Place betting markets are often given descriptive names, such as “to finish in the top three”. The number of places paid will depend on the size of the field. For example, bookmakers may offer to pay up to seven places in a golf event, or just two places in a horse race with a small field. If an event draws a field of fewer than five competitors, place betting may not be offered.
Place betting is useful because the risks are lower than for outright bets on winners. However, the tradeoff is that you'll have to accept lower odds.
At the start of the Premier League season, a market is offered on which teams will finish in the top four at the end of the season. A leading bookmaker such as bet365 offers odds on every team in the Premiership finishing in the top four.
You believe that Newcastle United will finish in the top four, so you bet on the club achieving a top four finish at a price of 3/1. If Newcastle United finishes the Premiership season placed in first, second, third or fourth position, your bet will pay out. If the club finishes in fifth place or lower, your bet will lose.
An insurebet is a type of place bet offered on horse races. This betting option insures your stake in the event that a horse you back places but fails to win.
For example, if you back a horse and it comes second instead of winning outright, the stake you wagered will be refunded. The disadvantage of insurebets is that they offer lower odds than outright bets on winners. Also, unlike a place bet, your bet won’t win you anything if the horse you back achieves a place but doesn’t come in first.
When to bet on places
Place betting is a good way to reduce risk when betting on the outcome of a tournament. It’s particularly useful for unpredictable events with large fields, where competitors carry high prices – like for one of the golf majors. In events like these, a place bet has a much higher probability of winning than a bet on an outright winner.
Place betting is also useful for events in which competition is simply too tight to call an outright winner, like the men’s draw at a grand slam tennis tournament. In this type of situation, a place bet is a logical option because you can still generate a win if the player you back makes the final but fails to win the overall tournament.
What to take into account for place betting:
- Don’t look only at wins in form statistics: When reviewing the form of competitors, remember that a competitor may place on a consistent basis without winning. In fact, a competitor who alternates between winning and putting in dismal performances is a very poor place option compared to a competitor who consistently comes close to winning. If a competitor has placed in four previous tournaments or races, place betting is a good option.
- Watch for place specials: Some bookmakers offer to pay additional places in high-profile races, golf tournaments and other major sporting events. These betting specials are usually offered just before the start of an event. It’s a good idea to shop around for these specials, which can significantly increase the chance that your place bets will pay out.