Types of horse bets explained – the OpenOdds Glossary

If you’ve ever considered betting on horse racing, you may naturally be confused by the different types of horse bets available online. There are certainly plenty to choose from; win, place bet, exacta, treble and five-fold are just some of the examples. Each of these pays out depending on specific outcomes, and each is paid based on the difficulty of the bet. So how do you know which bet is right for you? How do I find the best horse racing tips? 

At OpenOdds, we’ve created a betting guide that allows you to discover what would happen depending on a horse‘s finish. Let’s take a look at our guide, below.

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What different types of horse bets are out there?

Bets add excitement to horse racing. You’ve probably heard of a win bet – that’s where you guess which horse will finish first. But there are plenty of other bets to try. So, what kind of bets are there for horse racing? Here are some common bet types explained.


Sometimes called a win place, this bet pays out if your horse wins or finishes in any other paid places. How many places are paid depends on the size of the race. For small races a bookmaker may pay out on 1,2,3. But for larger races, positions 1,2,3,4,5 may win.


Forecast bets are made when you bet on two horses to finish first and second. Choose from straight forecast – where you accurately predict which order the horses will finish. Or reverse forecast – where you pick two horses but do not say which horse wins and which comes 2nd.

More complicated bets

Horse racing

Horse racing accumulator bets are common. Smaller ones are known as double, treble and quad bets. After this, you have five fold, six fold, seven fold, etc. How they work is this – you pick a selection of horses from different events for a combined bet. You pay one stake for the bet. If one horse doesn’t win, you lose the bet, forfeiting your stake and potential winnings.

The treble explained:

A treble is where you place a bet on 3 horses from different races. You can choose a win bet or a win-place bet. Place bets are easier to win with 27 potential winning combinations (3x3x3) in average races. Treble win bets have just 1 winning combination – all three horses picked must win for the bet to pay out. However, returns are larger for win bets as opposed to win-place.

The Five fold bet explained:

You pick 5 horses from different races for the five fold bet. Like the treble, you can choose a win or a win-place bet.

The 7 fold bet explained:

As above but with 7 betting selections instead of 5. Pay-outs increase with increased betting selections.

The Daily Double explained:

To win a daily double you need to pick the winners of two consecutive races that have been chosen by the bookmaker. All bets go towards a betting pool, and winners are given a share of the pool for picking the right horses.

Is this just all a little too crazy for you? If so, don’t panic! We’ve got the perfect guide for you right here.

How to use different types of horse racing wagers effectively

So how do we use the different types of horse racing wagers effectively to increase our chances of winning? We’ve reasoned that the more legs in a bet, the harder it is to win. So it makes sense to keep the number of horses low. We can also increase our chances of winning by placing multiple accumulator bets on horses from a wider pool. Take the treble bet with 4 selections for example.

Treble bets are accumulators with 3 horses. But with a 4 selection treble you place multiple treble bets with different horse combinations from a selection of 4 horses.

You need to put the names of these horses in the bets evenly (3 times 4 = 12, so each horse should be in 3 treble bets). It may look a little bit like this:

  • Lucky Star
  • Sapphire Dreams
  • No Good Ned
  • Always Last
  • Lucky Star
  • Sapphire Dreams
  • No Good Ned
  • Always Last
  • Lucky Star
  • Sapphire Dreams
  • No Good Ned
  • Always Last

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say we have £100 to spend on these bets. We wager £25 on each bet with odds of 2.50 for each horse. This leaves a potential total return of £1562.50 for £100 outlay.

Where can I find a calculator for horse racing bets?

Doncaster horse racing

Sometimes the maths can get a little complicated with horse racing bets. To maximise any potential profit, it’s a good idea to try and find a multiple bet calculator to help you work out the right amount of bets for trebles, quads, etc. There are plenty of options on the internet. Some allow you to type in the odds of each selection allowing you to see at a glance your potential return based on your stake. Others are not quite so complex, but do tell you how many horses you need to include in your bets for maximum profitability.

