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If a bookmaker offers a bet with the annotation E/W, this doesn't refer to a secret code or a hidden message. It's simply short for each-way, which is a popular betting option for many different sports categories. Yet, especially for golf, tennis, alpine skiing, horse racing, and of course soccer, this type of sportsbook is widely used.
Each-Way bets are a kind of double betting option, where two equally wagered selections are placed within one single bet. Usually, one selection refers to the winner of an event, and the other selection refers to a specific rank or place in the general line up.
Hence, each-way bets contain two separate selections with equal wagers, and the first selection always refers to the winner of a competition. The second selection can be used to predict the place that this team or athlete comes in at the end of the game. Usually, bookmakers limit the number of ranks available for each-way betting from 1st to 4th place.
The bet is won when either the favoured athlete or team win the race (in this case both parts of the bet are covered – the one referring to the overall winner as well as the one referring to a certain rank), and also when the team or athlete doesn't win but finishes on the place that was prediced by the bettor with his second selection. In case the favorite team neither wins nor comes in on the place predicted by the bettor, the whole bet is lost.
Successful bet: If A. Murray wins the tournament, both propositions are met, consequently both selections are won. If A. Murray loses the final, then the first selection is obviously lost, but the second selection still qualifies for a payout.
Lost bet: If A. Murray drops out during the quarter finals already, the whole each-way bet is lost as both predictions can't be fulfilled anymore.
Obviously, each-way sportsbooks allow for a reduction of the risk on the side of bettors, especially when compared to straight win/lose selections.
Depending on whether both selections turn out as successful or only one of them, the method of calculating the potential figure differs greatly. In general, the lines for an each-way bet are modified with a so called split factor, which is used to estimate the odds for the rank selection. The split factor usually is a fraction that gets multiplied with the general lines of the bet. The product of this multiplication then makes up the odds for the ranking selection.
With regards to the above mentioned example from the field of tennis, a calculation would look like this: The odds for A. Murray winning the US Open are 4,0. The split factor for places 1 and 2 is estimated at 0.5 or ½. This means that if Murray actually wins, half the wager would be multiplied with the respective odds of 4,0.
The figure for the other part of the Each Way bet, the placement selection, will be calculated like this:
The net margin for odds of 4,0 is 3,0 (gross profit of 4,0 minus 1 unit for the wager = 3 units net profit). The net margin of 3,0 then gets multiplied with the split factor of ½. Then the wagering unit gets added to the result again, which makes up for a quota of 2,5. Hence, half the wager of the each-way selection on the rank gets multiplied with 2,5 and makes up the figure.
So, if Murray loses the final, the first part of the each-way bet is lost, but the second part still becomes valid for payout (2,5 * wager).
It is noteworthy that both parts of the bet are treated equally in terms of splitting the wager. This means that if the wager is 10 Euro, 5 Euro will be put on the winning selection and 5 Euro on the ranking selection.
1) Murray wins the final
5 Euro winning selection * 4,00 = 20 Euro payout; 5 Euro ranking selection * 2,50 = 12,50 Euro payout. Overall payout for the each-way bet in this example would amount to 32,50 Euro. Without the wager, this would generate a net profit of 22,50 Euro.
2) Murray loses the final
The winning selection is lost, the placement selection is won: 2,50 * 5 Euro = 12,50 Euro payout. Without the wager, this would generate a net profit of 2,50 Euro.
Although this happens very rarely, in some sports it is possible that more than one team or athlete finishes in the same place as some competitors. When this happens, the terms and conditions of the respective bookmaker should provide knowledge on how this case will be treated. Often times, these so called Ex-Aequo results lead to a reduction of the payout. Also, some bookmakers may use different denominations for this type of bet in their portfolio.