Exchange betting tips – how to make a profit on betfair

Will you be celebrating a profit on the exchanges? (credit: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
You don’t have to back winners to make a profit when it comes to exchange betting

In the year 2000, betfair revolutionised the betting industry by offering customers the chance to bet on both sides of the market rather than just in the traditional way.

This meant that punters could back a horse to win at Newmarket or instead oppose the horse by laying it, which effectively means they are cheering on every other runner in the race.

In the years that have followed, more sports betting exchange sites have appeared and betfair continue to attract thousands of new customers every week, with the operator offering more flexibility than the fixed-odds bookmakers.

What are the advantages of exchange betting?

You can often get bigger prices
Betfair aren’t a bookmaker although they do have fixed-odds betting now available for customers. However, the exchange side is all about betting against other customers by either backing the prices that are being offered or instead laying odds for someone else to take. 

This process of “matched betting” leads to a competitive marketplace where customers go out on a limb to offer the biggest price and you will often find bigger odds at a sports betting exchange than with a regular bookmaker, especially when it comes to the outsiders for sports such as horse racing, football and cricket.

You can request bigger odds if you don’t like what’s available
If you called a fixed-odds bookmaker and asked for 6/1 instead of the 5/1 advertised, you would be laughed out of town. However, you can literally request bigger odds on betfair and often get your bet matched at the larger price (providing it is reasonable). 

Many customers put in an order for bigger odds ahead of a sporting event taking place and it is often matched although the risk is that the bet will be unmatched which means the stake is returned to your account.

You don’t have to back winners to make a profit
Many people back to lay on betfair and other sports betting exchanges, which means that they put money on a selection expecting the odds to contract so that they can lay at a smaller price and effectively make a profit irrespective of the outcome.

So for example, you might back a horse at odds of 20/1 for a stake of £10 which would mean you stand to make a profit of £200 if it wins. However, if the horse then shortens to 2/1, you can lay for a stake of £50 which means you are a winner whatever happens.

Trade your way to a profit on betfair.

You can lay selections as well as back them
Some people on betfair aren’t interested in finding winners, especially when it comes to a big field. Instead they look for horses, football teams or golfers that they think stand no chance of claiming victory and oppose them on betfair.

Naturally, it can be a risky business when you’re laying a 20/1 chance as you are effectively having to “be the bookmaker” and put up £20 for every £1 you are trying to win, although customers who are confident that this 20/1 shot won’t win will often risk thousands to make a profit.

Can you place accumulator bets with an exchange?
Yes, sports betting exchange often create multiples where you can back and lay when it comes to whether Manchester United, Chelsea and Man City will all win their games. You can also enjoy Asian Handicap markets with betfair which work exactly in the same way as other fixed odds propositions.

How do betting exchanges make their money?
An exchange generally takes a cut of any winnings in commission so you would expect to give betfair 5% of any profit you make, although the more you bet means the less commission you pay. 
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Exchange betting tips – how to make a profit on betfair

You don’t have to back winners to make a profit when it comes to exchange betting

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