Each Way Betting, When You Should Bet Each Way
Bad each way races
Betting on bad each way races is a profitable betting strategy.
If you are struggling to make horse racing pay through your selection process then, focussing on bad each way races is a good angle to make your betting profitable.
What does each way mean?
Each way betting is two bets, one bet for the selection to win and one bet for the selection to be placed in the race.
The win part of the bet is paid at the full odds you take on your selection should it win. For the place part, bets are settled at a fraction of the win odds, usually either a quarter or a fifth of the full odds.
Place terms, i.e. the number of places paid and the fraction they are settled at is dependent on the number of runners in a race and the type of race – either handicap or non-handicap.
Each way bet explained
The place terms that apply to each way betting?
- All races with less than 5 runners – win only (no each way betting)
- All races with 5 – 7 runners – ¼ odds 1st and 2nd place
- Non-handicap races with 8 or more runners – ⅕ odds 1st, 2nd and 3rd place
- Handicap races with 8 – 11 runners – ⅕ odds 1st, 2nd and 3rd place
- Handicaps races with 12 – 15 runners – ¼ odds 1st, 2nd and 3rd place
- Handicap races with 16 or more runners – ¼ odds 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place
You may have heard punters say ‘it’s an each way price” just because the selection is a ‘big’ price. I don’t necessarily believe this is true or indeed always a profitable strategy.
If you have found a selection with true value to win, it may also be value to place. Whether it is or not will be down to the shape of the race.
What is a bad each way bet?
First off, when I say ‘bad’, I mean bad from the bookmakers perspective.
Bookmakers are bound to the standard place terms (above) and in races, under certain circumstances, they can offer the punter an opportunity to bet on positive ‘place’ terms where the odds of a horse placing in a race are greater than the actual chance of this happening – this would be a bad each way bet.
Bookmakers hate these races and manage punters who bet on them, either cutting stakes, applying SP only or refusing bets altogether.
If you do your betting online this will be automated restrictions they set up for limiting bets on bad each way races. In the shops, you have a better chance of getting bets on if you are not overtly abusing the positions. Profit alerts are sent to the shops daily for staff to restrict bets manually.
Being a manual process with humans involved, it is possible to get around the restrictions!
How to find bad each way bets
Not exclusive but as a starting point 3 factors that can make the betting shape of the race a bad each way betting race.
- A short-priced favourite – the shorter the better
- A race where there are only a few runners with a realistic chance of winning the race. These runners take up a high percentage of the market between them
- At the cross over points of place terms. For example 5, 8 and 16 runners in both handicaps and non-handicaps
The easiest way to verify you have found a bad each way race and a runner with a better chance than its place odds is to cross-check with the place only markets on one of the Betting Exchanges.
Example of a bad each way race
Because of their dominance in the market and the fact that bookmakers are tied to standard place terms, in the case of this race they pay ⅕ odds 1st, 2nd and 3rd place you can bet at place odds greater than the true chance of them happening.
Backing Fraser Island each way at 15/8, the place odds are 15/40. Multiply the denominator in the odds 8 (price 15/8), by the denominator of the place terms 5 (⅕ the odds). 8 x 5 = 40. To finish the place odds calculation take the numerator from the odds 15 (the numerator of 15/8) and divide by the calculated place denominator 40 (8 x 5).
The place odds for Fraser Island to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd in this race is 15/40. Converting these odds from fractions into decimal odds so you can compare the price available on the Betting Exchanges.
15/40 as decimal odds equal 1.375, simply divide the numerator (15) by the denominator (40) and the decimal odds are 0.375. You then need to add 1 to this number as the Betting Exchange odds include your unit stake in the price = 1.375.
From the image of the prices on the Betfair Exchange for Fraser Island to place you can see the back odds are 1.17.
Taking the Bet Exchange odds as the true chance of something happening, it’s a near enough 100% book, then on this occasion, you can back Fraser Island to place at 1.37 versus a true chance of 1.17.
Bookmakers don’t let you bet place only, so you can back Fraser Island to place at 1.37 but you would need to place an each way bet which includes a bet on Fraser Island to also win the race.
Each way betting at short odds
Now I’m not recommending a scattergun approach and betting each way at 15/8. Unless you are confident that the win price is better than the true chance of the win then this is not going necessarily going to be a profitable strategy.
Where you can obtain positive place odds versus their chance, it becomes interesting when you start combining these selections in multiple bets.
The power of compounding an edge in multiple bets
Using the Fraser Island odds as an example, combining two horses in an each way double at 15/8 when the place terms are a ⅕ odds 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The place part of the bet if both selections place is 1.89. Using the Betfair place only odds for Fraser Island as an example, the true place double chance is 1.17 multiplied by 1.17 = 1.37.
So for two horses to place you are getting 1.89 against a true chance of 1.37. This is a value betting opportunity.
Now because bookmakers don’t allow place only doubles you need to place an each way double and have to account for the win part of the each way double. To be successful, both horses need to win. In the example above if they don’t win but both place you will be paid at 1.89. Not enough to get back the losing part on the win double.
It’s worth noting that backing two horses at 9/4 when the place terms are ⅕ odds is enough to cover a losing win part of an each way double.
9/4 at ⅕ odds is 9/20 or 1.45 in decimal odds. As a place double 1.45 multiplied by 1.45 = 2.10. Enough to cover the losing win unit stake and make a small profit on the bet.
Expand this further, combining three horses with place odds of 1.37 in a treble gives multiplied odds of 2.60 (the true odds are1.60). This makes the place treble a profitable bet even if the win part of the each way treble is a loser.
Win part of each way multiples
So you can structure your bets in bad each way races to benefit from advantageous place terms. The real upside is when the win part of the bet lands. The place part of the bet almost acts as an insurance, but you can make significant wins when the win part is successful.
There will be times when horses don’t place and you lose both the win and the place part, but if you chose your races right then you are betting at place odds above the true chance and in the long term this is a profitable betting strategy.
Getting your each way multiple bets on
This is not a new strategy as already mentioned bookmakers are very averse to taking each way multiples that include bad each way races.
If you do your betting online, you’ll find it difficult to get on, if not impossible. Your stakes will be restricted. Betting in the shops, you’ll have more chances, though you’ll need to keep your stakes small and spread the money around. There are ways and means to get on, you just need to be a bit smart and keep your activity under the radar.