Newbie Guide To Betting

We'll explain all about the different types of bets you can make on the Grand National and where you can place them safely. Before we dive into the nitty gritty of backing a horse, it's worth noting that all gambling involves an element of risk.

The Golden Rule: Never bet more than you can comfortably afford to lose.

The first step is finding a horse to back. There are a number of ways you can go about this – you can choose to study the form, randomly select a horse using the non scientific method of sticking a pin in the newspaper or just choose a name you like – don't forget you can check out all of this year's runners here.

Once you've picked your horse for the big race you're ready to make a bet, but where to do it? Essentially, you have two options, bet with one of the high street betting shops or do it online.

Like most things these days, doing it online is often the easiest way. If you're not already signed up with an online bookmaker then you'll need to join one before placing your bet. We recommend using Betfair as they're one of the biggest bookmakers in Europe and as a new customer you'll qualify for a free bet! Registering for an account only takes a few minutes and once you've joined you can fund your bets, and withdraw winnings from your Betfair account using a debit/credit card or PayPal.


The first step is to visit, existing users can login (1) and new customers can register for an account (2) see image below for details.


Existing User Can Login Here.


New Users Can Register Here.


Navigate to the 2017 Grand National page on (1) – then click the odds box of the horse you're backing – in the example below we've selected Godsmejudge (1).


Click On The Odds Box To Select You Horse.


Virtual Betting Slip Opens With You Selection (horse) Added.


Enter Your Stake, Tick The EW Box To Back Eachway.


Click ‘Place Bets' To Finish Betting.


Now you've clicked the odds box the virtual betting slip will appear to the right hand side of the page. The image above explains the various options available on the betting slip – mouse over numbers 2, 3, 4 for explanation.


That's it… You've placed your first bet online.

Odds Explained
Before you rush off to make your first bet you might like to read our quick guide to odds. We're all familiar with the concept of betting, but not everyone fully understands how odds work.

In Britain we use the fractional odds system which you will see displayed as two figures. In this example we'll use odds of ten to one (10/1) to illustrate how it all works.


This is how betting odds are traditional displayed.

The first number (10) represents the amount returned for a straight win bet and the second figure represents the unit stake needed to generate that return. In other words, you'll win £10 for every £1 you bet. Wager £100 and you'll win £1000 and if you reduce the stake to £0.50p you'll get £5. If you lose the bookmaker keeps the stake.

In the Grand National you'll see odds quoted as low as 5/1 all the way up to 100/1 and sometimes even higher. You might be wondering who sets these odds and why are some horse's odds are so big and others so low? A bookie will begin forming his ‘book' on the Grand National months before the race. The initial quoted odds will probably look very different to the odds quoted on the day of the race. The bookmaker will be adjusting the odds on individual horses in response to the amount of money being wagered on them. If lots of people start to bet on a particular horse the bookmaker will reduce that runners odds. If no-one is betting on other horses the bookmaker will lengthen the odds on those in a bid to attract bets and that's why you see the odds changing until the race starts.

Ultimately the bookie will aim to make a profit regardless of the outcome of the race. He does this by accepting bets in the right proportions to achieve what is known in the business as an ‘Overround' book. From the bookmakers perspective it's more desirable that a 100/1 shot wins the Grand National than the 5/1 favourite. Although the bookmaker will pay out £100 for every £1 bet by those who picked the 100/1 shot, there will be far fewer winners to pay out overall.

Example Payouts On Various Odds
Standard Win Bets

You will also get your original stake returned – in this example £5.

Eachway Bets Explained

The majority of wagers placed on the Grand National are ‘Each-Way Bets'.  This popular bet type guarantees a payout if  your horse wins (1st) or finishes in 2nd, 3rd, 4th – and even 5th place counts with Betfair! However, standard terms for each-way bets in a handicap race with 16 or more runners is normally 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th places.

There are two important factors to remember when betting each way. Firstly, your stake amount is automatically doubled i.e. a £5 each way bet will cost you £10. This happens because the bet is actually two bets combined. You're betting £5 your horse will win and £5 your horse will finish in the places (2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th with Betfair). Secondly, the amount you win is dependent on whether your horse comes first or finishes in the places. If your horse wins (1st) it's fairly simple to work out your returns, examples are shown below.

Each Way - 1st Place Returns
£5 E/W5/1£31.25
£5 E/W8/1£50
£5 E/W10/1£62.50
£5 E/W12/1£75
£5 E/W16/1£100
£5 E/W20/1£125
£5 E/W33/1£206.25
£5 E/W40/1£250
£5 E/W50/1£312.50
£5 E/W66/1£412.50
£5 E/W100/1£625

Winnings for each-way bets where your horse finishes 1st are worked out like this: £5 at 10/1 = £50 + £5 at quarter the quoted odds (2.5/1) = £12.50. Remember each way bets are really two bets in one. £5 that your horse wins and £5 that it places. When your horse comes 1st you have won both bets, you get the £10 (2 x £5) stake back too! So in this example, the bookmaker would pay you back a total of £72.50.

Returns gets more complicated when your horse finishes in the places (2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th*). It doesn't matter which of the places your horse finishes in, the payout is the same. However, a bookmaker will only payout a quarter of the quoted odds on a placed horse. For example: if you backed a horse at 20/1 and it finishes 2nd, you only get a quarter of those odds (5/1). Example payouts are shown below.

Each Way - 2nd, 3rd, 4th, *5th place
£5 E/W5/1£6.25
£5 E/W8/1£10
£5 E/W10/1£12.50
£5 E/W12/1£15
£5 E/W16/1£20
£5 E/W20/1£25
£5 E/W25/1£31.25
£5 E/W33/1£41.25
£5 E/W40/1£50
£5 E/W50/1£62.50
£5 E/W66/1£82.50
£5 E/W100/1£125

As the win part of your bet is lost (£5) you only get the £5 place part of the original stake returned. The figures above assume you're receiving a quarter odds on your eachway bet. Some crafty bookmakers only give one fifth odds, which will reduce the amount won.