Each Way Betting and Dead Heats

How Each Way Golf Betting and is Often Affected by the Dead Heat Rule

As we have already discussed, each way betting is a very big part of wagering on golf and when most people are betting on the Open or any other event, an each way bet or two is likely to feature on their slips. This is due to the large fields in golf and the difficult nature of predicting who will a given tournament and the fact that it is common to have several players all very close at the top of the leaderboard.

All of this also means that dead heats are likely and it’s important that you understand dead heat rules if you are going to be placing each way golf bets. Many of our golf betting tips will be each way, whilst the golf betting sites we work with also regularly offer golf offers that centre around each way bets but a dead heat can come as a nasty surprise for a golf betting novice.

What is a Dead Heat?

A dead heat is when two or more competitors cannot be separated in a given sport or event. Perhaps the simplest example of a dead heat comes from the world of horse racing, when two horses cross the finish line at EXACTLY the same time and cannot be separated, even by a photo. If you bet on football you may get a dead heat on a top goalscorer bet, for example if two strikers end the season on 25 goals.

In golf dead heats are virtually unheard of when it comes to betting on the outright winner of a tournament. Whilst it’s far from uncommon for two – or more – players to finish tied after 72 holes, there is usually a play-off to separate the players and the bookies use this and the official tournament result (as decided by the play-off) to settle bets. For example, anyone who bet on Tiger Woods to win the 2008 US Open would have been paid as a winner, whilst anyone who bet (at very long odds no doubt, and hopefully for their sake each way!) on Rocco Mediate, would have had their bet settled as a loser.

Tiger Woods


Dead Heats and Each Way Bets

However, whilst dead heats are almost certain not to have an impact on “win singles”, they do, very frequently, affect each way tournament bets. Most golf bookies pay each way outright winner bets to four places, although the best golf betting sites may well pay to five. For the biggest events, such as the Masters and the other majors, they may well even have promotions that see each way bets paid out as far down as seven or even eight places. Anyone familiar with betting on golf will know that ties in these places are extremely common and this is where the dead heat rule may come into play.

As an example, if we consider the 2015 British Open at St Andrews, we can see that knowledge of the dead heat rule would have been essential for many punters. Eventual winner Zach Johnson finished on -15 along with Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen, which wouldn’t be a problem, with Johnson paid as the tournament winner and the other two receiving full each way payment.

However, next we saw two players tied for fourth, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, whilst beyond that we had a further four players tied for sixth. Let’s say you backed Spieth each way at a bookmaker that was only paying each way to four places. Someone not familiar with dead heat rules might assume they would get paid in full as Spieth, in their eyes, finished fourth.

However, in a sense he finished both fourth and fifth, with his tie for fourth with Day a dead heat for fourth place. Professional tournaments and bookies don’t use countback or any other method to separate tied players (unless it’s for first place) and so in this instance dead heat rules would apply.

Similarly, let’s say you backed Justin Rose to add to his 2013 US Open victory and backed the Englishman each way. He finished tied sixth with four players and had you backed him at a bookie that paid each way wagers down to six, seven or even eight places, his tie for sixth would have invoked the dead heat rule with regards the bet’s payout.


How Does the Dead Heat Rule Payout?

Okay, so we know what the dead heat rule is and why it is important in golf and each way betting. But perhaps the only reason you’re reading this page is because you have an each way bet and you want to know what it will earn you, or why it has paid out what it did.

In logical, abstract, technical terms, to calculate a dead heat payment you divide the stake by the number of people involved in a dead heat. So in a horse race where two horses tie first, half of your stake settles as a win and half as a loss.

Multiple Dead Heats

Things are slightly more complex with each way betting and multiple players involved in the tie, in which case you must take into account how many places are being shared between the players involved in the dead heat.

Here it may be more useful to explain via an example. So, in the case of the two-way tie for fourth, if the bookie pays to four places you would only claim a payout on half your stake, as effectively your player “half” finished fourth and “half” fifth, the latter being outside the designated place terms. If the bookie paid each way bets to five or more places then your bet wins in full (based on the standard each way terms of ¼ of the odds but based on the full stake).

However, considering the four players in a dead heat for sixth, you would need a bookie to pay each way bets to nine places to receive a full payout here. Effectively the player finished ¼ sixth, ¼ seventh, ¼ eighth and ¼ ninth. Let’s say your bet was placed with each way terms of ¼ the odds for a top six finish and you bet £10 at odds of 40/1.

  • £10 each way at 40/1 – your £10 win bet loses but your £10 each way bet wins at 10/1
  • 4 players share 1 valid place – the four players are tied for the final valid place, so only ¼ of your stake wins
  • Total payment – total payment is £2.50 x 10/1 = £27.50 including your returned stake of £2.50 for a total profit of £7.50

If your bookie had paid down to seven places then those four players would have been sharing two paid winning spots. In this instance half of your stake, £5, would have won, for a return of £55.

Dead heat rules, like much in the world of golf betting, are simple when you know how they work. Whilst you might not always like the end result, at least if you understand why you have received a given amount you know you’ve been treated fairly and paid correctly. Of course, by following our tips and taking advantage of the available free bets and the great odds our partner golf bookies offer you increase your chances of overall success. And, equally, by only opting for bookmakers that pay each way down to the most places you also maximise your odds of getting paid.