Ante Post betting gets its name, like so many betting phrases (not to mention general sayings) from the world of horse racing, meaning “before the post”. It refers to bets placed on a horse (or team/competitor) in advance of the event itself. In racing this usually means the day before although it can even be 12 months or more in advance of the given race.

Bets placed ante post are at set odds and because of the uncertainty involved these can often be comparatively very large. Ante post bets are popular in all sports for this reason and also because they allow you to bet a long way in advance and watch how your pick develops, the hope being that if they perform well the odds will tumble leaving your bet at much higher odds looking like exceptional value.

Of course, on the downside, if your choice has a bad year the odds come the day of the event could be much higher, leaving you with a bet of poor value on your hands. In the worst case scenario your selection may not even be entered or, in the “worse-than-worst” case a horse you have backed many months in advance may no longer, sadly, even be alive. This scenario is not that uncommon in the dangerous world of National Hunt racing, especially because the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National attract so many ante post bets as punters try to sniff out the early value.

In big events like the two mentioned many bookmakers will offer “no runner, no bet” or “no runner, free bet” promotions, meaning you can place ante post wagers safe in the knowledge that should your selection fail to make it to the start line you will either get a full refund or a refund in the form of a free bet.

However, more often than not, ante post bets such as these will result in a lost stake and this is the major downside to such betting. On the positive side, ante post bets are not subject to Rule 4 deductions so if you place a bet on an outsider and a couple of the big favourites withdraw you could be sitting very pretty come race day.

Of course, ante post betting is not restricted to just racing and is a popular summer activity for football fans, who may place ante post wagers on who will win various competitions and leagues in the season ahead or on who will be top scorer. As with any ante post bets there is always a chance they may be scuppered before they start, for example if your top scorer pick is transferred out of the division.

Ante post bets also feature heavily in golf and tennis betting, with all the Majors usually available to bet on months in advance, whilst there are also ante post bets for just about every sport. The key thing to remember is that whilst you may get exceptional odds, there is always the risk you could lose your bet before the event even starts.