Side Market Bets – Why You Should Consider Them

When you are looking at betting, most people consider finding the winner to be the most important bet. Of course, in some ways it is, but actually there is a lot more profit to be made in the side markets.

Side market bets are the smaller markets that allow you to bet in slightly different ways. The biggest example is the place market. For a while you could only bet on the place market using Betfair and the Tote but now bookmakers are starting to open up these markets with William Hill leading the way.

Other better known markets include the forecast and the tricast. To win these bets you need to predict the order that the first two or three horses will finish in respectively.

For those of us who have the ability to overcome long losing streaks without going on tilt, these markets can be the most lucrative places to bet.

They are only suitable if you are comfortable with long losing streaks however because the bets are harder to win and so you win less often. I am going to assume that because you are reading this then you take your betting seriously and you understand that losing streaks are part of winning.

This leads me on to explain why these side markets are such good betting propositions!

To make a profit from horse racing, or any other form of sports betting, you need to be better than the majority of punters. It is the mass punters who decide on the odds. Of course, the bookies make the final decisions but their decision is based on where the majority of punters are putting their money.

It is this phenomenon that allows us to know that the mass of punters are generally good at finding the winner. The favourites win more often than any other runner. But, the favourites don’t make a profit because all of those punters know they win more than any other runner and so the odds being offered are too low.

This is why you hear successful punters (myself included) banging on about value odds time and time again. It is the only way to be successful in this game.

However, it is much harder for the mass of punters to predict more complex situations. The next most complex situation after which horse is going to be the winner, is the place market where you need to predict which horses will come in the top 2 or 3 finish positions.

The mass of punters are still pretty good at predicting the place market, but not as good as the winning market. But when we start getting to the more complex side markets such as forecasts, tricasts, exactas etc… the mass of punters are no longer very good at predicting them.

Imagine walking up to someone you have never met in the bookies and asking them which horses they think would come first, second and third in the right order and the probability of it happening. I would pretty much guarantee that they would be a long way off the mark.

This is where our profit comes in. Because the mass punters are not very good at predicting these side markets, we can get huge value in the odds. Huge value in the odds turns into huge profits, which is something that we all want.

So, next time you are thinking about developing a betting strategy or system then consider developing one that bets in the side markets. It may take a bit more time and you may have longer losing streaks but, when you look back over the next year of using it, you are going to be pleased that you did!

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. So for example £100.00 Wager on one Race Dutch the top 3 selections from your spread sheet.
    ( contender finder) and allow 50% of that wager for a 20/80 on your top selection to preform well so to be placed at least.
    You then use 70 % for the other two selections on the win dutch which will leave you 30% for Trifecta Exacta F/c or Tri Cast.
    I have a spread sheet that works all of that out for me so I can now find my Contenders, Dutch up to six horses and do 20/80 on my top one with exotics on the tote too.

    Any one interested? I can let you have details of where to obtain this 20/80 specific Dutching calculator. It is not my work Howard Jones is the Author and he wants to sell if there is enough interest. How ever I got a free copy by being a member of the same website.

    1. I am not sure how you are working out the percentages. I have you with 150% of your stake covered. From the £100 I would probably use £50 on the dutch, £25 on the 20/80’s and the rest on exotics.

      1. £100 viz £50 for the dutch as this is 50%
        70% of next 50 = £35.00 on the 20/80 £7.00 win and £28 place.

        £15.00 goes on exotics like Trifecta etc.
        Total £100.00 on that race/wager.

        Depending on price of each horse of course.
        Three can be covered but even up to six works

        1. Gotcha, I thought that was what you meant but always worth double checking 🙂


    1. Hi Maruti, thank you for your comment. Please search this blog using the search tool bar in the side column. There are numerous articles on different ways to do this and is outside the scope of a comment to give a method.

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