What is Each Way Betting – A Comprehensive Guide 

 September 5, 2023

By  Philip Borrowman

Each way betting is a term that often floats around in the world of horse racing, leaving both newcomers and even some experienced bettors scratching their heads. 

While it may seem complex at first glance, understanding each way betting is crucial for anyone who is serious about leveraging different betting strategies for success

This comprehensive guide aims to demystify each way betting, breaking it down into easily digestible sections that cover everything from its definition to its practical applications so you can make money from horse racing.

In this guide, you'll learn:

  • What is each way betting, 
  • Why it's a popular choice among bettors, 
  • How it compares to traditional win betting,
  • How to place an each way bet,
  • Calculating potential returns, 
  • and avoiding common pitfalls.

Whether you're a beginner looking to diversify your betting portfolio or an experienced bettor seeking to refine your strategies, this guide offers valuable insights into the fascinating world of each way betting in horse racing.

What is Each Way Betting?

Each way betting is one of many types of popular form of wagering that's predominantly used in horse racing, although it's also applicable to other sports like golf and motorsports. 

Essentially, an each way bet is a two-fold wager: one part of the bet is for your chosen selection to win, and the other part is for the same selection to 'place.'

Definition

An each way bet comprises two key components:

  1. Win Bet: This is a bet on the horse to win the race outright.
  2. Place Bet: This is a bet on the horse to finish in one of the predetermined 'placing' positions. These positions could range from 2nd to 4th or even 5th, depending on the race and the terms set by the bookmaker.

Example 1: Simple Each Way Bet

Let's say you place a £10 each way bet on Horse A in a race with the following terms:

  • Win odds: 10/1
  • Place terms: 1/4 odds for the top 3 positions

In this scenario, your total stake would be £20 (£10 for the win bet and £10 for the place bet). If Horse A wins, both parts of your bet win.

The win bet would return £110 (£10 x 10 + £10 stake), and the place bet would return £35 (£10 x 2.5 + £10 stake), making your total return £145.

Example 2: Each Way Bet in a Larger Field

In a race with a larger field, let's say the place terms are 1/5 odds for the top 4 positions. If you place a £10 each way bet on Horse B with win odds of 20/1, your total stake would be £20. If Horse B finishes in any of the top 4 positions but doesn't win, the win part of your bet would lose, but the place part would win. The place bet would return £50 (£10 x 4 + £10 stake).

Once you understand how each way bets work, you can make more informed decisions when wagering on horse races or other sporting events.

Other Sports Where Each Way Betting is Used

While each way betting is most commonly associated with horse racing, it's worth noting that this type of wagering is also used in other sports.

For instance, each way bets are popular in golf tournaments, where you can bet on a player not just to win, but also to finish within the top few positions.

Similarly, each way betting can be applied to motorsports, cycling races, and even some football tournaments.

The key is that the sport needs to have a clearly defined 'placing' system beyond just the winner for each way betting to be applicable.

Why Choose Each Way Betting?

Each way betting is not just a staple in horse racing; it's a strategic form of wagering that offers distinct advantages, making it a compelling choice for bettors of all experience levels.

Below, we explore these advantages in detail and compare each way betting to traditional win betting.

Advantages of Each Way Betting

  1. Risk Mitigation: One of the most significant benefits of each way betting is its ability to mitigate risk. Unlike win-only bets, where your entire stake is lost if your selection doesn't win, each way betting provides a safety net. The 'place' part of the bet ensures that you can still see a return even if your horse doesn't win but finishes within the top positions.
  2. Increased Opportunities for Returns: Each way betting essentially doubles your chances of getting a return on your stake. This is particularly beneficial in races with larger fields where predicting the outright winner can be more challenging.
  3. Strategic Versatility: Each way betting allows for a more nuanced approach to wagering. You can choose to go for selections with longer odds, knowing that the 'place' part of your bet offers a more conservative route to potential returns.
  4. Suitability for Various Markets: Each way betting is not limited to horse racing; it's also prevalent in other sports like golf, adding to its versatility.

