The each-way bet is perhaps the most popular type of bet in the UK. It actually encompasses two bets and is perfect for bettors with low-risk profiles. The each-way bet, although less favoured by professional punters, is a big favourite with amateurs. But how does it work?
Well, we'll take you through exactly how an each-way bet works, followed by some good races to choose this type of bet.
An each-way bet works by placing two bets. These bets are placed simultaneously which effectively doubles the wager.
For example, a £5 win bet becomes a £10 each-way bet. If you didn’t want to increase your £5 stake then your each-way bet would have to be £2.50.
You place one bet on the horse to win and the other bet on the horse to place. If the win bet loses and the horse still places then you win the each-way portion of the bet but lose the win bet. If the horse wins then you win both bets as the horse has won and placed. If the horse finishes outside of the placings then both bets lose.
In essence, an each-way bet is a saver for if your horse gets beat. It's a bet that's defensive in nature and is a favourite of more risk adverse bettors. There are certain types of races in which each-way bets work very well and certain types of horses too.
Let's say that the odds for a horse called "Heaven's Gate" are 10/1 and you want to make an each-way bet. The odds for the place part of the bet can be found at the bottom of the card. These are usually odds of 1/4 or a quarter of the SP odds. If you want to bet £10 then £5 goes on the win side of the bet and £5 goes on the place side of the bet making £10 in total.
If you were in a live betting shop, you would tell the cashier that you wanted "five-pound each-way". If your selection wins you now get TWO winning bets. The £5 that you placed on your horse to win has just won £50 plus your £5 stake back so this has returned £55 in total.
However, you have also backed the horse to place, which it has done by winning the race. You get a quarter of the odds, which in this case is a quarter of 10/1 which is 2.5/1 or 5/2. So £5 x 2.5 is £12.50 plus your £5 stake back, which comes to an extra £17.50!
This means that the total return is £72.50 and the total profit is £62.50. The rules vary on what fraction of the odds get paid so we advise checking those and reading about betting odds before you make an each-way bet.
There are some races that are really competitive. For example, let's say that you think that a horse at 25/1 stands a good chance of doing well. The favourite in this race isn't overly strong and is only 5/1. Clearly, this could be an opportunity to back your high priced horse each-way. Many high priced horses get into the frame every single day.
There are many races in the UK racing calendar where the race will be very competitive. Firstly, look at the difference between a race that is competitive and non-competitive. A non-competitive race would look like the following. An odds-on favourite at 1/3 and other horses priced at 10/1 or more with the second favourite at 4/1. This race could well be a bad race for having an each-way bet instead of using another betting system, unless you wanted to back the favourite.
Now compare that to a race where the favourite is weak at 5/1 and there are numerous other horses at between the 6/1 and 12/1. All it would take for favourites to switch in this race would be for one horse to be supported more than the other. If you backed a horse to win here then it would likely get beat but with an each-way bet then you can still collect.
On every race day in the year, you will find races that have consistent performers. These are horses that record consistent placings and come either first, second, or third on a regular basis. For example, if you look at a horses form and you see "13443322212" then this horse clearly hasn't come lower than fourth on its last eleven starts. This would be a perfect choice for an each-way bet. Even more so when we consider that this horse has only won two out of those eleven races.
There are some professional punters that make it their goal to back odds on chances and back them each way. Their game plan is to back a very high number of winners and to have the safety net of an each-way bet in case they don't win. For example, we're looking at a flat race over six furlongs where the favourite is 1/3. There are eight horses in the race and it's clear who the favourite is.
You're certain that if your horse doesn't win that it will come second at the outside. So you back the odds on chance each-way. Such a system and tactic will record a very high number of winners when executed properly. Each-way bets are popular with and will continue to be so.