Deciphering The Odds

Preakness Picks

125th Preakness

May 20, 2000

Newcomers to the track often are confused by the odds board. What does it mean when a horse's odds are 4-5 or 4-1? The math is complex, but the bottom line is simple. Odds dictate what a $2 bet on the winner will be worth. The table below translates odds into payoffs, beginning with the lowest odds (1-9) and ending with the highest (99-1). These are minimum payoffs. Prices can be slightly higher -- up to the next odds level -- but not lower. For example, a horse listed at 5-2 could pay $7.00. $7.20, $7.40, $7.60 or $7.80. The odds stop at 99-1, so the payoff for a winner begins at $200 and can go much higher depending on several variables.

1-9 = $2.20

1-5 = $2.40

2-5 = $2.80

1-2 = $3.00

3-5 = $3.20

4-5 = $3.60

1-1 = $4.00

6-5 = $4.40

7-5 = $4.60

3-2 = $5.00

8-5 = $5.20

9-5 = $5.60

2-1 = $6

5-2 = $7

3-1 = $8

7-2 = $9

4-1 = $10

9-2 = $11

5-1 = $12

6-1 = $14

7-1 = $16

8-1 = $18

9-1 = $20

10-1 = $22

11-1 = $24

12-1 = $26

13-1 = $28

14-1 = $30

15-1 = $32

16-1 = $34

17-1 = $36

18-1 = $38

19-1 = $40

20-1 = $42

21-1 = $44

22-1 = $46

23-1 = $48

24-1 = $50

25-1 = $52

30-1 = $62

35-1 = $72

40-1 = $82

45-1 = $92

50-1 = $102

60-1 = $122

75-1 = $175

99-1 = $200

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