*In my early teens, back in the late 1980s, I started watching horse racing on TV. Like many in my generation it was John McCririck in the betting ring that ignited my interest in racing and gambling. One term he used that remained seared in my brain was 'each-way thief'. This article explains what an each-way thief is and how we can use SharpBetting to exploit the loopholes in each-way betting odds. To go straight to our current each-way value bet list click *here.

## What is an each-way thief?

An each-way thief is someone who legally exploits inaccuracies in the odds offered by bookmakers on the place element of each-way bets. These inaccuracies occur because of the rigid way that bookmakers calculate the place odds based on the win price of a horse in a race.

## What is each-way betting?

Each-way (E/W) betting on British horse racing involves two separate bets: a win bet and a place bet.

- The win part is placed on the horse to win the race outright. If the horse finishes first, this part of the bet is paid out in full.
- The place part of the bet is on the horse finishing in one of the specified "places", such as second, third, or sometimes fourth.

The standard number of places and the payout terms depend on the race type and number of runners:

- 1-4 runners: Only win betting is available.
- 5-7 runners: Place terms usually cover the top 2 finishers, paid at 1/4 of the odds.
- 8 or more runners: Place terms usually cover the top 3 finishers, paid at 1/5 of the odds.
- Handicaps with 16 or more runners: Place terms often cover the top 4 finishers, paid at 1/4 of the odds.

For example, if you place a £10 each-way bet on a horse at 10/1 odds in an 8 runner race, your total stake is £20, split between £10 on the horse to win and £10 on it to place. The odds for the win bet are 10/1 and the odds for the place part are 2/1 (A fifth of the win odds).

- If the horse wins, you receive £100 profit from the win part and £20 from the place part.
- If the horse only places, you lose the £10 for win part but still receive a £20 payout from the place bet giving a net gain of £10.

Some bookmakers offer better terms going 5 or even 6 places. These can be accompanied by worse odds in the win market and worse odds terms for the place element. It is important to always to check the exact terms offered by the individual bookmaker on the race.

## Pricing the place market where bookmaker is favoured

The table below shows the win odds for a number of bookmakers for a typical handicap race from Lingfield from the SharpBetting odds comparison page.

The Sharp Win and prices are set to a 100% book. This is calculated from assessing odds from across different odds compilers and calculating our fair price. The odds for the different bookmakers are all worse than the Sharp Win price. This, in theory, gives the bookmakers a profit margin. The book percentages (see how this is calculated here) are all between 117% and 120% which is well above the 100% required for the bookmaker to break even.

For this race all the bookmakers were paying 1/5th the odds for a horse to finish in the first 3 places. The place odds table shows the Sharp 3 Places odds for each horse. The bookmaker odds are 1/5th the bookmaker win odds. For instance Enchanted Eye was 10/1 with Unibet to win so the place element was 2/1.

In this race the overround for all the bookmakers was above the 300% needed to make a theoretical profit (319% to 321%). All the place odds offered where below the Sharp 3 Places calculation.

The table above shows the expected value for backing each horse with each bookmaker. For instance, -5% means that for every £100 bet the punter is expected to lose £5.

In the case of this market all the horses have a negative expected value.

## Each-way thieving where where an odds-on favourite presents opportunities

The next race is one where the odds are slightly in favour of the punter on some horses in the each-way market.

The favourite, Time Tested, is favourite at a best price of 1.6.

The bookmakers are all offering the standard each-way terms of 1/5th the win odds for 3 places. The problem for the bookmakers is the odds-on favourite means the other horses in the race are big prices in the win market than they would be if the race was more competitive. But there are still 3 places up for grabs.

Comparing the Sharp 3 Places number with the 1/5th win odds we can see that most of the place horses are value. The overround for the bookmakers is well under the 300% needed to break even.

Fortunately for the bookmakers punters can only bet each-way and not just on the place at those odds. Even so we can see that Commander Crouch, Calanthe and Flordian all have a positve expected value with at least 1 bookmaker. These are potential bets for an each-way thief.

## Each-way thieving where extra places present opportunities

In the third example the bookmakers have decided to be generous and offer 5 places (6 place in the case of Skybet) at 1/5th odds in the win market.

It is interesting to note that Skybet have a 151% book in the win market compared to around 130% for most other bookmakers. This is to cover themselves for offering the extra place.

The place element odds all have an overround of well below the 500% needed for the bookmakers to break even.

The result is that five horses in the race have a positive expected value for the race. This are perfect bet opportunities for an each-way thief.

## How the SharpBetting each-way value page works

At Sharpbetting we provide a list of live each-way value bets. This list becomes available every day at 9am and is updated as bookmaker odds and our Sharp Price estimates change through out the day.

The list includes the odds, bookmaker of all positive expected value horses at the current time. Prices can move fast so they may not always be available by the time the user sees them.

The margin is calculated by comparing the win and place prices available from several gambling operators fixed to a 100% book to the prices from each individual bookmaker. We then have a second layer of analysis that uses our proprietary algorithm to convert win odds to place odds. This second layer was put in place to attempt to reduce the risk of mispricing in early markets.

It is important to note that none of the algorithms used for our each-way value list have inputs related to horse form and other fundamental factors. They are purely based on results derived from the current prices available.

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