Dave lives with his dog, Bruno, in Western Australia. When he can be persuaded away from horse racing news-following and writing, he enjoys spending time with his family and taking Bruno on long walks that exhaust them both.
Dave has written for At The Races, provided betting previews for the 2010 World Cup via a website he owned. It was the first time they had covered any football event. He also appeared weekly on Sing When You’re Winning – football and general sports betting show on MUTV to provide odds and tips alongside former Manchester United striker Lou Macari.
Each Way Betting Explained
A bet is a bet, right? Well, yes and no. The truth is, when it comes to the best betting strategy for horse racing (not to mention a host of other types of sport) there are all kinds of bets you can choose from, from singles and doubles to Yankees and even Super Yankees.
If you’re a regular punter you will no doubt have your strategy well worked out and will have tried and tested it over a period of time.
But if you’re new to the world of betting on horse races (or indeed any other kind of sport) the choices can be bewildering, the odds can be perplexing, and sometimes it can be hard to know which path to take.
The advent of online betting has made things a little easier for the novice, with a wealth of information available on everything bet-related, from a Super Heinz to a Round Robin, so there’s no longer any excuse for placing the wrong kind of bet on the wrong kind of race.
With that in mind, a popular type of wager and one made at countless racecourses the world over is an each way bet, and the purpose of this article is to answer the questions, what is an each way bet, how does it work and why is it so popular?
An each way bet is essentially a bet in two halves
So what is an each way bet? The simple answer is, two bets of equal amounts which are made on the same horse.
One of these bets is for the horse to win, and the other bet is for the horse to place. To ‘place’ the horse will usually need to finish in the top three or four, though this may vary depending on the bookmaker and the number of runners.
If you placed a $5 bet each way on a race, it would essentially mean that you were placing two separate bets of $5 on the same horse, so the total cost of your stake would be $10.
How does it work?
Choosing the right kind of bet for you is key to your success. So, once you’ve decided that ‘each way’ will be your best horse betting strategy and system, select your horse and make your bet as described above in “What is an each way bet”?
If your horse wins, you will not only receive a payout from the win part of your bet, but you will also receive a payout from the place part of your bet. If your horse fails to come first, though, you will have lost the win part of your bet.
However, if your horse finishes in one of the specified places (e.g. 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc) you will still see a return from the place part of your bet.
The odds on the place element of the bet are calculated as a predetermined fraction of the winning selection odds.
Why is it so popular?
One of the reasons for the enduring popularity of the each way bet is almost certainly the positive psychological effect created by the fact that you are doubling your chances of a return on your initial stake.
Many bets rely on the prediction that a specific horse will win a specific race, and if that happens then clearly that’s a good outcome. If it doesn’t happen, however, it could put something of a damper on your day.
But with an each way bet, you could still see a return even if your horse doesn’t come in first. Some people even place pick 6 bet each-way as odds accumulate from leg to leg.
Each way betting explained in further detail
Each way betting within horse racing is generally associated with races featuring a field of more than four runners.
Both the number of specified places and the fraction of the odds paid out by the bookmakers depend very much on the type of race taking place and the number of runners in the field.
Though it can vary from bookie to bookie and race to race, as a general rule of thumb it works something like this:
Less than five runners would be a win only option
Five to seven runners would be 1st and 2nd place at 1/4 odds
More than eight runners would be 1st, 2nd and 3rd place at 1/5 odds
Handicaps of 12 to 15 runners would be 1st, 2nd and 3rd place at 1/4 odds
Handicaps of more than 15 runners would be 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place at 1/4 odds
Big horse races like the Melbourne Cup and the UK’s Grand National usually experience a high volume of each way betting from novice punters.
Calculating the odds of each-way bets
Probably the easiest way to explain this is to provide an example, so let’s imagine you are backing Horsey McHorseface for $10 each way at a price of 20/1. The each way terms of this race are three places paid at a fifth of the odds.
If Horsey runs a good race and romps home to win, you will be paid as follows:
Win: $10 at 20/1 pays $210 ($10 x 20 = $200 plus your $10 stake back).
Place: A fifth of 20/1 is 4/1 (20 divided by 5) so for the place part of the bet you will receive $10 at 4/1 = $50 ($10 x 4 = $40 plus your $10 stake back).
Total Returns: A win plus a place = £210 plus £50 = £260.
If Horsey only manages to finish 2nd or 3rd you will have lost the win part of your bet, but will still see a return of $50 on the place part of your bet.
Putting an each way bet on online
Once you’ve chosen the horse you want to back and have decided that an each way bet is the one for you, it’s easy to place your bet online, where you can also check the odds and how many runners are in the field.
Your online betting slip will provide space to enter your stake, and for an each way bet, make sure the EW option is ticked.
Below this it will also provide information on the number of places on offer and the percentage of the odds you will receive if your horse places.
Once you’ve entered your stake and clicked on the EW option, another simple click will place your bet.
An each way bet in other sports
Though each way betting is probably more commonly associated with horse racing, any major sporting event with multiple competitors will see plenty of action at the bookmakers.
Tournament based competitions such as the Masters golf, Formula 1, football World Cup and racing or cycling events all provide ample opportunities for such bets, as well as a strategy to consider for in-play betting and outright wagers
A World Cup tournament, for example, could see the place element of the bet comprising just the finalists (i.e. the top two teams) or both the finalists and semi-finalists (i.e. the top four teams).
Only events featuring individual competitors such as tennis, boxing, snooker and darts are unsuitable for each way betting when it comes to matches.
Some interesting facts about each way bets
Part of the appeal of each way betting is that psychologically it reduces the chances of losing
Some people choose to bet each way when their selected horse is priced over a certain threshold. This will be reflected in the place terms
An each way bet can be seen as two different propositions with different mathematical factors
Finding a big-priced horse capable of placing can sometimes be more lucrative than backing a shorter-priced favourite
An each way bet can be a particularly good option when a bookmaker is running a promotion offering an ‘extra’ each way place.
The determining factors in each way betting are the number of runners and relative prices
It’s important to know what place terms you’re likely to get on an each way bet
In each way betting on horse racing you can usually see a return on three or four places, though this can be up to five places on bigger races
Some tips for each way betting
Look at each way betting as a strategy for big field handicaps like the Melbourne Cup
Do your sums and work out possible returns before betting each way
As a general rule, the punter has the edge over the bookmaker in fields of eight to 12.
So, if you happen to be new to the world of betting and are a little daunted by terms such as accumulator, Super Yankee and Trixie, an each way bet could be an attractive option for you.
Because when it comes to the question, what is an each way bet, the key answer is, an extra chance to win – and who wouldn’t want that?