In horse racing and other forms of sports betting, there are two common ways of placing wagers: fixed odds and tote pool. Both of these methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is important for bettors to understand the differences between them before deciding which one to use.
Fixed Odds Betting
Fixed odds betting is the most traditional form of betting, and it is the method that most people are familiar with. In fixed odds betting, the sports betting odds are set by the bookmaker or betting exchange and, once bet on, will remain the same until the race or event starts (unless Best Odds Guaranteed is applied). This means that if you place a bet on a horse at odds of 5/1, your potential payout will be calculated based on those odds, regardless of whether the odds change later on.
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- More straightforward: Fixed odds betting is more familiar and easier to understand than tote pool betting.
- Predictability: With fixed odds betting, you know exactly how much you stand to win or lose before you place your bet. This makes it easier to execute your betting strategy and manage your bankroll.
- Higher payouts for long-shot bets: Because the odds are set by the bookmaker, rather than fluctuating based on the amount of money bet on each outcome, fixed odds betting can offer higher payouts for long-shot bets than tote bets.
- Lower payouts for favourites: Because the odds are set in advance, fixed odds betting can offer lower payouts for favourites compared with tote bets, as there is less potential for the odds to shift in their favour.
- Less flexibility: Once you place your bet, the odds are fixed and cannot be changed.
Tote Pool Betting
Tote pool betting is a form of pari-mutuel betting in which all of the money wagered by bettors is pooled together and then distributed among the winners. In tote pool betting, the odds are not set in advance, but rather fluctuate based on the amount of money bet on each horse or outcome.
This means that if a lot of money is bet on a particular horse, the odds for that horse will go down, but the potential payout to winners who bet on that horse will also go down since the total amount of money in the pool is distributed among all winning bets. Similarly, if a horse is not receiving much support from bettors, the odds for that horse will go up, potentially making it a more attractive bet as the potential payout to winners who bet on that horse will increase.
To calculate tote odds, the total amount of money in the pool is divided by the number of winning tickets. For instance, if the total pool for a race after deductions is £10,000 and your selection has £2,500 (25%) of the pool wagered on it, the winning dividend would be £10,000 / £2,500 = £4.00 for every £1 you placed. This is the equivalent to “3/1” odds.
- Potentially higher payouts: Because all of the money wagered by bettors is pooled together and then distributed among the winners, tote pool betting can offer higher payouts, particularly for big races or events.
- Fluctuating odds: The odds in tote pool betting can change based on the amount of money bet on each outcome, which can create opportunities for smart bettors to find value that may not exist in the efficient fixed odds markets.
- Higher payouts for favourites: Because the odds are not fixed in advance, tote pool betting can sometimes offer better payouts for favourites, particularly if there is not much support for other horses or outcomes.
- Less transparency: Because the odds are not fixed in advance, you cannot be sure how much you’ll stand to win. The potential profit is not predetermined.
- Unpredictability: The fluctuating odds in tote pool betting can make it more difficult to predict future odds and plan a betting strategy.
- Lower payouts for long-shot bets: Because the odds are influenced by the amount of money bet on each outcome, tote pool betting can offer lower payouts for long-shot bets, particularly if there is not much support for those outcomes.
Which Method Should You Choose?
Both fixed odds and tote pool betting have their pros and cons, and the method you choose will depend largely on your personal preferences and betting style.
Most professional sports bettors tend to avoid tote betting in placed of fixed odds due to its unpredictability, and prefer to know exactly how much they stand to win or lose before placing a bet. On the other hand, some bettors will see the potential for bigger payouts on certain tote bets.
In the end, you might choose tote betting solely for the sake of enjoyment. Nonetheless, it is crucial to understand the various betting methods at hand and to select the one that aligns most effectively with your specific requirements.
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