Does Rule 4 Apply on Best Odds Guaranteed?

In the realm of horse racing betting, Rule 4 is a term that often crops up, especially when there is a late withdrawal from a race. The Rule 4 deduction is a mechanism that bookmakers use to adjust the payout on winning bets when a horse is pulled out after bets have been placed. The removal of a competitor from a race can significantly impact the odds, and consequently, Rule 4 deductions are applied to fairly re-balance the betting field due to the change in chances of winning. Some odds calculators include the Rule 4 option, making it easy for bettors to calculate it in their bet slip and avoid confusion.

However, there is often some confusion among punters regarding the interplay between Rule 4 deductions and Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) offers. BOG is a promise from bookmakers that if a bettor takes an early price on a horse and the starting price is higher, they will pay out at the higher odds. The question arises when a punter with a BOG offer faces a Rule 4 deduction due to a non-runner. Punters need to understand the specific terms and conditions laid out by bookmakers to navigate these situations effectively.

Understanding Rule 4’s application becomes paramount to ensuring bettors know what returns they can expect. While Rule 4 deductions reduce the payout, in most instances, the Best Odds Guaranteed offer still applies. It means that even after the Rule 4 deduction has been made, a bettor is paid out at the greater odds between the price they took and the starting price. However, this can vary with individual bookmaker policies, and potential exceptions should be considered, such as when betting with free bet funds or in special markets where BOG may not be applicable.

Understanding Rule 4

Rule 4 is a standard practice in British horse racing betting that players should be acquainted with. When a horse is withdrawn from a race after a bet has been placed, Rule 4 deductions may be applied to adjust the odds accordingly. This is because the withdrawal of a runner affects the odds of the remaining horses, potentially making it easier for them to win.

Key Aspects of Rule 4:

  • Deduction Scale: The amount deducted from the odds is dependent on the odds of the withdrawn horse at the time of withdrawal. This is expressed as a percentage of the winnings.
  • Timing of Withdrawal: The rule is invoked if a horse is withdrawn after bets have been placed and before the market can adjust organically.
  • Purpose: The rationale behind this rule is to protect both bettors and bookmakers from changing conditions that occur after wagering has occurred.

A comprehensive Rule 4 deductions chart determines the specific rate of deduction based on the odds of the non-runner.


Odds of Withdrawn Horse Deduction from Winnings
3/1 25p in the £
9/2 to 11/2 20p in the £
6/1 to 9/1 15p in the £
10/1 to 14/1 10p in the £
16/1 to 25/1 5p in the £

*The above table is for illustrative purposes and the actual deductions may vary based on the bookmaker’s policies.

It’s essential for bettors to understand that Rule 4 deductions affect the payout even when Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) is offered. BOG ensures that if the starting price is higher than the odds at which the bet was placed, the bettor receives the better odds. However, Rule 4 deductions can still apply, reducing the final payout even under BOG terms.

Best Odds Guaranteed Explained

Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) is a promise offered by many bookmakers in the UK and Ireland, typically relating to horse racing and greyhound racing. Under this offer, if a punter takes an early price on a race and the Starting Price (SP) is higher, the bookmaker will pay out at the higher odds. This offer is attractive to bettors as it removes the risk of missing out on a better return if the odds improve after they have placed their bet.

The BOG promotion generally applies to bets placed on the day of the race after a set time, often 8 am or 9 am. Bookies that support this offer include Betfred, Paddy Power, and others operating within the sports betting sector. It’s relevant to note that the promotion typically applies to win and each-way bets, but there are some common exceptions:

  • Ante-post bets
  • Bets on international racing
  • Betting-in-running bets
  • Multiple bets that include selections other than win or each-way
  • Special bets such as forecast or tricast wagers

Below is a list highlighting the types of bets where Best Odds Guaranteed is not typically applicable:

  • Ante-Post Bets: Bets placed in advance of the day of the race.
  • In-Running Bets: Bets placed after the race has begun.
  • Special Bets: This includes forecast/tricast, place only, and insurance bets.
  • Enhanced Odds Offers: Such as Power Price selections where odds are artificially boosted.

