What is Each Way Betting?
While betting on football and different outcomes is simple, many people we speak to are confused about horse racing. As a result, they’re reluctant to place money on even the biggest events like the Grand National and Cheltenham. For us, this is a shame because horse racing can be enjoyable and rewarding. Therefore, we wanted to explain one of the main betting types that comes with horse racing in the hopes that we can open it up to a new audience. If you wish to skip the explanation and simply calculate your bet returns, try our each way bet calculator.
What’s Each Way Betting?
Sometimes written as EW betting or E/W betting, this is a form of betting almost exclusive to horse racing which is why those who have avoided the sport won’t understand how it works. Essentially, it provides insurance for bettors should their main horse fail to live up to expectations.
With every each way bet, there are two different sides:
Firstly, you decide on a horse that you think will win the event. Secondly, the same amount goes on the same horse to ‘place’. With this second bet, all you need for some sort of return is for your chosen horse to finish among the top positions. For many, this is where the confusion arises because there’s no universal definition of what it means to ‘place’. While some bookmakers count placing as the top four horses, others will count the top five.
Let’s say you put £10 on an each way bet; the first thing to note is that you’re actually spending £20. As well as putting £10 on your horse to win the race, you also put the same amount on your horse to place. In the past, we’ve seen people put an amount in the betting slip and placing a bet before realising that they’ve actually spent double the amount they were expecting.
Making an Each Way Bet
If you want to make an each way bet, there are three components, and it’s important you understand them all before spending money.
- The Odds – Firstly, each horse will have a set of odds next to their name. If you aren’t sure of how odds work, be sure to check out our detailed guide.
- The Places – Somewhere on the page, the number of places for the race should also be displayed. We mentioned earlier that each bookie will have a different number of places, but it also depends on the number of horses in the race. For example, the Grand National with 40 runners will have more than a race with just six horses. The places may be displayed as ‘E/W 1-2-3-4’.
- The Fraction – Normally 1/4 or 1/5, this is the fraction by which the odds for placing will reduce. Of course, it’s more likely that your horse will finish in the top four compared to actually winning the race. Therefore, the odds will be reduced by the fraction for the second half of the bet.
Once you understand these three components, you have everything you need to get started. With any luck, you’ll place the bet, win, and then need the next section of this guide.
As soon as the money is on, you will now have two active bets in play. Ultimately, the best outcome will be your horse winning. When this happens, both of your bets win, and you can celebrate. If your horse fails to win but still places, you won’t win the first bet, but you will get the second bet. By using the each way fraction with the original odds, you’ll be able to calculate the winnings.
Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario would be the horse failing to win and failing to place. In this case, you walk away with nothing.
Example Each Way Bet
For us, it’s always easiest to learn with real numbers, so we’re going to go through an example. When looking online, you like the look of a horse that is 10/1; E/W is 1/5 if they place in the top three. Fortunately, you’re having a lucky day and the horse wins.
Bet One – You put £10 on because you were feeling confident, and this brings a £100 profit as well as your initial stake.
Bet Two – Since the each way fraction is 1/5, the 10/1 cuts down to 2/1 for the second bet. Therefore, you get £20 profit as well as your initial £10 stake.
In total, you get £120 profit and you also get your £20 stake back. If you’re wondering why each way betting is so popular, you should see in this example. Even if the horse failed to win, seeing it place in the top three would still bring some money back in. With this in mind, it alleviates the risk and provides some insurance in case the horse doesn’t quite get the victory.
As a quick side note, a non-runner in your race will likely affect the each way fraction. If the field reduces too much, your bet will become a win-only bet.
When to Use Each Way Betting
Now we know how it works, all that’s left is to decide when you should and shouldn’t try each way betting. On the one hand, it’s perfect for bets when a horse has greater odds than 5/1. Also, it provides insurance when you aren’t so sure on whether or not the horse will actually win.
On the other, you shouldn’t use each way betting when the odds are lower than 5/1. In this case, the odds aren’t in your favour and you won’t be able to recuperate your stake should your horse only place.
Hopefully, this has eased some nerves regarding each way betting now. Feel free to play around with each way betting with small stakes; soon enough, you’ll understand exactly what bets work and what don’t. Good luck!
Our homepage lists a wide range of betting sites in the UK, should you wish to take a look at their customer offers.
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".