Comparison to Traditional Win Betting

  • Win Betting: In a win-only bet, the stakes are high. Your entire investment hinges on the selection winning outright, offering no room for error or consolation if the selection only places.
  • Each Way Betting: Contrarily, each way betting offers a balanced approach. While the potential returns may be lower if your selection only places, the reduced risk often makes it a more sustainable long-term betting strategy.

Example: Traditional Win Bet vs Each Way Bet

Consider a £10 bet on a horse with 8/1 odds in a race offering 1/4 odds for the top 3 places.

  • Win Bet: If the horse wins, you net £90 (£10 x 8 + £10 stake). However, if the horse only places, you lose your £10 stake.
  • Each Way Bet: If the horse wins, the win component returns £90, and the place component returns £30 (£10 x 2 + £10 stake), totalling £120. If the horse places but doesn't win, you'd lose the £10 win bet but gain £30 from the place bet, effectively breaking even.

By fully grasping the multifaceted advantages of each way betting, you equip yourself with a versatile tool in your betting arsenal. This form of wagering allows you to navigate the complexities of horse racing and other sports with a balanced approach, blending both risk and reward.

Whether you're looking to hedge against uncertainties in a race with a large field or aiming to capitalize on the longer odds of an underdog, each way betting offers a structured yet flexible strategy.

It's this blend of risk mitigation and potential for returns that makes each way betting not just a popular choice, but also a smart, long-term betting strategy for both novice and seasoned bettors.

How to Place an Each Way Bet

Placing an each way bet may seem daunting at first, especially if you're new to the world of betting. However, the process is straightforward once you understand the basics. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process of placing an each way bet, whether you're betting online or at a betting shop.

man needing help placing each way bet

Step 1: Choose Your Selection

The first step in placing an each way bet is to choose the horse (or player in other sports) you want to bet on. Make sure to do your research, considering factors like form, track conditions, and competition.

Step 2: Understand the Terms

Before placing your bet, it's crucial to understand the terms offered by the bookmaker. This includes the odds for the 'win' part of the bet and the 'place' terms, which specify the fraction of the win odds that will be paid for placed horses and the number of places that will be paid.

Step 3: Place Your Bet

Once you've chosen your selection and understand the terms, you can proceed to place your bet. If you're betting online, you'll typically find an option to tick for an each way bet on the betting slip. In a betting shop, you'll need to specify that you want an each way bet to the cashier.

Example: Placing an Each Way Bet Online

Let's say you've chosen a horse named "Thunderbolt" with win odds of 12/1 in a race where the bookmaker is offering 1/5 odds for the top 4 places. You decide to place a £10 each way bet.

  • Your total stake would be £20 (£10 for the 'win' and £10 for the 'place').
  • On the online betting slip, you would tick the box indicating that you want an each way bet, automatically doubling your original stake to cover both parts of the bet.

Step 4: Calculate Potential Returns

After placing your bet, it's a good practice to calculate your potential returns. This helps you understand the risk and reward involved in your wager.

Calculating the potential returns involves understanding both the 'win' and 'place' components of your each way bet.

Example: Calculating Returns on "Thunderbolt"

Continuing with our example of a £10 each way bet on "Thunderbolt" with win odds of 12/1 and place terms of 1/5 for the top 4:

  • If "Thunderbolt" wins, the 'win' part of your bet would return £130 (£10 x 12 + £10 stake).
  • The 'place' part would return £34 (£10 x 2.4 + £10 stake), as 1/5 of 12 is 2.4.
  • Your total return would be £164 (£130 from the win bet + £34 from the place bet).

Step 5: Monitor the Race

Once your bet is placed and you've calculated the potential returns, the next step is to watch the race unfold. Keep an eye on your selection and how it performs throughout the race.

