What Does Ante-Post Betting Mean?

If you’re new to the world of gambling, you’re probably on an adventure trying to learn about all the different types of betting. More recently, ante-post betting has caused confusion. In fact, it even confuses people who have been around sports betting all their lives.

horse ante-post

With this, we’re going to explore ante-post betting in this guide. You’ll learn what it is, how it works, and some important things to remember when using this strategy. Let’s get started!

What’s Ante-Post Betting?

First and foremost, let’s talk about the basics. What is ante-post betting? When most people bet on sports, they have a narrowed view of upcoming events. More often than not, they look at the fixtures that take place on the same day. What’s more, even those who know that a big fixture is coming up will wait until the day itself to place the bet.

For example, let’s say that Liverpool and Manchester City are about to play each other. In recent years, this has been a fixture that has determined where the Premier League title goes at the end of the season. If the game is on at Saturday lunchtime, most bettors will wake up on Saturday morning and start looking at bets.

Ante-post betting is the idea of betting way in advance of a sporting event rather than doing it on the day itself. Although the term is somewhat subjective, ante-post betting is generally considered to be any bet placed at least the day before the event itself.

While you might see the term used in football, it’s historically more applicable to the horse racing market. To truly understand how it works, it’s important to have a little history lesson. When most people learn that the ‘ante’ part means ‘before’ in Latin, they get confused since ‘post’ is another way of saying ‘after’. Could it be that the phrase means ‘before after’?

No…sorry. Instead, the ’post’ part of the phrase refers to the betting post at which people would queue before a race. Once the horses and riders were revealed, people would queue at the betting post to get their wagers on. However, not everybody waited for the announcement of the horses and riders. Therefore, they were said to be betting before the post – ante-post.

The idea with ante-post betting is two-fold:

  • To enjoy better odds compared to when the horses are confirmed (and the odds shorten)
  • To bet on a horse that is expected to race

Benefits of Ante-Post Betting

As mentioned, the biggest benefit of ante-post betting is that you enjoy greater odds compared to when the horses are confirmed and when people start backing horses. With an ante-post selection, you might get odds on a horse of 4/1. You’ve placed your bet, the odds are good, and you can go to bed happy the day before the race.

Once you wake up in the morning, lots of people will have backed your horse and the bookmaker is forced into reducing the odds. By the start of the race, the odds on your horse could be at 3/1 or even 5/2. However, thanks to ante-post betting, your bet will repay at 4/1. By getting the bet in early, you take a risk since the horse may not race, but your risk is rewarded when you enjoy better odds than 90% of the other people who back the same horse.

Another benefit of ante-post betting is that you can adopt the strategy for many different sports. Though we’re focusing on horse racing, you can use ante-post betting for rugby, football, cricket, and various other sports. In all likelihood, you use this strategy without even realizing it.

For example, have you placed a bet on this year’s FA Cup winner? If so, this is considered ante-post betting. Especially if you’ve chosen a Premier League side that hasn’t even entered the competition yet. Since you’re betting on a team to win the final when you don’t even know if they will make the final, while also betting before the competition begins, you’re partaking in ante-post betting.

Likewise, another example would be to back England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland to win Euro 2024. Since qualification hasn’t even begun, you’ll get great odds on this selection. However, you also can’t guarantee that these nations will even make it to the tournament.

Important Things to Keep in Mind

Before you get started with ante-post betting, there are some small details that we need to cover. If you don’t understand how it works, you’re only going to be left disappointed when it goes wrong.

Non-Runner Rules

Firstly, returning to horse racing, what happens if you back a horse that doesn’t end up running? In a standard bet, you’ll get a refund because you backed the horse after the confirmation that it would race. If it had to pull out at the last minute, this is unforeseen, and all customers receive their stake back.

On the other hand, those taking part in ante-post betting are placing the money before the confirmation. Therefore, they know the risk that the horse might not run. Consequently, non-runners don’t lead to a refund. If you want to use the ante-post betting strategy, this is something you need to keep in mind.

Whether you place the bet a week before the event or six months before it, you WILL NOT get a refund if your chosen horse doesn’t run. With ante-post betting, you place money based on the expectation that it will run rather than the confirmation.