Understanding these conditions ensures bettors can make informed decisions when placing bets with the BOG offer, taking advantage of better odds without falling foul of common exclusions.

Rule 4 Deductions and Calculations

When a horse is withdrawn from a race, Rule 4 deductions are applied to assess the impact on the betting market, adjusting the potential payouts for bets already placed, taking into consideration the odds of the non-runner at the time of its withdrawal.

Rule 4 Deduction Chart

A Rule 4 deduction chart is utilised to determine how much is deducted from winnings. The deduction rate corresponds to the odds of the withdrawn horse, ranging from a nominal deduction for long-odds horses to more significant deductions for favourites.

Calculating Potential Winnings

To calculate potential winnings after Rule 4 deductions, bookmakers subtract a percentage of the profit from a winning bet. The specific percentage depends on the odds of the withdrawn horse(s) detailed within the deduction chart.

Impact on Ante-Post Bets

Ante-post bets, which are placed in advance of the runners being declared, usually are exempt from Rule 4 unless specified otherwise within the bookmaker’s terms and conditions.

Comparison With Pari-Mutuel Betting

Unlike fixed odds betting, pari-mutuel or tote betting, which pools stakes before calculating dividends, doesn’t apply Rule 4. Instead, the odds fluctuate based on the bets placed and are final at the starting price (SP).

Reduced Payouts on Each-Way Bets

For each-way bets, Rule 4 may affect both the ‘win’ and ‘place’ parts, reducing payouts proportionally, since the chances of placing also improve with the removal of a contender.

Application in Different Markets

Rule 4 applies across various betting markets, including horse racing and greyhound racing, reflecting the change in a punter’s chance of winning following a withdrawal.

Use of Rule 4 in Bookmaker Promotions

Some bookmakers or sportsbook promotions may offer concessions that protect bets from Rule 4 deductions or offer enhanced terms that are favourable to the bettor, but these are market-specific.

Bookmaker Procedures for Announcing Rule 4

Bookmakers typically follow Tattersalls’ rules and make timely announcements about the application of Rule 4, ensuring bettors are aware of any deductions due to non-runners.

Calculating Reduction Factor on Betting Exchanges

On betting exchanges like Betfair Exchange, a ‘reduction factor’ is applied to the market which adjusts the odds of the remaining runners, rather than directly affecting the payout.

How Best Odds Guaranteed Influences Rule 4

Best Odds Guaranteed is a common promotion offered by bookmakers that can be affected by Rule 4 when a horse is withdrawn. Understanding the interplay between these two can help punters make informed betting decisions.

Applicability of Rule 4 to Best Odds Guaranteed Offers

Rule 4 is a term applied by bookies when a horse is withdrawn from a race after a bet has been placed, impacting Best Odds Guaranteed promotions. Under Rule 4, bookmakers adjust the odds for bets on the remaining horses, affecting the final payout—even under Best Odds Guaranteed terms.

Circumstances When Rule 4 Applies

Rule 4 applies when a runner is withdrawn from a race and there isn’t enough time to create new betting market odds. If a bet was placed before the withdrawal under Best Odds Guaranteed, the payout may still be subject to Rule 4 deductions.

Qualifying Bets for Best Odds Guaranteed

For a bet to qualify for Best Odds Guaranteed, it generally must be placed on the day of the race. However, these qualifying bets are still subject to Rule 4 deductions if a horse is subsequently withdrawn.

Betting Strategies Considering Rule 4

When employing betting strategies, punters should consider Rule 4’s potential impact. A deduction can significantly reduce the profit on a winning bet, so adjusting the stake or spreading it across multiple runners may sometimes mitigate risk.

Assessing Impact on Payouts

The impact of Rule 4 on Best Odds Guaranteed payouts is direct: deductions will reduce the winnings calculated from either the fixed odds when the bet was placed or the Starting Price, whichever is higher.

