A guide on How to Lay a Bet with Betting Exchange BetFair

Trading at Betting Exchanges

The Betting Exchange BetFair offers something a little bit different for your betting. There is a lot of sporting action around at the moment, from the RBS Six Nations, ATP and WTA tennis, the 2011 Cricket World Cup, PGA Golf and of course Premier League and Champions League football. Sometimes an event is just too close to call, or sometimes in a tournament’s outright betting odds you just don’t fancy one of the favourite teams in the running to actually go on and win it. On the BetFair betting exchange, you have the option to go on and back against a team winning something. You’ve probably been inadvertently doing the same thing with your regular betting at your online bookmaker, as when you bet on one team to win, you are essentially saying that the other outcomes, the other teams or individuals involved, are not going to win. But when you visit BetFair, then you have the option to Lay a Bet, which is directly saying that an outcome won’t happen. Maybe you want to bet that a match will not end in a draw, for example. Maybe you want to bet that Tiger Woods won’t win The Open. Well then a betting exchange really opens new doors of opportunities for you, and with the award winning BetFair running the show, it is well worth checking out to have an alternative to your regular sports betting at your online bookmaker.

There is one important factor to understand about Lay Betting on the betting exchange, and that is the risk involved (of course!). If you see a market selection for 12.5 (decimal odds) to lay a bet on a match to not end in a draw for example, and you think that there is a decent chance of a draw not happening, you may see the potential for profit. But, unlike betting on an outcome in regular fixed odds (say if you were betting on a draw happening in a match at your online bookmaker) lay betting at longer odds involves a higher risk in terms of putting down more stake. For a £10 backers stake (explained below) that you would be aiming to win in this example, you would have to risk £115. Your return would actually be £125 if the match didn’t end in a draw, but £115 of that is your liability and you only actually gain £10 profit from the stake which the backer put down on the bet. That clearly is not great value in your football betting at all. To clarify, if you lay that bet at long 12.5 odds, then your liability would be that £115 (the worst case scenario loss you can make), so in order to risk less, you want to find lay odds which are much shorter. This goes against what you may look for in your regular fixed odds betting at your online bookmaker, but the shorter the odds in lay betting, the less risk you have to put forth in order to get back that £10 backers stake (this is kind of similar to betting with American odds systems). When you place a lay bet, the money (or the liability as it is known) is taken from your account and put on hold until the conclusion of the event. Your potential loss on a market which you back at 2.5 decimal odds with a £10 backer stake, means that for that £10 profit you only have to risk £15.00 and that will be reflected in your liability on the market selection. Your liability is now £15.00 but you stand to bring a payout of £25 (£15 liability plus £10 profit from the stake). This is naturally much better as it’s less risk! Your potential profit is always the value of the backers stake at BetFair.

Essentially what is happening in Lay Betting at BetFair on the exchange is this: a counterpart bettor has Backed a bet of £10 at odds of 2.5 for an event to happen. This is the backers stake which you are trying to win! You are then going to come along and match that bet, instead laying the bet and saying no, it is not going to happen. You are essentially betting against the other punter (although it could in fact be multiple exchange users). So here you will lay the bet at the odds shown and your profits will include the stake laid by the backer in the first place.

Remember, on a lay bet, you are only going to win the amount of the backers stake. You decide the amount of risk you want to put up, in order to try and win that amount.

