How To Bet Win, Place And Show In Horse Racing

If you consider yourself a newcomer to the world of horse race betting, it’s only natural to start with the most simplistic and easiest bet types in the industry. When it comes to horse racing, you will find that traditional bets, also referred to as straight bets, are the most straightforward bets you can make.

The three traditional bets that you will come across in horse race betting are a win bet, a place bet and a show bet. Each of these traditional bet types comes with its own set of rules and payout structures, and you will need to understand each of them before you can even think of placing a bet on a horse racing event. Thankfully, we created a comprehensive article to teach you everything you need to know about all three traditional bet types.

We’re going to take a deep look at what win, place and show bets actually are and how each of them function in a horse racing environment. We will include detailed explanations for each bet type, along with examples, and provide valuable information on how you can calculate the payouts for each of these traditional bets.

That’s not all, though. We’re also going to compare the win, place and show bet with exotic bets and explain why the across-the-board bet is usually a bad wager in horse race betting. There’s also a handful of frequently asked questions at the end to make sure you have the necessary knowledge to place a traditional horse bet with confidence.

What is win, place and show in horse racing?

Win bets, place bets and show bets in horse racing are basically traditional bets, or straight bets, that you can make on horse racing events. These traditional bets are considered the most popular types of bets and also the most straightforward. If you want to place a traditional bet in the United States, you will come across win, place, show and across-the-board bet types. However, when you bet from other regions around the world, you will find a win, place and each-way bet type.

When you make a straight bet in a horse racing event, you are essentially betting on a single horse to achieve an outright win or to place in a specific order in the race. Using win, place and show bets will not provide a massive payout when compared to exotic bets. However, traditional bets do make it very simple to bet on horses, especially if you are new to the world of horse race betting.

Now that you have a better understanding of what win, place and show bets are, let’s take a closer look at what each of them do by looking at the different types of traditional bets.

How does win, place and show betting work in horse racing?

Win, place and show bets provide the most simplistic and straightforward betting opportunities in horse racing and are the easiest to understand, especially when you are a newcomer. When you choose a win bet in horse racing, your selected horse needs to win the race outright. This means that, for you to receive a payout, your selected horse can only finish in first place.

When you choose a place bet, your selected horse needs to finish in the top two positions. If your selected horse finishes third with a place bet, you will lose your stake.

When you choose a show bet, your selected horse needs to finish in the top three positions for you to receive a payout. Each of these straight bets offer different odds and payouts, depending on the event and the likelihood of your selected horse winning the race.

Types of win, place and show bets

In this section, we are going to provide a detailed explanation of each traditional bet type and include an example to give you a better understanding of how each these straight bets work the next time you find yourself at an online sports betting site, or wanting to place a bet at the track. The traditional bets we will cover include the win bet, the place bet and the show bet.

Win bet

This is one of the simplest bets in horse racing and doesn’t require much of an explanation. When you use this bet, you merely need to select a horse that you believe will win the race outright. You will receive a payout if your selected horse is in pole position past the post. However, you will lose your bet if your selected horse does not win the race.

Example: Let’s say you bet $2 on a horse to win the race at odds of 4/5. This means that you can potentially make a return of $53 (that’s a $51 win and your $2 bet back). However, you can only win this amount when your selected horse wins the race.

Example of payouts for a win horse wager

Place bet

This traditional bet type gives you more flexibility and freedom when compared to the win bet type, as you will be required to select a horse that will finish in the top two positions as opposed to only winning the race. Your selected horse needs to finish in either first or second place for you to win the bet. It’s also worth mentioning that a place bet will only be available in races that have more than five runners.

Example: Let’s say you make a $2 place bet on a horse with odds of 1/4. This means that you can potentially make a return of $2.50 if your selected horse finishes the racing event in first or second place. Always remember that a win bet will have far better odds than a place bet, as you’ll have more opportunities of winning the bet with a place bet.

Example of a place horse wager

Show bet

This traditional bet type is very similar to a place bet. The only difference with a show bet is the fact that it covers the top three positions as opposed to only covering the top two positions. You will receive a payout when your selected horse finishes in either first, second or third position. Naturally, show bets provide the lowest odds, as your chances of winning are far greater.

Example: Let’s say you make a $2 show bet on a horse with odds of 1/9. This means you can potentially make a profit of $2.22 if your selected horse finishes the racing event in either first, second or third position. Your payout will not change if your selected horse finishes in first or third. It remains the same, as long as it finishes in one of the top three positions.

Example of show horse bet

Across the board

This traditional bet basically combines the win bet, place bet and show bet on a single ticket. You will essentially have three different bets rolled into one selection. You also need to keep in mind that when you make a $2 across-the-board bet that you will need to pay a total of $6 to cover your ticket. This is because you are placing a $2 win bet, a $2 place bet and a $2 show bet.

