On June 10th and 11th, the 2016 Belmont Stakes will be taking place in Elmont, New York in front of a crowd just short of 100,000 people. As the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes will give us a chance to see some of the best horses in the world compete at the highest level for a share of the $1.5 million purse.
NBC will have the national broadcast running on July 11th from 4:30 to 7:00 PM ET. NBCSports.com will also stream the race live here. And if you can’t make it to the track in person, there are a handful of horse racing bookmakers that will be covering the race with a full selection of bets that will be paid at real track odds.
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2016 Betting Odds
The official 2016 Belmont Stakes betting odds will be published later this week, but here’s what we’re anticipating when the odds do go live.
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Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist was withdrawn from the race on account of a fever and that leaves Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator as the betting favorite. With early odds pricing Exaggerator at just even money to win, he is far and away the lowest-paying runner of 2016.
That leaves us with the age-old horse racing question. Do we go with the favorite and take the “easy” win or do we back a longshot and hope for the best? Bloodhorse.com published an informative article this week that might help you make your decision.
They found that favorites do not have a positive history at the Belmont Stakes. Going back 25 years, the pre-race favorite has only won five times. You could also look at that as the favorite failing to deliver 80% of the time.
Bloodhorse.com also notes that the average odds of the winning horse over that same period have been 12.86-1. They also found that horses that of 19 Preakness winners that also entered the Belmont Stakes, five of them went on to win again in Elmont. If history is any indicator, the most popular horses tend to get overhyped to such an extent that their betting odds do not necessarily relate to their abilities.
It also doesn’t much help that Belmont is difficult to predict on its own. At 1 ½ miles in length, it is almost always the longest race any horse has ever run up to that point. Predicting how the horses will manage the additional length is tough.
It helps a lot if the horse is paired with an experienced jockey who can exercise the right amount of patience necessary to keep his mount from tiring himself out too early in the race. All too often one horse enters the final stretch only to slow down and be passed by a different horse whose rider better managed the long track.
The Complete Newbie’s Guide to Betting on the Belmont Stakes Online
A lot of the horse racing articles published around this time of year assume their readers already have a solid grip on how to bet on horses. If you’re interested in seeing what all the fuss is about, this section is for you.
Signing up and Depositing
Horse racing betting is one of the few forms of wagering that are unquestionably legal in the United States. What that means for you is that there is no need to visit the track in person or even deal with questionable offshore betting sites. Online horse racing betting is legal and regulated right here in the USA.
The horse racing sites you see on this page are all licensed and headquartered in the United States. Even better, they all work closely with the major racetracks in order to bring live race feeds and true track odds to your computer or smartphone. Every wager you place online is comingled with wagers taken at the track such that your winning bets are paid at the very same odds as if you had placed that bet in person at the track.
If that sounds like a good deal, here’s what you need to do.
The first step is to decide which betting site to use to place your bets. BetAmerica, TwinSpires and WatchandWager are going to be your best options in that order. All three are safe and legal, but I prefer BetAmerica the most simply because the website is easy to navigate and has better promotions than the competition. We can also reasonably assume that their financial standing is on solid ground given how long they have been in business.
Whichever site you choose, the next step is to sign up for an account. The one thing to keep in mind is that not all horse racing sites accept customers from every state. State laws vary, and some states even prohibit online horse racing betting altogether. Licensed sites comply with all state laws, so don’t stress too much over that. Your betting site will let you know if it doesn’t accept customers from your state. You can also check the lists of state restrictions in each of our racing betting site reviews here.
Once you have an account, you can then fund it by making a deposit. There are a handful of deposit options open to customers, but the easiest are credit and debit cards. You can also go with prepaid cards, ACH transfers, Neteller and other options. This part is pretty easy – it’s just like buying something online from Amazon.
Getting Your First Bonus
Competition among the many betting sites looking for your business has led all the major racing bookmakers to offer real money bonuses in return for you signing up and making your first deposit. In most cases, the amount of money you get as a bonus is directly proportional to the size of your first deposit. The more you deposit, the bigger the bonus.
