by Dave French

January 31, 2012

Paul RuffyToday we have a guest post from Paul Ruffy

So what is an each way bet?

It’s a bet traditionally offered by UK bookmakers consisting of two parts: a win bet and a place bet.

For the win part to give a return the selection must win, for the place part to win the selection must either win or finish in one of the predetermined places, i.e. 2nd or 3rd.

Your stake for an each way bet will be the same on both parts, so if you bet “£5 each way”, you are betting £5 win and £5 to place – a total of £10.
That’s the simple stuff out of the way.

So let’s talk value.

To bet at value you essentially need to be placing bets at bigger odds than what the true chances dictate the odds should be.

Of course finding out what the true chances of something occurring isn’t an exact science.

Therefore it simply comes down to a matter of identifying “perceived value”.

With an each way bet we need to evaluate both the win odds AND the place odds to get an idea of how the prices stack up against our ideas of a value price.

Opportunities arise with each way betting because the place price offered against a horse is a fixed fraction (normally a fifth or a quarter) of its win price.

The win price is most likely a fair representation of its chances of winning.

But simply dividing it by 5 doesn't mean the place price is representative of it's chance of placing!

People have misconceptions that say that betting each way at odds under 5/1 represents a poor bet.

And often horses quoted around 25/1 are touted as great each way bets, on the basis that the place pays around 5/1.

I’d suggest to you that ANY price can represent each way value.

Whether its 10/1 or 10/11.

The calculation that most people do before placing an each way bet is to work out their returns should the horse only place.

So a horse placing at 4/1 (1/5 place odds) would give a return of £9 from a £5 each way bet – a loss of £1 overall.

To look at this potential loss in isolation is to look at each way betting from a narrow and blinkered angle.

One that is entirely wrong in my opinion.

Lets assume that the horse in question is actually a true 4/1 shot (therefore it’d win one in five on average).

Buts lets also assume that there is very little else other than the first three in the betting with any real form.
And therefore that it would place on average 80% of the time.

Finding 10 bets like this could easily give the following results from £5 each way bets:

4/1 unplaced -£10
4/1 3rd -£1
4/1 2nd -£1
4/1 Won +£24
4/1 2nd -£1
4/1 2nd -£1
4/1 unplaced -£10
4/1 3rd -£1
4/1 2nd -£1
4/1 Won +£24
Total P/L +£22

Remember this is a true 4/1 shot, so it would only ever be a break even situation betting win only. But because of the favourable place terms, we’ve turned a break even series of bets, into a winning one.

Of course finding horses that have about 80% chance of placing yet can be backed at 4/1 each way do not come up everyday, but they do come up more often than you might think.

Two obvious places you might find instances where the place odds make each way betting favourable are 8 or 9 runner races with an odds-on favourite and 16 runner handicaps.

The principle is the same whatever the race though.

It is comparing the each way place price against the actual chances that will reveal the true value of an each way bet.

Paul Ruffy

Paul Ruffy is the brains behind the successful Winning horse Racing Tips service which has been providing a winning service since 2006.

Todays Selection

Southwell 4.00 Greenhead High – each way bet

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TGH Trading Ltd or it's employees.

About the author 

Dave French

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  1. Do not 5-7 runners pay 1/4 (25%) of the odds and Handicaps 12+runners also pay 1/4 (25%) of the odds. This would mean that the best % chance of winning, (all horses being equal) would be 5 runner races.
    Runners Percentage Place Percentage
    5 40% 25%
    6 33.33% 25%
    7 28.57% 25%
    8 37.5% 20%
    9 33.3% 20%
    And so on.

  2. Hi Ashley,
    You are right those races do have better place odds in terms of the fractions.
    But what we are talking about here is betting in markets where the the bookies have a disadvantage. And races where “all horses are equal” dont exist. In handicaps the horses are obviously closer due to the weights, but this just makes the placed horses harder to pick.
    What we want are races where a lot of the runners are priced 33/1+ – these horses normally have very little win and place chances.
    I could show you how to work out the place over-round and show how the bookies are “over-broke” on some markets, but that’s for another article me thinks!

  3. I would be most interested in that article.
    I’m trying to think of a logical way to convert a horses price (i.e. evens = 50%) into place percentage chance, but we come across the probability argument?

  4. Hi,
    I will in future be releasing a fully detailed strategy on this.
    However what you need to do is remember the book percentage is 100% for win markets and 300% for place markets where 3 are to be placed.
    So if you had two horses priced Evens in a two horse race that would equal 100%. The bookies would price these two something like 10/11, 10/11 to give them a margin. (book percentage 104.76). Taking a 8 runner race paying three places you do the place odds added together, so 5/1 equals even money place price, or 50%, 5/2 equals 1/2 place odds or 66%, 13/2 equals 2.6/2 or 43%. Just looking at the 1.55 Lingfield today (not a great each way race) adding all the % together makes 362%.
    362/300 = 1.2066 x 100 = 121%. They have a 21% over round on the market. Hope that helps, like I say look out for my upcoming manual which will provide much, much more.

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