When it comes to the Grand National, many people think that you’d be mad to do anything other than place an Each-Way bet. This is, after all, one of the most competitive races on the National Hunt calendar and one in which it’s more unusual for the favourite to win than not. The best way to combat any fear of your bet being one that narrowly misses out on being a winner, therefore, is to take bookmakers up on their Each-Way prices.
It’s all well and good saying that, of course, but what if you don’t really know what an Each-Way bet is? That’s nothing to be ashamed of; the Grand National is known as being an event that even those that don’t usually bet on horse racing events throughout the rest of the year tend to have a flutter on, so you won’t be on your own. In essence, an Each-Way bet will see you get some money as long as the horse that you’ve bet on finishes within the places offered by your bookie of choice.
What Is Each-Way Betting
An Each-Way bet is actually two different bets: one on the Win and another on the Place. This might sound complicated, but you don’t need to worry too much about it as everything is sorted out for you automatically by the bookmaker and you only need to place one bet, it’s just handy to know the technicalities.
The first bet is a bet on your chosen horse to win its race, whilst the second is a bet on your horse to finish anywhere within the allotted number of places decreed by the bookie that you’re placing your bet with. The first thing that you need to know is that the fact that it’s two different bets means that you’ll pay double the stake compared to bets that are just on the horse to win.
Let’s invent an example in order to explain things more clearly. You’ve looked at the odds for the Grand National and decided that HorselMadeUp is the best one to bet on. If you only want to bet on the horse to win then you can place a Win bet, let’s say with a stake of £10. If, however, you think StrongerHorse will win but HorseIMadeUp will push him and might even up 2nd, it’s worth placing an Each-Way bet.
This means that your overall stake amount will be £20, with £10 going on the Win and another £10 on the Place. Where your horse finishes at the end of the race will determine which of these bets, if either, is a winner.
How Much You’ll Be Paid
The trick when it comes to Each-Way bets is finding out how much you’re likely to be paid. Let’s say that the odds of HorseIMadeUp are 20/1. How much you’ll win will depend entirely on where the horse you’ve bet on finishes in the National. If it wins then both sides of the Each-Way bet will be winners, whilst if he finishes in the places then the Win bet will be a loser but the Place will win.
Bookmakers will tell you when you’re placing your bet how many places they’ll pay out on and what fraction of the odds will be paid for a Place. This is usually denoted by something that looks a bit like this at the top of the odds:
Each-Way: 1/4 1-2-3-4
That means that your odds will be divided by 4 before being paid out on the Place part of the bet. With odds of 20/1, therefore, you’ll actually be paid 5/1 on the Place. In other words, your payout would be as follows:
HorseIMadeUp Wins: £10 stake at odds of 20/1 + £10 stake at odds of 5/1 = £200 + £50 = £250
HorseIMadeUp Places: £10 stake on Win loses; £10 stake at odds of 5/1 wins = £50
Your stake will also be returned with your bet, so that means you’ll be paid out £250 winnings plus £20 stake for a return of £270 on the Win or £50 winnings plus the £10 stake on the Place side of the bet.
How To Place An Each-Way Bet
Obviously some bookmakers like to do things differently so don’t take this as gospel, but with most bookies you’ll see a check box next to the Place Bet symbol that gives you the option of making it an Each-Way wager.
As well as giving you the ability to make it an Each-Way bet, you’ll also see the information on the number of places paid and the odds of the payout next to the check box. Don’t forget that your stake amount will double when you go to place an Each-Way bet, so if you don’t seem to be being asked to pay more than your originally stake amount then you might not have done it right. If betting in person you could write, E/W if it is on a piece of paper or you just say ‘Each Way’ to the bookie as you had the money. Always check the receipt is correct before you wander off.
What To Look Out For With Each-Way Bets
When the Grand National rolls around, bookmakers up and down the country do their utmost to win over punters by making the sorts of offers that they would usually steer well clear of. One of the main things that they explore is ways of making the Each-Way bet more enticing to bettors, hoping that a few will bet with them instead of a competitor.
The first thing to look out for, therefore, is the number of places being paid out on. It’s not unheard of for bookies to offer to pay out on as many as 6 places for the Grand National, which is obviously very attractive for such a competitive race.
Another thing to look for is what odds they’ll pay out on for the Place part of the Each-Way bet. Usually bookies will pay out at a 1/5 fraction of the original odds for the Place part of an Each-Way wager, but when the Grand National comes around the most generous will stretch this to 1/4.
You might wonder why that makes such a big difference, but if you’ve got a horse with odds of 40/1, which isn’t exactly unusual for the National, it’s the different between being paid out at odds of 10/1 rather than 8/1. If you’re betting with large enough stakes then that soon makes a difference, with a bet of £50 being paid out at £500 rather than £400.
More Places Or Better Odds?
The other thing that you’ll want to consider is whether it’s better to take an offer from a bookie that promises to pay out on more places or one that offers better odds on the Place side of the bet. Let’s look at two examples:
Bookie 1 is offering to pay Each-Way at 1/4 for 4 places
Bookie 2 is offering to pay Each-Way at 1/5 at 6 places
In the first instance, a £10 bet on odds of 20/1 will pay out £50 compared to the £40 with Bookie 2. Yet with Bookie 1 you won’t get anything if your horse finishes 5th, whilst you will with Bookie 2.
It’s a tricky one to way up, but when you consider that the amount you’ll be paid for the Place remains the same whether your horse finishes 2nd or 6th, it might well feel better to be paid for more places than an extra bit of money. That is especially true when you consider how difficult it is for horses to finish the Grand National at all, let alone within the places.
It’s all a matter of personal opinion, of course. Extend that bet to stakes of £100 or £200 and suddenly the difference between a bookmaker paying 1/4 or 1/5 of the odds for the Place feels far more significant. Weigh things up and see how you feel.
Why Betting Each-Way On The Grand National Is So Popular
The Grand National is one of the few events in horse racing where a bet on a horse with odds of 100/1 or greater doesn’t seem like a complete waste of time. The difficulty of the Aintree course combined with the size of the field, which is usually made up of 40 runners, means that the entire field rarely, if ever, finishes the event.
With this in mind, then, a bet to Win feels a little bit like a bet made in hope rather than expectation. Between 1994 and 2019, for example, there were 39 favourites or joint-favourites for the race and just 6 of them finished as winners. When it comes to finishing in the Places, however, the favourite or joint-favourite did so on 17 occasions, or just under half of the time.
That’s if you look at bookmakers paying out on the top 5 places, with another 2 coming 6th. The point being that you’ll increase your chance of at least getting your money back if you opt for an Each-Way bet over a straight Win selection.
Why Betting Each-Way Might Not Be For You
The simple truth is that betting Each-Way isn’t for everyone. If, for example, you’re the sort of person who likes to place a £1 bet on a horse in the Grand National just for fun and you’re going to let that bet ride no matter what, then you’re probably not going to be overly bothered about narrowly missing out on a win.
You also need to remember that your stake is going to be doubled by placing an Each-Way bet, which increases your risk. Add to that the fact that the odds will be divided by a fraction of 1/4 or 1/5 for the Place part of the bet and you’ll soon see that it doesn’t necessarily pay to bet Each-Way on horses with low odds in the first place.