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Two-Way Bet Explained

Some of the terms that we use in gambling can be a little confusing when you first come across them, and one that often confuses people is the 2-way bet. The difficulty is that many people confuse this with an each way bet, which is an entirely different animal. That is unless it is a two-horse race you are betting on, in which case they are very similar, though not quite the same.

To avoid any future confusion, we will explain both.

What is a two way bet?

A two way bet is a bet on an event that can end with just two possible outcomes, and there is no chance of a tie or a draw. The perfect example is tennis, either singles or doubles, where only one player, or side, can win. You never get a tie in professional tennis; you just bet on the player you consider most likely to win.

Another form of a 2-way bet is a bet on an event with three possible outcomes such as a football match they may end up as a draw, but the bet is offered on a Draw No Bet basis. Should the game end as a draw, the bookmaker will return your stake.  

It is important to realise that games such as football elimination matches in which the result may be finally decided by extra time or a penalty shootout are not 2 way bets as the bookmaker pays out according to the full time score. So should the game go to extra time, any bet other than on a draw would lose.  

Obviously the odds will be less for a football match where you are betting on two outcomes rather than three. 

So for example, here are the odds for Crystal Palace v Everton in the Premier League in the normal match odds (1×2) market:

  • – Crystal Palace: 2.7
  • – Draw: 3.5
  • – Everton: 2.88

But when reduced to a 2-way bet where the draw has been taken out of the equation (i.e. draw no bet), the odds are then:

  • – Crystal Palace: 1.93
  • – Everton: 2

So you are getting lower odds for either side to win, but if the game finishes in a draw you get your money back, which doesn’t happen in the normal match odds (1×2) market. That is the advantage of a 2-way bet.


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What is an each-way bet?

An each-way bet is typically used in horse racing. Effectively it is a bet in which half of your total stake is bet on your selected horse winning, and half is bet on the horse being placed in one of the top ranks. What counts as a place depends on several factors such as the size of the field (which is the number of horses running in the race), the specific event, and on the strategy or whim of the bookmaker. The payout for each way bets also varies, again depending on the size of the field and other factors.

Each way bets are not usually available on small fields of two to four runners. In races with five to seven runners the payouts are typically one quarter (1/4) of the betting odds on first and second places; when there are eight or more runners, bookmakers usually offer one fifth (1/5) odds on first, second and third place. Handicap races tend to be a little different, for instance, if there are 16 or more runners one quarter (1/4) odds are usually offered on the first four places.

Here is an example that should make it clear. Say you place an each-way bet on a 12 horse race where the bookmaker is offering quarter (1/4) odds on the first three places. Your selection is priced at 16/1, and you bet £10 each way. The following payouts apply.

  • – If your selection wins, you win £5 x 16 for the win half your bet = £80, plus 1/4  x 16 x 5 = £20 for the place half of your bet. The bookmaker also returns your full stake, so you walk away with £110.
  • – If your selection is placed second or third, then you lose your bet on a win, but you wind your place bet. Your payout is plus 1/4 x 16 x 5 = £20 and half your stake (£5) is returned. Thus, you walk away with £25.

It is only worth making a two way bet if the odds offered by the bookmaker are high. Making each way bets on low odds is a waste of money.

See how this system made $100,000 from betting on the draw





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