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If you have ever placed a horse racing bet then there is a good chance the age-old dilemma of whether to bet win only or each way will have reared its head.
After all, there can be nothing worse than putting £50 down on a horse to win at 20/1, only to see it pipped in a photo finish for second place.
Yet if you backed the same horse at 20/1 each way and it duly obliged, chances are you might be wishing you went in for the kill and backed it to win.
Without a time machine, it’s impossible to know the right way to bet all the time, but today I have some stats to showcase some of the ways to judge whether to bet win only or each-way. In doing so, we can hopefully help shed some light on which way to tackle this perennial betting hot-potato.
How To Boost Profits by 36% By Betting Win Only
So does betting win only or each-way on horse racing make bigger profits?
Let’s find out…
First a quick reminder that an each-way bet is actually two bets. Half is placed on the win odds, half is a bet that the horse will place (meaning it will come 2nd to 4th depending on the race). The place odds are lower than the win odds (usually ¼ or 1/5 the win odds).
The upshot is that with each-way betting, because half your bet is effectively spent on insurance in case the horse doesn’t win, you miss out on the full benefit when a horse does win. For example, if a horse wins at 5/1, you only get half the bet at 5/1; the other half will win at effective odds of events, meaning a total return of 3/1 instead of 5/1.
To help with my analysis we’re going to use some example analysis taken from one of Bet Advisor’s top horse racing tipsters – Aiden Monroe.
The majority of bets from this tipster have been ‘win only’, but around 40% have been advised as ‘each way’. The majority of Aiden’s profits have come via Winner betting, with a higher yield of 20% despite a lower win rate.
What would your profit be if you bet all those each way bets as win only instead?
As the chart above shows, when looking at the each way bets in isolation, if you had bet them as ‘Winner’ instead, your profits would now be 36% higher!
The each way bets as advised produced a profit of 10,648 units with a yield of 17%, but betting them as Winner only produced a profit of 14,517 with an impressive yield of 24%! That’s an increase in profits of 3867 points.
What is the down side to ignoring each way betting?
For many tipsters, betting ‘win only’ instead of each-way does increase profits, especially in the case of Bet Advisor’s top horse racing tipsters – Aiden Monroe.This won’t be true for each and every tipster in the world, but more often than it’s true.
However, before we all ditch each-way betting entirely, let’s look at the considerable advantages that each-way betting provides[D1] .
You might for example increase tipster profits by 36%, but , but there is one further thing to consider – the potential losing runs or ‘drawdowns’ as we call them from win only betting.
A ‘drawdown’ is the biggest drop in the total profit from peak to trough and if backing win only, it increases as your strike-rate for success will be a lot lower than if backing each-way (as you don’t get a return if your horse finishes in the places).
The chart below plots the biggest drawdown period for ‘win only’ betting vs ‘each way’ betting on the each way bets only.
As you can see, the severity of those losing periods dramatically increases.
The biggest drawdown betting each way is around -1,750 units, compared to -3,500 If betting win only.
Here we can see the considerable advantage that each-way betting brings, it is at the end of the day an insurance against a horse not winning (but coming close). So when you hit a frustrating run where horses come 2nd or third, then you don’t bear the full brunt of those losses. The downside to each-way betting is that you don’t get the full benefit when a horse wins, but the flip side is that you don’t have the same pain when a horse doesn’t win.
How To Handle The Ups & Downs Of Betting
So for many tipsters, betting win only is likely to increase your take home profits, but at the expense of your losing runs. You’re likely to have more severe losing runs when betting win only compared to each-way betting[D2] .
A key factor in your betting success is how you handle the inevitable losing runs.
If betting win-only, you earn bigger profits – The size betting bank you need to use should be bigger to absorb your potential losses, which will ultimately reduce your take home pay.
Secondly and perhaps of the upmost importance is how easy you find it to cope with longer losing runs. Instead of losing -1,750 points during the worst run, this can become as large as -3,500 points with plenty of those 20/1 win only bets being pipped in a photo finish I spoke of at the top.
Cue lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth!
How you handle these extra drawdowns and losing runs mentally can make a big difference to your betting. Betting is easy when winning, which thankfully with the right tipster is most of the time (if you are realistic and patient when needed) but when losing, it’s important to know how to handle it.
What To Choose…Win or Each-Way[D3] ?
To go back to my original question, the answer on whether to back each-way or to win actually probably does rely on your preferences.
Are you happy to take more of a risk, make more profit but endure longer losing runs? In this instance backing win only is the right choice..
Or perhaps you prefer to be more cautious, make a bit less profit but keep losing runs shorter? Each-Way betting could be the way to go.
Of course, this analysis only focuses in on one tipster and others may derive different results, but it should showcase the best way to approach this key question on a case-by-case basis.
I hope these five steps will help you find the most profitable tipsters to suit your betting!
This article has been written in association with Peter Ling from independent tipster proofing service Secret Betting Club.