The Melbourne Cup is more than a horse race.
It is a social institution that has become known as The Race That Stops A Nation.
One recent running of the Melbourne Cup saw Australians alone plunking down over $125 million, almost $5.50 per every man, woman and child in the country.
Factor in any international money and the enormity of the Melbourne Cup from the perspective of wagering proves the significance of the race.
Punters will not find 125 million markets for the Melbourne Cup, but the number is quite high.
Most will try to pick the winner. With a field of 24, odds tend to stray toward the higher end of the spectrum. There have been four horses to win at $101, while the shortest victor was Phar Lap in 1930, when he jumped at what would these days be quoted as $2.38.
All this says is that any of the Thoroughbreds in the field could win, so right from the outset, a win bet offers a 1-in-24 chance.
Horse Racing Tips
The best way to maximise win bets is to take advantage of a feature offered by most bookmakers, where a single selection can receive winnings based on the highest quote. For a big race like the Melbourne Cup, many bookies will also offer this type of market for a place bet. Using this betting method offers approximately 20 percent better odds than a Fixed Win bet.
To gain some insight on how challenging it is to pick the winner of the Melbourne Cup, regardless of the expertise of the punter, have a look at bookies that offer Favourite versus Field betting. This turns the race into a two-outcome proposition similar to betting on two-team sports matches.
This market for 2018 is offering only $1.01 for any other horse to beat the 2018 favourite, Magic Circle. Factor in bookmaker margins and $1.01 means that anyone taking this bet will be paying the bookmaker, even if a horse other than Magic Circle wins.
There are plenty of other markets that offer some interest, such as first Chris Waller horse home. Waller has three in the 2018 Melbourne Cup, which offers a far better proposition than the 1 – 24 chance of picking the winner.
Bookmakers promote the Melbourne Cup heavily and many punters would observe that horse racing in general is prominent on all the websites of the corporate bookies. The reason is simple: With a horse race, there are typically eight or more competitors and while the bulk of the money may flow to the favourite, there are enough punters who will back other horses to compensate the bookie for any dividends paid out.
Other bet types for the Melbourne Cup include Quinellas, Exactas, Trifectas and the popular First Four, which offers a decent dividend for correctly picking four horses to finish at the front in any order.
Bookmakers offer additional promotions, some aimed at the punter who comes out only for the Melbourne Cup and others that offer an edge to a punter who has made a certain number of bets over a specified time.