We’re going to work on the assumption that you already know how to place a bet with an online bookmaker, although there might be those who are ready to consider lay betting as an attractive alternative. There are a number of online betting exchanges that offer customers the chance to bet on the other side of the market and we recommend betfair who are the biggest exchange and they also have a traditional bookmaker site.
How does a Lay Bet work?
When you place a lay bet, you are effectively playing the role of a bookmaker by accepting somebody else’s bet. Let’s use an example of a Manchester City v Aston Villa game to see how this works. All examples will be in decimal odds as that is the best format when it comes to laying.
- Manchester City are 1.32 to back and 1.33 to lay
- Aston Villa are 11 to back and 11.5 to lay
- The Draw is 6.4 to back and 6.6 to lay
If you wanted to place a bet on either Manchester City, Aston Villa or The Draw, then you would go about things in the traditional way and tap on the 1.32, 11 or 6.4 and then select your stake that you are going to place on each selection.
However, there is also the option to either:
- Lay Manchester City at 1.33
- Lay Aston Villa at 11.5
- Lay The Draw at 6.6
If you lay any of the above selections, then you would want the remaining two selections to win. That is because you are taking someone else’s bet at these odds and you would effectively have to pay out their winnings.
Using the above example, you might choose to lay Manchester City who are strong favourites to win the match. You could do the following:
As you can see, we have tapped on the 1.33 to lay Manchester City. We have then nominated a “Backer’s stake” for £50 but that doesn’t mean we are risking £50 of our own money due to the fact that we are laying at betting odds of around 1/3.
Don’t be put off by the stake
You will see on the right-hand side of the above illustration that our “Liability” is £16.50 for the above bet. That is the amount we are risking by laying that £50 bet on Man City at 1.33.
If we went ahead and placed the above bet, we would be left with the below scenarios:
- Man City win = £16.50 loss
- Aston Villa win = £50 win
- Draw = £50 win
You can see that when you lay one selection on the Full-Time Result betting market, you automatically have a profitable outcome if the other two selections win. A lay bet such as the above is pretty common as it’s relatively low-risk to oppose a short-priced favourite although the probability of winning is naturally low as a result.
How to Back and Lay on a Betting Exchange
You might have enjoyed getting Cash Out with a leading bookmaker such as bet365 or William Hill, especially if you’re fond of following our accumulator tips where you can regularly find yourself in a profitable position and be able to experience the chance of landing some money before the final whistle blows.
However, betfair and the other betting exchanges were the real pioneers of Cash Out considering that it existed there before the traditional bookmakers jumped on board with it. When you place a football exchange bet, you are nearly always to close out or adjust your position whether that’s a profitable one or a losing one.
Let’s say you place a £10 bet on Fulham beating Manchester United at the below odds of 6 which would mean you have a potential profit of £50 if the Cottagers beat the Red Devils in this Premier League clash:
When you place the £10 bet on Fulham, you are left with the below position:
That means that you would be £50 up if Fulham won at Craven Cottage come the final whistle, although the other two outcomes would leave you £10 down.
Action to take In-Play
Now let’s imagine that Fulham score the opening goal of the game after ten minutes. This means that the odds on the exchange market adjust quite dramatically and you’re now seeing a lay price of 3 when it comes to Fulham as they are 1-0 up so more likely to win the game than at kick-off.
You could now choose to lay Fulham at these new odds of 3 for £20 and that would leave you with the below scenario:
You can see that betting on Fulham at 6 for £10 and then laying Fulham at 3 for £20 would put you into a profitable position whatever the outcome at the final whistle. That would mean a £10 profit minus the 5% commission that a betting exchange takes on all profitable bets, with this representing a positive outcome.
This is just one example of backing and laying on a football match and there would be the choice with the above example to instead do something like this:
So instead of laying Fulham at 3 for £20, we have chosen to simply lay back our original stake at a shorter price. You can now see that we have a completely risk-free bet considering that a Manchester United win or a draw will see us break even, while Fulham holding out for victory would return a handsome £30 profit.
The Best Strategies for Exchange Betting on Football
There are any number of approaches that you can take when it comes to football betting on the exchanges. Our personal favourite is to select a bankroll for a particular weekend of football and then go after some of the favourites in matches where you think the price is too short.
For example, I might deposit £100 into my betfair betting account for the weekend and then decide to take on a few short-priced teams on the Full-Time Result betting market. This would mean that I always have the draw and the outsider against them so it’s similar to betting on these two options on a Double Chance betting market.