As always, be sure to check out the best odds for your selections. Different bookmakers work to different profit margins. Some are also slower to adjust odds than others. This is why it’s a good idea to check out the OpenOdds best betting sites for horse racing guide to make sure you’re getting the best deal for you. By using this guide, you can search for individual bookmakers and see at a glance who is offering the biggest bonuses and best odds for individual races. This comes in very handy during large racing events such as the Grand National or the Kentucky Derby.

How horse racing bets work in practice

Let’s say you’re interested in placing a treble bet at Newcastle using 4 selections. You’ve gone through OpenOdds bookmaker comparison and found that Ladbrokes offer up to £50 back as a free bet once you’ve made a qualifying bet. You can also use the free bets on accumulators!

You sign up on Ladbrokes’ website and place a single each way bet of £50 to receive the maximum bonus on an earlier race. The odds of this bet were 2.50, which meets the terms and conditions needed to get the free bet. Sadly, this bet loses, but don’t worry, because now you’ve got £50 back as a free bet.

Your bonus needs to be used in full, so you make the decision to add another £150 to your account. You’ve now got £200 to spend. You pick 4 horses in consecutive races and add 4 treble bets to your betting slip. Each of these are each way bets. 3 of these you spend £50 on, the 4th you use your £50 free bet. Because these bets are each way you add them to your betting slip as £25 each way bets (£25 to cover the win and £25 to cover the places).

Odds are as follows – 3/1, 11/2, 4/1 and 3/1.

The free bet stake is not included in any returns, so you know that you’ve lost £50 of your initial deposit. This still gives a maximum potential return of £11,652. Returns vary depending on outcome and can be much less.

The best bookmakers for accumulator bets


New Year’s Day is a big day for fans of horse racing. Find out the best sites to place your horse racing bets below:

Option 1: Ladbrokes

We may have just mentioned them, but their generous sign up offer is so good that we couldn’t resist. Spend up to £50 and you’ll get the same again as a free bet. Perfect for all types of horse bets. The bonus starts at a minimum of £10, so for very little outlay you can double your bankroll.

The bonus isn’t just available on horse racing (although, we wouldn’t complain, anyway), it’s available on any sport, making it flexible to suit you. The bookmaker is also one of the most established names out there, with thousands of staff around the globe. Security is tight (they’ve got SSL and are eCogra checked) and customer service is great. You can also bet in play for most sports, although, that would be cheating if you tried it with horse racing! They’re a name you can trust whether you’re betting £10 or £10,000.

Option 2: Betway

If you’ve ever placed bets on Betway’s site, then you’ll already know why they’re top of most of our bookmaker’s lists. They’ve got a generous £30 free bet offer for new players and are one of the industry leaders. In-play betting is also en-vogue on their site, with plenty of in play events all year round. The live play betting console is also sophisticated and quick, making it a dream to use.

But what about horse racing we hear you cry? Don’t worry, it’s not left out. As well as usual wins the bookmakers also pay out on certain unusual circumstances. For example, paying as if your horse won if it’s leading after jumping the last hurdle. There’s also a “horse finder” tool which allows you to search the stats of each horse easily. Perfect if you’re mulling over a wager or two.

Option 3: William Hill

William Hill give new players £20 after depositing £10, leaving players with £30 to play with. To take advantage of the offer, players must use the bonus code F20. We’re sure you’ll agree that’s a pretty sweet deal from the long-running bookies.

So, what can you bet on? Well, horse racing for one. William Hill started offering bets on horse racing many moons ago, and they’re still one of the largest horse racing bookmakers in the UK. Bets can be made using the website or mobile app. You can also earn the 15% free bet bonus using the High 5 option. This is given to bettors who land a bet on a horse who wins by five lengths or more on specific races. This bonus is capped at £100. You can’t use bonuses in conjunction with each other, or to earn other free bets. Still, it’s great for established bettors.

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Did we jump all the fences, or fall at the final hurdle?

Hopefully you’ve found our horse racing betting guide useful and you’ve taken away some great info for next time you fancy a flutter. We’ve gone through some of the many types of bets you may face out there, from simple wins and each way to 7 fold bets. We’ve also looked at free bets that you can grab along the way, and how to find them. Remember though, that knowledge is power. Always check with a betting guide, like the ones found at OpenOdds before placing a bet to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

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