You’ve probably heard the term ‘hedging your bets’ before, which basically means to take a chance on something while mitigating your risk in some way. It’s a phrase that was perhaps born out of each way betting, which offers punters the chance to literally – and metaphorically – hedge their bets somewhat by being more conservative in their wagering.
With an each way bet, it’s not as black and white as win and lose – there’s win, lose, win a partial amount or lose a partial amount. Okay, so that’s not the catchiest of slogans, but all will be revealed about EW betting in this article.
What Does Each Way Bet Mean?
To explain further the meaning of each way, we can temporarily re-name the bet type ‘both ways’ betting. When we place an EW bet, we are betting in both ways – win and each way. Ideally, we want to back the winner, but we also have the reassurance of the places should our pick perform well but finish in second, third, or slightly lower.
So, an each way bet features two parts: a £10 EW wager features £5 on the win part and £5 on the place option. Each way betting was popularised by its use in horse racing, allowing punters to lock in a profit should their bet finish inside the places – or at least mitigate their loss.
There are other applications for each way betting. You can bet on outright markets with each way cover, e.g. the Premier League winner betting category. Golf and tennis tournaments, with their large fields of players, are also perfect for each way betting. In the case of the former, you can be paid out if your player finishes inside the top ten of some golf majors.
How Does Each Way Betting Work?
If you are using a betting app, click on horse racing and navigate to an individual race in the UK.
Pick a race and select your horse’s odds, which will add them to your betslip. Now, you should see the each way terms displayed on-screen – how many places are being offered, and the fraction that the bookmaker will pay out at. If this bit confuses you, don’t worry as we will go into that in more detail shortly.
Tick the each way box and enter your unit stake, remembering that you are placing two bets here – win and EW. So, if you normally stake £10, be sure to type £5 in the box accordingly. Now you can watch the race and hope that your selection wins, but if it doesn’t then you still have the consolation of the place terms to hold on for.
Understanding Your Each Way Return
While that’s the each way bet explained, we still need to consider an example so you can see exactly what to expect.
Let’s say you have backed a horse at odds of 4/1 with an each way stake of £10 (£5 win, £5 place). Good news… your selection romps home in first place! Your payout on the win will be £25 – your £5 stake is returned and also multiplied by the 4/1 odds to give you £20 in win profit.
Of course, because your selection has won, it has also finished in the requisite number of places too. In our example, the bookmaker was paying 1/4 of the odds, so that 4/1 becomes 1/1 as it is divided by the place terms: so, we clinch £5 in profit on the place side too, with our £5 stake also returned.
So, in total:
- £20 in win bet profit
- £5 in place bet profit
- £10 stake returned
We walk away with a total return of £35 from our £10 each way stake, with £25 of that clear profit!
But what would the calculation look like if our horse finished second? The same basic rules apply:
- £5 win stake – lost
- £5 place bet – win
As we know, the profit on our place bet is £5 based upon the bookies’ terms, and so that covers our lost win stake – meaning our overall each way wager would break even. That shows you why each way betting is popular, because it allows punters to still attempt to back winners while having
the safety net of the places too.If you are a newcomer to betting, it’s fair to say that working out the numbers of an each way wager can be difficult. But you can use an each way calculator – of which there are many online – to help you see your potential returns.
What are the Horse Racing Place Terms?
The bookmakers have their own set formula for working out place returns. The number of places paid typically depends on the number of horses/players/teams in the market. Although, it should be noted that for major sporting occasions – the Grand National, for example, or the Open Championship golf – the number of places paid is generally enhanced by the bookies.
Additionally, it should be noted that the bookmakers also pay a fraction of the win odds for those successful place bets. So, if you see 1/4 written as the place terms, then you know your win odds will be divided by that amount to calculate your place payout.
Use this table as a guide for your horse racing each way bets:
|Number of Runners||Odds||Places|
|4 or fewer||N/A||win only|
|8 or more||1/5||3|
|Handicap race (12-15)||1/4||3|
|Handicap race (16+)||1/4||4|
This is the general rule used in horse racing betting, but it should be noted that other sports will have slightly different place terms.
As we have learned, the objective of each way bets remains the same – we want to be backing as many winners as possible. But if we fancy a couple of outsiders at long odds, we can still profit even when they finish second, third or fourth as detailed above. And if we are backing favourites, we can mitigate our losses if they don’t live up to the tag.
So, if you are a risk-averse kind of person, each way betting could be for you.