What are the pros and cons of betting favorites in horse racing?
The biggest pro is that the favorite in the betting wins more often than any of the other horses in a given field – typically about one-third of the time, although the rate is inching higher in the short-field era.
They also historically finish first or second around 55 percent of the time and “hit the board” (finish first, second or third) 69 percent of the time. That’s good if you just want to cash tickets, but not for your long-term profit prospects.
The problem is that the favorite’s merits are so obvious that the crowd of bettors slightly overestimates its chances of victory.
The best way to approach favourites, in my view, is to look hard for any weaknesses (wrong distance, not in top form, no recent workouts, etc.) and, if you can’t find any, include them in your betting strategy or pass the race.