Every single form of sports betting, bar none, has both positive and negative connotations. It’s up to us as punters to balance them out.
In the case of ante-post betting, it’s all about planning ahead in order to try and get good value for money.
For football bettors, the bulk of each squad is known before a ball is kicked for the season. The fixtures are also released early. You get a sense of roughly where each team stands and for some of us, that doesn’t match up with what the bookmakers think.
The information we have leads some of us to place longer-term bets on a team to win the title or to finish in the top 6, or a horse perhaps to win a big race. Betting well in advance of a result is known as ante-post betting.
Ante-Post Betting Explained
Ante-post betting is known by other names depending on the territory you bet in. For example; it could be called ‘future’ betting.
That’s in essence what ante-post bets are. Future bets. Depending on what sport you are betting in however, an ante-post bet will have different official rules.
In horse racing, a bet on a race is considered ante-post if it is placed before the final declarations are made official. After that, you are considered to be betting ‘on the day’ and so normal betting rules apply.
Normal rules in racing mean that if your horse doesn’t run, you get your money back. This doesn’t happen with general ante-post bets. So why do people place them?
Well, it’s all about the odds. When there are many horses in contention for a race or before we know the form, the odds on horses in a given race are huge in the ante-post market compared to on the day, mitigating the risk of losing the stake.
If you take 33/1 about a horse for the Derby and then it wins the Dante at York, it could be the 2/1 favourite! Similarly in football, if you take 5/2 about a team to win the title and they win their first four games easily, they may be odds-on to win before you know it.
Ante-post bets are made available on a host of sports. You can bet on the World Cup or any other football tournament in advance, you can bet on rugby championships and tournaments, cricket, racing and many more.
Benefits of Ante-Post Betting
Don’t take our list of positives and negatives about ante-post betting as the defined balance. What you need to make your bet worthwhile will change depending on the circumstances.
In general, these are some of the major benefits of betting ante-post on sports:
- No Rule 4 Deductions – This is a big one for horse racing punters. If you’ve taken 5/1 about a horse ante-post, it goes off 5/2 and then a 40p in the £1 R4 deduction is made, it doesn’t affect you. Your price is locked in.
- Non-Runner, No Bet – Again for racing punters, while there is an assumed risk with ante-post bets, some firms still offer good odds but with a NRNB deal. This way, you are under ante-post rules but if your horse doesn’t make the race, you get your money back.
- Better Odds – This is THE main reason for taking an ante-post bet. Why else would you risk it? Football and other sports punters may get better odds, horse racing bettors most certainly will. Even just a week or so before a race, you may get 10/1 on a horse that goes off 3/1 favourite when the final field is known.
- Potential Cash Out Opportunities – This is a good one for football punters. You may place your ante-post bet to win a certain amount, but may be happy with any positive figure. You could take 5/2 about a team to win a cup or league and, after winning their early games, their odds may tumble and you may be offered a quick cash-out without having to wait all season to see the bet through.
Downsides of Ante-Post Betting
While some of the above may make your potential ante-post bet seem very inviting, remember these typical negatives of long-term sports betting also:
- Handicap Marks Can Change – One for the racing fans. You may back a horse in a big-betting handicap when it is rated 85, but the horse may win again easily and be put up to a mark of 95 which may make it very difficult for the horse in question to win a competitive race.
- Targets Change – Again with horse racing, targets for a horse can be changed. You may think a horse is aiming for the 2000 Guineas and you are confident enough in its ability to place an ante-post bet, only for the trainer or owner to favour France or waiting for Royal Ascot in which case your bet is lost.
- Injuries – Once more within racing, horses are elite equine athletes and not machines. A horse may be heading for a race you’ve backed it in, only to suffer a setback and be ruled out which happens very often.
- Change in Form – A simple one. You may back a horse, football or rugby team for the right reasons, only for them to suffer a major loss of form for some reason. This can ruin their chances of winning and along with it, your bet.
- New Signings – You could be pretty certain you’ve got the right team in your ante-post football bet, only for their main rivals to make some surprising signings. At the top level, one outstanding player can make all the difference and so this can scupper your bet in one fell swoop. It was once said in football media during January; “if Man United sign Berbatov, just give them the title now”. They did, and they won.
- No Money Back – Just as perceived great value for money is the main positive ante-post angle, not getting your money back should something go wrong is the main risk, at least within horse racing.
- No Best Odds Guaranteed – Horse racing is the most popular sport for ante-post betting. Punters are now used to getting ‘BOG’ deals every day, which don’t count when it comes to ante-post wagers.
- The Wait – Taking all sports into account, the biggest negative about ante-post betting is the wait. You can back a team to win a match or a horse to win a race and know within minutes whether or not you’re successful. Ante-post betting however requires much more patience.
Avoiding the Ante-Post Pitfalls
Some of the above negatives can be mitigated just slightly.
Horse Racing – go for those horses that look certain to get a run. Injury, weather or a change of plans aside, if a horse is guaranteed to get into a big handicap courtesy of a high enough official mark, then that adds a little insurance. You don’t want everything looking good for your ante-post bet, only for the horse to be balloted out.
Football and Other Team Sports – odds for winning a cup or a league can change quite quickly. You may take 9/4 for a team to win the league only for them to start slowly and be 3/1 before long. If you like a team, accept they will lose and draw sometimes. Wait for those bad results to happen first and for their odds to rise, before placing your long-term bet and standing by your team.