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  • 05:50:59 AEST
  • Sunday, 17 February 2019

Odds Comparison

With a variety of different odds to bet on in horse racing, it would be no surprise if new punters were overwhelmed when confronted with all the the different numbers.

With terms like tote odds, fixed odds, starting price, top fluctuation and best of the best odds all thrown about, it can be hard to decide which odds to go for, let alone understand the difference between them all.

Bookie Odds


Sometimes referred to as SP for Start Price, Tote Odds are the go to odds for most punters. Tote is an abbreviation for totalizator, which in short is a pool of all the money placed on a particular race.

The dividends or odds are calculated according to the amount staked on each horse, just like a piece of pie.

The more people who have placed a bet on a particular horse, the bigger slice of pie, and the shorter the odds will be.

At the other end of the spectrum, the horse carrying the least money will have the highest odds.


Odds Comparison (pros & cons)

Unlike other types of odds, the tote odds tend to fluctuate around the most, as different punters put large sums of money on certain runners.

Generally, up to 40% of the money placed on tote odds is put on in the last five minutes before the race.

This can be advantageous as well as disadvantageous. Either your odds will drift out, giving you better odds than when you placed the bet. Alternatively, your odds will shorten, ending up less than when you placed your bet.

Punters who prefer to have certainty of their odds when placing a bet tend to steer away from betting on the tote.


Fixed Odds

Fixed odds are set by the bookmaker, based on their assessment of how they believe each horse will run.

While they can also change in the lead into a race depending on where the money is going, these odds are typically more steady than tote odds.

Many punters enjoy betting on fixed odds as they relish the idea of getting one up over the bookie, by getting a huge win at what they (the punter) percieve to be a good price.


Odds Comparison (pros & cons)

The key advantage of fixed odds is that they provide assurance to the punter of their potential pay out. This is particularly advantageous when the fixed odds shorten after you have placed your bet, giving you more value for money.

However, there is also the chance your horse will blow out after you've placed your bet, making some punters feel like they've missed out on value. 


Top Fluc

Top fluc or highest fluctuation also relates to fixed odds, representing the best odds offered at any stage by the bookie.


Odds Comparison (pros & cons)

While not every bookie offers this market, and if so not in every race, top fluc will always ensure that punters get the best value for their selections.

It also reduces the effort and stress for punters who are determined to get the best price, with this market doing the work for them.

However, this market is more of a guide of what the highest fluctuation is/will be, and doesn't take into account certain bookies who will 'take on' certain horses throughout the meet. The 'top fluc' title can therefore be erroneous.


Best of the Best (BOB)

Finally, best of the best odds simply mean the- you guessed it- best odds. From every odds market mentioned above, the very best odds are taken and offered to the punter.


Odds Comparison (pros & cons)

When these odds are available, common sense says you should only bet in this market. 

However, this market is typically only available for the main race meets, only up until 35 minutes before the gates open, and usually with a maximum bet limit.

Also, for punters who like to be guided by market fluctuations, betting on the Best of the Best isn't the way to go. 



While there are a multitude of markets that differ greatly from sport to sport, the two main types of odds that are most prevalent and potentially most confusing for the casual punter are line and margin markets. 

These markets are most commonly used by bookies in betting promotions.


The line becomes simple when thought of in terms of a handicap.

The line is designed to offer the exact same odds for both teams/players, with the handicap equalizing their chances of winning.

The favourite will always have a negative line, while the underdog will have a positive line, which correspond to points/goals on the scoreboard.

At the end of the game, you subtract the line of the favourite, and add the line of the underdog, giving a new score (only one at a time, not both at same time).

The lines are greater or smaller depending on the weight of favouritism, and always end in .5 to account for ties. 

E.g. South Sydney Rabbitohs (-4.5 line) vs the Cronulla Sharks (+4.5 line).

Final result: Rabbitohs 24, Sharks 18. 

After line is applied: Rabbitohs 19.5, Sharks 18.  Rabbitohs 24, Sharks 22.5.

Rabbitohs successfully covered the line.


Odds Comparison (pros & cons)

The key advantage of line betting is that it either a) adds value if betting on a favourite or b) increases bet safety if betting on an underdog.

This is especially the case in leagues like the AFL where heavy favourites rarely get defeated.

However, a disadvantage is that it's much harder to predict the line than a regular head-to-head market, as it is technically a 50/50 chance or a toss up.

The value of betting on underdogs is also diminished when line betting.



This market involves betting on the margin of victory in a particular sports event.


Odds Comparison (pros & cons)

As this is a much more specific market than head-to-head or even line, the value is markedly higher, leading to chances of bigger profits.

However, just as the value is higher, the chances of winning are smaller.  


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