How to use Betfair Exchange – 5 tips to help beginners

Betfair Exchange can be a little daunting for beginners, with all the different terminology and options available. In this blog post, our expert gives 5 top tips that will answer common questions such how to back and lay a market and what this means, what the costs of using Betfair exchange are, and how to assess the liquidity of a market. We hope that after reading this article, you will feel confident enough to start using Betfair Exchange yourself!

You can give yourself an early advantage by joining Betfair using one of our special offers listed below. These can change daily so grab it quick!

    Tip 1 – So what is Betfair Exchange and how does it work?

    A betting exchange is a marketplace for customers to bet on the outcome of an event, like horse racing or football. The actual number of things you can bet on, called markets, is immense ranging from many options with top flight football matches to obscure sports from around the world! Betting exchanges are different from traditional bookmakers as they allow you to back and lay bets against other customers. For example, if Manchester City are playing Everton, if you back Manchester City this means you think they will beat Everton while lay simply means the opposite i.e. that you think Manchester City won’t win. With a football match of course, there are three outcomes so it’s also possible to back or lay the draw.

    So how does a market work? When you place a bet, it goes into the market and is matched with another customer who has placed an opposing bet. This means that for every back there must be a lay. If a match with your price isn’t available on the market, then you can offer it to other customers which they can match if they like the odds. In this case, your bet will sit in the market as “unmatched” until either another punter matches it or the sporting event begins at which point it will be cancelled and the funds returned to you.

    What’s great about Betfair Exchange is that unlike traditional bookmakers, there are no fixed markets or prices so your bets are often matched at a better price potentially making your returns higher.

    Betfair Exchange

    Tip 2 – How do I place a bet on Betfair Exchange?

    Placing a bet on Betfair Exchange is simple. Firstly, you need to register an account which takes just a few minutes. Use one of our special offers below if you don’t currently have one:

      Once registered, click on the “Exchanges” tab at the top of the page and then select the sport or event that you want to bet on. You will then see all of the available markets for that event with prices displayed next to each market.

      To place a back bet, simply click on the odds of the team, player or other market that you want to back and this will automatically be added to your betting slip. Odds where you can back a market and get it immediately matched are typically coloured in blue. To place a lay bet, click on the odds for the market that you want to lay and then enter in how much money you want to risk (this is also called your liability). Odds with which you can lay a market and get it immediately matched are typically coloured in pink. Be careful as with lay bets your liability is often more than the initial stake. The minimum amount you can lay is just £0.05 and the maximum liability is determined by Betfair itself based on how much money there is in the market at that time.

      Once you have decided what bet to place, simply click “Place Bets” and this will be matched with another customer or added to the market if no match is available immediately. 

      As well as betting on an outcome such as a horse winning or laying a draw, it’s also possible to win both back and lay bets so that your potential losses are limited while still allowing yourself room for profit. This strategy of hedging means you cancel out one bet with another i.e. backing Manchester City then laying them once they score. This allows you to “cash-out” your bets in the same way as you might with some of the traditional bookmakers but it also opens up possibilities for a range of trading strategies.

      Tip 3 – Using the Betfair Exchange Betting Odds app

      If you’re looking to bet on the go, then the Betfair Exchange Betting Odds app is a must-have. The app allows you to access all of the markets available on Betfair Exchange as well as placing bets and cashing out just like on the website. 

      The app is free to download and is available for both iPhone and Android devices. You can find it by searching for “Betfair Exchange” in your respective App Store or Google Play. 

      Once installed, open up the app and you will be taken straight to the home screen which shows all of the latest events that are being offered on Betfair Exchange. To place a bet, simply click on one of the markets displayed and this will take you to that event’s page where you can then place a back or lay bet. 

      Tip 4 – Betfair Exchange commission

      Unlike traditional bookmakers, Betfair Exchange makes its money by charging a commission on all winning bets. There are no limits on how much money a customer can win either which means that whether you’re betting £50 or £500,000 the percentage of profit that goes towards commission remains the same.

      Betfair Exchange has a commission discount rate structure which reduces the amount of commission you pay on winnings. The more Betfair points that you earn, the better discount rate you will be offered so it’s always worth keeping an eye on this to make sure that your discount is as high as possible. 

      The discount rates range from 60% down to 2%. You can check how many points and what discount level you have by clicking on “Account” -> “My Account”. Here, simply click “View Points & Discounts” and then select whichever currency you are betting with. This will show your current number of Betfair points, discount level and time until next review date when your discount will be recalculated

      Tip 5 – Watch out for Betfair Exchange liquidity

      One thing to be aware of when using Betfair Exchange is the liquidity of the market. Liquidity is how much money is available in a market at any given time and it’s important to make sure that there is enough money in the market for you to get your bet matched.

      If there isn’t enough liquidity, your bet may not be matched straight away or at all which could lead to losses if you’re trying to back a team that’s favourites with limited odds. In some cases, it might even be better to wait until closer to the start pf the event before placing your bets so as not to miss out on the best odds possible.

      Betting in a low liquidity market is a double edged sword – occasionally you can grab better odds before everyone else has joined the market if you have a strong conviction that your bet will win but more often than not lower liquidity simply equates to worse odds being available. Betfair Exchange has more liquidity than most other betting exchanges though and this will usually improve as an event gets closer and more customers get involved. 

      If you’re new to Betfair Exchange, then we recommend checking out the market liquidity before placing your bets but once you’re familiar with how it works, this isn’t necessary to do every time! 

      This introduction to Betfair was written for readers of Enhanced Bets, we hope to both educate and inform you when choosing a new betting exchange.