Step 6: Understand the Outcomes

After the race, there are several possible outcomes:

  1. Both Bets Win: If your horse wins, both the 'win' and 'place' bets pay out.
  2. Only Place Bet Wins: If your horse places but doesn't win, you lose the 'win' part of the bet but gain from the 'place' part.
  3. Both Bets Lose: If your horse neither wins nor places, both parts of the bet are lost.

Step 7: Collect Your Winnings

If your bet is successful, the final step is to collect your winnings. Online platforms usually credit your account automatically, while in betting shops, you'll need to present your winning slip to the cashier.

As you can see, this form of betting offers a nuanced approach to wagering, allowing you to mitigate risks while still aiming for substantial returns.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Each Way Betting

Each way betting offers a host of advantages, but it's not without its pitfalls. Even seasoned bettors can make mistakes if they're not careful. In this section, we'll explore some of the most common mistakes people make when placing each way bets and how to avoid them.

mistakes to avoid when placing each way bets

Mistake 1: Ignoring Place Terms

One of the most common errors is not paying attention to the place terms set by the bookmaker. Different bookmakers and races have varying terms, and failing to understand these can significantly impact your returns.

  • Example: If you assume that the place terms are 1/4 for the top 3 but the bookmaker is actually offering 1/5 for the top 4, you could end up with lower returns than expected.

Mistake 2: Overestimating Long Shots

While each way betting does provide a safety net, it's not an excuse to consistently back long shots without adequate research. The longer the odds, the less likely the horse is to even place, let alone win.

  • Example: Placing a £10 each way bet on a horse with 50/1 odds might seem tempting, but if the horse doesn't place, you've lost £20 with no return.

Mistake 3: Neglecting Bankroll Management

Proper bankroll management is crucial in all forms of betting, including each way betting. Without setting a budget and sticking to it, you risk significant losses.

  • Example: If your total bankroll is £100, placing a £50 each way bet is risky and could result in losing half your bankroll in one go.

Mistake 4: Failing to Shop Around

Different bookmakers offer different odds and place terms. Not shopping around for the best deal can mean missing out on better returns.

  • Example: Bookmaker A offers 10/1 odds with 1/4 place terms for the top 3, while Bookmaker B offers 11/1 odds with the same place terms. Betting with Bookmaker B could yield higher returns.

Mistake 5: Not Calculating Potential Returns

Many bettors place each way bets without fully understanding the potential returns. This can lead to disappointment or confusion when the bet settles.

  • Example: If you place a £10 each way bet on a horse with 8/1 odds and 1/4 place terms, but don't calculate that the place part would only return £30 (£10 x 2 + £10 stake), you might be disappointed if your horse places but doesn't win.

Mistake 6: Ignoring Market Movements

Odds can fluctuate leading up to a race. Ignoring these market movements can result in missed opportunities for better odds or place terms.

  • Example: If you place your each way bet early at 12/1 odds but the odds drift to 14/1 closer to the race, you've missed out on potential higher returns.

Mistake 7: Emotional Betting

Betting based on emotions rather than logic and research is a common pitfall. Whether it's a favourite jockey or a horse with a name that resonates with you, emotional decisions often lead to losses.

  • Example: Betting £20 each way on a horse simply because it has the same name as your pet is not a sound betting strategy.

Mistake 8: Overcomplicating Strategies

While each way betting does add a layer of complexity to wagering, it's important not to overcomplicate your betting strategies. Stick to researched and tested methods rather than trying to game the system in unsustainable ways.

  • Example: Creating a convoluted system where you place multiple each way bets on several horses in the same race without adequate research can quickly deplete your bankroll.

By being aware of these common mistakes and taking steps to avoid them, you can make more informed and strategic decisions in your each way betting. This not only enhances your understanding of this form of wagering but also improves your chances of long-term success.

Tips and Best Practices for Each Way Betting

Each way betting can be a profitable venture if approached with the right strategy and mindset. In this section, we'll share some tips and best practices to help you make the most out of your each way bets.

