If something has ‘gone to the dogs’, typically it is a negative connotation for something that has changed for the worst.
But there’s something truly exciting about an evening at the greyhound racing, from placing your bets to burning the roof of your mouth while eating a sausage roll that has been microwaved to 200˚C.
It may not be considered as popular as horse racing, but greyhound races have been going on since the turn of the twentieth century, and so this is a sport steeped in tradition and history.
The number of dog tracks may be dwindling in the UK, but that’s not to say there’s not still a comprehensive schedule of events that you can watch and bet on at your leisure.
A staple of the high street and online bookmaker, greyhound betting is still enjoyed by many – and in this guide, we’ll reveal how you can get involved too.
At a Glance Guide to Betting on Greyhounds
When you load up a racecard for a greyhound meeting, you will be met with a similar look and feel regardless of which betting site you choose to use.
You’ll see the time of the race and the venue, and then you’ll see the dogs in the field listed either by the number they will be wearing or in the order of the betting.
As a point of interest, the dog is handed a colour depending on which number trap it will run from. To make it easier to follow your selection in-running, the numbers/colours are:
- Trap 1 – Red
- Trap 2 – Blue
- Trap 3 – White
- Trap 4 – Black
- Trap 5 – Orange
- Trap 6 – Black & White Stripes
- Trap 7 – Green
- Trap 8 – Yellow & Black
As a punter, your job – in theory at least – is easy: you are looking to back the dog that you believe will win the race.
Of course, numerous other betting markets are available. You can bet on your dog each way, which will award you a payout if they finish within the specified number of places, or you can wager on them specifically to place.
There are stacks of other combination and cover bets where you can try to bet on multiple winners or even correctly guess the 1-2-3 in a single race, and you can read more about those in our guide to greyhound racing bet types on this very site.
Studying the Form
They say that form is temporary and class is permanent, but in greyhound racing the form of a dog really is very important indeed.
You can try all manner of analysis and technical tools to try and predict the outcome of a greyhound race, and many do, but in essence calculating how quickly a dog can run over a given distance and in specific conditions really is the key.
On your betting app or reading the racecard in the paper, you will note that each dog’s form is listed. You’ll be able to see how they have performed in their most recent outings, and so you can check if they are a winner at a particular course or over a specific distance.
Make a note of the times recorded; these are an excellent tool for analysing form and dictating which dog might just be the value bet.
Understanding Each Way Payouts
Depending on the number of dogs in a race, your bookie may just offer you as many as four each way places in your betting.
In essence, each way betting is making two picks – one on the horse to win, the other on it to finish within the places. You have to stake twice too, but your each way betting may just yield more consistent returns than simply betting outright on the race winner.
Here’s an example. We want to back One-Eyed Willie, who has shown plenty of progressive form, in the 15:00 at Sunderland. Available at 10/3 with 1/4 odds on two places, we bet £5 each way – a total stake of £10, remember.
Should One-Eyed Willie win, we will trouser £30.83 – that’s £20.83 in winnings plus our £10 stake back.
If One-Eyed Willie finishes second, we take away £9.17 – a small overall loss.
If our dog doesn’t finish in the top two places, we lose our £10 stake.
Note that the higher the selection’s odds, the greater your return will be from your each way betting should the dog place.
What is the SP?
If we think about a betting market, we can break it down into different chunks of time.
A greyhound racecard may get published on the day of a meeting, and you can place your bets at that earliest possible juncture.
But, let’s say five hours later, the odds on your dog may have changed – they may be a higher or lower price.
The SP in betting is the Starting Price, and this is the odds that a greyhound starts the race at when the market closes. It is calculated from the volume of bets taken at the venue on the day/evening of the race.
You can take the early odds or select SP, and hope that the starting price offers more value than those odds you may have taken earlier.
Of course, the SP is becoming of less importance given the number of bookmakers that now offer the Best Odds Guaranteed promotion, which you can learn more about in the next section of this article.
Features to Watch Out For
There is a certain convergence and consistency to what each bookmaker offers these days, but there are those that push the boat out more than others when it comes to their greyhound betting offering.
Below we have detailed four of the most important features that you should look out for in your greyhound betting – these will enhance your experience of this fine sport greatly.
Best Odds Guaranteed
This is one of the principle features that punters of all sports, but particularly greyhound racing, should look for from their bookie.
You remember the section we wrote about above, taking the SP or chancing your arm that the odds you take will be the best available?
Well, Best Odds Guaranteed (or BOG as it’s typically shortened to) renders such concerns obsolete. Basically, when you bet with a BOG-enabled bookmaker, you will ensure that you get the best price for your selection – whether that’s the price available at 9am on race day or the SP.
For a single bet, BOG might not make a huge deal of difference. But if you are betting with high stakes or at a high volume, the extra returns that are available to you when taking the best odds are significant to say the least.
The best bookmakers for greyhound betting offer promotions that are dedicated to the sport, rather than having a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
One of the most popular options is Money Back if Second – as the name suggests, your stake will be refunded if your pick is edged out by another dog.
You might also get a free bet if your selection loses to the favourite, and other considerations include enhanced places, odds boosts and more.
These days, most mainstream bookmakers offer live streaming through their website and/or app.
Greyhound racing tends to get excellent coverage, with the majority of meetings on UK and Irish soil catered for by the cameras.
Some have broadened their horizons into new countries too, and so you can sometimes watch greyhound races from Australia, the United States and other destinations around the globe.
The rules of how you can watch greyhound streaming tend to differ from bookmaker to bookmaker. Some will let you watch for free with no questions asked, others will require you to have placed a bet on the action and others will expect you to have a funded account prior to serving up access to the live video.
Ante Post Betting
While more common in sports like football, horse racing and golf, the best bookmakers also offer ante post betting for the major greyhound races too.
What is ante post betting? This is betting in advance on a specific race. Typically, you will be able to access longer odds on a dog, however it should be noted that you don’t always get refunded if your pick is later declared a non-runner.
The most popular ante post market in dog racing covers the Greyhound Derby, the most prestigious race on the calendar. You can bet as far as a year ahead of the next edition!