WHEN it comes to horse racing there is always some uncertainty over whether your chosen winner will in fact win – this is what makes the sport so exciting.
But it may be a little too exciting for some, which is why the each way bet exists.
Each way in horse racing betting means simply to convert your single win bet into two bets.
These are placed at the same time – one for your chosen horse to win and the other for it to ‘place’.
This means if your horse wins, both bets are paid out on, but if it comes in one of the places – usually second or third but often fourth or even fifth depending on the size of the field – all is not lost.
In this case, although the win bet will not pay, the each way part (or second) bet will, at reduced odds.
It can be viewed as an insurance policy, especially for a horse that shows good value in its price. In some cases this means that you may not be certain it will win, but are pretty confident it has the class to finish in a place. Good value in this case simply means that an attractive price is being offered rather than particularly long odds.
For example, having carefully studied form, a punter may decide that the odds of 3/1 on offer are considerably better than he would expect.
In this case – especially if it is a competitive race where several runners are within the 3/1 to 6/1 price range – he may decide to look for insurance.
Of course – like all insurance – this comes at a cost. For example, if you select a €5 win bet and decide to make it an each way wager then you will have to pay another €5 to make a total wager of €10.
When thinking it through, it is a good idea to keep the two bets (win and place) separate in your mind, even though they will both be on the same slip.
If you bet €5 each way on a horse at 3/1 and it comes in third you will lose the win part off the bet (€5). But the each way part will pay out at (usually) a quarter of the odds. This proportion can vary from race to race and according to the size of the field.
In this instance it would mean you get back €8.75 for your €10. But hang on? Doesn’t this mean you have lost money?
The answer is yes – but it is an insurance policy. Over the course of say 100 bets, if you pick horses that place 80% of the time – which many a skilled punter can – then you have €700 in the bag just from the each way portion of the bet.
And often the chosen horses will cross the line first. So – at assumed odds of 3/1 – the better will only need to get another €300 from the win part of his bets to break even.
So if he picks 30 winners out of 100 he will pick up €600 for his €500 win bets outlay. Add this to the returns from the each way wagers and it becomes €130, or a 30% profit.
Another type of punter who likes to go each way could be termed the more casual better. They often look for horses that offer long odds and view their stake as more of a gamble for the fun of it rather than take a scientific approach to the matter.
Rather than selecting horses in the 3/1 to 6/1 range they like to go for the thrill of a big win at odds of say 20/1.
From this point of view a 20/1 outsider placing third is a good result.
A €5 bet each way (total stake €10) will see a return of €30 (€5 X 5/1 plus €5 stake back) – still a nice result.
If it comes in first, then they will get a return of €135. Of course – if the bookies are right – there is a significant chance that a longer odds horse will not place. But many a punter will tell you that they have spotted a good bet when a shorter priced horse has seen its odds drift as people have piled in on a favourite.
As bookies look to spread the risk they offer more and more attractive prices on other horses in the race.
So even where a customer feels one particular horse – the favourite – is almost certain to win, an each way bet on another runner can make perfect sense, as all it needs to do is place to make the punter a decent profit.
To recap – an each way bet makes a lot of sense on not only outsiders with long odds, but also to shorter priced horses when viewed as part of a strategy.
The latter is usually best in a ‘competitive’ race where there is no clear favourite, while the former can work when trying to take advantage of an exceptionally good price.
And it is not just horse racing where you can bet each way – another sport where the bet is popular is golf.