How To Bet On Greyhound Racing
Learn the dog racing basics and some valuable tips from our detailed guide to greyhound betting
The best way to bet on greyhounds is to know what you are doing. Although this sport might seem pretty straightforward, there are quite a few things you have to be aware of before even thinking about how to bet on dog races and win.
We’ll start by explaining the types of racing bets, the different types of races, starting positions, dog running styles, and how to use the knowledge to your advantage by accurately weighing the data.
It’s worth mentioning that this racing betting guide doesn’t include staking methods; if you are unfamiliar with the flat betting money management strategy, please give our dedicated betting guide a good read.
We’re going to build a solid foundation on which you should develop a viable dog betting strategy. Although it is mostly a beginner’s guide, we’ve included a few pro tips for performing successful dog racing analysis in the last section.
Quickly navigate to your desired topic:
- Types of Greyhound Bets
- Types of Greyhound Races Explained (Distance, Surface & Age)
- Greyhound Racing Lines: Best and Worst Post Positions (Traps)
- Dog Racing Tips For Beginners & Beyond
Types of Greyhound Bets
The types of bets in Greyhound Racing are practically identical with the types of bets in horse racing, but because not every punter is familiar with them, we’ll start by explaining the most common bet types in dog racing at a glance:
- Win Bet – This is the simplest of all types of greyhound bets: you are backing the dog that you believe has the most chances of winning the race. The bet is going to win only of the dog you picked ends up victorious.
- Place – A place bet is won when the respective dog wins or finishes second in the race.
- Show – The selected greyhound should finish 1st, 2nd, or 3rd for the bet to win.
- Each Way – This is a combined bet: half of your stake goes on the dog to win, and the other half goes on your greyhound to place, meaning that he should finish in the top 3 – although this can vary according to the number of participants, bookies preferences and so on. Usually, the odds for the place bet should be roughly ¼ of the dog’s odds for the win. This type of bet is often used on underdogs, as it can bring a profit even if the greyhound places.
- Straight Forecast / Exacta – This bet implies picking the top two greyhounds in the exact finishing order. It is a risky bet that usually comes at long odds.
- Reverse Forecast – This type of bet allows you to pick the top two dogs in either order. This involves a couple of Straight Forecast bets: half stake on each of the two possible outcomes.
- Tricast / Trifecta – This bet works just like the Straight Forecast with the only difference being that you have to predict the finishing order of the first 3 competitors.
- Combination Tricast – It is a type of bet that allows you to pick the dogs you reckon will finish on the podium without specifying the order.
Of course, the single bets are the simplest and the most popular wagers. However, each-way betting is very fashionable amongst bettors who don’t enjoy low prices. Bear in mind that each track sets the odds for their races minutes before they start. That is why some bookies offer you only SP – Starting Price, instead of plain odds. However, if you want to know the odds before betting, either wager with bookies that make their own odds or wait till around 10 minutes before they start to find out what the lines are.
Bookies that offer Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) attract most punters. This means that if you take an Early Price on a race and the Starting Price turns up to be higher, the bookmaker will offer you the better odds.
Types of Greyhound Races Explained (Distance, Surface & Age)
UK greyhound races have 6 competitors. There are between 10 and 14 races at each track, and they usually take place around 15 minutes between each other.
The greyhound racing tracks have an oval shape, 4 bends and a length of around 400 meters; however, there are different types of races (mainly according to distance):
- Sprint – 2 bends (D)
- Standard – 4 bends (A)
- Stayers – 6 bends (S)
- Marathons – 8 bends (M)
- Hurdles – usually 4 bends (H), but involving the dogs having to jump over hurdles that are positioned on the track
- Handicapping is the lesser common type of race that involves greyhounds of mixed grades that race against each other, with the lower tiers getting a head start according to their category.
If you want to know more about the history of Britain’s greyhound stadiums and tracks, take a look at Jon Henley’s post ‘Going to the dogs’ from theguardian.com.
