Golf is a sport that lends itself extremely well to each way betting, chiefly because the field is typically so big that picking the winner is no easy feat. Of course, the fact that 150 or more of the world’s best golfers go head to head in many tournaments means that whilst the chances of picking the winner are relatively slim, the rewards when you do are often handsome, to say the least. Again, that makes golf betting just perfect for an each way punt.
We take a more specific look at each way betting as it applies to all sports and how it differs from place betting elsewhere on the site. Here we consider more specifically how it applies to golf, what offers are available for each way bets and how dead heat rules are something you need to be aware of.
Why Bet Each Way in Golf?
When it comes to golf and a standard, full-field tournament, even a red-hot favourite is priced on the basis that they are expected to lose 75% and 90% of the time. In his pomp, you might have seen Tiger Woods priced at around the 2/1 mark relatively frequently and he even went as low as 5/4, the shortest price ever recorded for a player to win a full-field event. However, it is far more usual to see the tournament favourite priced at odds of between 6/1 and 10/1, with odds of 14/1 not unheard of when there are several players competing at the head of the market.
When even the tournament favourites can be backed at double-digit odds, even they are worth considering as an each way option. However, for many golf fans, the appeal of betting on the sport comes from landing a winner at huge odds. Players at odds of 20/1, 50/1 and even 100/1 and more win relatively regularly. At the higher end of the spectrum and even at prices of up to 500/1, winners are obviously less common, but landing a place at these sorts of prices can still be hugely rewarding.
Whether it be a lesser player with brilliant course form or even the club pro who has qualified for a big event on their home course, there are often players at really big odds who have an excellent chance of landing a place at the very least. The unpredictability of golf means that even a rank outsider can have the week of their lives and bring home a bet at a massive price. This is possible even in majors and, to give just one example, Phil Mickleson was priced at odds as big as 300/1 when he won the 2021 US PGA Championship. Given all this, it is easy to see why each way golf betting is so popular. But how does it work?
How Many Places And What Odds?
Quite how each way bets work varies from sport to sport and event to event. In sports like football and tennis, an each way bet is typically on a team or player to make the final and is paid at half the standard odds. In horse racing, it varies according to the type of race and number of entrants, with two, three or four places and a third or a quarter of the odds common. When it comes to golf, you will normally see bookies offering a payout for a top four or five finish, with 1/4 and 1/5 the odds being offered respectively.
So assuming you back a player at 100/1, staking £10 each way, you can expect the following returns, depending on where they finish. Note the information below is based on using a site that was offering a quarter of the odds for a top four finish.
- Player wins so the win and each way bets both win – you would receive a whopping £1010 including your stake from the win portion of the bet. The each way would return £260. So total returns of £1270 and a profit of £1250.
- Player finishes second, third or fourth so the each way bet wins – you lose your £10 win bet and get paid at 25/1 (1/4 of 100/1) for the each way bet for total returns of £260 and a profit of £240.
- Player finishes fifth or worse so both bets lose – should the player on whom you bet finish outside the advertised each way places both bets lose and you are £20 down.
Enhanced Each Way Golf Offers
From time to time some bookies will offer enhanced each way golf terms, meaning that they will pay more places on each way bets. For the majors and other big events it is very common to see some, often most, bookmakers paying out down to as many as 11 places! Most will offer a payout for the top six or seven but we have seen 11 places advertised in the past. These offers really can give brilliant value and self-evidently picking a player to land a top 11 spot is far easier than one to finish in the top four.
In the majors and other key tournaments you may see five and six places offered as a sort of semi-standard. Usually in this scenario, five places are paid at 1/4 of the odds and six places at 1/5. However, as the tournament draws closer these will often be expanded, so if you do fancy an each way punt it is probably worth waiting till at least a week before and probably until the Monday before a big tournament.
What To Look Out For
Due to clampdowns made by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the government, bookies have had to make their offers far simpler. In some respects, this has made them less generous but they are at least easier to understand, with no real catches and not much that punters need to be aware of.
Odds Versus the Number of Places
When it comes to taking advantage of these promos that pay out more places, the only real thing to watch is how the odds compare to the number of places being offered. Typically and understandably, often (though not always) those sites that pay the most places, offer the worst odds. It is always worth making sure you are aware of what proportion of the odds you will be paid and to how many places each way bets pay out. It is also wise to factor in the odds as well. Whilst the bookies with the most places will rarely, if ever, pay out at worse than a fifth of the normal price, it is a possibility.
The more common scenario, however, is that the odds will be much lower and weighing up whether to go for more places and shorter odds, or fewer places but a bigger price, is in many ways a personal choice. The key variables are, obviously, how many extra places you are getting and how much bigger the odds will be if you accept fewer places. However, perhaps the most important influence on your decision will be how much faith you have in the player.
