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Exacta Bet Explained

Exacta Bet

Horse racing may not be as popular as football in the world of online sports betting, but it surely has its fans. It’s big in the UK and the USA and is gaining ground all over the world.

Wagering has deep links with horse racing, with many countries only legally allowing this type of betting. Why is it so popular? Because besides all the regular bets, horse race stakes such as the exacta box bet are too exciting to pass on.

You may have heard about the exotic horse racing bets. Exacta is one of them, allowing you to wager on the top 2 horses that should finish the race in exact order. It’s a bet that’s truly hard to predict, but once you see the exacta odds, you will surely be inspired to put your money on it.

In this guide to the exacta bet, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about it.

What Is an Exacta Bet?

The exacta is a special (exotic) type of horse racing bet where you as a punter put your money on 2 horses that you believe will finish first and second. In horse racing terms, it’s a bet on win and place. However, unlike the win place show bet, the exacta requires both your horses to finish in the right order.

That’s unlike the popular quinella bet where the order is not important. With the exacta, you must choose the positions in a particular order, and you also get to place this wager boxed. In this case, all possible combinations will be covered, all but guaranteeing a win. Of course, this will also cost you more, but the result is a better exacta payout.

The exacta is a better bet for seasoned horse racing punters, as it requires a bit of knowledge beforehand. Of course, new bettors can also get lucky, especially if they read our full guide on this special bet type and learn a few strategies.

How to Bet an Exacta

Punters in the past had to be on track to place an exacta bet. Or any other horse racing bet for that reason. The good news is that we’re past that point anymore, and you can place exacta bets from your home or on the go.

The majority of sportsbooks and racebooks these days have made things easy. Betting online on horse races is legal in the majority of states. Of course, you’ll need to choose a licensed bookie before it, but that should be easy if you follow our recommendations.

Placing an exacta bet is as easy as clicking on the odds on offer. That should add the stake on your bet slip right away, so all that remains is to wait for the bet to end. No need for a calculator when it comes to the cost and payouts. Bookies do this automatically at their sites, so you know what you’re getting in return for your bets right away.

Types of Exacta Bets

You should know about exacta bets – they come in different shapes and sizes. There’s the classic (straight exacta) and a few other bet types that change the terms slightly and the returns. Keep reading below to learn more about them.

Straight Exacta

The most straightforward exacta bet you can place is called straight. It’s the default exacta bet where you pick the horses to end first and second in a race. There would be checkboxes next to each horse at online bookies in 2 rows so you can easily select the winner and runner-up.

Should they finish in the correct order, you win your bet.

Exacta Box

The boxed exacta bet is essentially a double exacta where the horses can finish in any order on the 2 top spots. For example, if you choose to bet 1-3, you will win if the horses end 1-3 and 3-1. Of course, since you’re covering 2 outcomes, the boxed exacta will cost you double.

Keep in mind that the odds for this bet are lower than putting your money on straight exacta odds.

Exacta Wheel

The exacta wheel bet allows you to bet on the winner of the race as well as multiple other selections you believe have equal chances of finishing second. For example, if you pick 5 horses in a boxed exacta it would cost you a lot. However, with a wheel, you’ll only be paying the original stake for each additional horse.

For example, when horse nr. 1 with four more, you will win if those place behind. If you wager $1 on the possible winner and select 4 other horses, you will be paying $5 in total ($1 for each horse).

Quinella vs. Exacta Box

If you know your horse racing bet, you’ll see that the exacta is similar to the quinella. And they are identical, but with a few subtle differences. When you bet on the Kentucky Derby and choose the first 2 finishers in the exact order, you’re placing an exacta bet that pays more than a quinella. With a quinella bet, you’ll also be choosing 2 finishers, but in any particular order.

Of course, this means that exacta bets are harder to guess, which also takes the payout much higher. Remember that it allows you to pick the finishers in their particular winning order, while the quinella is the opposite. The cost of these bets differs as well. An exacta bet has more possible combinations, especially if you box it. For example, 3 varieties with a quinella will cost $3 ($1 each), but the same combo with a boxed exacta will cost $6 as it covers 6 different combinations.

The good news is that most horse racing bookies will have a guide on both bets and probably a quinella and exacta definition. The horse race wagering markets can be confusing, but thanks to these guides, you will find your way easily.

Example of an Exacta Bet

Placing an exacta at online bookies is simple. They usually have 2 rows for each race where you pick the horse to come first and the one to come second. You can also box an exacta by picking several winners and runner ups, although as we mentioned earlier, it will cost you more because of more combinations.

A straight exacta would be choosing horse nr.3 to win the race and horse nr.5 to finish second. They must finish in that order if you want to win the bet. How you place the wager is up to the bookie, but in general, it’s an easy process.

With a boxed exacta, you can pick 2 or more horses to finish first and second. For example, you can pick horses nr. 3, 5, 7 to finish first, and horses nr. 2, 4, 6 to finish second. As long as 2 of these horses win and finish second, you win your bet.

How to Calculate an Exacta Payout

Calculating your exacta payouts doesn’t require a calculator, although there are plenty of those online you can use. The great news is that online bookmakers have automatic calculators that will give you an instant exacta payout when you enter your wager. It eliminates the need to calculate it yourself.

These instant calculators at horse racing bookies are also great for calculating exacta wagering strategies. If you, for example, use betting units of $2, you can enter the wager before completing the bet and see what you get in return. Of course, you can calculate everything yourself too, but why go through the process when a bookie’s system can do it for you?

When Should You Place an Exacta Bet?

Like all horse racing bets, the exacta has more than a few pros and cons. For example, it gives you better control over the horses you believe can win and finish second and offers higher payouts. It can be a pretty profitable wager with an exact betting strategy and not going wild with your bankroll.

On the other hand, it’s harder to win as at least 2 horses are involved and require more research. It isn’t a bet for beginners – if you don’t do your research or wager it just like that, you will most likely lose your bet.

The exacta works best if you’re 99% sure that a horse can win a race. If his odds are short, you can win more by adding another horse in the equation, resulting in a better payout.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is exacta a good bet?

    Yes, it is. The exacta bet is a great horse racing wager that can deliver better payouts than betting on a single horse. It requires more research but can be highly profitable in the end.

  • What is an exacta bet in horse racing?

    The exacta bet allows you to pick the winner and runner up in a horse race. It costs double your money as you choose 2 horses and enable you to win more.

  • What is the difference between exacta and quinella?

    You’re picking the winner and runner up in that particular order with an exacta. With a quinella, you choose 2 horses as well, but they can come in any specific order (1-2 and 2-1).

  • How much does a $2 exacta cost?

    You’re placing at least 2 bets with an exacta by choosing horses to finish first and second. It means that a $2 exacta costs $4 or more if you place a boxed exacta bet.

Writer & Media

Rebecca is a Liverpool gal and a big fan of the club. She likes nothing more than sharing tips and predictions on sports betting. Her other favorite sports include horse racing, snooker, and golf. Rebecca is in charge of writing and media at BetZillion. You can thank her for making our articles look so great.

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