What is a Saver Bet and When to Use One?

What is a Saver Bet?




In the betting world, horse racing presents punters with more options than many other sports. In a football Match Result market, for example, we are faced with a simple choice between Team A, Team B, or the Draw. In contrast, when attempting to predict the result of a horse race, we must select between Horse A, Horse B, Horse C, Horse D, Horse E…. and so on, up to however many runners there happen to be.

Given this greater number of options, it is all the more difficult to zero in on just one selection. There may be times when we strongly fancy one runner but are a little worried about one other horse in particular. Sod’s law dictates that should we back only our main fancy, the horse we were concerned about may well come and beat it. A frustrating occurrence, and one which some punters attempt to guard against by placing a “saver bet”.

What is a Saver Bet?

A saver bet is simply a bet which aims to at least cover the stake for your main bet. Say, for example, that you have rigorously studied the form for a given race and decided that Randolph’s Reign represents an excellent value bet at odds of 2/1 (3.0). However, you also respect the chances of the talented but inconsistent Paul The Plodder who is priced at 10/1 (11.0). This could be a good situation for a saver bet, which would work as follows.

If your standard full bet stake is £20, you may go ahead and place this on Randolph’s Reign at 2/1. What should the stake then be on your saver bet? Thankfully there is a very easy formula to figure this out:

Saver Bet Stake = Full Bet Stake / (Decimal Odds of Saver Bet Selection – 1)

In our example, this would result in the following:

Saver Bet Stake = £20 / (11.0 – 1) = £20 / 10 = £2

Using this method, our total outlay on the race would be £22 (£20 main bet + £2 Saver Bet). If Randolph’s Reign wins, we will receive a total of £60 (£20 @ 2/1 = £60) for a profit of £38. If Paul The Plodder wins we receive exactly £22 (£2 @ 10/1 = £22), seeing us break even on the race.

When Might You Want to Use a Saver Bet?

So that in essence is how a saver bet works, but when might you wish to use one?

The most common reason will be as described above, i.e., those instances where you really fancy one horse, but are a little worried about another and wish to place a cheap “insurance” bet. Other circumstances where you may be particularly inclined to place a saver bet include:

  • When you like two horses, but only one is a good value price - Having analysed a race, you may believe that Horse A and Horse B have an equally excellent chance of winning. Horse A is available at 4/1, whilst Horse B is priced at only Evs. In this instance, Horse A clearly represents the better value bet and should carry your full stake. However, as you rate the two horses as having a roughly equal chance of winning, you may wish to avoid any heartache by placing a saver on the Even money shot..
  • When you have doubts about your main bet - There may be occasions when you have reservations about your main selection. Perhaps the runner is returning from a long break, or maybe the trainer has been in mixed form of late. Whatever the case may be, the more doubts you have about your main bet, the more inclined you should be to place a saver. Should you have no doubts, you will possibly be better off ignoring the saver and instead adding the saver stake to your main bet.
  • If conditions have turned against you. - Say for example you place your main bet on a runner believing that the going will be good, only for a late downpour to turn conditions soft. In this instance, it may not be a bad idea to place a saver on a confirmed mudlark in the field.

Are They a Good Idea?

In the long run, whether saver bets are a good idea is dependent upon the odds at which they are placed. If placed at poor value odds, they will lose money over time – and conversely, if placed at good value odds they are likely to return a profit. Should the maximising of profit be your one and only objective, you should be confident that both the main bet and the saver bet represent good value for money. And remember, in any given race it is usually much easier to find one good value bet, than two.

Possibly the most useful function of a saver bet is to reduce volatility in your betting results. Backing two runners in a single race will invariably produce more winners than backing only one - meaning you ought to be collecting at least some sort of return more often. Even if the winnings from the saver bets do no more than cover your stake, they can still help to smooth out your betting graph and decrease the chances of a long and demoralising sequence of losses. For some punters, this element alone can make saver bets seem like a good idea.

In general, sound advice would be to avoid seeking out a saver bet for the sake of it. However, if one does stand out like a sore thumb, and the odds at least seem fair, it may be worth considering.


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