Win/Place Betting Explained

Read our guide to win/place betting to learn how you can get the chance to earn a return on your money, even if the horse or team you back doesn't win.

Win/Place Betting Explained

What Is a Win/Place Bet?

Generally associated with horse racing, a win/place bet – otherwise known as a win/show or each way bet – allows patrons to cover the possibility of a selection either winning or placing in a certain position. You can think of a win/place bet as two separate bets: to win and to show. In the US, most horse racing betting sites allow customers to place combination straight bets. However, you may only be offered Win/Place, which isn’t a pure win/place wager as the Place bet only covers positions 1 and 2.

With win/place bets, if a selection wins an event, the bookmaker will pay out on both the win and place/show parts of the wager. A pick that only manages to place or show attracts a payout on the place/show part of the bet only. This should answer the question of what is win/place betting, though there’s plenty more to learn. If you’d like win/place betting explained in greater detail, read on for insights into calculating your winnings from a win/place bet, and win/place betting strategies. Let’s dive in.

Calculate Winnings

How To Calculate Your Winnings

How much you can win from a win/place bet depends on a number of factors. Let’s say you’ve placed a win/place bet on a race, and your horse wins at odds of 30-1. You backed it for $10 to win/place, which means you staked $20 in total. In this situation, the $10 win part of the bet pays out $310. That’s $300 in winnings ($10 x 30) plus your original stake of $10.

The place or show part of the bet pays out, too, albeit at a reduced rate – in this case, let’s say the show part pays out at 1/5 of the win odds. A fifth of 30-1 is 6-1, so your $10 place bet would net you a profit of $60. As with a win, you’ll also get your stake back, giving a total return of $70 on this part of the bet.

Adding $310 for the win to $70 for the place gives you a total return of $380, which includes your original stake of $20.

But what if your horse only manages to place or show? In this case, the win part of your win/place bet loses, but you’re still in line for a payout for your place wager. We know this payout will be $70, which leaves you with a profit of $50 when accounting for your original $20 stake.

When Do Bookmakers Pay Out

How Many Places Are Paid on Win/Place Bets?

The number of places that can pay out on win/place bets will vary depending on how many runners are involved in a particular race. The table below outlines the typical parameters, including the typical odds offered.

Number of runners Minimum places Show Odds
1-4 Win only bet None
5-7 1st and 2nd places 1/4
8+ 1st, 2nd and 3rd places 1/5
12-15 (handicapped) 1st, 2nd and 3rd places 1/4
16+ runners (handicapped) 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th places 1/4

In practice, bookmakers sometimes pay out on more show places. Those that offer bonuses for existing customers might offer enhanced win/place terms on selected daily races, for example. It’s also common to see extra place offers up for grabs around the time of big horse racing events like the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. These enhanced bonus offers are a great way for betting companies to attract new customers and an easy way for you to scoop a hassle-free betting bonus.

How To Bet

How To Make a Win/Place Bet

Making win/place bets is as easy as placing any sports bet. Simply open up your online bookmaker app and open the horse racing section. Then, follow these four steps:

Find the race you want to bet on and make your selection. Your bet slip will pop up as normal. On a desktop site, this will usually be on the right-hand side of your screen.

Enter your stake value, then look for the little checkbox in the bet slip that says Win/Place. Alternatively, you can add two selections for the same horse: Win and Place.

Tick the EW box and the bookmaker will automatically double your stake. Let’s say you enter a stake of $5 in the first place. Ticking the E/W box will see your total stake double to $10. It’s that simple.

When you’re happy with everything – and don’t forget to shop around to confirm that you’re getting the best odds first – you can go right ahead and click the bet button.

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of Win/Place Betting

Pros

  • Can provide a return on your stake if your horse doesn’t win but comes close
  • Can be useful when large numbers of runners are in contention, as with the Kentucky Derby, since it’s trickier to pick out a winner with this type of race
  • Can be a good option for novice bettors who want to play things a little safer

Cons

  • Doubles your stake, increasing risk
  • Pays out less than if you’d placed your whole stake on that selection to win

Sports

Which Sports Can I Place Win/Place Bets On?

While most bettors have heard of win/place betting in relation to horse racing, this betting market is also available for a wide variety of other sports. Greyhound racing and cycling are obvious contenders, though the likes of golf and soccer also provide plenty of opportunities for bettors to try their luck with win/place bets.

For example, you can place a win/place bet on the MLS winner or the Masters, and get a payout if your team/golfer either comes top of leaderboard/wins the cup, or finishes in one of the upper positions. As such, sporting events with multiple competitors are the perfect breeding ground for win/place betting opportunities. Of course, you won’t be able to bet this way for individual games of football, basketball, baseball and so on, as these individual match-ups can only end in a win (after OT if required).

Parlays

Win/Place Multiple Betting

Multiple win/place betting can be considered an advanced type of win/place betting. But it’s actually not that dissimilar to regular win/place betting or, indeed, any regular parlay bet. The important thing to remember is that all the selections have to win or place/show for you to get a return on the two parts of your bet.

Let’s imagine you place E/W bets for multiple races at Churchill Downs. You might bet on Trueshan in the 10.40, Ad Infinitum in the 12.10, Elysian Flame in the 2.30 and so on. If Trueshan and Ad Infinitum win but Elysian Flame only comes 3rd, the win part of your win/place bet is void. If Elysian Flame wins but the other two horses only place, the outcome is the same. In both scenarios, you only get a payout from the place part of your multiple bet. To make a return from the win part of your bet, all your horses would need to triumph in their respective races. You can place win/place parlay bets with two or more selections. As with other multiples, your entire win/place wager is lost should just one of your selections fail to at least place.

Strategy

Win/Place Betting Strategy

Whether or not it’s wise to take the win/place option depends on the odds available. For example, non-professional punters should only ever consider win/place betting when the bookmaker is offering show odds that will allow you to break even at least.

This rules out betting on favorites, which attract win odds far below the minimum required for win/place betting to prove profitable or cover your losses in the event of a placed finish. That said, some professional racing bettors will place win/place bets more freely, in order to mitigate their losses across long gambling sessions. For casual bettors, a win/place bet can be a great shout if you just fancy a less risky punt on an underdog with potentially lucrative odds.

FAQS

Your Questions Answered

What happens if my horse is a non-runner?

There are plenty of reasons why a horse might be a non-runner. If this happens to your selection, you’ll usually get your bet stakes refunded. A withdrawal can also affect your bet even if you haven’t backed that particular horse. Say the removal reduces the number of runners in the field to four – your win/place pick must now win the race. The same principle applies to any event with win/place betting opportunities.