Grand National Betting Explained: How To Bet on Aintree’s Big Race

This is the Grand National betting explained. We explain how to place a bet on the Grand National as well as the options you have available for your Aintree bet. If you are an infrequent punter then we will walk you through the options that exist for betting on the big race.

Each-Way Betting On The Big Race

The most fun and popular way to get involved with the Grand National is to have an each-way bet. There are 34 runners, the maximum allowed to take part.

An each-way bet is two bets in one, one to win and one to place. So a £10ew bet on a horse at odds of 12/1 costs you £20 and consists of these two wagers:

  • £10 to win at 12/1 = £120 profit and your £10 stake returned = £130 returned to you.
  • £10 to place at 12/1. Place terms are ¼ odds, so your odds for a place on a 12/1 shot are 3/1 (12 divided by 4) = £30 profit and your £10 place bet stake returned = £40 returned.

So if that 12/1 shot won then you would get back £130 + £40 = £170 in your betting account, of which £150 would be pure profit and £20 would be the stakes returned to you.

You can read this page about how to place a bet, it is very easy: How To Place A Bet With An Online Bookie.

Check Place Terms On Offer

The bookmakers sometimes offer enhanced place terms for the Grand National. The usual place terms are ¼ odds 1,2,3,4. That means if your selection comes in the first four of the race then your place bet will win.

However you can often better that. Bookies like Bet365 are offering places down to the first SIX home. That means if your horse comes sixth they would pay you out on your place wager. That is actually pretty generous, certainly in comparison to the normal terms.

If you want to know who is offering which place terms this year then take a look at this page: Grand National Place Terms. You will see a detailed odds table there. At the top of the table you will see the up-to-date place terms for each listed bookie. That is also the page to discover which bookmaker is offering the biggest and best odds on your Aintree selection.

Grand National Win Bet

Just Bookies advises having an each-way bet on the big race, as described above. You could just have a Win Bet but then if your horse is second you would not get a pick-up and would wish you had gone each-way.

Because of the competitive nature of the Aintree showpiece race, even the favourites tend to be at nice each-way prices. So just having a Win Bet would be a bit foolhardy in our opinion.

The Grand National is a 34-runner handicap, where each horse carries different weights according to their respective abilities. The topweight is theoretically the best horse in the race, so carries more weight than his rivals. Because it is framed by those conditions, you can appreciate the event is always wide open. Even the outsiders have a chance. In 2013 66/1 Auroras Encore won while in 2009 Mon Mome prevailed at 100/1. In 2016 a 33/1 shot won, Rule The World. In fact for the four races between 2012 and 2016 the shortest winning price was 25/1. The reason to make this point is to drum home the message that each-way betting, while it may be the proverbial housewives’ way of wagering, is certainly the shrewd option for this particular race.

You could even split your stakes and go each-way on a couple of horses, maybe one that is fancied in the betting and another that is a longshot you like.

Is There A Grand National Free Bet Available?

As well as checking out the place terms, as we have already discussed, you could look out for a free bet. If you are a new customer then a bookmaker will often offer a free bet promotion.

The bookies have differing approaches on Grand National day. Some remove their regular welcome bonus offers altogether. They do this because they know there will be a rush of new clients anyway, so why give them a bonus? Other bookmakers retain their free bets in order to maximise sign-ups.

If you click through to this section of our Just Bookies home page on Grand National day itself, then it will state which bookies are still offering a free bet for the big race and what that free bet actually is.

How To Pick Your Selection

You have a number of ways to choose your selection:

Form: If you are a once a year punter then it could be a big ask to research the impenetrable form lines of all the racehorses. A few key points to make are:

  • You need to back a horse that has won over three miles or further as the Grand National is over four miles and needs a horse with extreme stamina.
  • They must have a good jumping record. You don’t want to see ‘F’ (meaning ‘fallen’) or ‘U’ (meaning ‘unseated rider’) in their form figures. Those would suggest the horse makes mistakes. You can’t win the Grand National if you jump badly.
  • Another historic trend is that horses that have run well in the Grand National before tend to run well again as it is such a unique event. The ‘horses for courses’ proverb really does apply to this race. So look for horses that have placed in the race before, but avoid them if they are getting on in years. Do not back any horse that is 12 years or older as they have a poor record.

By The Horse’s Name: It is well known that many once-a-year bettors pick a horse by its name. For instance here at Just Bookies we had a good friend called Al, and while it is actually his wife who is the weird one, they all backed a runner called Weird Al in 2012. The horse fell at the fourth last fence. So when the same horse turned up in the Grand National again a year later, they bet on Weird Al once more. Guess what happened this time? That’s right, he pulled up and they all lost for a second time. It didn’t work for them, but anyone called Arthur will have been in the money when One For Arthur romped into the history books at 14/1 in 2017. Maybe Tiger Woods backed the winner in 2018 and 2019, the years that Tiger Roll dominated!

Betting on the race is meant to be fun. Have a bet, sit down and watch events unfold on the TV. So picking a horse merely by the name is not the crime of the century, and in such a competitive handicap race as the Grand National, they do all genuinely have a chance. The outsiders have every chance nowadays, because they are ‘in the handicap’ ie: carrying their correct allotted weight. It used to be, many years ago, that the longshots were generally carrying much more than they should have been (they were all ‘out of the handicap’). Don’t let this confuse you: The take-home from this is that every horse in the race does have a genuine chance (because they are all in the handicap) – if anyone tells you a horse has no hope in this particular race, they are wrong.

Picking Up Your Grand National Winnings

Even more fun than watching the spectacular race unfold, is getting the winner or a big-priced placed horse. It is very easy to collect your winnings as the online bookmaker sites will ‘settle’ the race within 20 minutes of it finishing. That means when you log back into your betting account with one of the major bookies the money you have won will be waiting for you and you can withdraw it back by the method you deposited it. That most likely would have been by credit or debit card or possibly via an e-wallet such as Paypal.

We hope this article has explained how to place a bet on the Grand National, but more than that we hope you back this year’s winner.