Show Bet

Show bets are amongst the least risky types of wagers available. They also offer the worst odds. Are they worth it?

A show bet is a type of parimutuel bet that is considered to be one of the least risky bets available to pool and tote bettors.

Instead of betting on the outright winner, you will be betting on a horse to finish in the top three positions. A riskier but better-paying alternative to a show bet is a place bet.

What Is a Show Bet?

A show bet is where you bet on a horse to finish in either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a race. So if the horse backed finishes in the top 3 positions the bet will payout.

If the horse backed finishes outside the top 3 positions you will not win your bet.


We place £10 on horse C. After the race has finished the amount of money is added up in the tote pool and the odds for this bet change to 2.65.

Therefore a bet of £10 will receive £26.50. In order for this bet to payout, the horse backed would need to have finished in the top three positions.

Pros & Cons of Show Bets

Show bets have multiple advantages:

  • This can be a great bet for major horse racing events as this bet is ideal for races with many runners.
  • There is a higher likelihood of a winning bet.
  • Limits the risk of betting.

Show bets also have multiple drawbacks:

  • To make money from show bets you will need to have a very high conversion rate due to the decreased odds.
  • Not very good for those who like to bet on favorites.
  • Not as exciting as other types of wagers.


Common questions about show bets answered concisely.

How to bet on horses win, place, and show?

An 'Across the board' bet is when you bet on a horse to win, place, and show. So in reality, you are placing three different bets on one horse race. 

Instead of betting on these markets individually, you can select the 'Across the board' option and this bet will appear in your bet slip.

How much do show bets payout?

A payout on a show bet will depend on the size of the tote pool. The money will be distributed equally among people with winning tickets.

It is important to remember that the payout will be the same regardless of where in the top 3 your horse finishes.

Are show bets worth it?

With show bets, you are much more likely to get paid out on a bet. In order to win a show bet all your horse needs to do is finish in the top three positions.

It limits the risk of betting and this is exactly why this type of bet is popular among sections of gamblers.

What do you win if your show bet runner wins the race?

If your horse wins the race you will be paid the same amount of money that you would if your horse finished 2nd or 3rd.

when placing a show bet you are not betting on your horse to win, you are betting on the horse to finish in the top 3. Therefore if your horse finishes in the top 3 positions your bet would have won and you can go ahead and collect your winnings.

Show bets are one of the simplest types of bets available as a punter. You place a bet, and if the horse backed finishes in the top 3 positions you get paid. Show Bets are great for people who like to bet with very limited risk.