Example of win, place and show horse wager

Example: Let’s say you make a $2 across-the-board bet on a horse with odds of 8/2. If your selected horse wins the race, you will receive a payout on all three parts of the bet. If your selected horse comes in second place, you will only receive a payout for the place bet and show bet. If your selected horse comes in third place, you will only receive a payout for the show bet. If your selected horse doesn’t finish within the top three positions, you will lose your entire bet.

Each-way bets

You will also have the opportunity to combine each of these traditional bets thanks to the each-way betting system. For instance, you can select a win bet and a place bet in a single selection, or a place bet and a show bet in a single selection to make your betting experience more fun and exciting.

Let’s take a look at a few combinations to give you a better idea of what we are talking about.

Win / place each way

This each-way bet includes a win bet and a place bet on a single ticket. Let’s say you place a $10 each-way bet. This basically means that you are placing $10 on the win bet and $10 on the place bet, so the each-way bet will cost you $20. You will win both bets if your selected horse wins the race, but only the place bet if the horse comes in second place.

Win / show each way

This each-way bet combines a win bet and a show bet on a single ticket. If you are making a $10 each-way bet that combines a win bet and show bet, you will end up paying $20 for the each-way bet. You will receive a payout on both the win and show bet if your selected horse wins the race. However, if your horse comes in third place, you will only win the show bet.

Place / show each way

This each-way bet combines a place bet and a show bet on a single ticket. If you place a $10 each-way bet with a place and show bet, you will end up paying $20 ($10 is allocated to the place bet, while another $10 is allocated to the show bet). Your selected horse merely needs to finish second to win both bets or finish in third to win half of your bet.

Win, place, show odds vs. exotic bets

One of the first things you will notice when you compare traditional horse racing bets with exotic horse racing bets is the fact that traditional bets use fixed odds, while exotic bets use the pari-mutuel betting system.

When you use traditional bet types in horse racing, you will come to find your potential loss or profit is fixed by the odds on offer from the online sportsbook. The fixed odds with traditional bets are calculated before the start of the event, and they give you valuable information before you place your bet. This means you can calculate your potential profit, as all the information is available before you place a bet.

With exotic bet types, you will rarely know how much you stand to win, as all the bets are gathered in a betting pool. Once the event is over, the winning tickets are determined, and the entire betting pool is distributed among those who predicted the end result correctly. Exotic bets are far more unpredictable than traditional bets.

However, the upside to exotic bets compared to traditional bets is the fact that you can win a great deal more in profits due to the higher odds. Keep in mind that exotic bets require more research and skill, as they are more difficult to get right compared with traditional bets.

Why is the across-the-board bet a terrible bet?

As previously mentioned, the across-the-board bet type gives you a safety net where you have a combination of the win bet, place bet and the show bet on a single horse. So, your selected horse simply needs to finish in the top three positions for you to receive a payout.

You can label an across-the-board bet as a type of wager where you essentially “play it safe.” It can, therefore, also be referred to as a lazy wager, as most bettors don’t want to waste time researching all aspects of a race before placing a bet.

Placing an across-the-board bet might cover the top three positions for your selected horse to ensure you get a payout. However, it’s extremely rare that a bet like this produces any substantial value, especially when you select a horse that is displaying great odds.

An across-the-board bet can get pricey very quickly, as a $10 bet can actually turn into a $30 bet when covering all three bet types. Even if you win, it’s extremely difficult to break even on an across-the-board bet, and it’s for this reason that we urge you to stay away from this bet type to avoid disappointment.

FAQ

How much is a win, place, show bet?

Whether you place a bet online or next to the track, you will find that most sports betting facilities or online sports betting sites require a minimum bet of $2. This applies to a win bet, a place bet or a show bet.

What does it mean when you bet a horse to show?

When you bet for a horse to show, you are essentially placing a show bet on a horse. Your selected horse with a show bet is required to finish in the top three positions of the race for you to receive a payout.

How much do you win on a place bet?

The profit you can make on a place bet greatly depends on the fixed odds that are advertised next to the horse before you place a bet and the amount you are going to bet on the horse before the race gets underway. For instance, if you make a $2 place bet on a horse with 5/2 odds, you can potentially receive a payout of $7 if your selected horse finishes the racing event in the top two positions.

What is the difference between a place bet and an each-way bet?

A place bet is when you make a wager on a horse and the selected horse needs to finish the race in the top two positions for you to receive a payout. An each-way bet entails two separate wagers on a single ticket, such as a place and win bet, a place and show bet, or a win and show bet. A place bet is essentially a single wager, while an each-way bet comprises two separate wagers.

What did the win, place, show bet pay out at the Kentucky Derby?

At the 2019 Kentucky Derby, the win bet payout was an impressive $132.40, the place bet payout was $56.60, and the show bet payout was $24.60.

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