Let’s take a breakdown of some lay odds based on £10 backers stake

Lay Odds = The market selection price for something to not happen
Liability = The amount of money you are risking
Potential Payout = Your liability plus the profit from the backers stake

Lay Odds of 1.5
=liability of £5.00 (odds x backers stake of £10 then minus stake – so 1.5 x £10 = £15 – £10 backers stake)
=payout potential of successful lay bet is £15.00 (odds x backers stake of £10)
=actual profit £10

Lay Odds of 13.5
=liability of £125 (odds x backers stake of £10 then minus stake – so 13.5 x £10 = £135 – £10 backers stake)
=payout potential of successful lay bet is £135 (odds x backers stake of £10)
=actual profit £10

Lay Odds of 5.0 with £24 backers stake

=liability of £96
=payout potential of £120
=actual profit £10

*Easy way to calculate liability is just take the original stake out of the odds. Remember decimal odds include return of stake, so to calculate profit on 2.5 decimal odds, take out one whole number which gives you 1.5 (that whole number representing the return of stake). You are not liable for the backers stake, so you don’t include it. So therefore, your liability on decimal odds of 12.0 with a £10 stake would be calculated at 11.00 x £10 to give you £110 liability. When it comes to calculating your returns, you include the full odds because you would win the backers stake as well, so that would be 12.0 x £10 to give you £135 return on your lay bet (even though most of that is your liability and you still only win the backers stake as profit).

What BetFair do very well, is keep you informed so that you can clearly see and understand what is going on. This makes the entry level for the novice to a betting exchange very accessible, and is why BetFair really works so well. If you are ever stuck on a certain aspect of the betting exchange, then just a quick glance over to their brilliant help section will point you in the right direction. Although the betting exchange will offer you something different to start with, it is nothing to be daunted by. You can use it pretty much as you would at any regular online bookmaker, but there are just the added advantages of the little extras such as direct lay betting which enhances your experience. Because you are betting against other punters, you should be able to find extremely competitive prices, often longer than the odds fixed by orthodox bookmakers. The advantages of laying a bet, and you will have probably seen the term being used quite a bit, is that if you thought for example that Australia was far too narrowly priced to win the Cricket World Cup, but because the field is so close you are not sure who it is will beat them, then you can lay against them instead. This means that you are making a bet that any one of the other teams in the tournament will win instead of Australia. They key point to remember when looking for bets to lay, is that you can only win the value of the other’s person’s stake, however, if the selection you lay happens to win, you will lose your liability (the amount of which will be dependent on the odds – so that is why looking for shorter odds is much better).

One of the huge benefits of the betting exchange, is that you can look for prices which you think are right. Let’s take a tennis tournament for example. Maybe Andy Murray is being offered a 8.0 decimal odds to win Wimbledon, but you think that is too much to lay (remember, the shorter the odds the better as it means less risk) and the price on backing Murray to win is too short at 3.0 decimal odds, then you can ask for a price. Yes, you can make a bet of somewhere between the Back and Lay prices, say at around 5.0, and if any other punter on the BetFair betting exchange thinks that is a fair deal, then they can match your bet and it will become active. This is the real beauty of the Betting Exchange and why it has become so popular in the world of online betting already. There is another big aspect of betting on the betting exchange, and another aspect of where laying a bet can bring you some rewards, and that is through trading. This has nothing to do with the stock market or financial portfolios, you are trading selections. Let’s say that one of the favourites to win the Grand National you don’t really believe has a chance, so you want to lay a bet on him at odds of 1.93 and the backer has placed £10 stake on it. Your liability on laying that bet would be a reasonable £9.30. So you take that bet, but soon afterwards, you Back the same horse to win at larger odds with the same £10 stake, in this case, say at 2.5 decimal odds, which means that you would stand to win £25 if the horse wins, and if the horse loses, you would get a payout on the backer stake which is a £10 return (from the original lay bet). Because you are now going to win whatever happens in the race, you have no liability. This means nothing is going to come from your account, freeing up money to make more bets. This is trading and the trick is lay a bet at short odds and then back that same selection at a higher price.

Laying a bet is really worth studying, as well as progressing on to trading. Again, check out BetFair tutorials for further information. BetFair run a great live in play betting service, and you can also find plenty of live streams from top sporting action as well on their site, so there is much to discover on the site. BetFair really are the pioneers of the betting exchange when you look at the package as whole, covering an extensive sports book and the ability to name your price in bets that you may not even find at your regular online bookmaker, BetFair really hit the mark.