It may seem like a simple enough question: how do you place a bet? It’s frequently asked, so we’ve put together some key information to form a quick guide to placing a bet online, the types of bet to look out for and how to know when you’ve picked a winner…
- Getting started
- Single and each-way betting
- So how do you bet online?
- How do you place a bet on a horse?
- How do you pick a horse?
- How do you place an each way bet?
- What is place only betting?
- What is request a bet?
To place a bet, it’s pretty simple. To bet a single, you predict one result from a category like a football or horse racing, you place a wager with a bookmaker on a ‘market’ like the winner and you bet a single stake (cash payment) at specific odds.
For example, you predict West Ham Utd will beat Arsenal and nothing else – that’s a win market. The odds for the prediction are 2/1, therefore if you pay the bookie £1, they agree to give you back £2 along with your pound if West Ham win. If you pick a horse to win at 6/1 and bet £1, if it wins the bet will return £7.
Over time bookies have taken the hard work out of predicting outcomes and compiled lists of varying bets, based on the vast combinations of results that can occur within an event like a football match.
So let’s go back to our example, this time you predict West Ham Utd will beat Arsenal 1-0. So on this occasion you’re being more specific with the outcome of the bet and picked a more variable outcome, as winning scores vary so broadly, it becomes harder to predict. A score prediction is a ‘Score Market’, a ‘Scorecast Market’ is a combination of final score and first goalscorer.
Because the bookies have singled this result out, along with a tonne of other score predictions, it is still a single bet. But the odds will be bigger in all likelihood, because the score is more difficult to predict than a simple game result. West Ham Utd to beat Arsenal 1-0 could be 6/1, as an example.
The most basic form of placing a bet is a single bet on a sole outcome or result, as outlined above with the football example. This might be the winner – the winning team – or, in horse racing for example, if there are places available in the form of second or third (sometimes fourth and fifth), you can place an each-way bet and if you combine those bets into a list, you are compiling a multiple and/or accumulator.
Placing a bet online is a simple process:
- Join an online betting site.
- Chose a category such as football, select a market, like a team to win a football match.
- Check your odds.
- Add that selection to your online betting slip.
- Decide on the size of your bet (your wager or stake).
- Click the ‘place bet’ button on the betting slip to confirm.
Its similar to most sports betting you select a market. The majority of the time, you are betting on the win market in horse racing, so want the horse to win. The each-way addition is an add-on to the win market and only occurs when there are places up for grabs in the race. Each way is cushion just in case you don’t want to bet solely on the horse winning the race.
But for now let’s concentrate on the win.
- Chose a meeting (this is the track where the races are being held like Aintree).
- Chose a race, which is indicated by the time of the race and a sponsoring name.
- Choose a horse and put a single stake on the horse to win.
You can choose the best colours, the funniest name, the most significant name etc. Or you can study the form and pick a horse based on research and insight. For more information read our guide to studying the form and reading the race card.
Do take into consideration, a horse race is unpredictable for the majority of the time, so nothing is ever guaranteed and you are risking you money on chance. I’ve seen newbies win hundreds by picking names and I’ve seen so-called professional gamblers lose thousands.
Betting each way means you place a wager on the outcome of a race runner finishing first second or third in the majority of cases and or winning the race. But let’s start off with the concept of places, because that’s what each way means.
You’re betting on the places in a race where there are more than 1 runner. So that means a horse, a Formula 1 driver, a greyhound etc. The places are normally 1st, 2nd & 3rd and are dependant on runners in the race, but that’s correct, 1st is a place. In some races where there a lot of runners, bookies can offer place winnings on 4th, 5th and I’ve even seen 6th in the Grand National.
To bet each way, you make your selection based on the participant winning the race. Let’s assume this is a horse and your horse is 8/1 to win the race. An each-way bet is two bets and therefore requires two stakes. You’re betting on the horse coming first or in the runners-up positions, so that’s two chances to win some money.
If your horse wins, you get a return for coming first and a return for coming second with both parts of your bet paying out. The place part of the bet is paid out normally at ¼ of the odds.
For example, if you placed a £10 each-way bet (which would cost you £20) @ 8/1 it could work out as follows:
Possible outcome 1 – The horse wins
- At odds of 8/1 it returns £80 plus your £10 stake back, so £90.
- 1st is also a place, so the other £10 is wagered at 2/1 (a quarter of 8/1) = £20 + your £10 back.
- Total amount returned for £10 e/w win @ 8/1 will be £120 – that’s £100 profit.
Possible outcome 2 – The horse comes second
- Therefore the £10 bet for the horse to win has lost, but you still have £10 on the each way place.
- The place is returned at quarter odds, so 8/1 becomes 2/1 and pays you £10 plus your £10 back.
- Total amount returned for £10 e/w 2nd @ 8/1 will be £30 – that’s £10 profit.
Possible outcome 3 – The horse finishes 4th or worse
- In this race places are only paid up to 3rd so the whole bet has lost!
Place only betting is different to each-way betting, as it’s a single bet. You get reduced odds because you’re only picking the horse or dog to place in 1st, 2nd or 3rd.
If there are 10 runners and 3 chances to win, you have 3 out of 10 chance of this bet coming in. Winning the race will not offer you any better odds, it’s still only a place bet.
A bookie will offer a separate market to the each-way quarter odds, as horses may aim for finishing in the top 3 positions without the pressure of having to win the race.
A perfect example is when there is a clear favourite like a 1/5 fav, this means that an outsider’s odds of winning will be big, let’s say 10/1. The chances of that horse coming second could be quite good though, so a bookie will reflect that in the place only market and it might be something like 1/1 (not a quarter of odds, like in the each way bet).
Request a bet is a feature in modern online sports betting, owing to the fact that despite bookies covering a wide selection of sporting outcomes for single bets, punters were still looking to combine variable outcomes into single selections.
You can quite easily bet on the score of a football match, a range of corners, a minimum number of cards all separately. But in the past, punters trying to combine these outcomes into accas for example, were not permitted to do so within the online betting slip.
Bookies however, have now realised that therein lies an opportunity to offer more markets. So they accept ad-hoc bet requests (normally through social media) which combine results into one single bet that they add to their specials sections.
Skybet have started the twitter hashtag #requestabet, so in essence Request A Bet is a Skybet product. Paddy Power have #whatoddspaddy via their AskPaddyPower account and William Hill have #YourOdds. Many of the other bookies offer this service through the more traditional methods like an email or live chat, but theirs are often slower than those that have taken to social media to publicise the service.