How Pari-Mutuel Odds Are Calculated In Horse Racing?


Horse racing remains one of the most popular sports to bet on across the world, and the popularity of the sport shows no sign of stopping. Nowadays, there are a number of different ways to get involved in the action, with most of the leading sites offering a plethora of different markets for bettors to wager on.

However, the popularity achieved by Pari Mutuel betting remains extremely high, with both newcomers and expert bettors typically opting to place wagers this way instead of with leading sportsbooks. But, how does Pari Mutuel betting work and how are the odds calculated?

What Is Pari-Mutuel Betting?

Before getting into understanding how the odds work with Pari Mutuel betting, it’s first important to understand what this type of betting is. Typically, bettors will make wagers against a bookmaker, but with Pari Mutuel betting, according to TwinSpires, bets will be placed against fellow gamblers.

The amount staked on a certain pool will go into the prize fund and winning returns will be taken from that pot. Therefore, the higher the pool, the greater the pay out could be with Pari Mutuel wagering.

How Are The Odds Calculated?

Unlike other betting sites, the odds are determined by the prize pool that has been put together by bets. Therefore, all bets are pooled, and then the winnings are divided between the bets that were correct. The bets will determine the favorite, with the best-backed horse going off at the top of the market.

So, if you’re betting on a win bet and $1,112 has been wagered in the pool, and $100 has been wagered across four bets of $20, then all winning bets if the selection is correct will return $200, which equates to odds of 9/1.

Pari Mutuel Betting Strategy

Betting strategies with Pari Mutuel wagering are slightly different from those that you could adopt when wagering on fixed odds markets. This is mainly down to trying to find value in your selection. As a bettor of this type, you will always be looking for the winner, but you are also looking to find the most uncommon winning bet, as this would return the greater money from the pool.

Therefore, all bettors will need to do extensive research to ensure that they can find all possible speed angles and factors that could determine the final finishing positions. Finding the best value is something that experienced bettors always struggle with when it comes to Pari Mutuel betting, as it could be hard to fully utilise the markets available.

Pros & Cons

There are many pros and cons that come with Pari Mutuel betting. Many opt to place these types of bet as they could be extremely good value if the best betting angle is found. However, the slim selection of markets does often ensure that this can be a challenge for even the most experienced gamblers.

But, Pari Mutual betting is an excellent introduction to the sport for newcomers, as it does ensure that there is less emphasis on winning huge purses and bettors can enjoy the racing.

Not knowing the odds before the race is a big hindrance for experienced bettors, as they will often look to find value in the prices available. Meanwhile, a favorite at a short price may be considered too slim, which means a bettor may avoid making the bet.

Therefore, more experienced bettors often tend to stick with the fixed-odds sites for their horse racing wagers, as they will be able to know what they stand to win if their selection is correct. But, for many, they will have both Pari Mutual and sportsbook accounts to ensure that they can maximize value on both.