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bar in betting

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Bar in betting is a term that refers to a group of horses in a race, that are priced outside of the favourites that have been shown. We’re going to explain everything that you need to know about how it works.

How Does Bar in Betting Work?

Bar in betting on a show

Bar in betting is a phrase that can confuse unexperienced sports bettors, but is actually very simple to understand.

Many horse races have a large number of runners. In such instances, broadcasters or tipsters displaying the prices, may not be able to fit them all in, or just want to highlight the horses which have the best chance of winning.

They therefore list the favourites and then have a note pointing out that all other entrants are a certain price or bigger, apart the mentioned runners. That answers what does Bar mean in horse racing terms nicely. The betting odds that are displayed are those of the shortest-priced horse, outside of the runners that have been shown.

So essentially, when you see the term Bar in betting and some odds, you know that every other entrant is at least that price, or greater. It’s a simple betting term that is used to make things look a good deal neater and easier to digest.

What is Betting Bar the Favourite?

This is a term used by both tipsters and punters, to describe the market behind the favourite in a race. Again, the odds that are mentioned, are the shortest price behind the cut off point of the ‘Bar’ in the phrase.

So if you were to hear someone say ‘4/1 Bar the favourite’, it would mean that every horse other than the favourite is priced at 4/1 or over. The second favourite would be 4/1 and they would use that headline price, to describe all of the runners outside of the market leader. A horse in the race could be 20/1, but it would still fall under the banner of ‘4/1 Bar the favourite’.

The Difference Between Bar in Betting & Betting Without the Favourite

When the word ‘Bar’ is used in sports betting terms, it can cause confusion. This is especially the case with ‘Bar the favourite’, which could easily be confused with a popular market that is available at all good mobile sportsbooks.

The use of the word ‘Bar’, could lead a newcomer to think that the market involved betting on a race without the favourite. In fact, there is already a type of market known as ‘betting without the favourite’, in which the favourite is taken out of the equation and you bet on which of the other selections will fare best.

When is it Useful to Know the Bar Price & Why?

You’ve now seen how Bar in betting works. It may just seem like a convenient shorthand for broadcasters and tipsters to use, but it can also be useful for punters.

If you see that there are four horses mentioned in a race, with the rest being put under the ’20/1 Bar’ category, rather than having their individual prices displayed, it tells you something. The four most favoured horses are all priced under 20/1, while the rest are at least 20/1 and over.

Betting odds are a reflection of implied probability. One of the outsiders could win in that race, but the likelihood is that the winner is coming from that front four in the betting.

A good example came at the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup at Cheltenham Racecourse. This feature contest of the Cheltenham Festival is one of big betting races worldwide in the sport of horse racing.

The Starting Prices were 14/1 Bar three horses. While Conflated would surprise the odds by finishing third at 22/1, the winner was the favourite Galopin Des Champs (7/5) and the second-placed horse Bravemansgame was the third-favourite in the betting.

Finishing fourth in the Gold Cup was Noble Yeats at… you guessed it, 14/1. Only three horses were predicted to finish in front of him. Although they weren’t exactly the three that were predicted by the market on leading betting sites, it was pretty close to being a perfect betting forecast.

How Bar in Betting Can Help You

The use of ‘Bar’ helps to narrow down the horses which are fancied in a race. This can focus your attention towards those that are most likely to win.

It is true that the more runners there are in the race, the more horses have a chance of winning. Yet the implied probability will be lower, outside of the few favourites. Therefore a Bar bet on one of the outsiders, is likely to be unsuccessful.

What Factors Can Influence the Bar Price

There are a few different factors that can have a bearing on the price of the Bar, which we are going to take a look at in this section.


If there are one or two runners in excellent form, then they are going to be favoured by the market. The horses with a recent history of winning will naturally be shorter prices, sending the odds of the other runners higher.

Race Terms

In open conditions races, female horses receive a sex allowance from their male counterparts. This means that a female horse, i.e. a filly or mare, can carry less weight, which in turn has an impact on the odds. In this sort of race type, there are also penalty structures in place for horses who have won races at a particular or high level, so they will carry more weight.


The advice of tipsters is another factor that can impact the odds on a race. Punters follow the advice from their betting guides and place their wagers. The weight of money going onto the tipsters’ picks can lower their prices, setting the Bar higher, accordingly.

Why Online Bookies Don’t Have Bar Bets

You may have noticed that sports betting websites don’t have Bar bets. This is for a very simple reason. When bookies present a list of runners and their prices, you can click on any of them to go through and place a bet. If you just listed the favoured horses and then the rest were under the Bar banner, this would disable that function.


Bar in betting is a useful term for those presenting the odds and for punters also. It helps you to narrow the field and only focus on fancied runners. Keep this in mind when looking at different bet types you can place on horse racing


What is Bar in horse racing?

Why do we have Bar prices?

What does 25/1 Bar mean?

Is Bar used in other sports betting besides horse racing?

Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch

A writer and editor for some of the top names in the gambling industry for nearly 20 years, Dan also works as a freelance sports journalist for publications and websites such as ESPN, FourFourTwo and LiveScore.