentive to place wagers early and give the market time to adapt to punter sentiment. It benefits punters because the possibility of backing a winner only to see a dividend be reduced by late backing that causes odds to become less favourable.
6. Fixed Odds
A Win bet will be paid at a set price determined by the bookmaker at the time of wager placement.
Now that the basic bets have been covered, we will move to a brief examination of exotic wagers. These are aptly named because they rely on a number of results applicable to either multiple runners in the same race or multiple runners in multiple events at one or more than one meeting. Exotic bets offer huge paydays because the probability of fulfilling all the different legs of the wager are limited. Experienced (that is, disciplined), punters will devote only a small part of their bank to exotics. The more casual might place an exotic wager with a devil-may-care attitude.
This wager requires the punter to select the first two runners in a race in either order of finish. There is a variation known as the Box Quinella where more horses can be selected, but the outlay for this type of bet will be higher. Precise explanations of the Box Quinella will be found on bookmaker websites. There are some other variations as well.
The first and second place horse must be selected in the exact finishing order, hence the name Exacta. There are also variations to this bet type.
The first three finishers and finishing order must be selected. Offers a nice payday, but horses and dogs are both notorious for lack of counting skills. Just as with the Quinella and Exacta, Trifectas can also be set up as Boxed and Standout variants.
4. Flexi Bet Trifecta
Flexi Bets have the same specifications as the regular Trifecta, with the exception of permitting the punter to determine what amount to invest. If a punter invests only half of what it would normally cost to get the punt on, the dividend would accordingly be 50 percent of what it would be had the bet been fully funded.
5. First Four
First four finishers in the correct order must be picked. There are four ways to modify this bet, with odds increasing as the difficulty increases. Some of the variations can be quite interesting. See your bookmaker’s website for complete details.
The appropriate sanctioning TAB will nominate four races from a meeting. Punters must pick the four winners of these races. The dividend is arrived at by dividing the pool amongst all the successful punters.
Bookmakers are free to devise others in addition to those above. Punters will always be able to easily find an exotic or some variation that has specific appeal for them.
The Daily Double results from picking the winners of two TAB nominated races at a meeting. Extra Doubles is the same. A Running Double variant requires picking the winners of two consecutive races at a meeting.
Picking the winner of three separate races.
3. All Up Betting/Accumulator/Parlay
Permits the punter to select one or more horses to win or place in a series of races. To be successful, all picks must win or place. This type offers a chance to win a lot of money without risking a lot. Some bookmakers will even offer this type over the course of more than one meeting or even allow punters to combine thoroughbreds with harness and dish lickers.
Online bookmakers have expanded the offerings from which punters can choose to such a degree that it could reasonably be said that anyone who cannot find a suitable wager is guilty of a severe lack of motivation. The trick lies in spreading things around to bit according to your knowledge level, your tolerance for risk and the amount of time and mental effort you are willing to devote to the task.