Each-way Betting Guide: How many Places are there in Horse Racing?

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Each-way betting is a fantastic way of providing cover for a punter, offering more places to boost the chance of a winner. We have taken an in-depth look into the each-way market and everything that comes with it.

There are two main ways to approach each-way betting. The first and most common way is as some sort of insurance. In a race like the Grand National, or where there is a legitimate danger your selection could be run out of victory while doing very little wrong, each-way betting is the recourse of many punters. It maximises the chances of a return.

For those already introduced to horse racing betting, that approach does not take much explaining beyond the obvious. An each-way bet is made up of two separate bets (win and place), so £10 each-way comes to £20. Also, one has to consider the odds if you are to avoid coming out as a loser, despite striking a ‘winning’ bet.

Each-way place terms

The above needs to be explained. In horse racing, place odds and place terms are linked to win odds, by a long-standing formula, which is as follows:

  • Four or fewer runners No place betting
  • Five to seven runners ¼ odds first two places
  • Eight or more runners (non-handicaps) ? odds first three places
  • 12-15 runners (handicaps) ¼ odds first three places
  • 16 or more runners (handicaps) ¼ odds first four places

So in a race with nine runners, backing a horse at 4-1 each-way who finishes second would result in a loss of ten per cent of your stake. Your win bet would be settled as a loser and your place bet would be a winner at odds of 4-5. So, had you placed £10 each-way you would get £18 back, having put down £20.

This is not to say that you should never back each-way on those sorts of terms, especially when it comes to each-way multiples and each-way accumulators. It is just something of which punters need to be aware.

Each-way Betting on Horses

Calculations in each-way betting

Each-way betting can also make sense from a mathematical perspective. Bookies are wary of ‘bad each-way’ races, in which the odds on the place book give punters a mathematical edge. But there are other methods by which punters can put the odds in their favour.

Each-way multiples, on horses who are all likely to make the places, can be one of the best ways to bet on horse racing, although it is the sort of practice that may in time attract the attention of bookmakers.

Each-way multiples can become complicated, with varying place terms and three potential outcomes (win, place, lose). They are particularly useful for each-way bet calculators, which are widely available online.

Special place terms

Mathematical considerations also come in on special place terms, i.e. those outside the table above. Going back to the example of a big handicap like the Grand National, firms will often offer five, six or seven places on the race.

Of course, at ¼ odds these bets make sense. But what if a bookie offers ? first five, while others are going ¼ first four?

The answers to these questions are extremely complicated to answer in every specific sense. In broad terms, the extra place for slightly tighter odds (so ? odds paying five places versus ¼ paying four) is worthwhile more often than it is not.

Spread betting

An alternative to each-way betting, offered only by specialist firms, is spread betting. Typically, spread betting allots a points value to the first three, four or even five positions and a ‘spread’ on how each runner is expected to fare. It is still possible to lose with a ‘winning’ bet on spreads, but it is a worthwhile consideration for bettors who like to back solid sorts who are likelier to make the places than their traditional odds imply.

Each-way Betting Guide – FAQ:

How many horses place in a race?

This depends chiefly on how many runners are in the race. See the table earlier in the article for a guide. On big races, bookmakers may offer more attractive terms. Also be vigilant if you are betting on the track, as some rail bookies offer terms that are tighter than normal.

How many horses are in a race to pay for 3rd place?

All races in which eight horses start should pay three places or more. Only in big-field handicaps are any more than three places generally paid.

What does each way betting mean?

Place odds are linked to win odds, so in a race where the each-way terms state ? the odds that is a reflection of the place odds. So a 10-1 shot to win in such a race would be 10-5, or 2-1, to place.

How many places does each way cover?

The number of places paid each-way is up to the bookmaker, but most are governed by the table higher up this article. In races of four runners or fewer, there is no each-way betting. For fields between five and seven, two places are paid. It is three for races with eight or more runners, with four places generally paid in handicaps of 16 runners or more.

What does paying 6 places mean?

The bookmaker will pay out on the place part of an each-way bet on the first six runners home. This tends to be offered only in the biggest handicaps, like the Grand National or those at the Cheltenham Festival.

What is the payout for horse racing?

In each-way terms, a punter can have two potential payouts. One if their selection wins (so the win and place bets both win) and one if it places (so the win bet loses, but the place bet wins).

Is each way 1st, 2nd and 3rd?

Only in races that contain eight or more winners. Be careful, as if you place a bet on the day of the race when there are eight runners and one is subsequently declared a non-runner, then your each-way bet now covers only two places.

What does ND mean in horse racing?

ND generally refers to no dividend. It usually refers to pool bets, when either there were no winning tickets or insufficient runners for, say, a tricast dividend.

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