Tip 1: Do Your Research

Thorough research is the cornerstone of successful each way betting. This includes studying the form of the horses, the conditions of the track, and the competition.

  • Example: If a horse has consistently placed in the top 3 in similar race conditions, it might be a strong candidate for an each way bet.

Tip 2: Understand Value

Value is crucial in each way betting. Always compare the odds and place terms offered by different bookmakers to ensure you're getting the best value.

  • Example: If one bookmaker offers 10/1 odds with 1/4 place terms and another offers 11/1 with 1/5 place terms, calculate which would offer better returns based on your wager.

Tip 3: Use Each Way Calculators

Many online platforms offer each way calculators that can help you quickly determine potential returns and assess the value of a bet.

  • Example: Before placing a £10 each way bet on a horse with 15/1 odds and 1/4 place terms, use an each way calculator to see your potential returns and decide if the bet offers good value.

Tip 4: Keep Records

Keeping track of your each way bets, including the stakes, odds, and outcomes, can help you analyze your betting strategy and make improvements.

  • Example: After 50 each way bets, review your records to identify patterns, such as which types of races or odds have been most profitable for you.

Tip 5: Be Mindful of Stake Sizes

Proper bankroll management is essential. Be mindful of your stake sizes relative to your overall bankroll to ensure you can withstand losing streaks.

  • Example: If your total bankroll is £200, consider limiting each way bets to around £10 to £20 to minimize risk and extend your betting longevity.

Tip 6: Leverage Promotions and Offers

Many bookmakers offer promotions such as enhanced place terms or each way bonuses. Take advantage of these to maximize your potential returns.

  • Example: Some bookmakers may offer enhanced place terms during major events, paying out on the top 5 instead of the top 3. This increases your chances of a return on the 'place' part of your bet.

Tip 7: Consider the Number of Runners

The number of runners in a race can significantly impact the value of an each way bet. Generally, races with more runners offer better value for each way betting.

  • Example: In a race with 20 runners, the chances of your horse placing in the top 4 are higher than in a race with just 7 runners.

Tip 8: Don't Ignore Lower Grade Races

While high-profile races get the most attention, lower grade races can offer excellent each way betting opportunities. These races often have less predictable outcomes, providing better odds and value.

  • Example: A lower grade race with less-known horses might offer higher odds, making it a potentially profitable each way betting opportunity if you've done your research.

These guidelines are designed to elevate your betting experience, offering you a structured yet flexible approach to capitalize on this unique form of wagering.

Whether you're just dipping your toes into the world of each way betting or you're an experienced bettor looking to fine-tune your strategy, this advice can be a game-changer in your pursuit of profitable betting.

The tips just shared are applicable to all types to betting stratgies also, such as scalping or value betting.

Conclusion: Mastering the Art of Each Way Betting

Each way betting is more than just a wagering option; it's a strategic approach that offers a balanced blend of risk and reward.

From understanding the basic structure of each way bets to avoiding common pitfalls and implementing best practices, this guide has aimed to provide you with a comprehensive overview of this unique form of betting.

As you venture into the world of each way betting, remember that the key to long-term success lies in diligent research, value assessment, and disciplined bankroll management.

This isn't a shortcut to instant riches but a sustainable strategy that, when applied correctly, can yield consistent returns over time.

So, why wait? Take the plunge and start applying these principles to your each way bets.

Whether you're betting on horse racing or exploring each way options in other sports, the knowledge you've gained here can serve as a valuable asset in your betting endeavors.

Thank you for reading, and may your each way bets be both enjoyable and profitable!

To continue your learning, click here to see A Simple Tactic Any Beginner Trader Can Use To Scalp Profits

Philip Borrowman


I am a full-time marketer and part-time Betfair trader. I have over 10 years of experience in the pre-race and in-play horse trading markets and spend my days writing guides, tips and tricks to help beginner Betfair traders find their way to a profitable second income. Read my story of trading on Betfair.

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