Each Way Betting Explained

Published: 28/10/2010

An “each way bet” is a type of wager quite common in bookmaking. It always consists of two separate bets, one of which is called the “win bet,” selecting a single horse, side, or player to finish as the outright victor in an event.

The second bet is known as the “place bet.” Depending on the contest, the place bet may be for the selection to finish among the top two, three, or four, and it pays out a fraction of the odds to win, usually 1⁄2, 1⁄3, 1⁄4 or 1⁄5) of the win odds.. Each way bets are especially common in horse racing, although they may also be applied to other sports, especially those involving a tournament format.

Each Way in Horse Racing

When placing an each way bet on a horse race, both parts of the wager must be equal. As an example, a wager of “ten pounds each way on the 5/2 favourite” would mean £10 bet on the chosen horse to win the race outright, and £10 staked on the same horse to finish in the “places,” typically second, third or fourth. This bet would cost a total of £20.

The first part of the bet is straightforward. It will give a return only if the selection comes in first, paying £5 for every £2 wagered, or £25 in winnings plus the original £10 returned. This is no different in any way from simply betting on the horse to win. Should the horse finish anywhere but first, the £10 will be lost.

The second part of the bet is a bit more complicated. It depends mainly upon the number of runners starting the race, and also whether or not it is run as a handicap. For 5~7 runners, the place bet pays only for a finish in the top two and a one-quarter of the win odds. For eight or more runners, it will pay for a top-three finisher at one-fifth the win odds. But in handicaps with 12~15 runners, it pays one-quarter odds for the top three places, and in handicaps with sixteen or more running, it pays for a top-four finisher at one quarter odds.

Assuming the winning horse selected led a field of ten in a non-handicap event, the place bet would pay one fifth of the 5/2 odds, equivalent to 1/2 or £1 for every £2 bet—a total of £5 in winnings plus the £10 returned. What started as £20 wagered would amount to £50 when the winnings are claimed.

However, if the favoured horse loses by a nose, and the £10 win bet is forfeited, all is not lost. The place bet will still return £5 in winnings plus the £10 wager, so the net loss would be just £5. In this sense, each way betting is a hedge against misadventure. And when the win odds are 8/1, 10/1, or higher, it can yield a profit even if the chosen horse comes in second, third, or in some cases even fourth, allowing wagers to be made on long shots with some confidence.

Each Way in Other Sports

The same principle carries over to football, rugby, tennis, golf, cycling, motor racing, and other sports that feature a field of competitors in a tournament or cup format. Each way betting splits a stake into two equal bets: one to win and one to finish in the “places.”

For example, a punter might make a £5 each way bet on Leeds United to win the Premiership at 12/1 odds. The total stake would be £10, made up of £5 to win and £5 to place in the top three at one-quarter odds. Most betting slips feature an E/W box to tick, making such a wager quite easy.

If Leeds pull through, the win portion will pay 12 x £5 = £60 in winnings plus the original £5 stake returned. The place portion will pay at one-quarter odds, which is 12 x ¼ x £5 = £15 and the £5 stake returned. The initial £10 wager will have turned into £85.

However, should Leeds United end up a bridesmaid, the £5 loss on the win bet will be completely covered by the return on the place bet for a net gain of £10. Again, longer odds prevail in second or third place finishes.

In fact, each way betting works out best when the odds are high enough to produce an overall profit if the selection finishes placed. For this reason, it is most applicable to outright winner betting markets for major tournaments and cup-type events that typically feature higher odds.

Published on: 28/10/2010

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