Greyhound racing is a very popular sport, but it can also seem like a very complex sport to the uninitiated. Like any sport, once you start following along, you will pick up things and the lingo and numbers begin to make sense. But you need a frame of reference here; you need context. We're hoping to provide for you this context at Greyhound Betting Online. The complexity of a greyhound program may be too much for a beginner to soak in, but we believe we can simplify this document for you so that you can understand the numbers.
By and large, you're going to find greyhound programs offered at on-location tracks, but it's not outside the realm of possibility that you will find a digital program offered at a racebook. These programs are essentially handicapping sheets, guides, so to speak, that gamblers will use to handicap the races and place their bets. Understanding these programs is imperative to your odds of winning.
The first section is the actual race section, where you will find all races (typically 8 races) listed on the program. This is why there are eight independent sections: Each section lists the number of dogs running, as well as personal information about the dogs. You will be able to scroll down the left-side of the program and see large numbers beside each dog's name. These aren't any sort of betting lines; these numbers simply indicate which "hole" (i.e. starting gate) the dog will be coming out of. As you learn more about the dogs and start researching, you will find that dogs with the inside track may run differently and have advantages over those on the outside, in the middle, or any combo therein. Though it all starts with each individual race, the large number indicating which hole the dog is coming out of, and the dog's name immediately to the right.
Navigating to the right of the hole number for each race, you're going to find the dog listed there. This data gives you much more than the dog's name. You will find the dog's color, its gender, the dog's birthday, and even its parents and owners. All of this information is invaluable to a person who keeps up with the dogs in order to handicap races. For instance, you can bet on a young dog or an experienced dog. You can go with a dog sired by a former champion, or an owner or ownership team you know produces quality winners. And the list goes on. All of this info will be available under the dog's name.
On your program, directly to the right of a dog's name you're going to see two capital letters with a number right below it. Again, this isn't the odds of the dog. We're not to that point yet. The letter there will indicate which grade the dog has earned, high or low, while the number is the dog's time listed in seconds. The higher the grade, the better the dog is on that particular track. And the lower the number, of course, means the faster the dog is on the track. So, for example, you will know that a dog with a high grade and a low track time really runs quickly and has been rated highly. In no way does this mean the dog will win the race, but it does give you some context in your research. You know which dogs run which times, and which dogs are graded highly.
It has long been one of the favorite tools of greyhound handicappers to get a dog's weight. Some believe that a lighter dog has a better chance of winning, while some look for beefier, heavier dogs running on looser or muddier tracks, so that they're able to gain traction. Whichever way you decide to go here, you should know that this information is available to you via the greyhound program. On each individual race page, you will see a large two-digit number in the middle-top of the program, corresponding with each dog. This is the dog's weight. Though like weight classes in boxing, every dog is going to be within a few pounds of one another, with any dog being an anomaly scratched from the race. Weighing dogs pre-race also helps keep the integrity of the dogs, as an owner wishing to tank could theoretically over-fill his dog and make it slow.
Now you come to the actual racing lines. Though instead of flat odds, like a dog that's 4:1, what you're going to find is a number that can really seem confusing. You might see a number that says 06/16/E7 HI 400 28.13 60. Yikes! That's a big, confusing number. However, let's break it down. 06/16 means the 16th of June, the day of the race. E stands for evening (A would be afternoon), and 7 means the 7th of 8 races. HI is the track code, while 400 is the amount of yardage. 28.13 is the time in seconds, while 60 is the dog's weight in pounds. This is all information for you to use in order to handicap the race yourself. Parimutuel betting means oddsmakers are adjusting lines based on how the crowd bets. They're not set based on what the oddsmakers believe, like in football or basketball. People read their programs, pick their dogs, and favorites and underdogs are calculated from the popularity of the bets. This is why it's essential to read and understand a greyhound program. You, the gambler, are the person doing the handicapping here.
By "odd" here, we don't mean the opposite of even. We mean confusing. The last set of numbers on a greyhound racing program can be downright confusing to those who don't understand where they fit. For instance, you might read a number that's listed thus: 1 2 4 3 11. What are they supposed to mean? Well, the first number is the hole (box, gate) from which the dog started. The second number means the dog broke from its hole second among all dogs, and it took the first turn in 4th position. 3 was the dog's position in the stretch, and the 11, the double-digit number, means the dog crossed the finish in 1st place by 1 length (12 = 1st by 2, 13 = 1st by 3, etc). Again, all of this information is delivered to you so that you can make the final handicapping decision.
Though Greyhound Betting Online would like to remind you that you don't have to handicap the dogs yourself. While it's always a huge bonus to read these programs, you can realistically hang back until the race is about to start, and then you will see which dogs are favorites or underdogs based on how the crowd is betting. You don't have as much information doing it this way, but you can get in on some seriously lucrative leverage bets, such as 5:1 show bets or a fastest dog who's 2 pounds heavy suddenly becoming the underdog.
We hope we have explained the gist of a greyhound program to you well enough that you can decipher it and can begin picking your own dogs based on your own research.