There are two main reasons the average gambler will consider each way betting.
1. They want a better chance of winning some money from their bet.
2. They are not very confident that their selection will come 1st.
Both of these reasons are the wrong way to think about each way betting.
The Right Way To Think About Each Way Betting
When you place any bet you should be asking yourself, “Am I taking value?”
If the answer is no then should not be placing the bet.
This is no different with each way betting and if you are placing the right kind of each way bets I can guarantee you that you will be taking value.
So how do you take value with each way betting?
When you are each way betting you are really placing two separate bets.
You are placing one bet on the horse to win and another on the horse to place.
The method bookmakers use to calculate place odds is highly inaccurate and we can exploit this to take value.
Bookmakers calculate the place odds for a horse by dividing the horses odds of winning by either 4 or 5 depending on the number of horses in the race and the amount of places they are paying out.
Here is the standard place terms most bookmakers go by.
- 1-4 runners: win only.
- 5-7 runners: 1/4 odds a place for 1,2.
- 8+ runners: 1/5 odds a place for 1,2,3.
- 12-15 runners in handicaps only: 1/4 odds a place 1,2,3
- 16+ runners in handicaps only: 1/4 odds a place 1,2,3,4.
The Real Odds
The real odds of a horse placing can be significantly different than the odds calculated using the method above.
This is especially true in large field races with a heavy favourite.
In these races the bookmaker place odds of the second and third favourites will be over inflated because their win odds are high due to there being a heavy favourite in the race.
You can calculate the place odds the bookmakers are offering and compare it to those being offered on the Betfair exchange.
If the bookmakers place odds are reasonably greater than the place odds at the Betfair exchange then you will be taking value by each way betting.
Whilst not all of these each way bets will win, the winners should more than covers your losses due to the fact that you are only betting when the odds are in your favour.
If you wanted some more slow and steady profits you should consider laying the win portion of your each way bet at the Betfair exchange so you are only backing the horse to place at the bookmakers inflated place odds.
If you wanted to completely eliminate variance and still make a decent profit you could lay both your win bet and your place bet at the lower on odds on the Betfair exchange and lock in a guaranteed profit.
All of the above methods will make a profit in the long term, I tend to opt for the 2nd method of laying the win side of my bet and let the bookmaker place bet ride. Choose whichever you prefer.
Getting Money On
Unfortunately the Bookmakers are well aware of this major flaw in they way they calculate their place odds for each way betting.
This means that they tend to limit the amount of money you are able to place on these bets.
Most bookmakers even circulate a list round their shops each day warning staff not to accept large each way bets on races which are particularly vulnerable to each way betting, limiting max bets to around about £25.00.
If £25 is all you are looking to get on these bets then great, you shouldn’t have much trouble.
However, if you are looking to bet a little bit more you will have to place your bets at various different bookmakers.
You can use Oddschecker to check what other bookmakers are offering the best odds and the bookmakers place terms.
If you’ve exhausted your options online and you still want to get more money on you can always take a walk to your local bookies and get more money on there. (definitely worth doing if you live near 1 or 2 bookies)
If you regularly use each way betting as I have just described to take value from the bookies, you will eventually run into account closures/severely limited stakes.
If you are consistently taking value from the bookies this is inevitable. Make hay when the sun shines.
Finding The Bets
You can find these bets by going through the days races and looking for large field races with a heavy favourite.
You can still find value each way bets in medium field races with a couple of real contenders in the race but generally the more horses and the more heavy a favourite means more value with each way betting.
Once you’ve found a good race for each way betting, you want to calculate the bookmaker place odds of the 2nd and 3rd (and sometimes 4th) in the betting and compare these to the place odds on the Betfair exchange.
If the Bookmaker place odds are higher than the Betfair place odds you have found yourself an each way bet. It’s that simple.
You might not find one of these bets every day but it only takes minutes to look over the the days race cards for the “right kind of race” so it is well worth doing to find these profitable bets.