Some punters are already very familiar with betting and how the industry works, so the terms ‘antepost odds’ and ‘NRNB’ are par for the course.

However, if you only dip your toe into the betting markets once in a blue moon, the various terms can be quite confusing.

This became apparent to me recently when, during the Cheltenham Festival, a family member asked me to put a bet on a horse they liked the name of.

I know that’s not exactly a strategic approach to picking a winner, but it’s more common than you think!

As it happened, the particular horse they chose also had a Grand National entry, so they wanted to double up on their bets.

It was then that I pointed out that the National betting market is still ante-post. After which, I had to explain the difference.

And all of this led me to this article as it soon became clear that quite a lot of people have no idea what the terms mean and how they can affect betting on sports in the United Kingdom.

So let’s get to it.

What Does Ante Post Mean?

Antepost betting refers to placing bets on horse races well in advance of the event day.

As an example, odds will become available on the Grand National and Cheltenham Festival markets long before the entries are even confirmed.

A lot of the time, it is the bookmaker’s best guess as to which horses will potentially run, given their current form.

While that may sound strange, there are a lot of people who will happily bet on a horse a year out of a race.

The appeal is because it often offers higher odds and, consequently, the potential for greater returns on their investment.

So the upside is that you get offered much bigger odds. But there is a downside.

The risk is much higher because betting far ahead means predicting the outcomes without the full picture, including which horses will actually run on the day.

That includes the horse you back. So if, for any reason, you back a horse ante-post and they don’t run, you lose your money.

Ante post betting is inherently risky. No matter how certain you are, horses can be withdrawn for a variety of reasons – just ask Nicky Henderson after his disastrous Cheltenham Festival in 2024!

What Does NRNB Mean?

In contrast, the Non-Runner No Bet (NRNB) option provides a safety net for bettors.

Once a big betting market moves from antepost to NRNB, your stake is refunded if your selected horse does not participate in the race. This only happens if you bet when the odds are NRNB.

This condition reduces the risk for bettors, making it an attractive choice for those who prefer to mitigate potential losses.

While the upside is that there is definitely less risk, there is also a downside.

In this case, NRNB odds are typically lower compared to Ante Post bets. This difference in potential returns is a trade-off for the decreased risk.

So if you’re trying to decide which is better for you, you will have to weigh up the benefits of safeguarding your money with NRNB against the possibility of getting higher returns through Ante Post betting.

Choosing Between Antepost Odds and NRNB

Deciding between Ante Post Odds and NRNB requires considering several factors, including your risk tolerance, the specific conditions of the race, and the information available about the horses.

If we look at the Grand National, then once the weights are revealed, you have a much better idea of which horses have secured a spot in the top 34.

In some cases trainers will already have announced that their only aim is getting their horse to Aintree. With that knowledge, it’s less of a guess and so longer antepost odds may seem very attractive.

However, on the other end of the scale, there are antepost odds currently available for some Cheltenham races in 2025.

If you think you know which horse will win the Champion Chase a year out and want to bet on it, then nothing I say about mitigating risk is going to change your mind.

Only the very confident, or very foolish, think that putting money on a 3/1 ante post favourite more than a year in advance of a race is a good idea.

That said, there’s a really good chance that Willie Mullins will clean up again, so who knows…

So for novice bettors, starting with NRNB might be a prudent choice. It definitely offers a gentler introduction to the world of horse racing betting without the stress of potentially losing your stake outright.

Conclusion

Both antepost odds and NRNB have their place in a bettor’s arsenal, with each catering to different preferences and strategies.

For newbies in the world of sports betting, it is probably best to stick to markets that are Non Runner No Bet, to reduce risk.

However, if you’re already a seasoned pro with vast swathes of knowledge about the market, then maybe antepost is worth it for the potential of greater returns.

Either way, both have their pros and cons; you just have to know exactly what they are and how they will affect your bet.