Updated: Mar 28, 2021
As most of the bookmakers are now offering Eurovision final odds, you may notice that many of them have an each-way option (often denoted with an 'E/W' or 'EW' label to tick in your betslip). This can be an interesting and profitable way to bet if you choose your selections carefully.
What is each-way betting?
An each-way bet is a type for bet where you are effectively placing two bets simultaneously - one on the selection to win and one on the selection to place (come in the top number of places). The bet is placed in the form of a single transaction, but the stake that you enter is doubled so that an identical stake is placed on the win part and the place part of the bet. This means that if your selection comes in second place (for example) you would win the place part of the bet, but lose the win part, and the amount you are returned depends on the odds.
There are two terms to an each-way bet: the each way fraction, and the number of places. The odds of your win bet will be the odds shown on screen, while the odds of your place bet are determined by applying the each-way fraction to the (fractional) win odds. In the example below Sweden's win odds are 12/1 and the each way fraction is 1/4, so the odds on the place portion of the each-way bet will be 3/1, and this will be paid out if Sweden come in 1st-4th.
In general, you want to place an each-way bet when you are looking to hedge your chances – i.e. if you are confident a song will do well, but also want a payout if it falls slightly short of the win. They are generally popular in markets with a lot of runners; such as golf, horse racing, and the Eurovision final.
Each-way is especially good for casual betting on the Eurovision final because the contest only comes once a year, and no one wants to make good call only for your song to fall slightly short and have nothing to show for it.
How to get value from each-way
If you are purely looking for value, then each-way betting can also provide you with great opportunities (The concept of value and how to calculate it are introduced in our winning principles article).
The fact that the fraction between the win and place odds is the same for all runners in the market means that inevitably some runners will be better each-way value than others, and it may mean that some selections that are bad value win bets become good value each-way bets. This will generally occur for selections toward the middle of the pack, but more rarely for long shots or favourites.
Songs that have a reliable core audience, and so low variability in how well they are expected to perform can be considered 'safe' picks, and are generally good value for each-way bets. Conversely for 'hit-or-miss' songs (or indeed for songs that have not been released) you are better off just betting on the outright win, as you would get poor value on the place part of an each-way bet.
Lid's podcast tip for this week on Sweden each-way is a great example of a 'safe' pick. Sweden have a proven record of scoring well with the juries consistently. Coupling this with Tusse's strong performance with the televoters on Saturday and Sweden being likely undervalued in the market at the moment, we think that this is a good value bet.
(you can still get 12/1 on Boylesports at the time of writing - with 1/4 odds for 4 places)
Note: It's important not to confuse 'safe' songs with 'generic', 'decent', or 'ok' songs. Remember, being everyone's 10th favourite gets nowhere in Eurovision.
If you want to go down a more mathematical route, the exchange markets can often be used as a proxy for the probability of the outcome (read about exchange markets here). This means you can calculate the value of an each-way bet exactly by using the win and place prices for your selection on the exchange. This would involve calculating the value of the win and place portions of your bet separately and adding them together. Often the win portion will be bad value, but the place portion will more than make up for that.
If you have any questions about each-way betting then let us know.
Gamble responsibly: BeGambleAware