Structuring Your Bets

Structuring your bets is another important piece in the puzzle of professional betting. A lot of the articles I write are focussed on finding the contenders. This is because I believe this to be one of the hardest parts of profitable betting. You should have the winner in your contenders at least 75% of the time.

This is different to betting on the winner 75% of the time, which you are very unlikely to be doing. Once you have your contenders you then need to decide which runners you will be placing your bets on and how you are going to structure your bets.

While these are two different topics there is a blending between them that makes them hard to completely separate.

Personally, I very seldom bet on just one runner in a race. There are a few reasons for this but the main two are that there is usually more than one of my contenders offering value., meaning that I can maximise the volume I bet by having more than one bet per race. The second reason, is that it also helps to keep the strike rate high and provides for a less volatile bankroll.

What ways are there to structure your bets and what do I mean by bet structure?

Bet structure is how you place your bets. You could just do a single win bet on one runner, dutch runners, flat bet multiple runners, win bet on one runner and bet distance to winner on the others, place bet, bet without the favourite in the race and many more betting markets and combinations.

A badly structured bet can actually lose you money even when you select the winner. For example, if you were to place three flat win bets on different runners and the winner had odds of 2.50 then you have laid out 3 units and won back 2.50. A loss of 0.50 units even though you selected the winner! This is poor bet structuring and either the winner shouldn’t have been included or the bet needed to be put together differently.

If you are not yet making a profit from your betting then I would recommend that you look to bet on multiple runners in a race because you will find that it keeps losing streaks lower which helps you to keep the professionalism towards your betting. Do not feel that you are cheating by selecting more than one runner to win, if you are making a profit then that is all that matters.

Three selections is usually a good place to start and if you have more than five possible contenders then I suggest that you leave the race alone. If you have a highly competitive field then it is safer to leave it alone.

Assuming that you are betting on three selections then the simplest way is to dutch your bet. This is the process of betting multiple runners for different amounts (based on their odds) so that you win the same amount if any of them wins.

Let’s have a quick look at a profitable strategy:

  • Find the contenders in the race.
  • If there are more than five contenders then move on to the next race.
  • From your five contenders look at the betting market, if any have odds higher than 30.00 then remove these from your selections. If you still have more than three contenders then if any are clearly not offering value, remove these from your selections. You may still have too many selections left, calculate your dutch bet and if you can make over a 5% return on investment from it then bet, otherwise remove any that have more faults than the rest or leave the race and move to the next.
  • Place your dutch bet.

Using this strategy you should be able to achieve over a 50% strike rate and a minimum of 5% ROI. By keeping your bet structure the same each time you do not need to worry about how to place the bets in the moment because everything is already planned. With more experience you can begin to vary this structure in order to optimise the profit.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. ello,can anyone help me,ive asked people and they looked at me goes.a horse runs in a class 3 carrying 9st 8lbs,its next race is a class 3 its carrying 9st 8lbs yet it has gone up 4lbs.HOW its still got 9st 8lbs on its back,i dont understand it,can someone please help cheers,andy

  2. Andy there are a few possible reasons, could you give an example of a race?

  3. Hi Andy i may have come across this myself and as the race advisor daid
    there are a few possible reasons and i dount confess to know them

    but what i could suggest is when you look at the top of the races in the racing post
    it tells you how the race has been structured as regards weights being carried i.e

    weight for age and any penaltys from what your saying sounds like the horse in reality should have been carring only 9st 4lb for that race but because he has had a 4lb rise this has then put him back on 9st 8lb pounds again

    this is confusing i know so i am only suggesting that may be the way in witch the
    race was framed lets say because of age he should have only carried 9-4lb
    but check the top of these races and you should see the information your looking for

    hope thats been of some help

  4. Hi to the advisor

    yes i understand were your coming from and on ocageions backed two horse in a race
    but what i realy want to say is can we use fractions please for prises
    as i am not yet someone who spends a lot of time on betfair i do not know what prices
    your talking about when its given in decimals
    thanks you

  5. It is very easy to work out decimal prices from fractions or vice-versa. To go from a decimal to a fraction you simply do odds-1. e.g. Betfair price of 7.5 is 6.5/1

    To go from fractional to decimal you simply follow the division sign in the fraction and then add one. e.g. 10/11 = 10 divided by 11 = 1.90 + 1 = 2.90

    Hope that clears it up 🙂

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