Ante post is one of the oldest forms of betting. Simply put, ante post betting is where you place a bet on an outcome way in advance of the start of that event. It’s most commonly used in horse racing where punters can bet on horses for future races weeks or even months before the start of the race. Some bookmakers will call these types of bets ‘futures’, but essentially these are exactly the same.

When does ante post apply?

An ante post bet applies on any bet that is placed within a certain time period before that event starts. For example, the cut off for ante post bets in horse racing is 10am the morning before the race is about to start. This is because after that time punters and bookmakers alike will know which horses are definitely going to be running, which jockeys will be riding them and in turn, have a much better idea of how that race could potentially pan out.

Ante post betting isn’t exclusive to horse racing either. In fact, many sports include these types of bets, but they possibly aren’t as well highlighted with most bookmakers. An example of ante post bet in football would be trying to back the winner of the FA Cup before the competition starts. The same would apply to a golf bet where you placed your bet on certain golfer to win a certain competition months in advance.

How does it differ from non-ante post betting?

The main difference between when you place and ante post bet compared to non-ante post is that whatever happens, your bet will always be a runner. If we use horse racing for our example again, let’s say you backed a horse on the ante post market to win the Grand National. The morning of that race the horse is withdrawn from the race. As you placed your bet via the ante post market, this means that your bet will not be refunded as it will run as ‘runner’ regardless.

Let’s say you backed the same horse the night before on a non-ante post market and the horse gets withdrawn. The terms of most bookmakers will deem that in the event of a non-runner in a horse race, you will get your stake refunded to you and bet will essentially be void. This is the biggest difference between using these types of bets.

When is best to use ante post betting?

The best time to use ante post betting markets is when you think the bet has an inflated price. Because of the time gap between actually placing your bet and the event happening, the bookmaker is essentially having a bit of a guess as to the actual price they think will be fair and competitive with that bet. But, they don’t always get this right as often outside influences could dramatically change the starting price of your bet.

Sticking with horse racing again (it’s the easiest sport to relate these examples too), let’s say you backed the second favourite of a race a week before that race starts at odds of 10/1. A few hours before that race starts the 2/1 favourite for the race pulls out injured. The bookmaker will then change the odds of each horse in that race to reflect that the favourite is now no longer running and in turn, the odds for all horses will be slashed.

As your selection was originally second favourite at odds of 10/1, after this developing news of the favourite being withdrawn comes in, the odds will dramatically drop and now shoot your original ante post selection to just 2/1.

The bookmakers usually have these sorts of scenarios covered by what is known as ‘Rule 4’ in the betting industry. For those of you that don’t know, Rule 4 is essentially in place to limit the loses for a bookmaker if a scenario like this, which is deemed out of their control, and in turn would totally change the make up of the pricing structure. Rule 4 means that bookmakers can still adjust odds and you will be paid out a percentage of your original odds.

This becomes interesting for ante post bettors as this betting markets is one of very few that don’t adhere to Rule 4 deductions in the event of a non-runner.

The same example could technically be applied to any sport or betting market that is on offer, with the same implications taking place.

What bets carry the most risk?

All ante post bets essentially come with an element of risk, but some sports are higher risk than others. Horse racing is probably going to be the highest risk of them all, simply because of the frequency in which horses are pulled from certain races. There are countless factors why a horse might be retired early which could include the going, injuries, trainer deciding to enter a different race and so on.

Sports such as football are much lower risk, as it’s likely that at worst the team you have backed is going to play in the game. Very, very rarely do teams either withdraw from competitions completely or are removed for whatever reason. The likelihood of a withdrawal or a non-runner in these types of sports is very low.

Example of an ante post bet in other sports

We’ve used a number of examples throughout this article using horse racing to highlight the pro’s and con’s of horse racing. But, ante post betting is popular in other sports as well, of which we have highlighted with a couple of examples below.


An ante post bet in football would be, for example, backing Arsenal to win the Champions League before the tournament has kicked off. Your bet is placed before any draws are made and you will then be able to get an early price on how they might fare. What you will often find is that as soon as the draw is made, the bookmaker will have a much clearer idea as to how they might progress into the knockout stages. A tough group and the odds for Arsenal to win the tournament will likely drift, an easy group and they will likely be less than the ante post price that your originally took.

An example of the non-runner rule coming into play for a football bet would be to back Arsenal to win the Champions League before they have actually qualified. Let’s say they finished outside the qualifying spots over the course of the Premier League season and you’d already placed your ante post bet prior to this, then you would in fact lose your bet, due to the non-runner rule.


A good example of an ante post tennis would be backing someone like Rafael Nadal (currently ranked 5th in the world and not playing too great) to win the French Open 2 months before the tournament started. Nadal qualifies for the tournament, but he has a really tough side to his draw, which includes 3 of the top 4 players in the world.

Backing Nadal prior to the tournament with ante post would have yielded odds of 10/1, but if you had waited until the draw had been made, you would have got odds of 20/1 due to the increased difficulty for him to win. If for whatever reason Nadal had withdrawn from the tournament after placing your ante post bet, then you would lose your stake. But, if you have backed Nadal to win on a non-ante post market and he withdraws, then your bet would be void and your stake refunded.