Obviously for placing, rather than winning you will get smaller odds than the win odds. The place terms for an event will be advertised on that event by the online bookmakers. For instance, you may bet on Andy Murray at 4/1 to win the US Open Tennis Championship. The place terms may be: 1/2 odds 1,2.
This means to place he must be in the first two of the tournament (ie: make the final). If he does place then you get ½ the win odds for your place bet ie: you get 4/1 for your win bet and half those odds are 2/1 for your place bet.
With regards to fixed odds horse and dog racing betting, particularly common with UK bookmakers, place terms will be advertised on the races in question but these may alter if there are non-runners.
The place terms for daily racing will be settled according to how many runners actually run in a race, not what the place terms were when you placed your bet. So if there are non-runners in the race after you have placed your bet then the place terms for your bet may change because of this.
The place terms for ante-post (future) racing are settled according to the place terms at the time the bet was taken. In UK horse and dog races the place terms are an industry standard and are the same for all bookmakers:
- 1-4 runners: win only.
- 5-7 runners: 1/4 odds a place for 1,2.
- 8+ runners: 1/5 odds a place for 1,2,3.
- 12-15 runners in handicaps only: 1/4 odds a place 1,2,3
- 16+ runners in handicaps only: 1/4 odds a place 1,2,3,4.
The place terms in other sporting events will be advertised on the event in question, but do generally follow the pattern above.
Your online bookmaker or sportsbook may sometimes offer better place terms than normal as part of a promotion. For instance they might offer ‘1/4 odds a place 1,2,3,4 and 5’ on some big races.
You tend to see that happening on something like the Grand National or a golf tournament. In golf, there are such huge fields that the bookies will sometimes bet down to six places or more just to get your custom.