Place Betting Systems

Place Betting Systems

By The UK Horse Racing Tipster

Now if you are following some of the place systems on the site you will notice some times that for one race there are more tips than there are payout positions.

You might think what is the point in this?

However if the prices are suitable then you can make money even if the majority of bets you place lose.

Here is a recent case in point.

I always test new betting systems out with the minimum stake £2 or £2.50 (if I want to be able to trade the bet with an overlay).

Mainly this is because there is no “live” test mode on Betfair and also it gets you used to risking real money – albeit not much.

With a stake of £2.50 it give you room to create an overlay trade by dropping the stake and cutting the difference in half for the opposing bet (read the trading articles for more info).

For example in the following 9 runner race (with one non runner) on the 28th March 2013 I placed 5 place bets on the 16:10 at Ludlow all at a stake of £2.50.

Even though this race was only going to pay out on 3 runners I made a profit as you can see from this screenshot of my betting history for the race.

Betfair Results

As you can see even though 3 of the 5 bets lost I still made £5.20.

These horses lost me £7.50.

Niceonefrankie – lost – £2.50
Buck Mulligan – lost – £2.50
Merrion Square – lost – £2.50

But these horses made me £12.70

The Chazer – won – £7.75 
Cootehill – won – £4.95 (actually won the race at an SP of 8/1)

Deduct the difference and we have made a profit.

Increase the stakes and we would have made more!

Therefore it is not always a silly idea to bet on more tips than the payout positions in a market and on the place exchange you can sometimes get very good prices.

For example yesterday I also bet on Standpoint in the 16:20 at Wolverhampton for £2.50 at a price of 7.00!

That’s right, as you can see below, a price of 7.00 in the place market in a 10 runner race!

Betfair Results

The horse had an SP of 28/1 and finished 3rd whilst the favourite Watt Broderick finished 4th at 2/1 and you couldn’t get more than 1.69 on the place market for him (he went off at 1.49 as recorded by my BOT).

Another example was the Lincoln Handicap which was run today (30th March 2013) where I placed 6 bets.

5 Place bets and 1 win bet on Chapter Seven.

The winning place market bets were:

Brae Hill – won at a price of 5.40
Global Village won at a price of 4.46
Justonefortheroad won at a price of 5.20

The losing place bets:

Dubai Dynamo lost at a price of 6.84
Prince Of Johanne at a price of 7.83

Plus a losing win bet on Chapter Seven.

In total the winnings from the 3 places I got far out weighed any losses so all in all I made a profit even if I placed 6 bets for a 4 place payout race.

So you can see that due to some high pricing on the place markets and some clever maths by my BOT it is not always the right decision to stick to just putting place bets on the top 2 or 3 favourites. Especially when one high priced horse has the opportunity (and in handicaps they often do) of getting into the places.

Place Payout Positions

Now I have been asked a few times why I show the results of certain races with more place winners than there should be.

For example if you walked into a normal Bookmakers shop you would expect the following logic for working out whether or not your horse gets placed.

This is excluding special events like the Grand National where the Bookmaker might be paying out on 5 or 6 positions in an Each Way bet.

  • Less than 5 runners in a race – no place payout positions.
  • Between 5 and 7 runners in a race – 2 place payout positions at 1/4 odds.
  • Between 8 and 15 runners in a race – 3 place payout positions at 1/5 odds.
  • Over 15 runners in a race and it is a handicap – 4 place payout positions at 1/4 odds otherwise 3 at 1/5 odds.

However this site is revolved around the use of betting exchanges, mainly Betfair and I use the place payout positions that come from their markets not the logic above.

This can confuse some people who would expect to see no place payouts on a 4 or 3 runner race and then see my tipping results show a profit.

However as you can see from this example from the 26th April 2013. There was a race at Punchestown that only had 3 runners racing. Using the logic of the bookmakers shop above we wouldn’t expect to see any place payouts at all.

However after checking Betfair we can see that a place market did exist for this small race and you can see from the highlighted text (top left, just above the first horse Eastlake) there were indeed 2 payout positions for a 3 runner race!

Betfair Place Market

Even though the race started out as a 5 runner race 2 horses were declared as Non Runners: Pont Alexandre and Mullaghanoe River.

