Each Way Betting Systems, and How It Works, Rules and Odds

As a follow on from the other blog posts regarding how betting works, I wish to touch on Each Way Betting. Each Way is something that almost everybody has heard, especially when you watch people talking about the horses on TV.

It is exactly the kind of term that means nothing to those who aren’t “in the know” and to any hardened betting veteran will start tongues wagging about whether or not it is a worthwhile method of betting.

I wouldn’t say that each way betting is something that is controversial as a topic, but there are definitely a lot of different opinions on an each way bet’s place in the gambling world. In terms of betting systems, there are surprisingly few that are dedicated to each way betting and this is mostly down to the advent of the betting exchange.

With the ability to place just a “place” bet on Betfair etc. the each way bet has fallen out of favour to some degree.

The thing is, betting each way can be a great way of minimising your risk, maximising profits and the few each way betting systems that I have looked at that work, has worked reasonably well; although I didn’t test them long term, as I have my own ideas on how to bet, and do fairly well if I may say so 😛

What is Each Way Betting?

Many years ago, when I first saw the term each way bet, I presumed that it had something to do with the horses turning round and coming back again. I was but a young and naïve lad back then, but even now, if you ask joe average what each way means, chances are that they simply wouldn’t know.

Put simply, an each way bet is one in which you win if your bet comes in, and also if it “places” (comes second, third, forth, or even fifth depending on how many runners there are in the race).

Of course, the statement above is a simplified version, but each way betting remains a little more complicated than just that. An each way bet is made up of two different parts which are the win and place (as mentioned), however it is better to think of these as two separate bets in many ways.

Because you have the two “bets”, your stake with each way betting is doubled.

This means that if you were to bet £5 each way, your overall stake would be £10. £5 on the win bet, £5 on the place bet.

1/4 or 1/5 of the odds if the horse finishes 2/3/4

A win bet is straight forward and I would even say self explanatory. If your horse wins, then that half of the each way bet comes in. The place part however is a little more varied and this is mostly down to the fact that the number of places can vary massively depending on the event.

Typically however, there are 3 or 4 places available (sometimes 5). The more places that are available, the lower the payout will be. An example of this is below:each-way-betting-slip

You place £10 on a horse each way (which means betting £20. £10 on the win bet and £10 on the place bet) at 10/1 in a race where there are 3 places available where the place fraction is 25%.

In the first outcome, your horse romps home and wins. You get 10/1 on the win bet which means that you get £110 back (your original stake plus the £100 profit). You also get back the place percentage which means an additional £35 (your stake plus 25% of the 10/1 odds).

The alternative is that unfortunately; your horse doesn’t win. It does however still manage to battle in at 3rd. This means that you lose the £10 stake that you had on your win bet, however you will still receive £35 back. This covers the £10 stake on your place bet as well as the 25% of the 10/1 win odds (£25).

Obviously if your horse loses, both bets lose and you lose the £20 you bet.

So How are Each Way Odds Calculated?

One of the more confusing aspects of each way betting is how the odds are actually calculated. These can vary slightly from one bookmaker to another however there are some approximate figures that you can use.

Typically speaking, the more runners, the more places and the more places, the lower the percentage of the win odds. These should always be checked before placing a bet however there are some guidelines, mainly for horse racing.

If there are 1-4 runners, there isn’t usually a place option available.

For 5-7 runners, 1st and 2nd place and you will receive 25% of the win odds.

For 8 or more runners, 1st, 2nd and 3rd all place and you will receive 20% of the win odds.

For 12-15 handicaps, the top 3 place again however at 25% of the win odds

For 16+ handicaps, 1st through 4th all place however this is at 20% of the win odds.

This all sounds rather confusing and it definitely is, especially to those who aren’t familiar as such with betting. As I have said, you should always check what each individual bookmaker is offering when you place your each way bet.

Each Way Bet Example

If you look at the following online betting slip I have just taken a screenshot of, you will see the following:


This particular horse is named: Larkhall and the odds given for a win bet are 5/2. And the betting slip also shows you that on the each way side of the bet, should the horse finish in the 1-3 (first three positions) they will pay you 1/5 of the odds.

Also, you can see that even though I typed £10 as my stake, the total stake is in fact £20, as with each way betting there are 2 separate bets involved, one for the win, and one for the each way bet.

Meaning the following:

Larkhall wins you will win £10 x 5/2 = £35 returned on this direct bet side (if the horse wins)

Larkhill comes 1/2/3 place win £10 x 1/5 odds = £15 returned on this each way bet (if the horse places)

Therefore, if the horse wins the race you will make £30 total profit, because your stake is also included in the overall return.

What Kind of Each Way Betting Systems Are Available?

Most each way betting systems that you see are mechanical or self selection. This means that they teach you a strategy or pattern to look out for with the majority favouring longer odds.

Tipster services may also be available which simply tell you what to back however there is increasingly fewer of these as there are a number of bettors that don’t see the value.

In terms of what you can expect to be betting on with each way betting systems, the majority are based around horse racing. This is mostly down to the fact that horse racing has a degree of predictability and allows for some value in each way betting.

The other place that you will often see each way bets is (perhaps surprisingly) golf. This is often because at the start of a tournament, there are a lot of golfers with odds of 100/1 – 150/1. By backing these each way, if they manage to place in the tournament, you can still end up with odds of 25/1 plus.

Given the somewhat unpredictable nature of golf, this does open up a number of profitable opportunities.

What are the Pros and Cons of Each Way Betting Systems?

Balancing out the pros and cons of each way betting can be a rather difficult thing to do. This is mostly because with modern betting and the availability of exchanges, it always looks like the cons outweigh the pros.

There is also the small fact that whilst the advantage of an each way bet was always the ability to back a horse to place. This has advantages for people who follow each way systems, because if their chosen horse does not win, then they can at least claw back some money.

You can now place bets that solely back a horse to place, typically at better odds than you would get if you were to take the “place odds” that are offered on an each way bet.

That having been said, the systems that I have seen best make use of each way betting plays of the strengths of both the place and win bet by focusing on horses that are rated as having high value.

If you have winners placing at 20% of 10/1, these are still pretty respectable odds. By combining this with a strong knowledge of a sport, you can build a system that uses place bets to minimise losses to your betting bank whilst the wins that come in really build your profits.


It seems like a very reasonable statement to say that each way betting is very much a niche thing nowadays, and you get many people backing each way on the Grand National as it pays out for positions 1-5, and the odds are usually much higher.

The problem is that betting markets have opened up so many different avenues of profiting that it no longer seems like a viable strategy.

In the main, I would probably be inclined to agree with people, especially if you don’t know your chosen sport very well or you are following a bad system or tipster. When things go right for an each way betting system however, they can be some of the most solid examples that I have seen – profits-wise.

The combination of loss mitigation with bumper wins by betting on long odds events can be one of the biggest earners you can get – again, like the Grand National, and we all know somebody who has won that one, don’t we 🙂

This type of betting does require iron discipline though. It is very easy to get carried away with staking each way (don’t forget, you are basically placing two bets at the same time, as already discussed).

The fact is that each way betting is a very mixed bag. There are those who have done well off it and will swear blind that it’s the best bet that you can place.

Others simply see it as a way of wasting an additional point on each bet. Whilst I wouldn’t like to say that there is a clear winner, personally; I think that the truth lies much more toward the former than the latter.

Resources and Related Posts:

Horse Racing Dutching Systems and How They Work

Accumulator Bets Explained, Advantages and Disadvantages


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