Navigating Withdrawals and Non-Runners

Dealing with withdrawals and non-runners is crucial as bookmakers apply Rule 4 deductions in these instances. Punters should monitor the race field closely to predict possible Rule 4 impacts on their Best Odds Guaranteed bets.

FAQs on Rule 4 and Best Odds Guaranteed

Q: What happens to my Best Odds Guaranteed bet if Rule 4 is applied?
A: The bookmaker will reduce the odds of your bet, and the final payout will reflect the Rule 4 deduction.

Q: Can a Rule 4 deduction apply to an ante-post bet?
A: No, Rule 4 applies to bets made after the final declarations, not to ante-post betting.

The Relationship Between Rule 4 and Starting Price

When exploring the intersection of Rule 4 and the starting price (SP) in horse racing, it’s essential to understand each component’s distinct impact on betting outcomes. Rule 4 affects pre-race withdrawals, and the starting price represents the final odds.

Definition and Significance of Starting Price

The Starting Price (SP) refers to the set of final odds on each horse at the beginning of a race. These odds are determined by balancing the market through bets received at the racetrack and are commonly used by bettors who prefer not to take fixed odds in advance.

Rule 4 Application When SP Is Affected

Rule 4 is a mechanism that alters the fixed odds agreed upon before a race starts if there are withdrawals from that race. However, it’s crucial to note that Rule 4 does not apply to bets placed at the SP. Bettors who have taken fixed odds prior to the withdrawal will see a Rule 4 deduction proportional to the odds of the withdrawn horse to compensate for the impact on the market.

Calculating Starting Price with Rule 4 Deductions

The method to calculate the SP involves a sample of prices from the betting market, which includes bookmakers on the track as well as other approved betting operators. In the instance of withdrawals, and where fixed odds have been taken, Rule 4 deductions come into play, adjusting these fixed odds. The market recalibrates to form the SP, without the need for Rule 4 deductions since the horse’s withdrawal is already factored into the newly established market odds.

Additional Considerations in Wagering

When engaging in betting, particularly on horse racing, bettors must comprehend the intricacies of Rule 4 and its impact on both potential payouts and the policies different bookmakers may enforce regarding this rule.

Influence on Payouts and Maximum Winnings

Rule 4 can significantly affect a bettor’s payout. This deduction rule comes into play when there is a last-minute withdrawal, known as a “non-runner,” in the market. A non-runner can change the odds of the remaining horses, thereby altering the expected payout. Maximum winnings are also subject to change due to Rule 4, as the market odds at the time of the withdrawal dictate the level of deduction from potential winnings.

Factors Affecting Rule 4 Application

Several factors determine the application of Rule 4. The primary factor is the odds price of the non-runner at the time of withdrawal. Each price band has its own corresponding deduction rate, influencing the market. Another consideration is the timing of the withdrawal – Rule 4 is applied after the final declarations. Bettors should be aware that this rule doesn’t typically apply to ante-post, tote, or in-running bets.

Bookmaker Policies on Rule 4

Bookmaker policies regarding Rule 4 can vary. While the rule itself is standardised, different bookies might have unique approaches to its implementation, including how it interacts with offers like Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG). It’s essential for bettors to review the terms and conditions laid out by bookmakers to understand fully how each bookmaker’s policy may affect their bets when a Rule 4 deduction occurs.

Responsible Betting Practices

Responsible betting practices are crucial for a positive experience in the world of sports betting. Punters should engage with sportsbook offerings, such as those from Ladbrokes and Bet365, in a way that maintains control and mitigates potential financial losses.

Safe Gambling: Bettors are encouraged to adopt safer gambling habits, which include setting limits on deposits and using cash-out features wisely. Sportsbooks offer tools that allow punters to set these controls proactively.

Deposit Methods: Choosing secure and manageable deposit methods is key. Punters should opt for options that allow them to track their spending easily and limit their deposits to amounts they can afford to lose without financial strain.

