The Grand National is a British institution of international status, with up to 600 million viewers around the globe. In this rather handy little article we’ll take a look at betting terminology, Grand National tips, and the technicalities of making a bet.

Online betting is fairly prevalent now, and there are plenty of ‘free bets’ for those signing up to a gambling site – particularly when the Grand National comes around. For those who aren’t signed up or don’t wish to be, you’ll be required to make the trip to the bookies. This can be a thrill in itself with the actual exchange of the betting slip and ‘real’ money stakes. Take note – any potential punter shouldn’t be daunted by gambling lingo and the act of filling in a betting slip.

First off, you’ll need to choose your horse. The Grand National is a race with a lot of uncertainty and even the most seasoned punters are taking something of a shot in the dark. This means that a lot of wise gamblers look for ‘value’ in the National, a strong jumper with good odds, often ‘each-way’. Last year’s winner – Auroras Encore – started out at 66/1, then there’s the 2012 winner, Neptune Collonges, who came in at around 33/1. If you’d put a £2 ‘win’ bet on Auroras Encore at 66/1, you’d be looking at getting £134 back (2 x 66 = £132 plus your £2 stake).

For example, if you put £10 on a 2/1 shot, the bookie would return £30. That’s 2x£10, plus your stake.

Types of odds:

People often struggle with the odds at the bookies, wondering exactly what they’ll get in return for their bet. The Grand National can be simpler than most normal betting, because all individual horses backed to win will start out at long odds.

The short odds can get more complicated. If you make a selection which is ‘odds-on’ or ‘short odds’ the equation switches around.

If, for example, you backed the five favourites, you might get odds of around 1/1 or less. 1/1 is called ‘Even-money’ in betting terms. ‘Odds-on’ is when you’re offered say 1/2. An even-money or odds-on bet can be a good bet.

If you staked £10 on a 1/1 pick (Evens), the bookie would return £20: that’s 1x£10, plus that all-important stake. People tend to neglect short-odds thinking that they can’t make much money, and this is fair enough, but if you’re gambling regularly, odds-on bets are part of the game. If you made an odds-on selection at odds of 1/2 (0.5 as a decimal), and you staked £10, the bookie would return £15: 0.5 x £10, plus your stake.

Remember, if you’re making a ‘£10 each-way’ bet, you’ll stake £20: £10 on a win and £10 on a 
placing – usually first, second, third or fourth. If your horse comes second, thurd or fourth, the bookie pays out
¼ of the given odds. You need healthy odds or a big stake to extract best value from betting each way, and it does give another dimension to your betting strategy.

Betting slips:

Now that you’ve begun to understand the odds, we’ll move on to how to fill in a betting slip.

On National day, most big bookies will have simple ‘quick-pick’ type forms on which to bet, easing the process: simply tick your horse and nominate a stake. If they don’t, simply grab a betting slip, write the time of the race, and the event ‘Grand National’, the name of the horse, then look for the current odds on the TV screens. If you’re taking current odds, mark them on the slip. Finally, write your stake in the box provided. Good luck!

Extra info (should you need it):

Betting Guide: An easy to digest info graphic
Betting Slip Guide: An instructional ‘how to’ write out a betting slip

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