Odds & Payoffs
To calculate betting odds and payoff, many people us the toteboard. Surprisingly though, many people don’t understand it at all, even though they are still betting. The most basic information there are the win odds quoted on each horse. Those don’t tell you what the horse will pay, but the amount of profit you will get and the amount you have to bet to get it. 6-5 means you will get $6 profit for every $5 wagered. 20-1 means you get $20 profit for every $1 wagered (i.e. bet $2 and get $42 back). Since most tracks have a $2 minimum bet, below is a handy chart look up the payoff for a $2 bet at various odds. Remember, your actual payoff may differ from this chart as the odds on the toteboard are rounded off, so 2-1 odds on the toteboard may actually be 1.9-1 or 2.2-1. Payoffs use the actual odds and are rounded down to the nearest nickle or dime depending on the rules at that track. This rounding is called breakage which can be a complex topic for beginners.
If you want to calculate the exact win odds on a horse, you will need to use a couple of other figures from the toteboard: total win pool and amount bet on that horse. The total pool is all the money bet on all the horses to win, but it is NOT the amount that will actually be paid out to the holders of winning tickets. Before the track pays off the winners they deduct the "take" which is generally between 14%-20% and is different for every state. This money goes to pay state and local taxes, purse money for the horsemen, expenses at the track, and the track’s profit. To calculate the exact odds on your horse, just subtract the take from the total pool then subtract the amount bet on your horse to give you the amount of cash to be paid out. Divide that figure by the amount bet on your horse to get the exact odds. This figure will always be rounded off to the nearest dime (usually) or nickle as mentioned above before the payoffs are calculated. Here is a simple example of win odds calculation:
Total pool: $900
Amount bet on horse #1: $300
Take amount: 15%
$900 – 15% = $765
$765 – $300 = $465
$465 / $300 = $1.55
Round this off to $1.50 for breakage and you get odds of 1.5-1 or 3-2 as it would normally be written which yields a payoff of $5.00 on a $2.00 wager.
Pay-offs for $2 win bets:
ODDS |
PAYS |
ODDS |
PAYS |
ODDS |
PAYS |
||
1-5 |
$2.40 |
8-5 |
$5.20 |
6-1 |
$14.00 |
||
2-5 |
$2.80 |
9-5 |
$5.60 |
7-1 |
$16.00 |
||
1-2 |
$3.00 |
2-1 |
$6.00 |
8-1 |
$18.00 |
||
3-5 |
$3.20 |
5-2 |
$7.00 |
9-1 |
$20.00 |
||
4-5 |
$3.60 |
3-1 |
$8.00 |
10-1 |
$22.00 |
||
1-1 |
$4.00 |
7-2 |
$9.00 |
15-1 |
$32.00 |
||
6-5 |
$4.40 |
4-1 |
$10.00 |
20-1 |
$42.00 |
||
7-5 |
$4.80 |
9-2 |
$11.00 |
30-1 |
$62.00 |
||
3-2 |
$5.00 |
5-1 |
$12.00 |
50-1 |
$102.00 |
Wager Types:
Win
Your horse must finish first to collect. This is a $2 minimum wager at most tracks.
Place
Your horse must finish first or second to collect. This is a $2 minimum wager at most tracks.
Show
Your horse must finish first, second or third to collect. This is a $2 minimum wager at most tracks.
Exacta
You play two horses. They must come in first and second in EXACT order to collect. This is a $2 minimum wager at most tracks.
Exacta Box
You play two horses. They must come in first and second in EITHER order to collect. Since this has multiple wagers in combination, it is a $1 minimum wager at most tracks.
Trifecta
You play three horses. They must come in first, second, and third in EXACT order to collect. This is a $2 minimum wager at most tracks.
Trifecta Key
You play three horses. You chose one horse to win, called the key horse, who must come in first followed by the other two horses second and third in any order to collect. You may play more than two horses in second and third, which means any two of those horses can finish in those positions and you will win. Since this has multiple wagers in combination, it is a $1 minimum wager at most tracks.
Trifecta Box
You play three horses. They must finish first, second, and third in any order to collect. Since this has multiple wagers in combination, it is a $1 minimum wager at most tracks.
Superfecta
You play four horses. They must come in first, second, third, and fourth in EXACT order. This is a $2 minimum wager at most tracks.
Superfecta Box
You play four horses. They must finish first, second, third, and fourth in ANY order. Since this has multiple wagers in combination, it is a $1 minimum wager at most tracks and some even go as low as 10 cents for the minimum!
Superfecta Key
You play four horses. You chose one horse to win, called the key horse, who must come in first followed by the other three horses second, third, and fourth in any order to collect. You may play more than three horses in second, third, and fourth, which means any three of those horses can finish in those positions and you will win. You play four horses. They must finish first, second, third, and fourth in ANY order. Since this has multiple wagers in combination, it is a $1 minimum wager at most tracks and some even go as low as 10 cents for the minimum!
Multiple Combination Wager Costs
All costs are based on using a $1.00 minimum wager amount
Exacta Box
2 horse box – $2
3 horse box – $6
4 horse box – $12
5 horse box – $20
6 horse box – $30
7 horse box – $42
8 horse box – $56
Trifecta Box
3 horse box – $6
4 horse box – $24
5 horse box – $60
6 horse box – $120
7 horse box – $210
8 horse box – $336
Trifecta Key
1 horse over 3 others – $6
1 horse over 4 others – $12
1 horse over 5 others – $20
1 horse over 6 others – $30
1 horse over 7 others – $42
Superfecta Box
4 horse box – $24
5 horse box – $120
6 horse box – $360
Superfecta Key
1 horse over 3 others – $6
1 horse over 4 others – $24
1 horse over 5 others – $60
1 horse over 6 others – $120
1 horse over 7 others – $210
Win Odds and Payoffs for a $2.00 wager
1-9 |
$2.10 |
6-5 |
$4.40 |
3-1 |
$8.00 |
12-1 |
$26.00 |
1-5 |
$2.40 |
7-5 |
$4.80 |
4-1 |
$10.00 |
15-1 |
$32.00 |
2-5 |
$2.80 |
3-2 |
$5.00 |
9-2 |
$11.00 |
20-1 |
$42.00 |
1-2 |
$3.00 |
8-5 |
$5.20 |
5-1 |
$12.00 |
30-1 |
$62.00 |
3-5 |
$3.20 |
9-5 |
$5.60 |
6-1 |
$14.00 |
40-1 |
$82.00 |
4-5 |
$3.60 |
2-1 |
$6.00 |
8-1 |
$18.00 |
50-1 |
$102.00 |
1-1 |
$4.00 |
5-2 |
$7.00 |
10-1 |
$22.00 |