How To Understand The Tote Board 

"Figuring Your Payout From The Tote Board" 

By: Richard Reese

 
If you are on track, there will be several tote boards around the track and viewable on racing monitors, as well. Some tote boards will show you just the horse number, followed by its current odds. For example:
toteboard

Usually, the main track tote board will show more information, like how much money is coming in on the various horses, and whether that money is designated for the Win-Place-Show Pools. It usually also shows the ML or morning line odds of the horse.

A ML or morning line number is a fixed number given by the track handicapper that represents what he/she believes that horses chances are for winning. Most people give a lot of credence to how the track handicapper rates every horse and for the most part these track handicappers do a good job of rating the races. For example:
santa anita tote board

However, unlike the Morning line odds which are fixed, the tote board is constantly changing according to how much money each particular horse is getting. Obviously, the more money bet on a particular horse, the lower its odds will be, and the less money bet on a particular horse, the higher its odds will be.

In this case the #1 horse has taken the most win money, so that is the current favorite. The 3-2, represents, $1.50. 

So what if we wanted to figure out how much money we were going to receive for picking certain horses, using the current odds. In looking at #1, we know 3:2 represents $1.50. So we double that number and add $2 dollars for the mutuel. In other words, if the odds stayed at 3:2, and we bet on this horse we would receive $1.50 + $1.50 + 2.00 ($2 dollar mutuel)= $5.00. So for every $2.00 bet on #1, we would get $5.00 back.

Whatever the current odds depict, in order to figure out your payouts you double the figure and add $2.00. This isn't an exact figure because based on coin breakage, the exact figure will be a few dimes more or less, sometimes the same, but you get the general idea.

And these odds are constantly changing and updating on the tote board until the race closes to betting.

So, let's look at the rest of the field and figure out how much we are going to get paid if the odds stayed the same.

#2 current odds of 7-2 or 3.50. In order to calculate your payout you add 3.50 + 3.50 + 2.00 (the mutuel)= $9.00. So for every $2.00 bet on this horse we would receive $9.00 if the horse won.

#3 current odds of 8. So 8.00 + 8.00 + 2.00= $18.00. So for every $2.00 bet on this horse we would receive $18.00, if the horse won.

#4 current odds of 7-2 or 3.50. So 3.50 + 3.50 + 2.00= $9.00. So if #4 won we would receive $9.00 for every $2.00 bet on that horse to win.

#5 current odds of 10. So if #5 won we would receive 10 + 10 + 2= $22.00. For every $2.00 bet, we would receive $22.00

#6 current odds of 9-2 or 4.50. So 4.50 + 4.50 + 2.00= $11.00. For every $2.00 bet, we would receive $11.00. 

Don't forget these payout are based on $2.00 mutuels, so if you had bet $20 to win on any of the horses, then we would have to divide our bet in half to figure out how much we will receive.

So let's say we are betting $20 win bets.

If we bet #1 our return is 5.00 x 10= $50, as long as this horse wins.

If we bet #2 our return is 9.00 x 10= $90, as long as this horse wins.

If we bet #3 our return is 18.00 x 10= $180, as long as this horse wins.

If we bet #4 our return is 9.00 x 10= $90, as long as this horse wins.

If we bet #5 our return is 22.00 x 10= $220, as long as this horse wins.

If we bet #6 our return is 11.00 x 10= $110, as long as this horse wins.

Let's look at some common amounts and how they might be displayed on the toteboard:

1-5 = $2.40 (.20 +.20 +2.00)

2-5 = $2.80 (.40 +.40 +2.00)

1-2 = $3.00 (.50 +.50 + 2.00)

3-5 = $3.20 (.60 +.60 + 2.00)

4-5 = $3.60 (.80 +.80 + 2.00)

1/1 = $4.00 (1.00 + 1.00 + 2.00)

6-5 = $4.40 (1.20 +1.20 + 2.00)

7-5 = $4.80 (1.40 +1.40 + 2.00)

3-2 = $5.00 (1.50 +1.50 + 2.00)

8-5 = $5.20 (1.60 +1.60 + 2.00)

9-5 = $5.60 (1.80 +1.80 + 2.00)

2 = $6.00 (2.00 +2.00 + 2.00)

5-2 = $7.00 (2.50 +2.50 + 2.00)

3 = $8.00 (3.00 +3.00 +2.00)

7-2 = $9.00 (3.50 +3.50 +2.00)

4 = $10.00 (4.00 +4.00 + 2.00)

9-2 = $11.00 (4.50 +4.50 + 2.00)

And so forth. You should now have a good idea how to calculate your payouts using a tote board.