When you place a bet with an online betting website you can choose the bet to be win or each way. An each way bet is made of 2 bets which mean the horse you choose needs to either win or place to get a return. Many punters use both win and each way betting, depending on the situation and their system, you will find your own way to bet that you are comfortable with.
Betting each way on horse racing is a simple thing to do and something that pretty much every horse racing punter does. Working out returns can be a little tricky because it involves a lot of small fractions, but with so many betting calculators out there available on the internet if you are unsure then you can always check what the returns would be.
Each Way Terms
There are different terms for each race depending on the number of runners and whether the race is a handicap or not. Handicap races offer better each way terms but to see what you will receive, take a look at the table below.
Non-Handicap Races 2 – 4 Runners: Win Only 5 – 7 Runners: 1/4 the odds over 2 places 8 or more Runners: 1/5 the odds over 3 places
Handicap Races 2 – 4 Runners: Win Only 5 – 7 Runners: 1/4 the odds over 2 places 8 – 11 Runners: 1/5 the odds over 3 places 12 – 15 Runners: 1/4 the odds over 3 places 16 or more Runners: 1/4 the odds over 4 places
When you bet each way you are placing two different bets on the horse to win the race and to place in the race. This means your stake is doubled so a £1 each way bet actually costs you £2. If your selection wins you will be paid out on both the win and place parts of the bet and if the selection places you’ll get the place part returned using the above terms.
Example of a winning bet
£2 EW bet at 10/1in a 10 runner race
£2 win at 10/1 = £22 return
£2 placed at 1/5 odds 10/1 (2/1) = £6 return
Total return is £28
Example of a placed bet
£2 EW bet at 10/1in a 6 runner race
£2 win at 10/1 = £0 return
£2 placed at 1/4 odds 10/1 (5/2) = £7
Total return is £7
The above each way terms are known as the standard terms. These are the terms that bookmakers must offer as a minimum, however, there is nothing stopping them from offering slightly better in an attempt to gain more business as a special offer for punters. This may be paying 1/4 odds instead of 1/5 on the big Group 1 non handicap race on a Saturday, or by paying five places instead of four in
the big 20+ runner handicap. It doesn’t happen all the time, and bookmakers will do things differently, but it is something worth looking out for while you are placing your bets.
The best example of this working in real life every year is the Grand National. Based on the each way terms above, being a handicap with 16+ runners the Grand National should pay out using the each way terms 1/4 odds on the first four placed horses. However, pretty much every bookmaker will pay out on the first five places, and some will go one step further and pay out on the first six. Originally this started because the bookmakers were competing and doing all they could to get our business, but this is now a very common part of the big races we have. It is a great added bonus for punters and if you are a regular each way backer then finding bookmakers who regularly offer you better terms is something you need to be doing when you are opening accounts.
When to bet each way?
Choosing when to bet each way is something that every punter will think about and something that everyone has a different opinion on. The best way to approach this is to read different opinions and strategies, take on board the pros and cons of each one and decide for yourself what you want to do. You can choose to follow a system that you have found, use part of a system, or take parts from a few different methods and combine them together to create something new, the choice is yours.
When you make your choice, stand by it and let it run for a good period of time to give it a good test. The worst thing you can do when you take on board a system you have found, or when you create your own system is to give it a small period, and stop after a few bad results.
I have my own system that I use when backing horses each way and it is something I have used for a very long time. I have trialled this system alongside other ways of betting and this gives me the best return for my money over the period of time when I was trialling. The system is pretty straightforward, I back anything that is a single figure price to win, and back anything in double figures each way.
I have one exception to this and that is when I am backing a horse each way in a race where the favourite of the race is odds on. In this instance, I lower the price I am willing to back each way because a lot of the time I am backing something as a ‘bet to nothing’ in the hope that it will come second or third behind the odds-on favourite. When backing this way I will back anything odds on that is 5/1 or bigger, resulting in either no loss if the horse comes second or third or a small profit on the bet.
The best way to work out when you should be betting each way and what method would give you the most profit is to look at your recent bets. A lot of people keep records when betting, but if you don’t then you can always look back on your betting account and see what bets you have placed. Look back over a period of one month and write down every single bet you have placed, what price it was and what your returns were.
Then you need to add new columns to the list of bets, showing what the returns would be if you have backed in different ways. Compare your current methods, even if they have no system to them, to other things like backing everything to win, everything each way and trial it compared to the system that I use. When you compare them, make sure you use the same stakes on the trial methods and use something that is similar to what you would normally stake so, for example, £10 win or £5 each way.
This is the way I test my systems and it is something I do from time to time just in case my methods have slightly changed over time. I found that when I did my testing, the best profit was achieved when backing double figure prices each way, and the rest to win, with the exception of when I backed a horse against as odds on favourite.
I found that this gives me the right balance on each way betting, giving me a return on each way bets, but also giving me some good returns when a horse wins. I did lose money when I backed a horse that came second at 8/1 because I backed it to win, but I always knew that in the long run, the winning returns from the one that won at 8/1 would far outweigh these losses.
Each way betting is something that can be very profitable but you have to know when is the right time to back each way and when is the time to stick to win only. Back each way when you think it is necessary, and when your system tells you to. My limit is 10/1, anything that price and above I will always back each way. Whatever you do, create a plan for your betting, stick to it and don’t lose your discipline, even if things don’t appear to be going well.
Those of you who are new to each way betting the first thing you need to do is get used to the different each way terms, what they are and when they are offered. This will help you work out the returns from a bet you have had and it is something you really need to pick up. If you know the terms for each race, and you know how many places will be paid then you are on your way to understanding each way betting and when you should be using it.