Exacta Betting in Horse Races

Backing Winners

Quinellas & Exactas in Horse Racing

Since they seem very similar, many new punters think quinella and exacta boxes are different names for the same type of wager. The truth is, quinella bets and exacta boxes are similar in one way, but different in others.

They are the same in that both wagers require the punter to select the first and second place horses in a race. In either bet, the horses can finish in either order. For example, if you’ve chosen horses #3 and #8, they can finish 3-8 or 8-3 to produce winning bets.

How Are Quinella Bets and Exacta Boxes Different?

First, quinella bets are a single bet, and punters can get them for as little as £2 at most racebooks on the internet. Exacta boxes are considered two separate bets, and therefore cost £4 (£2 X 2).

Let’s say that again, in a different way. In a quinella, a single wager is based on two horses finishing in first and second, in either order. In an exacta box, one bet is based on one specific finishing order, and the other bet is based on the opposite finishing order. For example, if your horses finish 3-8, one of your bets will win, and the other bet will be lost. This leaves you with a £2 winning exacta, and a £2 losing exacta. Now you have a £2 winning bet regardless if you selected a quinella or exacta box.

Why Do Quinella and Exacta Boxes Pay Out Differently?

The payouts between quinellas and exacta boxes are different for a couple of reasons. First, these bets are paid out of separate betting pools. Depending on which bet you’ve taken, the pool will have an effect on your payout.

Secondly, exacta boxes are paid out based on the actual finishing order of your horses. Let’s assume horse #3 was the favourite in the race, and horse #8 had higher odds. If the horses finish 3-8, the payout will be less than if they had finished 8-3. In a quinella, the payout is not based on the finishing order, so the payout is always the same.

Which Bet Has a Better Payout?

While this isn’t always the case, the general rule is that quinellas pay better when the favoured horse in a race wins. When the horse with greater odds wins, exacta boxes usually have the better payout.

The bet you select should be based on your goal and the horses you’re taking. Punters taking a favourite and a longshot usually prefer the exacta box, hoping the longshot wins and the favourite comes in second. This can produce a nice profit. When selecting two favoured horses, most punters will choose the quinella.

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