Horse racing only crosses the American sports radar a few times a year, so you may need a refresher on how to bet it — the Kentucky Derby specifically. The good news is it's legal across the United States, unlike betting on other sports, so you won't have a problem getting action down online.
A parimutuel system is used in horse racing, which is different from betting on a basketball or football game against a point spread in Las Vegas. Bettors aren't wagering against the bookie or house, but against each other, and the house takes a cut. So these numbers could change plenty between now and post time (6:34 p.m. ET) on Saturday. It also means odds aren't fixed at the time of the bet.
But here are the odds to win the Kentucky Derby, along with some key terms to remember to make sure you know what you're doing when you walk up to the betting window or place a bet at your Kentucky Derby party.
2018 Kentucky Derby odds, post positions
Bolt D'oro, Magnum Moon and Mendelssohn opened as early co-favorites to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby, according to Vegas Insider, though Justify emerged as the new favorite as of May 5.
With no clear-cut favorite, could we see another longshot winner at the Derby? The odds will be updated several times leading up to the race, but here are the results after the post position draw:
Free Drop Billy
My Boy Jack
*Morning line odds as of May 5.
How to bet on the Kentucky Derby
If you're betting at a window, whether it be at Churchill Downs or your local track which is simulcasting the Kentucky Derby, say the name of the track, the number race you're betting, how much you want to wager, the type of wager and the numbers (post positions) of the horses you're including in your bet. Twinspires.com is the official betting site of the Kentucky Derby.
Horse racing wager types
There are tons of different ways to bet on a horse race, but here are some of the most common and ones you'll likely hear about come Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
— Win, place, show, or first, second and third. When you bet on the winner, you simply get the horse at its odds and if it wins, you cash that amount. So $10 on a horse at 12-to-1 nets you $120. If you bet on a horse to "place", or come in second, the payout is less, and same goes for "show."
You can make an "across the board" wager on a horse — a bet on that horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, you collect all three; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets.
— Exacta, trifecta, superfecta. These wagers force a player to pick the exact finishing order of the top two, three or four horses, respectively. The payouts are multiplied the more horses you put in these bets.
You can also "box" an exacta, trifecta or superfecta, which means you bet on all the possible combinations. So if I bet a trifecta box on Nyquist, Destin and My Man Sam in the Kentucky Derby, I'd actually be making six bets because I'm taking all six possible combinations.
— Pick three (or four, or five, or six). This involves picking the winners of several different races at a track on a given day. It often pays out the entire pool.
Kentucky Derby picks
Here are Vinnie Iyer's early picks to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby:
Win: Audible. Recent history with trainer and post position aligns perfectly with his pedigree. Todd Pletcher will fetch a few more roses.
Place: Justify. He has the most momentum and the least wear, going 3-0 so far including a win in the Santa Anita Derby. The inexperience, however, will set up Baffert’s latest star to fall short.
Show: Magnum Moon. Pletcher pulls his own version of the daily double with two paying horses. Magnum Moon will live up to his strong bloodline and edge foreign-fueled Mendelssohn and Bolt d’Oro, the Santa Anita runner-up.