What is an each-way bet in golf?

Tiger and Dustin
Jun 12, 2018; Southampton, NY, USA; Tiger Woods (left) and Dustin Johnson (center) watch as Bryson DeChambeau hits from the 5th tee during Tuesday's practice round of the 118th U.S. Open golf tournament at Shinnecock Hills. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Each-way bets are a type of wager that can be found across various events on many sportsbooks. Their most common usage though tends to be in golf where large fields are a weekly norm and each-way bets allow bettors an alternative way to invest. Whereas a regular outright win bet in golf constitutes one bet–with the payout completely dependent on whether or not the golfer wins the event–an each-way bet constitutes two-bets: a win bet and a place bet.

How does an each-way bet work?

The first portion of the each-way is simple. If your player wins the event then the win portion will be paid out. The second part, the place bet, is where things can get a little confusing. For the placing portion of your each-way bet to get paid out your golfer would need to finish inside the exact number of places outlined by the sportsbook. 

For example, if you placed a $40.00 each-way bet ($20.00-to win and $20.00 to place) and the terms of the each-way bet were prescribed as an “each-way, 1-5” then for the second part (the place bet) to pay out, your player would need to finish inside the top-5. Here’s a common way an each-way bet offering may look at an online sportsbook.

Each-way 1/4 1-2-3-4-5
Dustin Johnson +1000
Rory McIlroy +1750
Justin Thomas +2000 
Each-way example

In the above example, if we were to invest in Justin Thomas at +2000 and he finished 4th, then the first $20.00 bet (the outright portion) would not get paid out, but the second $20.00 bet (the place bet) would get paid. 

Parts of an each-way bet 

The win bet portion of an each-way only gets paid if your player wins. Going back to the above example, a $20.00 win bet on Justin Thomas above would yield $420.00 

  • $420.00 = Our $20.00 bet returned plus $400.00 of winnings 

If we had made an each-way bet on Justin Thomas though, our winnings would also include a payout on the placing portion as well–since winning means he obviously finished inside the top-5. For that payout, we would look to the payout structure of the each-way to determine our winnings. In this case, our each-way bet stipulated a 1/4 payout, which means to calculate we’d need to multiply the outright odds by 1/4, or 0.25 for you decimal fans. For the above example, 1/4 of +2000, would mean our placing payout would be set at +500, essentially one-quarter of the outright portion. 

Our place payout would then yield us $120.00

  • $120.00 = $20.00 returned wager plus $100.00 of winnings

If Thomas won, we’d then be investing $40.00 and getting back $540.00. If he finishes inside the top-5 but doesn’t win then we’d be investing $40.00 and getting back $120.00. If he finishes outside of the top-5 we’d obviously lose both bets and get back nothing.

Each-way 1/4 1-2-3-4-5
Justin Thomas +2000 
$40.00 each-way bet = $20.00 on Justin Thomas to win ($20.00 x 20 = $420.00 payout)
$20.00 on Justin Thomas to place (1-5 or top-5) ($20.00 x 5 = $120.00 payout)
Each-way example

Dead-Heat rules

Before we get any further it’s important to note that the placement portion of an each-way can often have dead-heat rules attached to it. Dead-heats refer to when players tie for a place. The majority of sportsbooks will apply dead-heat rules to golf each-ways (although not all) meaning that if a player finishes inside the top-5, but has also tied with multiple other players in his position, then the payout would be affected. 

For example, if Justin Thomas (from the example above) were to finish T3 in a golf tournament (tied for third) at 12-under, but four other golfers also tied with him at 12-under, then five players would in fact be sharing finishing positions 3rd through 7th. Since the each-way bet from above only stipulated that the each-way pays out 1/4 on a 1-5 placing, the payout of the each way would be cut down by the percentage of the actual full placing he achieved.

In this case, since Thomas tied with four other people for three spots–so five people sharing three placing spots–we’d only receive 3/5 (or 60%) of the above each-way payout. It can get a little confusing but the main thing here is to be aware that a full payout on the placing side of your each-way bet won’t always come to fruition if your player is sharing places with other players–and it causes his actual placing to fall outside the each-way stipulation. Different sportsbooks can also have different rules for what constitutes a “full place” payout in each-way bets. 

Each-way betting strategies 

Each-way’s can be a valuable tool when betting on large field events like golf. Often each-ways will allow you access to better placing odds than are available to us in the regular placing markets. In our above example, our each-way bet gave us access to +500 odds on Justin Thomas to finish inside the top-5. If the top-5 odds for Thomas in that same event were only +350, the placing side of our each-way would offer significantly better yield, for the same terms (a top-5 finish), at +500. 

While we do have to invest in an outright bet as well with an each-way (therefore investing two bets instead of just one) the improved placing odds can often be a great reason why you’d want to consider making an each-way bet over a lone placing bet. Often-times it just makes more sense to invest in a player in an each-way to gain access to the better placing odds, than to just place a singular placing bet at worse odds.

When to utilize

As mentioned above, each-way bets are often best used in larger field events where we can gain access to larger placing odds. Golf is often a great sport to consider using an each-way as the larger fields means there’s a better chance of more players having been “mis-priced” relative to their actual ability. Whether a player is at 100-1 or 150-1 may not be that big a deal to a sportsbook, who likely isn’t going to get a ton of action on any singular player that far down in the odds, but it could create a good investment opportunity for each-way bettors to get great placing odds on a player capable of outperforming his odds in the long-run. 

A lot of sport-specific knowledge is obviously needed to know where the best value can found, week to week–in golf things like strokes gained knowledge and course fit can help–but knowing how each-ways work, and which sites offer the best deals (more on that below) can be a big help in getting the most EV out of your bets in the long-run.

Common questions for each-way betting:

Are each-way bets worth it?

They can be. Be sure to check the odds, terms, and placing positions being offered.

What place does an each-way go up to?

This can and often does vary by sportsbook. The most common golf each-ways offer is 1/4 to 1-5 (so 1/4 the outright odds for a top-5 finish). However, with golf betting getting more mainstream sportsbooks are offering more competitive deals. For majors, many books will offer terms like 1/5 at 1-8 (1/5 the outright odds for a top-8 finish) to attract more bettors. 

What does 1/4 or 1/5 each way mean?

It refers to the fraction of the outright odds being offered for the each-way position of the bet. For example, a 1/4  to 1-5 each-way on a player at +10000 odds would offer us +2500 odds on our placing bet (or 1/4 of +10000). 

Other sports to bet each way

Each-ways can often be found in Futures on things like the Super Bowl. Many sportsbooks offer each-way bets where the placing portion of the bet gets paid out if the team you are betting on reaches the Super Bowl. Common terms are often 1/2 at 1-2. So your placing bet would offer you half the odds for your team reaching the final. Your outright portion of the each-way would still require your team to win the Super Bowl to get paid out. Sports like Nascar or Horce-racing are also common places to find each-way bets

Which Sports Are Best For Each Way Betting?

It varies depending on terms of odds offered. Larger fields are often best as there’s a better chance of finding mis-priced players or teams.