How to bet on the Melbourne Cup

Different bets you can place Betting on the Melbourne Cup

Most offices around the country will be running a sweeps for the Melbourne up – the race that stops a nation.  To be honest, I’d rather the nation stopped for something a bit more interesting.


But how can you clean up at the Melbourne Cup?

You can keep 100% of your money by not betting… (but of course that is no fun).  But assuming you want to bet (and of course you do, it is Melbourne Cup after all) there are a few things you’ll need to know…



Some horses will not race (and are scratched before the race begins). If your horse has been scratched you can usually get your money back BEFORE the race, but not after it.



Below are a few of the ways you can ‘get involved’ in the Melbourne cup.


Direct Bet – to Win, or get a place

-          To Win – If you place a bet for a horse to win you get paid only if that horse comes first.

-                     Place – If you put a bet for a horse to get a place, you get paid if the horse gets 1st, 2nd or 3rd

(note if there are between 5-7 horses in a race a place bet only pays 1st and 2nd and place bets aren’t offered if there are 4 horses or below).


Upping the anti with harder bets

-          Quinella – A quinella is selecting which horses will come 1st and 2nd (in either order).

-          Exacta - An exacta is first and second in correct finishing order

-          Trifeca - A trifecta is betting which horses will come 1st, 2nd and 3rd (in correct order)

-          Quartet - A quartet is betting 4 horses to finish in the top 4 finishing positions.

Betting on multiple races

-          Double – A double is selecting the winner of 2 different races,

-          Quaddie -A quaddie is selecting the winners of 4 different races.


These bets will pay high odds – but of course the chance of winning is much slimmer.


Multiple race bet (flexi bet) or Random Bet

A multiple race bet (called a flexi bet) might allow you to increase your payout by betting more than 1 horse to get a place.


A random bet (such as a random trifecta) will give you random horses to come first, second and third. Our work social club used to give each social club member a random tricecta on Melbourne Cup day, and one guy won $1,000 from a $1 bet.


Mobile Betting

It seems like online betting websites seem to be everywhere. You can now bet on your smartphone. Not sure whether this is a great idea to be able to bet 24/7 just by checking your phone – but at least you don’t need to wait in the queues (which are usually massive at Melbourne Cup day).




The office sweeps – how the numbers really work

1/24 to win

I asked a guy I used to work with, who enjoyed a good flutter, which horse he thought would win the Melbourne Cup. He said he preferred to bet on a race that he could actually have a chance of winning (with less horses).


Only one horse out of 24 will win (and 3 will get a place). There is much less probability of winning then betting on a sports game (where you could win, lose or get a draw).



You put in your $1, $5, $10, (or $100 for the guys earning the big bucks) and get drawn out a horse.


There are 21 horses in the Melbourne Cup – so in a sweep theoretically you have 1/total # horses of picking the winner (for example if 20 horses you’d have 1/20 or 5% chance).

In real life though, different horses are more or less likely to win (which is why bookies give odds).


Di d you get a good horse in the sweeps?

Of course, you won’t know until the race is over – it is anybody’s race.


Horse A (the favourite) might be $3

Horse B (a contender) might be at $11

Horse C (no chance) might be at $41


Horse A and C hardly ever win the cup (in my memory anyway).


If you get Horse C – you have probably got a raw deal in the sweeps – if the horse run (and won) in real life you would get a lot more money.


If you get Horse B- you might have a good deal – you have a horse that is rated a contender by the bookies, and also will get similar cash if it comes through.


If you get Horse A – you could have a great deal if it wins  – getting a much greater return on your money.

But that depends on it winning of course, if it loses you will have lost money just like everyone else.


Good luck – and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose!

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