The surface is another important factor because the surface of the track dictates the pace. Although all greyhound tracks in the UK use a sand surface nowadays, the weather can have a significant impact on the race since all dog race tracks are outdoors. Greyhounds that are strong in Stayers usually perform better in wet condition – whereas railers might be affected by waterlogging. By contrast track, records are more likely to be broken in scorching weather, when the track becomes very hard, and the overall grip is excellent.
Age matters! Dogs under 24 months are required to take part in puppy races. Dogs between 21 and 30 months are considered to be most suitable for sprint races. Experts believe that greyhounds reach their prime between 30 and 36 months. However, experienced dogs (3-4-year-olds) will generally perform better in Marathon races. There’s no excuse for ignoring this matter as every dog’s age has to be written on the race card.
The grading system is a ladder ranking system that groups dogs of similar speeds in the same category, giving each of them a fair chance of winning: D – sprinters, A – runners, S – stayers, H – hurdlers. For example, the fastest sprinting greyhounds are competing in D1, the next in D2, and so on.
The most prestigious greyhound racing betting competitions are Grand National, English Greyhound Derby & Irish Greyhound Derby. Take a glimpse at the 2018 BoyleSports Irish Greyhound Derby Final:
Greyhound Racing Lines: Best and Worst Post Positions (Traps)
The seeding system is meant to balance the competition by assigning competitors to traps they perform best in. These positions are called:
- Rails (rls, pos. 1 & 2) – inside traps, the shortest distance around the track
- Middle (mid, pos. 3 &4) – interior traps, position allows dogs to maintain their maximum speeds
- Wide (w, pos. 5 & 6) – outside traps, favoured by wet conditions
The post position assigned to a greyhound could be an important factor as some dogs perform better inside, in the middle or while running wide. However, this doesn’t mean that the greyhound will have to stick to that position, as they will most likely roam to their preferred spot as soon as possible, but certain punters tend to overrate the importance of the designated traps.
Contrary to popular belief, the key here is to figure out how likely it is for the respective greyhound to get to his favoured position early on. This doesn’t apply for the late speed dogs though: it is convenient for these greyhounds to have a lot of speed dogs in the race because the 1st will slow the others. Anyhow, weigh the initial racing lines with a pinch of salt, because stats don’t always tell the whole story and may sometimes lead the punter to make poor decisions which are based on pure coincidences.
Dog Racing Tips For Beginners & Beyond
Now that you understand how they work let’s talk about how to bet on greyhounds to win. There is much more to greyhound races than people who don’t know the sport might think. Once you start watching dog races and betting on them, you’ll feel the taste of it.
Although you can follow the expert’s suggestions, we advise you to collect information from them and craft your predictions. Here are a few tips for dog racing analysis:
- Preferably specialise in one or two tracks unless you have a lot of time to spend doing this. Then if you watch the first two or three races at the start of an event, you may discover a temporary bias.
- Get to know their breeds (genetic analysis of racing performance) and age (dogs peak at 2, while bitches at 3) and take this into account when estimating probabilities.
- Very carefully analyse the suitability of the traps assigned to each dog and interpret how the competitors should roam during the race, and pay particular attention to the first corner. Remember that the post position is just one of the elements that need to be evaluated.
- Always inspect the track conditions. Heavier dogs (weight) and those running on the wide rails generally have an advantage when the track is wet. However, if the temperature is below zero and the track is frozen, inside rails become significantly faster.
- Make sure you know how the dog performs in the current grade he is racing in – he might have just promoted or dropped down a grade.
- Check out when was the last time the dog has raced – a 6-7 days break is always better than a month without running.
- Don’t mind the general form, but rather investigate how well each dog has done taking into account factors such as the race type, the grade, the trap and the track condition etc. At the same time, select only the trouble-free races when calculating the average times.
It’s now up to you to discover how to pick dog races that offer value and get better at visualising races before they actually take place. One last tip would be to start your decision-making process by eliminating the greyhounds that have little to no chance of winning. Good luck!