Betfair introduced online betting exchanges years ago and the concept has grown quite quickly since then. Today, they set most prices in sporting events as they remain the leading betting exchange.
A betting exchange is simply a place where bettors can bet against each other, without the involvement of a bookie. The exchange doesn’t do anything other than maintaining their website. It is up to the participants to execute their deals. Ideally, the best betting exchange is the one with the largest number of punters, both layers and bettors.
The advantage of using such a betting exchange is that the odds are usually much better than going to a bookmaker. The exchange usually charge a 5% commission from the winning bets, but this can decrease as low as 2% as you gather loyalty points or bet for larger amounts.
Before placing a bet, note that you can back a selection, lay your selection, or back and lay the same selection. The last option is best as it has the lowest risk. Let’s see how it works in our horseracing example.
You could back a horse at 12.00(11/1) and at the same time lay another bet on that horse at 9.0(8/1). If you bet $10 on the horse and win, you’d get $110, but you still have to pay the second bet which is $80, earning you a profit of $30. If the horse lost, you bet $10 and you also layed $10, so basically it was like a free bet. It’s a win-win situation.
Sometimes, events do not turn as planned. You might pick a figure with the intent of laying it at a lower price, but you find that the price is frightfully drifting. You could either go with your choice and hope that your selection wins, or you could also lay it at a bigger price and hope it loses so you would breakeven.
But if it wins, you pay the difference between the price you layed and the price you backed. This is a bad choice as it causes you to pay more money, but this limits your potential total loss.
The last option is that you can bet on horses or sporting events during the race or match, this is called ‘in running’. This is the best choice as it gives you the option of offering various prices as the game is going on. The trick is to offer low prices in running so that even if your choice lost, you’d still earn a decent profit.
Be wary if a deal looks too good to be true. It’s possible that there are sick or injured players, and someone is corrupting the deals. Also avoid digital TV as it allows for 2 second delays, enough for a transaction to take place. Stay away from arbitrage between exchanges as it only gives you minimal profits.
If you lack the time, place your bets early in the day and just leave them at the exchange overnight or maybe a few days. The trick is to leave as many bets as you can, the limit is usually 30 to 40, and let them run at amazing odds. With more bets on the table, there are more chances of someone taking them on.
And with bigger odds, you get bigger value. Just be cautious with bigger odds because the few buyers might be volatile. Also, fancied horses are usually backed with big stakes which gives you more room to setup your bets.
These are just some basic guidelines but you could develop your own techniques once you are familiar with the system.