Greyhounds have been raced in Britain since 1926 with the recognisable circular track and hare arriving from American race tracks, and it quickly became a very popular pastime with a peak of 36 million spectators in 1946. Although seen in the public eye as predominantly a northern and working class sport, current race attendees come from all walks of life, and with over three million spectators at 26 different tracks in the UK visiting ‘t’dogs’ is still a popular way to spend an evening.
Of course, unless you particularly love robotic hares, a trip to the track is usually to enjoy some betting. All dog tracks have onsite bookmakers but more and more punters are now placing bets with online bookies as they can then take advantage of a range of odds and the numerous promotions offered by different companies. This guide will give you a quick run through of some of the best bookies and bets about, as well as what to look out for.
Best Bookmakers For Betting On Greyhounds
Almost all UK bookies offer betting on greyhounds but here we consider the only the best of the best, based on their odds, offers and depth of coverage.
BetVictor has been trading since 1946, was a pioneer of online betting and one of the first to move their offices offshore for tax reasons (BetJimmyCarr coming soon?). They have always been one of the top notch bookies on all sports and with a first rate website that is intuitive and user friendly, Victor is highly regarded by their customers. If you find online bookmakers frustrating to navigate, BetVictor may be a good place to hone your skills and build confidence before spreading to other platforms.
Promotions for the greyhounds are few and far between, although they do occasionally crop up, but what they do offer are impressive odds: lots of value bettors will use BetVictor regularly as their odds are usually one of, if not the, best on the web. BetVictor also exhibit some interesting bet combinations such as the Trap Challenge (see bet types) which will spice up a night’s racing if you fancy betting on something slightly different.
How To Bet On Greyhounds
If you’ve never placed a bet on the dogs before we’ve got everything you need to know right here, with a focus on the main betting markets that are available.
As with many sports, there are masses of different options when it comes to betting on the dogs but here we take a look at the best, most popular and most widely offered bets around.
- Winner – As simple as it gets: choose the winner of the race and put your money where your muzzle is. Of course, this is easier said than done, but for starters definitely try looking at the form guide to get a background of how the greyhounds are racing. This will tell you how they have fared in previous races and what weight and age they are as well as plenty more information to mull over so you can make a more informed decision (and hopefully more successful) than betting on names or numbers.
- Each Way or Place Betting – An each way bet is actually two bets: half your total stake is a bet on the dog winning and the other half on coming second. Most bookmakers will give ¼ odds on a second place (e.g. if the dog to win is 8/1 and it comes second, your each way bet will be settled at 2/1).
- Forecast and Trifecta (Tricast) Bets – A forecast is a bet predicting the first and second placed dogs respectively. Some bookmakers offer greater flexibility with a reversed forecast which allows your two selections to place first and second in either order. A forecast bet is very popular in races with a clear favourite to improve the odds of a bet and can lead to impressive returns. A trifecta is a similar bet but with three selections placing first, second and third, with a reverse also available on that covering all possibilities of the three dogs in any order.
- Accumulators – An accumulator is a bet which encompasses lots of individual events (called selections), all of which must occur for the bet to win. For example, you may place an accumulator predicting all eight winners of the night’s races: to win the bet, all of your selections must be first. Consequently this is a very difficult bet to win but can lead to incredible returns from small stakes.
- Trap Challenge – Some websites offer the trap challenge, where instead of betting on individual dogs you bet on a certain trap to house the most winners of the night.
For the most part greyhound betting is quite straightforward, however there can sometimes be incidences where the rulebook has to come out to settle the bets. Each bookmaker has their own terms and conditions; wherever you place your bets make sure to run through them so you will not be caught out by the small print. This is especially important if you regularly wager large sums, although the vast majority of your best are sure to settle hassle-free.
- Dead Heat – If two or more dogs cannot be separated by a photo finish, then most bookies will return your bet at half-face value: part of your stake will be considered to have won and the other part considered a loser. The split of win to lose depends on the number of dead heaters, i.e. if two dogs dead heat, then ½ the bet will be considered won. Dead heat rules vary from company to company with regards how much payout you will receive when it comes to forecast betting and the like.
- Non-Runners – A non-runner is where a greyhound that has been advertised to run has not been able to, perhaps through sickness or disqualification or even withdrawal by the trainer’s request. Some websites state that if you place a greyhound bet, you have bet on the dog in that trap number rather than the dog itself; if the dog is a non-runner and a replacement runs from that trap, your bet will be transferred to the newcomer and settled at the SP. A non-runner will usually void any Trifecta or similar type bet. Non-runners will affect the odds of the rest of the field: if there is sufficient warning, sometimes their SP will change but other times bookmakers will use the Rule 4 deduction system to settle your bets.
- Rule 4 – Rule 4 is a way of settling bets fairly when a greyhound has not run. If a greyhound is considered a non-runner and Rule 4 is applied, then a percentage deduction of the winnings from successful bets occurs. This deduction is related to the SP of the greyhound that withdrew: if a very short priced favourite is a non-runner, the deduction percentage will be higher than if a long shot does not run. The exact deduction rate is detailed in Tattersalls Rule 4 deductions table, which is used by all UK bookies, and can never be more than 90% no matter how many dogs are non-runners.
- Race Re-Runs – If a race is re-run generally all bets will stand, and most of the time any bet will be settled at the starting price of said re-run. If a race is required to re-run but for whatever reason does not occur, then most bookmakers will consider all bets void.
There may not be as many dog tracks as there used to be, with there being a worrying trend of knocking them down to build houses, but there are still a handful scattered around the country.