The main thing you should know about these bonuses is that they come with certain requirements that you have to meet before you can withdraw the bonus money. Namely, they ask you to place a certain dollar amount worth of wagers before you can take the bonus money. This rule is enforced to prevent people from signing up and getting a bonus with no intention of ever placing a bet.
Here’s how the first deposit bonuses work at each of my recommended Belmont Stakes betting sites.
BetAmerica: 100% up to $300
BetAmerica has a very typical and straightforward welcome bonus. When you make your first deposit, they agree to match it with an equal amount of money in bonus funds. So, if you deposit $100, they will add an extra $100 to your account.
However, you need to clear the bonus before you can withdraw the money or use it to place wagers. This is done by placing bets like normal with your own money first. The bonus funds are automatically converted into usable cash at a rate equal to 10% of every real money wager you place at BetAmerica. For example, every $10 bet you place will release $1 in bonus funds.
Claim this bonus now: www.betamerica.com
TwinSpires: Bet $500, Get $100
The welcome bonus at TwinSpires is also definitely worth a look. This one doesn’t rely on you depositing a certain amount of money. Instead, they just give you $100 if you manage to place $500 worth of wagers with your own money within 30 days of signing up for an account.
The downside to this bonus in compared to the one offered at BetAmerica is the limited amount of time you have to meet the requirements. Just make sure you’re ready to do some serious betting in your first month if you really want to get this bonus.
Get started now at: www.twinspires.com
WatchandWager: 100% up to $150
WatchandWager’s welcome bonus is the easiest of all to clear – it’s just not as big as the others. With this bonus, they’ll match your first deposit 100% for up to $150 in extra cash. The catch is that you can only withdraw the bonus money after you have placed $300 worth of wagers. This is the best bonus to aim for if you’re not sure you can meet the wagering requirements of the other two bonuses explained above.
Get started now at: www.watchandwager.com
Placing Your First Bet
You will quickly learn that there are a ton of betting options for horse racing betting. If you listen to an old-timer talk about his last time at the track, it might sound like he’s speaking in a different language what with all his “so then I keyed the 2 over the 4, 5 and 6 on the $2 trifecta” mumbo-jumbo. That’s OK. It doesn’t start out that complicated, not by a long shot.
The basic horse racing bets are easy to understand and should be your starting point. After you get comfortable with the basics, it is much easier to move on to more advanced wagers. You can see this page for a review of all the most common types of racing bets, but here’s a quick recap of the basics.
Win / Place / Show
The win, place and show bets are all wagers that involve picking exactly one horse. The “win” bet is the straight up bet you think of first when people talk about betting on the Belmont Stakes. All you do is pick one horse and you get paid if he takes first place in the race. If your horse fails to do anything other than win the race, your bet loses.
In a “place” bet, you still pick just one horse. However, this bet pays if your horse finishes in either first or second place. It doesn’t matter which as long as it is one of the top two spots. You get paid the same either way.
The “show” bet works like the place bet except it extends out to the top three spots. You pick your horse and then get paid if he finishes in either first, second or third place. It doesn’t matter which place and your winnings remain the same in all three outcomes.
Exacta / Trifecta / Superfecta
This category of wagers has you pick multiple horses and their exact finishing order. In an exacta, you select two horses to finish in first and second place in that exact order. In a trifecta, you select three horses to finish in first, second and third place in that exact order. A superfecta has you choose four horses to finish in first through fourth place in that exact order.
To reiterate, all three of these wager types require you to pick the horses in the right order. If you select three horses and they all finish in 1st through 3rd but in a different order than what you specific, you lose the bet. That makes these difficult to win, but the payoffs are very nice when you get it right.
One last thing to remember is that the odds you see when you book your bet may not be the exact odds at which you are paid later. Horse racing betting is conducted in the parimutuel format, which means all wagers taken on runners are pooled together and then the payouts come from that pool divided equally among all people who booked a winning bet.
Major chances in price are unlikely, but don’t be surprised if you end up getting paid a little more or less than what you expected. That’s just the way horse racing works. It’s actually good that it works that way because parimutuel betting doesn’t pit you against the oddsmakers. It is the market that determines the starting price for each horse.