This Liverpool v Burnley betting market is a classic example of where you can look to make a profit without risking a lot of money:
Liverpool are effectively trading at just under betting odds of 1/4 to win this game against Burnley at Anfield. That would mean anyone backing them at 1.23 would only stand to make 23% of their stake as profit and it’s hard to justify betting on these odds, even if you have a strong fancy for favourites like this to win.
Take the Draw and Underdog
On the flip side, we can lay Liverpool at odds of 1.24 which means we would only have to risk £24 in order to land a profit of £100. This bet would involve having Burnley and The Draw on our side, so we’re effectively getting the draw and the underdog at odds of around 4/1 although there’s an advantage to laying Liverpool instead.
Let’s say the game kicks off and we have a 1-1 scoreline come half-time. We might find that Liverpool have drifted out to 1.54/1.55 for the win. We could then choose to back Liverpool at 1.54 for £80 (without having to deposit additional funds) and our new betting position could be as follows:
You can see that there is often the chance to “go green” on certain betfair betting markets by taking on some of the short-priced favourites and then trading our position further along the line so we work ourselves into profit before the final whistle blows. Ultimately, we should be aiming to show an overall profit for the day whenever we bet on an exchange.
How to Choose Your Own Betting Odds on an Exchange
We’ve talked about the chance to “Back” or “Lay” on a betting exchange although you don’t always have to take the betting odds that are available. You have to understand that all the available betting odds are provided by other customers. Indeed, when a betting market first goes live on the betfair exchange, then all fields are completely blank until they are populated.
Therefore, if Liverpool are trading at 1.97 to win a football match and you want to get odds bigger than evens (2.0), then you don’t have to back the 1.97 that is available. Ultimately, you could choose 2.50 as your desired odds about Liverpool although the chance of someone matching your price is unlikely unless the game goes In-Play and the Reds drift.
That’s an important point to take into account. There are two types of bet that can be placed on a sports betting exchange:
- Matched – where the odds and stake are agreed
- Unmatched – where the odds and stake are not agreed
When you place a football bet that is unmatched until kick-off, there is an option to either let the bet ride In-Play or instead cancel the bet and an unmatched bet can be cancelled at any time.
We generally find that if you want to place a bet on betfair, you can usually ask for more competitive odds by a small margin and they will get matched. This is because the prices fluctuate on a frequent basis, with the odds moving up and down especially as you get closer to kick-off.
How to Place Football In-Play Exchange Bets
Live football betting is highly exciting and you can regularly see millions of pounds being traded In-Play for the big matches. You should be aware that In-Play betting on your favourite exchange is not for the faint-hearted and you are always betting against other customers rather than against the bookmaker.
There are a number of different football betting markets where you can enjoy an exchange bet. Naturally, the Match Odds will always have the most liquidity although you should also find competitive margins when it comes to markets such as Both Teams to Score, Over/Under 2.5 Goals and Final Score.
The Final Score betting market is an opportunity to bet on more than one selection given that there are a wide range of potential outcomes. It might be the case that 1-0 and 2-1 wins are trading among the favourites when the game kicks off, although the prices change according to when the goals are scored.
Get Team News Early and Then Head to the Exchange
We’ve experienced plenty of success when it comes to football exchange betting and that is particularly the case by either backing or laying a football team after receiving important team news. When it comes to Premier League football matches, the betfair match markets are added days in advance of the game and you’ll soon find plenty of liability which means you can back and lay at competitive odds.
Should you catch wind of the latest football team news which either indicates a team could be at full-strength or understrength, then the early bird can often catch the worm. For example, it might be that Liverpool FC indicate that they are going to rest several players for the next Premier League match, then it can often be profitable to lay short odds with the hope that the price will get bigger.
Indeed, it’s possible (and ideal) to trade a football match on a betting exchange where you can be in a profitable position before the game kicks off. The best way to give you a chance of “going green” on a betting market is to ensure you are armed with plenty of knowledge when it comes to the teams who are likely to play.
You can also look at the latest stats to get an idea of how you can approach the betting exchange market with a view to making money. For example, a team that has a 25% win rate trading at around the even money mark would be the sort of selection where we would look to try and oppose them at the prices.
