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Betting on Greyhounds has been in steady decline over the past few years. Traditionally, greyhound betting could account for as much as 10-15% of a bookmakers business, whilst these days that figure is closer to 1-2%. The good news is that the range of bets available on greyhound racing remains as wide as ever, and the competitiveness in the market place has never been stronger.
Before we look at the various bets available when betting on greyhounds, it’s worth considering a few principle factors when picking your bets. Greyhound races will almost always be contested between six dogs, and as a result, it’s not uncommon to see the favourite going off at a relatively short price, while double digit runners are pretty rare.
Greyhound races fall into a grading system, with winning dogs progressing into higher classes, where they will race against faster dogs. This ensures races remain close, and works in a similar way to horse racing. When a dog first starts racing, it completes a series of time trails, after which its ability is assessed and it will begin racing in a suitable class. In the UK the grading system ranks races from 1 (the best) down to 9 (the lowest). These are pre-fixed by a letter relating to the distance and track – usually an “A”. Open races can include dogs from different classes, while handicap races are occasionally used when dogs of different abilities are to race one another. A good dog will usually reach its racing peak at the age of 2.
When considering a bet, accurately assessing each dog’s form and ability is crucial. On the race card, the finishing position for the last six races will be given for each runner. Remember though, it’s important to check out what level the dog was running at. If it has recently been placed badly, but has dropped a grade, it might very well improve its performance, while dogs who have been progressing through the grades following a run of wins might have found their level and therefore could find winning a lot more difficult!
Which trap the dog runs out of is also crucial. Some dogs have a tendency to run well from certain trap, while of even greater importance can be the trap bias at a particular track. Track bias can be caused by drainage or the raking of the track ahead of racing, and it’s worth looking out for, as this can move at some traps. If a track has a particularly heavy or dry section coming out of the traps, this can lead to one particular trap or area breaking quicker, giving the dogs coming out of that trap an advantage. Look out for it, because the bookmaker often won’t have the time to notice this on a busy day of trading.
Most betting on greyhounds is win or each-way betting, and despite the prices being relatively small most of the time, with a race every few minutes or so from a track somewhere in the country, it’s easy to get a bet on.
Looking for a bigger price winner will often send us down the forecast route. There are various ways to bet these, but the most popular at forecasts and tricasts.
In a dual-forecast you simply have to pick the 1st and 2nd placed dogs to land a winner. The order they finish in does not matter. In a straight-forecast you go one step further and predict the 1st and 2nd in the exact order, while in a tri-cast you are looking for the top 3. A straight tri-cast will see you call 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the correct order and will usually ensure a pretty bumper payout. You won’t be told the odds when you place a forecast or a tricast bet – these are derived after the event based on the SP prices, and will be delivered as the “dividends”
In greyhound betting you will sometimes have the option to fix a price (usually only available when the race is screened live on TV), but more often you will be taking SP, which is derived from the starting prices of the on course bookmakers who will probably know a thing or two about all the local runners in the race.
You can have a straight bet on the fixed odds, in the same way you would be on most sports, or head to the “tote”, which is pool betting. The final prices are derived from the number of bets placed on the event, and divided into the proportions staked on each separate dog. This can sometimes give great value, but it can be tricky to predict where the money will be going. It always pays to swim against the tide if you are betting on the tote.
Once you’ve had your bet, the chances are you plan to enjoy watching your chosen dog run if possible. With pretty small number jackets worn by each dog, learning to recognise the colours will allow you to follow your dogs’ chances. Dogs always wear jackets associated by colour to the trap they race from. Trap 1 will wear red, Trap 2 will be blue, Trap 3 white, Trap 4 black, Trap 5 orange, and Trap 6 will be black and white stripes.