With this in mind, the way that you place your money presents a balance between risk and reward. If the horse doesn’t run, it’s a losing bet and your money is gone before the race even starts. If the horse runs and performs well, you enjoy more winnings than all others who have backed the same horse.

non runner horse

Best Odds Guaranteed

Another potential problem with ante-post betting is that the price you receive at the point of placing the bet is the best price you will receive. If you’re accustomed to best odds guaranteed offers, you will not benefit from such promotions with ante-post betting. Even if your chosen bookie offers best the odds guaranteed promotion on horse racing, it won’t apply to your ante-post betting.

Let’s say that you choose a horse to win the next Grand National and that the event is six months away. During these six months, the horse has a terrible season and falls down the list of favourites. While you placed a bet on the horse to win at 7/1, the poor season has dropped its chances of winning and it now sits at 25/1. Since you did an ante-post bet, your odds will remain at 7/1.

Therefore, the balance between risk and reward returns, and the fact that you’re locked into odds works both ways. Depending on the situation between placing the bet and the event itself, you could either enjoy better or worse odds compared to everybody else on the day.

Rule 4 Deductions

If you haven’t seen Rule 4 in action before, it adjusts the state of the market should one of the horses pull out from the race. If you bet on a horse on the day of the race, any withdrawn horse will make it easier for the rest of the field. Why? Because there’s one less horse to beat (especially when this horse was a favourite).

Consequently, Rule 4 comes into play and a certain amount of money will be removed from your winnings to account for the changing circumstances. We’ve highlighted two potential problems with no non-runner refund or best odds guaranteed promotions, and now it’s time for some good news because the Rule 4 deductions don’t apply to ante-post bettors.

If you backed a horse at 8/1 weeks before, you’ll receive these odds for your winnings even if a 3/1 favourite pulled out just before the event. The race was easier than originally thought for your horse, but the fact that you adopted an ante-post betting strategy protected you from Rule 4 deductions.

Each Way

Next, we also want to make a note of each way betting. If you want to try ante-post betting, understand the regulations surrounding each way betting. As we’ve seen throughout, you get the each way terms as they were at the time of the bet. Regardless of what happens on the day, regardless of the number of runners, you keep these terms.

If the number of horses in a race reduces, the bookie may only payout for the top two rather than the top three. However, you placed your bet when it was still promising to pay out for the top three. Everybody who placed their bets on the day of the race will lose if your horse comes in third. Yet, you will win because you secured the better each way terms.

Risk vs Reward

We’ve hinted at it throughout this guide, but the balance between risk and reward is critical when it comes to ante-post betting. While some people get lucky and avoid Rule 4 deductions, others aren’t quite so lucky and end up getting 4/1 odds on a 20/1 horse just because they placed the bet early. Odds fluctuate, and some people get lucky with the changes while others are left wishing that they waited.

Remember, you aren’t going to make the correct predictions each time. Just like betting itself, ante-post betting will go wrong sometimes. When ante-post betting, know that you might lose this stake before the event even takes place. If your horse doesn’t run, you’ll be one of the only people who backed the horse not to get a refund. However, you could also be one of the only people to get winnings for third place with an each way bet.

As long as you understand the risks and rewards of ante-post betting, you can enjoy it. The good days come when the odds work in your favour or you receive winnings for an each way bet after it changed for everybody else.

Be willing to experiment, play around, and learn from your mistakes. With some research and experience, you could just secure a fantastic deal. And you’ll enjoy the god-like feeling that comes with beating the system.

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A type of betting whereby the bettor places their selections at least one day before the event itself. As a long-term bet, there’s no guarantee that players will be selected in a football game or that horses will run.

If the horse doesn’t run, you aren’t protected by the normal non-runner clauses that protect other players. Why? Because you placed the bet before the field was confirmed.

Rule 4 applies to races where a runner doesn’t start the race – since the race is inherently easier for the other runners, with one less competitor, winnings are adjusted. However, ante-post betting is immune from such deductions.

Each way betting is where two bets are placed – one for the win and one for the horse to place. If fewer horses run than originally thought, ante-post bettors are protected from any changes to the each way system. Ultimately, the rules that applied at the time of betting remain throughout.

About the author

Carl Hughes

Editor

Carl Hughes

Editor

Carl Hughes is a leading expert on sports and casino betting. Carl began his career with a BSc in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences from the University of Birmingham before working within the industry for some of the bigger names (GVC and Bet365) and has been praised as being "a leading sports betting commentator".