In-Running Blog

Profitable Each-way Betting

Under certain circumstances each-way bets can offer amazing value. Your bookmaker will love taking your £5 or £10 each-way bets on the Grand National, with 40 runners and 4 places on offer it’s a great bet for the bookie, but choosing the right races makes all the difference and put’s the bookie at a huge disadvantage.

In the national you’ve got 40 runners and only 4 places on offer so there’s 1 in 10 chance of being placed. You want to be looking at races with ideally 8 runners or more to get 3 places paid, handicaps with 16 runners or more will pay 4 places but the greater chance of placing is with races with 8 – 10 runners but the most important factor that makes the bet profitable is having a short-priced favourite that is odds-on. As the bookmaker prices the race up purely on the win market and then offers either ¼ or 1/5 of the win odds depending on the race conditions this then creates creates a skewed place market for the bookmaker when there is such an heavy favourite in a race as they have to offer the specific industry place terms.

A typical race, an average novice hurdle with eight runners would have a strong favourite with much better form in the book than the rest of the field trading at 1-2, the second favourite would be around 5-1, with the third in the betting maybe 16-1 and then 25-1 and a few horse around 40-1 and the remaining horses at 100-1 and greater that would generally be way out of their depth form-wise and would rarely make the places, so you are left with 6 or 7 horses that have realistic chances of placing – about half the field.

With the price of the favourite being so short you couldn’t consider backing it each way at 1-2, you would end up getting 1-10 for the place. The second favourite at 5-1 would effectively pay even money at one fifth the odds which may not sound that good but in reality the chances of the horse placing are probably much shorter, a check on the place only markets on the betting exchanges or any bookmaker that offers place only betting and you will probably see it trading around the 1.5 – 1.8 mark depending on how popular it is so you could be getting the place at double the odds they should be from the bookmaker with an each-way bet. If you could just get the place only bet on with the bookmaker at the percentage of the win price you would have a great value bet at probably double the odds they should be and as you look at the horses further down the betting you get some juicier prices, horses at 25-1 and 40-1 that do place often when you have such a strong favourite that skews the market in these types of races, you would be getting 8-1 for the place with a bookmaker for horse at 40-1 that could be trading on the exchanges as low as 3-1 which would reflect more the truer chances of the horse placing.

The ideal and most profitable situation would be to get on at the bookmakers bigger prices for just place and not for the win part as it’s the win that part takes away most if not all the profit from the place part of the each way bet – using the exchanges you can do this by laying off the win part of your bet and then you are left with just the profitable place part. Even if you have to lay off a 40-1 bet at 50-1 for 80% of your stake on the exchanges it’s still very profitable as the place part will offer so much value and profit in the long run but most of time you will find opportunities to lay off very close to the bookmakers price.

You can take it one step further and make it practically a bet to nothing by laying off the place part on the exchanges as well – the 8-1 place you have with the bookmakers is laid off at say 3-1 so that you now have a no risk 5-1 bet apart from the commission you will pay to the exchange if you win your exchange laid bets and your bookmaker bets do not. So you’re £10 each way would only cost you £1 in commission if you lay off both the win and place parts and your horse does not place so your risking £1 to win £50 which is 49-1 for a bet that probably has a 25% chance of winning (being placed).

Timing is key when placing and laying these bets, you must get on early as you will get the best prices in the morning or even the night before with the bookies. The big prices you are able to get early won’t be available at race time and the SP’s will be a fraction of what they once were as the on-course bookies look to dodge any unfavourable each way situations that anyone could take advantage of. The 40/1 shots you were able to get from the off-course bookies will probably go off at 10/1, 12/1 and 16/1 as they end up shortening all the horses with realistic potential of placing and fleecing the on-course market betting to total book percentages around the 150% mark.

The exchange win markets will invariably do the opposite, the outsiders that you may have been able to lay off at 40/1 will most probably end up drifting alarmingly as punters gravitate towards the market leaders when looking for winners and the lack of market support for the outsiders causes the prices to drift. Sometimes there can be gambles on these outsiders but in most cases they will drift and if you have not laid off your bets already in most cases you will end doing so at a big loss. The exchange place markets tend to be quite stable as punters will be looking to back many of the field so it’s not so important to lay off the place bet if you do intend to do so and sometimes it can be beneficial to hold back on the place market.

One thing to look out for that can cause you a lot of trouble and pain are non-runners. If you have laid a horse in an 8 runner race and there is a non-runner the bookie will now only be paying out 2 places and not 3, the exchange market will still be operating on 3 places even though there are only 7 runners so if your horse finishes third the bookies will not pay out for the place but the exchange bet you have already laid will be a winner so you will be paying out of your own pocket. In this situation it is best not to lay off your place bet at all as you will have a great value place bet that is giving you better place odds than what it should be and also as there are less than 8 runners you will be getting ¼ the odds instead of 1/5 the odds – the one situation you don’t want to be in is losing with the bookie and also losing on the exchange if the horse does finish third, let you place bet ride as you have a great value place bet!

One important word of warning with this type of each-way bets is that they are probably the quickest way to get your bookmaker account limited or closed without a word of warning. If you place several of these bets together in a row your account will be under review straight-away – especially with new accounts. Be more discrete, mix them in with other bets you place and spread them around several bookmakers at smaller stakes if you can so they don’t stand out and these kind of bets will be more likely tolerated longer.

Phill Hayes Google 6 Feb 2014

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