Our Guide To Placing An Each Way Bet On Horse Racing
Last updated & tested: 2019-11-30
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Get each way betting explained
Want to know all about putting on an each way bet? This will tell you all about it. An each way bet on horse racing is as common as regular win only wagers as savvy punters know there is sometimes more value backing horses to place and win. We’re going to show you the pros and cons of an each way betting system.
When you place an each way bet on horse racing, you are in fact putting two wagers are in one. The first part of the punt you’re taking is win only – for the horse to come first – and the second part is for it to place. What a place means in British horse racing depends on many different factors. These are the number of horses in the race, the type of contest it is and critically, whether bookmakers are prepared to offer extra places or more favourable terms.
Broadly speaking, a British or Irish horse race with less than five runners in it will not have each way betting available. If there are five to seven runners, then the terms are usually a quarter of the outright win price for two places. In other words, if you horse finishes you second, you receive a payout at the fraction of the win only odds. Races with eight or more runners give a fifth of the odds for three places. So that fraction of the win only odds is available on horses that finish second or third.
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No discussion that purports to get each way betting explained to you would be worthwhile without talking about handicaps. If there are 15 runners or less, then the terms offer are a quarter of the odds for three places. Handicap races with more than 15 runners, meanwhile, are a quarter of the win price on four places.
Some famous handicaps, like the Grand National at Aintree in National Hunt racing, or the Cesarewitch at Newmarket on the Flat, will have even more favourable terms on places. Some bookies will offer five, six and even seven places on these famous contests all with the aim of getting you to place an each way bet.
It’s important to remember when placing an each way bet on horse racing what odds you are backing at. Because the place part of the wager is a fraction of the outright win price, usually either a quarter or a fifth, you can actually lose money if a horse makes the frame.
Consider this example. You back a horse £5 each-way at 4/1 in a nine-runner race where the terms are a fifth of that price on three places. The horse finishes second, but a fifth of 4/1 is less than evens and you win only part of the bet has already lost. What you get from the place part of the bet is 4/5. The total stake of the each-way bet was £10, yet your return is £9 in this scenario.
This is the main downside of an each way betting system, so you have to study the terms of a race to know that you can at least get your money back, i.e. evens on the place part of the wager, when putting it on.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the fact that an each way bet can actually be better value than siding with an odds-on favourite where your profits are small. Say there’s one horse clear on ratings of the field who looks a cut above them and is 1/5 in the betting, but it’s wide open as to who will finish in the places behind it. Backing a 16/1 shot with three places paid out on at a fifth of the win only odds is just over 3/1 if it comes second or third.
That’s where an each way bet on horse racing comes into its own. If you can find value in a runner-up, third or fourth, who could even outrun their odds and do better than placing, then that’s the name of the game. It’s possible in big handicaps for a major gamble to be landed where all the horses are so close together on their allotted weight and official ratings.
Remember, if you back a horse each-way and it wins, then you receive both the win only and place money. That 16/1 shot comes in at £5 each-way. You would get your £10 total stake back, plus £80 profit from the win only part of the bet and £16 winnings from the wager to place, giving you a total return of £106. And that is each way betting explained in full.