When setting out to wager on a horse race, one might be tempted to put money on the favorite. It seems like a good idea, but there are many reasons why you should reconsider. Betting the favorite in a race is oftentimes not profitable.
There are a few different reasons for this.
First, there might be preconceived notions that the favorite is all but guaranteed to win. This can happen without any regard for extra data, advice, and sleeper horses. It is never a good idea to bet on a favorite just because they are a favorite, and it can prevent you from winning big.
Even if you do the research and it seems the favorite will win, they rarely offer a good payout. Most of the time you will be putting extra money down in order to win anything back. Instead of putting a large amount of money down on the favorite, look toward combinations or other horses in the field that will cost less and pay more.
While it is true that there will be many races where the favorite is obvious by looking at data or a big gap in the odds, there are many where the competition is close. If there is a grouping of horses that are hovering around the same odds, why should you have confidence in the favorite?
In situations like this, it’s best to focus more on the different stats and skills of each individual horse, rather than losing money by just choosing the favorite.
Another thing to consider is that if there is a group of horses far behind the favorite, all with similar odds, they should be fighting for the #2 spot. That means there is a good chance one of them can take first and second, leaving the favorite somewhere behind.
Lastly, odds are just far from consistent many times. A lot can change leading up to a race, even moments before. By the time a race starts, all odds could go out the window. Horses are scratched due to injury and illnesses, owners decide to hold the horse for another race, jockeys can be replaced, and replacement horses can come in.
The issue of betting on the favorite can really be broken down into two parts. Even if the favorite does win, the odds will likely mean you have to put down a lot of money in order to make any kind of profit. Besides that, there are many times when the favorite doesn’t win due to competition not being accounted for, and then there is definitely no way to make a profit.