What is an Each Way Bet and Should I Bet Each Way or To Win?
Each way is one of those betting terms that people use all the time, but not everybody understands what it means, much less how to utilise it to profit from their bets. Here we take a closer look at each way betting and explain just what it means and when each way bets make the most sense, which often depends very much on the odds and the market on which you are betting.
An each way bet is actually two bets in one. One half is a win bet and the other half is a place bet. In order for the win bet to be paid out by the bookmaker the selection must win, whilst for a place bet to be settled as a winner the selection must finish in one of the place positions. These place positions (eg. first, second or third) are set out by the bookmaker before the start of the event, although in British horseracing they are officially set by the Jockey Club. In a small horse race between four runners there may only be two places but for a huge race like the Grand National the bookies regularly pay out on five or even six places (or sometimes more). To clarify, the place terms can vary from event to event and from one bookie to the next, but this should be made clear when you place your bet.
The win half of the bet is paid out at the full advertised odds of the wager whereas the place half is paid out at a fraction of these odds. Just like the number of places, this fraction changes between betting sites and also events. Just as the place may be a top three or four (or whatever) finish, so the payout can also vary, usually between 1/2 the normal odds and 1/4.
To illustrate, let’s say there was an eight horse race in which a bookmaker was paying three places at 1/4 the odds. If you have a £5 each way bet (costing £10 in total) on a horse at odds of 8/1 and it wins, you will have total returns of £60. That’s £40 from the winning portion of the bet (£5 at odds of 8/1), £10 for the place portion of the bet (£5 at odds of 2/1) and your two separate £5 stakes.
If you had the same bet but the horse finished third, you would only receive the £10 win from the place bet and the £5 stake from that portion of the bet, totalling £15, for an overall profit of £5.
Be careful though. If you go to place a £10 bet at an online or mobile bookmaker’s site and tick the box to make it an each way bet, the total stake will double to £20 rather than split to cover the win and place bets.
Each way betting is very popular because it allows punters to make profit even if the selection they backed doesn’t win. As well as horse racing each way betting is popular in golf and long term events like football cup competitions (where each way means to make the final at least) or top goalscorer markets.
When To Use Each Way Bets
Each way bets are most commonly placed on markets with large fields, such as horse races, tennis or golf tournaments or certain football markets, for example who might be top goalscorer at the World Cup. Each way bets are almost exclusively used on longer odds selections because with the place portion only paying out a fraction of the odds, wagering each way doesn’t really make sense on odds of less than around 4/1 or so. Arguments can be made for each way bets at any price but in general you would rarely place an each way bet where you need the selection to win in order to make a profit.
Each way bets are perfect for long odds selections who you think will very likely go close AND MIGHT win but whom you can’t back with any great confidence in the win only market. Certain golfers are very consistent top five finishers but don’t quite have the class or killer instinct to land the win on a regular basis. These sorts of players often make for great each way bets as you can back them at long odds and still profit if they place but land the occasional huge bet when they do manage to seal the win.
Similar rules apply in racing, although each way betting is a great option there in a race where there is a short-priced favourite. This often means most other contenders are available at decent odds and an each way bet can land a tidy profit for a place but a huge payout if the favourite should slip up and your outside each way selection land the win.
When betting exchanges such as Betfair became popular they had to work out a way of offering each way betting on horseracing. Initially they managed this by setting up markets in which punters only betted on whether a horse would place or not. Punters soon realised that meant they were no longer confined to having exactly half of their stake on the place bet, nor did they have to back a horse to win when really they only thought it would place. They could change the ratios to suit them and the strengths of what they were betting on.
The traditional bookmakers have caught up with the appetite for place betting and many of them now offer odds on selections to place only. This is a very interesting and useful tool to add to your betting arsenal, allowing you further control over your betting.
Each Way Betting and Dead Heats
Dead heat rules can have a big impact on each way betting in sports such as golf and certain outright markets where ties are likely. If your each way terms are 1/4 the odds for a top four finish and your golfer finishes in a three-way tie for fourth, that is a dead heat for fourth place. As such, of the half of your bet that is on the place, only one third will be classed as a winner, with two thirds of your stake losing.
Dead heat rules are standard across the whole betting industry in this respect and whilst this situation won’t arise too often, it’s well worth knowing to avoid the disappointment of lower bet returns than you were expecting.
In conclusion, each way betting may be long established and very traditional but it certainly has plenty of uses for the modern punter. That is especially true now that you have increased control thanks to place only betting, although each way betting with the possibility of the double payout remains considerably more popular.