However even though this meant the race became a 3 runner event there were still 2 place payout positions!

Just to check that this logic is right we can read Betfair’s own information on place payout positions.

The important thing to note from their information is that the number of winners in a place market is determined by the number of runners in the overnight declaration minus any known non-runners at this time. Also this doesn’t change from that point on UNLESS the number of non runners is so great that every runner would be a payout.

Therefore if you start with an 8 runner race with 3 payout positions and 5 runners pull out you will still have a place market with 4 runners and 3 payout positions!

The same goes with the example above of a 5 runner race with 2 payout positions that then have 2 non runners. The number of payout positions stays at 2 unless the number of runners also becomes 2.

Yes I am not kidding. If you read the terms of their place markets they clearly state that:

“Once opened, the number of winners in ‘to be placed’ markets will not be affected by further non-runners. If the situation occurs where the number of winners equals the number of runners, all bets in this market will be void.”

So the number of non runners will only affect the payout positions if enough runners pull out so that all runners would payout e.g 3 horses running in what was a 3 payout race. Obviously they cannot payout in this case.

Their rules are similar to those stated above but differ according to country as well.

Races in the UK, Ireland and any other country (excluding Australia or South Africa)

Runners Winning places
3 – 7 runners 1st and 2nd
8 – 15 runners 1st, 2nd and 3rd
16+ runners (non-handicap) 1st, 2nd and 3rd
16+ runners (handicap) 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th

Australia or South Africa

Runners Winning places
3 – 7 runners 1st and 2nd
8 – 15 runners 1st, 2nd and 3rd
16+ runners (handicap or non-handicap) 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th

You can see this information on the Betfair website:

You must remember that Betfair is totally different from normal Bookmakers as it’s a market in which people have the free choice to lay or back horses however they want.

If someone is prepared to take the risk of laying a horse in a 3 horse race with 2 payout positions then it is up to him and I have seen 3 horse races on Betfair with 2 payout positions many times.

I have also seen on big race days like the Grand National, Cheltenham or Royal Ascot multiple place markets alongside the standard one.

You will notice these special markets by the abbreviations to the side of them such as 5TBP (which means 5 To Be Placed).

I have seen many place markets on certain days including a 20 To Be Placed market on the 2013 Grand National day!

The odds were obviously very low but still the place market existed if you wanted to use it.

However I do not use these “special” markets for obtaining my prices with the AutoBOT and I always use the standard Place market taking the number of place payout positions  right from the Betfair API.

Therefore if you are following place based systems which are doing very well at the moment, returning daily profits of over £100 at £2 stakes, then just because you see a race with 5 tips, or results that show 3 winners in a 6 horse race don’t automatically think that the system is wrong!

Also please remember that when following a place system it is the high priced place tips that get into the place positions that make up the majority of the profit and negate any losses.

Whilst you could try and just narrow down your bets to the higher priced bets they are not going to come in all the time but you should not automatically rule out a system just because it is telling you to put 5 place bets on in an 9 runner race.


  • A favourite wins roughly 33% of all races.
  • A favourite wins 50% of races where it is an odds-on favourite e.g 4/5 or like Big Buck’s or Frankel 1/8.
  • A favourite places roughly 70% of the time – depending on the course!

So favourites might make up the majority of your place winnings but it is the 20/1 and 40/1 (SP win price) that people are laying at prices of 8.00 and above in the place markets on Betfair that make the system work.

Just one of these runners getting into the places can bring profitability to your betting for that race or even your whole day!

For example on the 6th May 2013 I managed to get a place price of 20.00 on the 3rd placed horse International Love in the 15:15 at Kempton Park even though it’s win price SP was 33/1.

On the same day I also managed to get a place price of 9.60 on the runner up Triumphant in a 5 runner race at The Curragh, also at 15:15 that had a win SP of 20/1. That’s almost half the winning price for a place in only a 5 horse race. Some would call that crazy but I call it an opportunity for making money!

This just goes to show you that big place prices are available and it is these big winners that make the majority of your place system profit.

Check the course bias charts out for a list of courses where favourites do better or worse in the win markets or the place markets.

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