Look at the Betfair Graphs to Understand Odds Movement
There are lots of aspects to betting exchanges. While some customers use them to place football bets in the traditional way, there are lots of other available avenues and widgets which can be used to try and make the most from your online betting. For example, you might choose to click on a team or selection and look at the latest graph.
Betfair are one betting exchange which provide a graph for each team so that you can follow the price movements and it might be that you’re able to see that a side is either being heavily backed ahead of kick-off or alternatively a team could be on the drift. Sometimes money follows money and there’s actually merit going against the grain.
How Do Betting Exchanges Make a Profit?
It’s clear that betting exchanges such as betfair don’t operate in the same way as a normal bookmaker. If you lose £100 with bet365, then the bookie get the full amount whereas a betting exchange means that you lose your money to the people who are betting on the other side of the market.
However, betfair do always take a cut of winning bets. This is typically 5% so if you won £100 from someone on the betting exchange, then you would only land an actual profit of £95. It’s definitely worth bearing in mind when you find the best odds on an exchange considering that you will incur a deduction for any winning bet.
How to Lay a Free Bet From a Bookmaker
Whether you sign up as a new customer with a bookie or get some kind of loyalty bonus with a bookmaker, it’s always good to know that you can actually achieve a guaranteed profit without actually having to risk any of your own cash. While many of us like to place a free bet speculatively for the chance to win big, others take a more conservative approach and scoop a nice return on a regular basis.
Let’s say you are given a free £50 bet on the Arsenal v Tottenham match with a certain bookie. You can place this free bet on any selection although the free bet stake of £50 won’t be included in any returns. Therefore, if you place your free £50 bet at betting odds of 1/5, then you would only get a pay out of £10.
However, there is a way of getting around £30 guaranteed profit from a free £50 bet. Similarly, if you received a £25 free bet, then you could secure around £15 guaranteed profit. Please note that you might need to have a substantial betting exchange balance of at least £200 in order to achieve these outcomes.
With your free Arsenal v Tottenham £50 bet, you could place the following:
£50 free bet on a 1-1 Correct Score @ 6.00 (5/1)
This would mean you would stand to land a £250 return from this free bet.
Cover your bet
However, you can then choose to lay the 1-1 Correct Score at betfair. By doing this for a certain amount, you can effectively lock in a profit on the Arsenal v Tottenham match irrespective of whether the game ends in a 1-1 scoreline.
Let’s say you can lay the 1-1 scoreline at 7.4 on betfair.
At odds of 7.4, you could choose to lay the 1-1 scoreline with a stake of £34.01. This would incur a total risk of £217.66 with this bet.
Now let’s conclude what we have done:
- Placed a £50 risk-free bet on 1-1 to get a return £250
- Laid 1-1 with a risk of £217.66 to get a return of £250
As you can see from the above two bets, we have risked a sum total of £217.66 but we would stand to enjoy a return of £250 whatever happened. This means a guaranteed profit of over £30 irrespective of the outcome of the football match.
The Benefits of Betting With an Exchange Over a Bookmaker
Hopefully this article has highlighted the many advantages to placing bets with a betting exchange. We appreciate that exchange betting might seem a little complicated to begin with, although the more you delve around on a website like the betfair exchange, the more you can appreciate some of the excellent advantages that are available.
While some betting exchanges used to outlandishly claim that you can get up to 20% better odds than fixed-odds bookmakers, the truth is that you can regularly back outsiders in a football match at a bigger price with an exchange than you will find with a traditional bookie.
The same applies when it comes to betting antepost and you can get some outsiders at massive prices on the basis that you are betting win-only unless you are choosing a place-only betting market instead. Therefore, if there’s an outsider that you fancy, then have a bang on the odds available.
The chance to back and lay to secure a profit is preferable to any bookmaker Cash Out facility on the basis that you can trade your position either before a football match or when the game goes In-Play. You can even set some odds and positions that you would like to take and hopefully “go green” when it comes to landing a profit before the final whistle.
Extra Betting Markets
While betting markets such as Asian Handicap, Draw No Bet and Double Chance exist with some bookies, when you lay a selection on betfair, the whole process is easy to understand and you can see the betting market positions that you have at a glance.
We think that betting exchanges are well worth checking out when you are placing football bets and they are often described as the eBay of betting on the basis that you have customers competing over the best value betting odds and trying to get the upper hand on the big matches.
It is also worth noting that that betting exchanges are governed legally just like bookmakers. Especially with their close link to horse racing trading, you can be assured that you are protected and they will protect you.