Let me say straight away that unlike Hamlet I am not considering suicide! However, recent betting events have got me thinking whether it is worth persevering with each-way bets. The concept of placing an each-way bet is to increase the chance of obtaining a winning return from a selection by betting on a win AND a place. Depending on the type of event the place betting terms will vary, but in horse racing the standard terms are either a quarter or a fifth of the win odds depending on the type of race and the number of runners.
As illustrated in one of my betting guides, a one point each-way bet results in two points being staked. I mentioned in that guide that the decision on when to use each-ways bets was a personal choice, but also highlighted a possible ‘rule of thumb’, that said the bet should be used when a placed effort by a horse would return at least the total amount staked. This means that the odds would need to be at least 5.00 or possibly 6.00 depending on the type of race/number of runners.
The most influential racing tipster in Britain is without doubt the Racing Post’s Pricewise (Tom Segal) who has had a fantastic start to 2012. His recent recommended winners at 21.00, 17.00, 10.00, 9.00, 8.00 and 5.00 were all win ONLY selections. In fact he very rarely puts up an each-way recommendation, although there are exceptions like today’s 51.00 long-shot for the World Hurdle, where he views Big Bucks a near certainty. Whilst not quite matching Pricewise, I have had some very nice winners over the past eight weeks at odds of 15.00, 13.00, 9.00 (x2) 7.50 (x2), but only three were recommended as win only bets.
Clearly, if we doubled the win stake, instead of using half the stake for a place bet, the overall return from those bets would have been much larger. But, and it is a big but, what about those horses that don’t win? What about those horses that place when an each-way bet is recommended?
An overall analysis of my each-way bets since September, show five wins and an additional eight placed efforts from 57 selections. Not ratios that I am that happy with, although these bets still show a profit of 10 points on just over 100 points staked, for a 9%+ return on investment (ROI) betting to the recommended levels. However, if all 57 bets had been changed to win only bets, doubling the win stake instead of having the place bet, the return would have more than doubled to 26 points and a near 24% ROI.
Four months of analysis and 57 selections are not enough to draw an absolute conclusion, as the win only recommendation on Consigliere at the weekend highlighted. If that bet had been placed one point each-way instead of two points to win, a profit of 1 point would have been made rather than a loss of a two! The bottom line currently though, is that I should be recommending more win only bets than each-ways. Going forward, I plan to recommend each-way bets less frequently, at longer odds of at least 11.00. With the knowledge that if the current ratios continue, the horses that win will provide us with a better return than if we continued backing them each-way.
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