How to Bet on Harness Horse Racing for US Bettors
Updated: November 30, 2022
Horse racing isn’t your typical sport and it can often be challenging to understand the long lists of stats and details on each animal.
When these numbers are then combined with betting odds and distances, it can make the idea of harness horse race betting an ever-more complicated proposition.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
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To start betting on harness horse racing, you’ll first need to find a reputable sportsbook.
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There are plenty of online betting sites that specialize in horse racing and will offer a wide range of options on harness races from across the United States.
From there, you should study the sport and figure out the most common types of best for each race.
While it may seem like an uphill battle, you’ll soon understand the ins and outs of harness horse race betting.
In this article, we’ll have you learn more about the sport, explain the betting process, and help you discover which online betting sites provide the best odds, offerings, and more.
What is Harness Horse Racing?
The sport originated in North America in the 1800s and it remains popular today with the majority of races still taking place in the United States.
However, there are also a significant number of harness races held in Canada, Europe, and Australia.
Harness horse racing is not to be confused with thoroughbred racing, which is different in a few key ways.
For one, harness horses are generally required to be standardbred. This is a type of horse that is bred specifically for racing and is known for its athleticism and speed.
Another key difference is that harness races are held on a track that is shorter than a thoroughbred track.
Finally, harness races are run at a trotting pace, whereas thoroughbreds race at a galloping speed.
At a trotting pace, horses use a two-beat diagonal gait to propel themselves forward with more control.
This is slower than a galloping speed, but it is also smoother and is less likely to result in the horse becoming fatigued or losing its driver.
Read More on Horse Racing
The Basics of Harness Horse Race Betting
Now that we’ve cleared up the difference between harness and thoroughbred horse racing, let’s move on to the question on everyone’s mind—how do you bet on the sport?
The first thing you need to know is that there are three main types of bets that can be placed on a harness horse race:
- Win – This is a bet placed on the horse that you think will cross the finish line first.
- Place – This is a bet placed on the horse that you think will either finish first or second.
- Show – This is a bet placed on the horse that you think will either finish first, second, or third.
The amount of money you can win on each type of bet will depend on the odds of the horse and the amount of money that has been bet on that horse.
The odds will be displayed as either a positive or negative number.
Positive odds indicate the amount of money you will win if you bet $100.
For example, if a horse has odds of +200, you will win $200 if you bet $100 and that horse finishes first.
Negative odds indicate how much money you need to bet to win $100.
For example, if a horse has odds of -200, you will need to bet $200 to win $100.
The amount of money you can win will also be affected by the takeout.
The takeout is the percentage of money that is deducted from the total amount of money bet on a race.
This money is then used to pay for things like the purse (the prize money for the race), track expenses, and taxes.
The takeout is typically between 18% and 25%.
Now that you know the basics of how to bet on harness horse racing, it’s time to learn about the different types of bets that can be placed.
The Different Types of Harness Horse Race Bets
In addition to the three main types of bets (win, place, and show), there are also a number of different types of bets that can be placed on harness horse races.
- Quinella – This is a bet placed on two horses to finish first and second in either order.
- Exacta – This is a bet placed on two horses to finish first and second in exact order.
- Trifecta – This is a bet placed on three horses to finish first, second, and third in exact order.
- Superfecta – This is a bet placed on four horses to finish first, second, third, and fourth in exact order.
- Picks 3, 4, 5, 6 – These are individual bets placed on the winner of three, four, five, or six consecutive races.
The types of bets you can place will depend on the sportsbook you are betting with.
Some sportsbooks will offer a wider range of bets than others so it’s important to shop around and find an option that offers the types of bets you are interested in placing.
In the next section, we’ll explore a handful of top betting sites to help you get started and quickly explain what you’ll need to know to sign up, deposit funds, and start betting on upcoming harness horse races.
How to Find a Quality Sportsbook for Harness Horse Racing
Before you sign up with any old online sportsbook, it’s important to know what to look for.
By opting to work with a quality and reputable vendor, you’ll reap the benefits of better odds, better bets, profitable promotions, and friendly customer service.
You’ll also want to find an online sportsbook that accepts your preferred form of payment, offers comprehensive welcome bonuses, and regularly updates its promotional content.
By guaranteeing that the financial side of your betting experience is up to scratch, you’ll be in a better position to walk away with a pile of winnings after the next harness horse race.
To help simplify your search, we’ve done the hard work of researching which online sportsbooks have the best deals, odds, and bets for harness horse racing.
Below, you’ll find a brief summary of the available pickings and we recommend exploring them each individually to get a better idea of what they can offer for you:
- BetNow Review – BetNow offers comprehensive live betting options on over 200 different racetracks in the United States and internationally. When you sign up today, you’ll automatically earn a 50% welcome bonus and a 10% rebate on all horse races. You can even take your betting on the road with BetNow’s exclusive mobile app with harness horse racing options.
- BUSR Review – BUSR prides itself on being the go-to horseracing sportsbook with some of the most competitive odds and a long list of available bets. When you sign up with BUSR, you’ll earn a 100% matched deposit bonus, valued up to $1,000, and you can then earn an additional $150 by placing your first harness horse racing bet. With that much free money, you’re sure to profit.
- BetUS Review – BetUS is another popular option among American harness horse racing fans since it regularly offers promotions on horse races. For example, BetUS is currently offering a money-back special on 2nd and 3rd bets, helping to ensure that you earn a profit. We should point out, though, that their harness offerings are a little more limited than BUSR and BetNow.
The Sign-Up Process
To sign up for an account at one of the above sportsbooks, you’ll simply need to provide some basic personal information and create a username and password.
You may also be required to verify your identity and age by uploading a copy of your ID.
Once your account has been created, you can deposit funds and place bets on upcoming harness horse races.
The deposit process will vary from one site to the next but, in most cases, you’ll be able to use a credit or debit card, e-wallet, or bank transfer.
It’s also worth mentioning that all of the above sportsbooks offer a sign-up bonus in the form of free bets or bonus cash.
These bonuses can be used to place bets on harness horse races and, if you win, the money will be added to your account balance for you to use according to roll-over conditions.
Final Thoughts on Harness Horse Race Betting
Harness horse racing is a thrilling sport to watch and bet on and, with the help of this guide, you should have a good understanding of the basics.
Remember to shop around for the best sportsbooks, take advantage of sign-up bonuses and promotions, and always do your research before placing any bets.
By following these simple tips, you’re sure to enjoy a profitable harness horse racing betting experience.
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