If you think they have a very real chance of winning and strongly fancy them for a top four or top five finish, then picking a bookie that pays odds of 40/1 for a top five finish and a quarter of the odds each way might make sense. In contrast, if you think the same player has virtually no hope of lifting the trophy but could perhaps nick a place, then going for odds of 33/1 for a top eight and a fifth of the odds will probably be more appealing.
When it comes to the each way portion of the bet you must also remember that the difference in the odds is reduced because of course you are only being paid at a fraction of the difference. So whilst 50/1 might seem a much better price than 40/1 (and of course it is), if your player only lands a place, and assuming both are paid at a quarter of the full odds, that difference becomes smaller at 12.5/1 versus 10/1.
Check The Terms
Having said that there are not really any catches or possible pitfalls, we should point out that it still makes sense to check the terms of the offer to be sure. Whilst such terms may breach UKGC or ASA guidelines, or at least be very much within grey areas, that is not to say that some betting sites, especially newer, less established ones, may include some more complex conditions as part of their enhanced each way offers.
The first thing to look out for is that all winnings are paid in cash, rather than free bets. When these promos were first launched some sites paid all innings as free bets, whilst others paid out as free bets if your player finished within the extra places as opposed to within the standard top four/five. To the best of our knowledge, this is not something any major UK betting site now does but it is still worth being aware of.
Another thing which we have seen is bookies offering the standard quarter or fifth of the odds if your player finishes in the top five, but a reduced fraction for a finish in their extra places, however many that may be, for example from sixth to 10th place. Again, the best golf betting sites will not do this but you should always check the significant terms of an offer before placing your bets.
Dead Heat Rules And Each Way Golf Bets
One catch or rule that some punters feel very aggrieved by is actually a fair, normal, industry standard. If you are caught unawares, dead heat rules can feel like the bookie is trying to get one over you and a win can rapidly feel like a loss. However, if you understand them, there will be no nasty surprises and you will know why your bet has settled the way it has. Dead heat rules apply uniformly at all betting sites and are relevant to a wide range of markets and sports. However, they are particularly pertinent to golf and especially when it comes to each way bets.
Dead heat rules cover a situation where one or more participants are tied and cannot be separated (for example if two or more horses finish a race at exactly the same time and even photo-finish technology cannot decide the winner). In golf due to the use of a play-off, dead heat rules will not be applied when two or more players tie for first place. Instead, bets in this scenario will be settled in accordance with the result of the play-off, with the winner finishing first and losing players finishing tied second. However, dead heat rules will often apply when players are tied for one of the each way places.
Let us start with a standard each way bet placed at a quarter of the odds and based on a top four finish. If a player finishes second, third or fourth you will receive your full each way winnings. Dead heat rules apply when players are tied for some of the each way places. The simplest example would be if your selection finishes tied fourth with one other player. The leaderboard will show your pick to have finished T4 but the next player will be sixth, not fifth. In effect, your player has finished both fourth and fifth.
In the case of this example your bet is half a winner and half a loser which may seem unfair but in actual fact is a just way of settling the wager given the bookie cannot be expected to pay out on multiple winners for the same place. For example, if there was a three-way dead heat in a horse race, it would not be reasonable to expect the bookmaker to pay out in full on all three horses. This means that if you had a £10 each way bet at 20/1 your returns would be £30.
You would lose the £10 win bet, as well as half of the £10 each way bet. You would then be paid for a £5 bet at a quarter of the 20/1 for winnings of £25, plus your £5 stake back. To further illustrate how dead heat rules apply, let us imagine your player instead finished tied second, with two other players. Effectively the three players are sharing second, third and fourth but as all of these are still within the each way terms, you would receive your full each way winnings. The same would be true if your player finished tied third with one player.
A Win But Not As You Know It
It is so important to understand dead heat rules in golf because it is common for many players to tie on the same score. Dead heats in horse racing and many other sports are rare and when they do occur they rarely involve more than two or three participants. However, due to the scoring and structure used in golf, we often see dead heats involving several players.
For example, at the 2021 US PGA Championship we saw four players finish tied fourth on -2 and a whopping nine tied for eighth on -1. Had you backed a player each way based on a top four finish, the dead heat for fourth would have seen you lose 75% of your each way bet and be paid based on just 25% of it.
Things would have been a whole lot worse had you backed a player for a top eight finish, given that eighth spot was effectively shared by nine players. Let’s say you backed Jon Rahm at 15/1, £10 each way with a bookmaker who paid a fifth of the odds each way down to eight places. A golf betting newbie might assume that Rahm’s T8 was good enough to land a decent sort of win. After all, the terms were based on a top eight and the Spaniard finished eighth.
However, the dead heat with eight other players means that he effectively finished in a share of each position from eighth to 16th. As such, dead heat rules mean that only one ninth part of the each way bet is a winner and as such the return would be just £4.44 from the total £20 wager.