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What is ante-post betting?

Unlock the thrill of anticipation with ante-post bets!

In this type of betting, bettors trade on the outcome of an event far in advance. An example of this would be trading on the Grand National way before the event kicks off. Whilst this type of betting may have enhanced odds, it also increases the risk factor.

You'll still get the odds that were in effect at the time you placed your bet, giving you better prices than those on offer closer to the event.

Why should you try our ante-post betting? You'll receive better odds, but keep in mind possible curveballs like horse injuries or withdrawals. Allow us to better explain this type of betting below!

Ante-post bets on horse racing

More runners means more excitement, which is why bookmakers and exchanges offer a wider selection of horses on ante-post markets.

The catch? Your horse might not even run, and selections in ante-post horse racing markets are deemed losing bets if they become non-runners - meaning no reduction factor is applied. The only exception to this is when a horse is balloted out of a race, in such cases your stake is returned.

'Balloted out' means owners wanted to run the horse but it wasn’t selected because more higher-rated horses were accepted than there were places available. Read Smarkets's ante-post rules for more.

But here's the thing, if you trade wisely and spot undervalued horses early, you could trade out for a profit. Take for example Don Cossack, the horse was available at odds of 7.50 in the ante-post market for the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup but shortened to 3.25 by the off.

How to calculate your payout for a back bet on an ante-post market

Looking to pocket some profit from your ante-post bet? Let’s break it down with a real example, imagine backing Don Cossack with £100 odds of 7.50 to win the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Step 1: Calculate return excluding commission

It’s calculated as: Odds * Stake = £ return

So in our example: 7.50 * 100 = £750.

If Don Cossack won, your bet would return £750 - including stake, leaving you with a £650 profit.

However, because betting exchanges don’t add a margin into the odds - unlike bookmakers - you now have to subtract the commission from the profit.

Step 2: Calculate return with commission

It’s calculated as: ((Stake * (Odds -1)) * Commission rate

In our example that would be: ((100 * (7.50 -1)) * 2% = £13 commission.

This bet therefore would be charged £13 commission, meaning your return would be £737 - a profit of £637.

Despite the commission charge, you will find that Smarkets has the best price - a result of our industry-low 2% commission on winning bets only.

Once you have learnt how to calculate betting margins, you can compare margins across bookmakers and exchanges to find who offers you the best value odds.

How to calculate your payout for a lay bet on an ante-post market

Unlike a bookmaker when betting on an ante-post market, you can also lay the result. As an example let’s say you lay Don Cossack not to win with a stake of £200 at odds of 5.60.

Similarly to calculating your payout for a back bet, there are two stages for a lay bet.

Step 1: Calculate return excluding commission

It’s calculated as: Stake = profit

So in our example: £200 = £200

Therefore if any other horse than Don Cossack won the Gold Cup, your bet would win, giving you a £200 profit (before commission).

Step 2: Calculate return with commission

Now you must calculate your lay bet profit, with the exchange commission factored in. At Smarkets - 2% commission - you can use the following calculation:

Stake * 0.98 = profit

In our example that would be: 200 * 0.98 = £196.

Therefore you would be charged £4 commission, meaning your profit would be £196.

It’s important to note when laying outcomes on a betting exchange, you should be aware of your liability - the amount you would payout if the game had finished if Don Cossack had won. This article explains how to calculate liability on an exchange.

For this example if Don Cossack had won, your liability would have been deducted, resulting in a loss of £920.

Apply this to betting

You now understand what an ante-post betting market is, how to make a back and lay bet and how to calculate your payout - you're equipped for success in this market!

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