Betting On The National

Can you imagine my surprise when minutes after the 2021 Grand National weights were revealed yesterday, I discovered that Paddy Power had gone Non-Runner Money Back on the race?

Never has a bookmaker gone out with this offer so quickly before. In fact, in previous years, it’s generally only a couple of weeks before the race that bookmakers start to go NRMB. And there’s a good reason for it.

Currently, there are 105 entries still in contention. Well, 103 technically as Delta Work is injured and Yorkhill has been retired. But still, 103 entries with only 40 allowed to line-up, means Paddy Power could end up returning a huge number of bets.

Non Runner Money Back

With most events happening further into the future, odds are generally advertised as ‘antepost’. This means that if you place a bet and your horse/player doesn’t take part, you lose your bet and the money you spent on it.

But there is an upside to antepost odds in that they are generally much bigger. So for example, Cloth Cap was 25/1 antepost to win the Grand National 2021. Once the odds went to Non Runner Money Back those odds slipped to 12/1.

However, for those of us more risk-averse, the prospect of having a punt on a major outsider without the chance of losing our money is much better.

Paying Out To Five Places

There are specific rules governing the payout of the places in bigger races. ‘Places’ are those that finish but do not win the race.

In the UK bookmakers adhere to the following guidelines:

Terms for Each Way Betting

  • 2-4 runners 1st only
  • 5-7 runners 1st, 2nd
  • 8+ runners 1st, 2nd, 3rd
  • 16+ runner handicaps 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th

So as you can see, bookmakers are only obliged to pay out to the first four places home in the Grand National. However, this is rarely the case. In order to spruce up the virtual shop window and draw in more customers, bookmakers will payout to FIVE places – well, most of them will.

This again is normally promoted closer to the race day. However, following the Non Runner Money Back announcement, both Paddy Power and Betfair have also moved to FIVE places.

This could be enhanced further to six places but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. We’ll take what we can get for the moment.

In terms of the payout, most bookmakers pay their each-way bets at 1/5 of the win odds except in all races of less than 8 runners, or in handicaps of 12 runners or more.

For these races, the place payout is usually 1/4 the win odds. However, in the case of the 2021 Grand National, both Betfair and Paddy Power are paying 1/5 of the win odds for place payouts.

The Competition

So doing my due diligence, I have checked with six other major bookmakers in the UK and none have moved to NRMB odds yet.

Betfred is still offering ante-post odds but is already paying out to five places. The other major players are still ante-post and paying out to four places.

There will of course be other betting promotions in the works and they will start getting churned out quite soon.

Most will be focused on the upcoming Cheltenham Festival but once the curtain is drawn on Prestbury park for another, expect all eyes to turn to Aintree for the greatest race in the world!


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