What is the 80/20 Horse Racing Betting Strategy?

Looking for a horse racing betting system? The 80/20 strategy could help.

80/20 betting

Having a system when horse racing betting is a good idea if you’re going to be staking a lot on the nags. Expert punters spend years perfecting their horse racing bet strategies, while some nail it the first time they enter a racecourse.

Here at Paddy Power we’re always looking to improve the knowledge base of our community. That’s why we’ve created this quick guide to the 80/20 betting system.

The 80/20 principle is the brainchild of Italian Vilfredo Pareto. He claimed 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes.

In betting terms, we can view the Pareto principle as: 80% of your betting profits come from 20% of your bets.

This is probably about right. Picking a winning horse is never easy, especially if the favourite has odds higher than Evens (1/1 in UK odds, or 2.0 in decimal odds). The odds are literally stacked against you, which is why many punters plump for Each Way bets rather than going for the win every time.

However, the 80/20 betting strategy can be more profitable than Each Way bets.

In this guide we’ll take you through the 80/20 strategy for horse racing and explain two ways of implementing it.

80/20 bet

80/20 in Horse Racing

If we go by the assumption that 80% of our profits from horse racing betting stem from 20% of our bets, then we can begin to think about our profit potential.

Consider you’re betting £10 on a horse to win at odds of 4/1. A win lands you £40 profit, while any other result means a £10 loss.

So, you consider the Each Way markets. Here, a £5 EW bet on your horse yields a profit of £5 plus your stake back if it places, and £34 if it wins.

Is there a way of squeezing more money out of that place, or perhaps reducing your risk by betting on more than one horse? This is where the 80/20 comes in.

There are two types of 80/20 bet strategy that players can utilise. One is more common in North America where you can bet on a horse to finish second (place) rather than the European sense of place, which is to finish in the top two, three or four runners.

The other option is to split your stake across two horses, backing them both to win but at varying odds, in a bet akin to Dutching.

Here’s how both bet strategies work:

80/20 win and place

Bookmakers primarily in North America permit you to bet on a horse to finish second, or third, or wherever, as well as first. This is highly useful for the 80/20 rule.

Here, you bet 80% of your stake on the horse finishing second (or within the places) and 20% of your stake on it winning the race.

The idea is that you’ll win a decent profit regardless of where the horse finishes. Here’s the 80/20 Win Place rule in action with a £10 stake:

  • £2 on Monsterrunner to win at 5/1 = £10 profit
  • £8 on Monsterrunner to place at 2/1 = £16 profit

So long as Monsterrunner wins or places, you win. Obviously if Monsterrunner proves to be a dud and loses then your £10 stake is gone. However, what happens if you’d backed Monsterrunner £5 Each Way? You’d have won £31.25 for the race win, but only £5 for the place.

The 80/20 Win Place strategy therefore enhances your odds on the place and reduces your odds on the win, compared to an Each Way bet.

    80 20 betting

    80/20 Two Horses

    You can also use the 80/20 method for betting on two horses. This is more common in the UK and Ireland because you can create a pretty effective double bet.

    Most bettors use the Paddy Power bet slip to create doubles and trebles, and rope all selections into one wager. However, there’s nothing stopping you splitting your total stake unevenly across two horses and simply making two single bets.

    Here’s the 80/20 Two Horses idea in action:

    You plan to bet on two horses to win the same race and have £10 to spend. You reckon the favourite is well placed to win but think an outsider could well challenge for the post too.

    So, you split your total stake for the race over two selections:

    • £8 on Big Favourite to win at 3/1 = £24 profit
    • £2 on Alsorunningtoday to win at 9/1 = £18 profit

    This is a form of Dutching, where you target profit from two selections. You could even weight the stakes more in favour of the underdog and seek to secure the same profit regardless of the winner. A £2.50 bet on Alsorunningtoday and a £7.50 wager on Big Favourite results in £22.50 profit if either horse wins.

    If you want to know more about Dutching then read our Dutch betting guide here!

    So there you have it. The 80/20 principle can be used in more than one way but the idea is to heighten your chances of winning profit, even if the profit isn’t as big as it could be.