Each Way Bets: For events like NFL games, each way bets can be a strategic approach. This type of bet splits the stake between a win and a place position, which could offer a safety net if the outright win does not happen.

Lucky 15: A Lucky 15 involves four selections with 15 individual bets. It’s a higher-stake bet but offers potential for returns even if not all selections win. Punters should only opt for such bets if they are well-informed and comfortable with the risks.

Cash-out Options: Utilising the cash-out feature can be a sensible decision to guarantee a return or mitigate losses before an event has concluded. Many sportsbooks, including Bet365, offer this feature during live events.

Refunds: Some betting strategies involve offers where stakes are refunded under certain conditions. Punters should read the terms carefully and understand when such conditions apply, such as with specific promotions on accumulator bets.

In conclusion, responsible betting practices form the foundation of an enjoyable and sustainable hobby. By being informed and cautious, punters can optimise their betting strategies while remaining within their personal limits.


When looking at the interaction between Rule 4 and Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG), it is critical to recognise the distinct purposes they serve in the betting industry. Rule 4 is a mechanism employed to adjust payouts when a horse is withdrawn from a race after bets have been placed but before the start, thus affecting the odds of the remaining horses. This assures fairness for both the bookmaker and the bettor by acknowledging the altered likelihood of winning following the withdrawal.

In contrast, Best Odds Guaranteed is a promotional offer allowing bettors to receive the best possible odds between the time of their bet and the start of the race. Should the starting price be higher than the odds taken at the time of the bet, the bookmaker will pay out at the higher odds.

It’s imperative for bettors to understand that Rule 4 deductions can still apply to wagers placed under Best Odds Guaranteed terms. If a horse is withdrawn leading to a Rule 4, and the starting price is higher, the payout will be adjusted accordingly, even with BOG. Bettors should consult their bookmaker’s specific terms and conditions, as practices can vary, but generally:

  • Rule 4 deductions will apply to the odds after BOG is factored in.
  • Payouts reflect the final odds post-Rule 4 deduction.

Being mindful of these rules enables bettors to make informed decisions and understand how their potential returns might be affected.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides concise answers to common queries about Rule 4 in the context of Best Odds Guaranteed offers in horse racing, detailing its application, significance, and calculation.

How do Rule 4 deductions affect Best Odds Guaranteed offers in horse racing?

When a horse is withdrawn from a race, bookmakers apply Rule 4 deductions to adjust the odds for bets placed before the withdrawal. Best Odds Guaranteed offers can be affected, as winnings may be reduced by the Rule 4 deduction, even if the bet was placed at early odds.

At what instances are Rule 4 deductions applied to SP (Starting Price) bets?

Rule 4 deductions come into play when a horse racing bettor picks the SP option, and a horse is later withdrawn. The deductions are made from the odds available after the withdrawal, not necessarily from the initial odds quoted at the time of bet placement.

Can you explain the significance of Rule 4 deductions for today’s horse races?

Rule 4 deductions are essential as they protect both bookmakers and bettors against the impacts of non-runners, ensuring the fairness of payouts in the event of late withdrawals.

What does a Rule 4 deduction entail and how is it calculated?

A Rule 4 deduction is a standardised deduction from winnings, based on the odds of the withdrawn horse at the time of withdrawal. The deduction rate is typically scaled, with shorter odds resulting in larger deductions.

Where are the funds from Rule 4 deductions allocated within the wagering process?

Rule 4 deductions are not allocated as funds but are adjustments to potential winnings. This ensures that the betting odds reflect the true chances of the remaining horses, maintaining fair returns for punters and bookmakers.

How can punters calculate potential Rule 4 deductions for their bets?

Punters can calculate potential Rule 4 deductions by referring to standard deduction charts which are based on the odds price of the non-runner at the time of its withdrawal. Punter forums and online betting aids offer tools that provide these calculations.

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