Each way betting originated and is most popular in the world of horse racing. Having said that is has become increasingly popular in other sports in recent years and is a way for punters to lessen the overall risk of their bets in that they will get a payout if their selection either wins or in fact doesn’t win but does finish in one of the leading positions.
As opposed to standard bets (which are the simplest form of bets that are simply “to win”) each way bets are effectively two bets in one with half of your total stake being placed on your selection to win and the other half for your selection to “place”. The exact position in which your selection must finish in order to place depends on the specific details of the race, sport or event; in horse racing it is commonplace for ¼ of the odds to be paid out for a top three finish on races containing, say, eight horses, or up to the top six or seven on the biggest races such as the Grand National.
As the bet is effectively two bets, if you place “£10 each way” it will cost £20 in total: £10 on the win part and £10 on the place part. So if you back a selection at 20/1 with £10 each way that pays out ¼ odds for the place part and it wins you would win £200 for the win part, £50 for the place part and your stake would be returned, so you’d receive a total of £270. If it came second you would get £50 for the place part and £10 of your total stake returned (so £60 in total).
Each way betting is popular in many other sports aside from horse racing including football, tennis, snooker, darts and golf, the latter of which often has fields of over 100 players and each way terms that cover players who finish in the top six, seven or eight places (though beware of dead heat rules when betting on golf!).
Unlike each way betting, place betting is just a single bet and does not include any extra winnings if your selection wins the race / event, it simply counts a win as one of the places. Thus you would receive the same payout if your selection wins or finishes in second, third, fourth, or whatever position is included within the place terms of that particular race or event.
The odds for place betting are understandably much lower than those available for each way bets, but the advantage for the punter is that you pay half the stake. Place bets are best utilised when you think your selection almost certainly won’t win but has a very good chance of placing. Examples of popular place bets include the “podium finish” market in Formula 1 or “to make the final” bets in football or tennis tournaments, among other sports but place betting remains most popular in horse racing as an alternative to each way betting.