The “place bet” in horse racing betting is a wager that any one horse is going to finish in the top two of a race. In this case, you’ll said to be “betting on the horse to place”. The place bet, along with the win bet and the show bet, is considered a “straight bet”. All other parimutuel wagers are considered exotic bets.

Place Bet Odds

You’ll find the odds on the place bet aren’t nearly as good as the win bet, since you win in one of two different scenarios, instead of just the one. If you make this wager on the favorite in the race, you’re often seeing odds-on bets or close to even-money wagers.

Potential Payoffs On Straight Place Bets

The place bet is a good proposition if you feel good about one of the horses that’s further down in the field, but you don’t necessarily feel good enough about the wager that you think it’s going to win. In this case, the place bet still tends to have pretty good payouts. Another option is to find that one of the 3 or 4 favorites you like best and giving it an extra shot at paying off by betting the place bet.

Horse Racing Place Bet Example

To use an example, Nehro was a lot of people’s pick in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, especially when the horse drew an outside position on the post. While it’s odds were set at 6-to-1, though, another horse was the favorite at 4-to-1. If you weren’t entirely comfortable with Nehro winning, but you thought it was one of the top two horses in the race, you could have made a place bet. With its second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (second to a 30-to-1 horse), Nehro would have paid off.

Across The Board Betting

If you’ve ever seen horse track betting portrayed in movies or on television, you’ve probably seen the “Across the Board” bet wagered. This means you are betting on a horse to “win, place, or show”, and it’s the most common depiction of place bets in the pop culture.

When you place this bet, you are making a bet on one horse, but it’s actually three separate wagers on the same horse. If the horse finishes in 3rd place, you win the show bet and are paid off once. If the horse finishes 2nd, you win the show bet and the place bet and you’re paid off twice. If the horse finishes 1st, you win the show, place, and win bets and are paid three times on the odds.