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Grand National 2018 - Guide to betting

How do the odds work?

The odds represent the amount you will win for each unit you bet. The odds can be presented in two ways, either as a fraction (eg 20/1) or as a decimal (eg 21.0).

To work out the amount of money you will win apply the following:

For fractional odds multiply your stake by the fraction and then add back your stake. 

For example, if you place a £5 bet at odds of 20/1 then, if your bet wins, the bookies will pay you back 20 x £5 = £100, plus you get your £5 back, so an overall return of £105.

For decimal odds, just multiply by the odds to get your total return, so a £5 bet at decimal odds of 21.0 will return £5 x 21.0 = £105.

You may have noticed from the above that decimal odds = fractional odds plus 1.

If you don’t want to do your own calculations, then you can simply use our betting odds calculator here.

What is an each way bet?

You can place a bet on a horse to win or you can place an each way bet.  An each way bet means that your horse doesn’t need to win for you to win your bet, it just needs to be “placed”. 

For the horse to be placed it will generally need to finish in the top 4, but always check with the bookies how many places are paid for an each way bet.  Our list of odds will tell you how many places are being paid by each bookmaker.  For example, Totesport will pay out an each way bet if your horse finishes in the top 4 whereas RaceBets and Bet Victor will pay out if your horse finishes in the top 6!

To place an each way bet, you need to double your stake.  For example, to place a bet of £1 each way, you will need to pay £2.  A bet of £5 each way will cost you £10 and so on.

How much do I win with an each way bet?

Again, this depends on the bookies, but again we have highlighted the amounts paid in best odds section of this site at the top of the comparison table.  Most bookies will pay you a quarter of the odds for an each way bet.

As mentioned above, you are basically having 2 bets.  One bet to win and the other bet for the horse to place.  For example, you place a bet of £5 each way on “Three Legged Wonder” at odds of 20/1 (21.0 decimal).  Suppose that your bookie is offering a quarter of the odds if the horse finishes in the top 4.  The amount that will be paid out by the bookie is:

  • If Three Legged Wonder wins: £5 at 20/1 = £105 (£100 plus £5 stake back) plus £5 at 20/1 x ¼ = £30 (£25 plus £5 stake back). Total returns = £135.  Profit = £125.
  • If Three Legged Wonder finishes 2nd, 3rd or 4th then you have lost your “to win” bet, but you will get paid on the place bet: £5 at 20/1 x ¼ = £25 plus you £5 back = £30. 

If Three Legged Wonder finishes outside the top 4 then you have lost your bet.

What does ante-post mean?

Ante-post means placing a bet in advance of the overnight declaration stage of a race.

The overnight declaration stage is usually 10am on the day preceding the race.  For the Grand National, this tends to be 2 days before; the final declaration for the 2018 Grand National is 10 am on 7 April.

Ante-post bet selections that do not take part in the event are usually treated as losers, although there are exceptions.  For example, when the event is abandoned.

Bet selections that are not classed as ante-post, such as horse racing bets placed on the day of race, will be treated as void if they do not take part, and the stake will be returned.

What is No Runner No Bet (NRNB)?

NRNB does what is says on the tin! If you place a bet in advance of a race and your horse doesn’t start that race, then the bookies will give you back your stake.  This is particularly useful for the national as the final 40 runners are not finally confirmed until a couple days before the national.

What is Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG)?

In normal circumstances, when you place a bet in advance of the race, you will be asked whether you want to take the odds as they stand at the time you place the bet or whether you want the odds at the time the race starts (the “starting price”). 

With best odds guaranteed you don’t need to make that choice.  Best odds guaranteed means that if you place a bet on a horse in advance of the race, then that bookmaker will give you the better of the odds at the time when you placed the bet and the odds at the start of the race. 

For example suppose you place a bet on Three Legged Wonder at odds of 20/1 a week before the race; his trainer is then interviewed for a local paper and says he has been running well in training and he loves the heavy ground that is now inevitable due to the rain.  Three Legged Wonder’s odds drop to 10/1, but because you picked a bookie with best odds guaranteed, you will still get paid out at 20/1. Similarly, if Three Legged Wonder’s odds increased to 30/1 by the time of the start of the race, then you would get paid out at 30/1.

Note that BOG does not mean that the bookies offers you better odds than any of the other bookies.  To check that you will need to check our Best Odds page.

What is rule 4?

You may see “rule 4” referred to by the bookmakers, but what does it mean?

Rule 4 refers to Tattersalls rule 4c.  This describes how odds are adjusted when a non-runner is declared.  For example, if there is a race with 10 horses and one horse is declared a non-runner, the remaining horses have a better chance of winning.  The bookies will therefore want to take this into account by reducing the odds.

If the horse declared a non-runner was one of the favourites, then the other horses now have a much better chance of winning and therefore the bookies will want to apply a large reduction.  If the horse dropping out didn’t have much chance of winning anyway, then the deduction will be small. 

The deduction applied therefore depends on the odds of the horse declared a non-runner as per the table below.  

Tattersalls Rule 4c Deductions


Price of non-runner

Deduction from winnings


1/9 or shorter



2/11 to 2/17



1/4 to 1/5



3/10 to 2/7



2/5 to 1/3



8/15 to 4/9



8/13 to 4/7



4/5 to 4/6



20/21 to 5/6



Evens to 6/5



5/4 to 6/4



13/8 to 7/4



15/8 to 9/4



5/2 to 3/1



10/3 to 4/1



9/2 to 11/2



6/1 to 9/1



10/1 to 14/1



Over 14/1

No deduction



Multiple non-runners may require multiple rule 4 deductions to be applied, although the maximum deduction may not exceed 90%.