Betfair is more than just a betting exchange. Take a look at some of the other great betting options on racing and sports. Learn fundamental concepts like: Betfair SP, In-Play betting, and Tote betting on Betfair.
The Betfair SP
If you're rushed for time or haven't the patience to catch the market
at the best price, then why not try Betfair's most convenient racing
product - the Betfair SP (Starting Price).
The Betfair SP is generated by Betfair backers and layers, not the High St bookies trying to increase their margins. On average, the Betfair SP is 40% higher
than the official industryv SP. Naturally, this figure is inflated by
the occasional 50/1 winner paying 3x that price on the Betfair SP, but
you will plenty of value on the favourites every day too.
The Betfair SP market is displayed within the regular racing markets -
both for Win and Place markets, and best of all in the true Betfair
style, you have the option of backing or laying. To enable the Betfair Starting Price columns on your market view, tick the box for it directly above the market.
To place an SP bet, click on the respective Back or Lay box. When you
place a Betfair SP bet, you are NOT taking a price, you are asking for a
bet at the close of the market, when the race begins. This is when the
Starting Price is calculated.
Sometimes a horse is heavily punted late in betting. You might decide
that the horse is a good bet at 6.0 but at less than 5.0, it is no
value. This is where the SP Limit comes in handy - for Back bets, you
can set a minimum price for your bet. If the Betfair SP is returned at
below that price, your bet is cancelled.
For laying at the Betfair SP, you place your bet by liability rather
than backer's stake - after all, laying is about how much you are
prepared to risk rather than win. As per the minimum price for Betfair
SP backing, you can set a maximum price you wish to lay at. If the price
drifts and the returned Betfair SP is higher than you are comfortable
laying, your bet is cancelled.
Price limits are NOT the default setting for Betfair SP bets - you need
to tick the box that says 'Set SP odds limit' before submitting the bet.
It is important to note that once a Betfair SP bet has been placed,
it cannot be cancelled. When a Betfair SP bet is placed, it will look
similar to this under My Bets. Note that it is bordered in orange.
Similar to a traffic light, it means it is nearly ready - i.e. it won't
be settled until the race starts.
The Betfair SP is calculated in a split second once the race has jumped.
The Back and Lay boxes for the Betfair SP disappear and they are
replaced by the final Betfair SP figure, as per the example below.
Betfair SP betting is offered on horse racing in Great Britain, Ireland,
Dubai and Australia. Note that while bookmakers make healthy margins
out of laying at the industry SP, it's highly unlikely you will be able
to do the same at the Betfair SP. Competitive margins mean the returned
market percentage is close to 100%, and occasionally dips below that
benchmark (meaning a guaranteed loss) when more people want to lay than
On Betfair you can bet In-Play. What is this?
Betting In-Play is exactly what it says: betting while an event is going on. More live sport on TV and via live streaming on Betfair Live Video every year means this is very popular.
On Betfair you can place bets right up to the final whistle or until
the winning horse passes the post, even after that if it's a photo
finish. It also enables you to see how a game is unfolding as a result
of the line-ups, conditions and tactics.
This logo indicates a market is In-Play. It can be a very exciting form of betting with constantly fluctuating odds.
The ability to trade
Betfair gives you the ability to trade. Trading is trying to lower
your risk and ensure a profit, irrespective of the final result. Have
you ever backed a football team who take the lead, but are looking like
they might concede an equaliser?
You could sell some of it back and walk away with a guaranteed
profit. Now you can lay selections as well, so you could choose to
recover your stake to leave you with a 'bet to nothing' (a bet where you
break even on your worst outcome), or hedge your position to give you a
profit no matter what the result. Not everyone invests in the stock
market but most people have some understanding of the concept 'buy low,
sell high' to take a profit.
Betfair is more than just a betting shop where everyone is focused on
picking the winner of the race. Because Betfair was modelled on a stock
exchange, financial traders have recognised that they can trade on
racing and sports markets just like they were foreign exchange markets.
And even better, there's usually a race every 10 minutes during the
afternoon so profits can quickly be re-invested.
Range of Markets
Betfair has a vast array of markets to bet on, these range from horse
racing and football to Specials such as the Eurovision Song Contest and
The X-Factor. Each market is unique.
Some markets trade millions, others just a few thousand, some have
hundreds of runners such as a golf outright winner market, whereas
tennis and basketball have just two in the match odds. Betfair is a
global business covering sports, racing and cultural markets all over
the world. If you like betting on foreign sport in the wee hours, then
chances are you'll find people to bet against on Betfair.
Profits can be made on all markets, but you have to treat different
markets accordingly. What works on one sport won't necessarily work on
The Beauty of In-Play Betting
If you're still wondering what all the fuss is about with exchange
betting, then take a close look at some In-Play markets. Before an event
starts, the betting markets are usually fairly similar wherever you
look. You won't find 10/1 with one shop about a horse trading elsewhere
at 2/1, the differences will be fairly marginal - you might find 5/2 if
you're lucky. If you don't know anything about a sport or a race, you
can look on an odds comparison site and find a set of prices, to at
least understand which selections are given strong chances of winning
and which ones are expected to need a miracle to win.
Once a market goes In-Play though, everything changes. Individual
punters declare their hands with their own opinions - sometimes they are
right, but sometimes they go horribly wrong! There have been hundreds
of examples over the years of horses/players/teams being beaten after
trading at 1.01, and similarly, selections given no hope of winning and
trading at the maximum odds of 1000 before winning.
Some of the most memorable examples:
Horse racing: The Cheltenham Festival is the highlight of
the UK racing year. In the opening race of the 2006 Festival, the Paul
Nicholls-trained Noland defied the odds to win the Grade 1 Supreme
Novices' Hurdle after being matched at 1000 mid-race. With two hurdles
left to jump, Noland was mid-pack and had few options to get into the
clear. Jockey Ruby Walsh decided to pull the horse back through the pack
in order to go around the field and make his move. The cameras showed
the horse going backwards quickly at a prime stage of the race, surely
it couldn't win from there? At least one big punter thought so, laying
the horse at all odds up to the maximum price of 1000. Noland found
space at the back of the pack, angled out wide to make his run and hit
the front in the closing stages, winning by a neck. The punters who
backed Noland at 1000 were ordering champagne; the layer who overreacted
to Noland drifting back through the field needed a stiff drink for
Two-year-old horses can be the most erratic of all thoroughbreds. So
young and impressionable, they often react severely to things they
haven't seen before. In June 2008, a 2yo race at Hamilton
looked to be fairly normal, with Verinco clearly ahead of his rivals
coming up to the line and trading at 1.01 to win the race (and in the
place market). Unexpectedly, Verinco veered left sharply, throwing his
rider in the final 50 yards. The second horse at that stage, Lucky Dan
should have inherited the race, he had also been backed at 1.01 in the
place market, being a long way clear of the horse running fourth. Lucky
Dan shirked at Verinco running off-course, and the sharp movement forced
his jockey to fall off as well! Two horses matched at 1.01 in the same
neither of them ended up running a place.
Champion jumps jockey AP McCoy is renowned for his hard-driving
style, getting the best out of horses who are sometimes reluctant to
perform their best. To date, McCoy has ridden at least three winners who
were matched at 1000 in-running.
Football: There have been plenty of teams backed at 1.01 over
the years only to give up their lead and leave punters (and fans) in
tears. The most famous case would be the 2005 Champions League Final
between AC Milan and Liverpool. The Italian team led 3-0 at half-time
and looked in complete control. Milan were matched for over £2.5m (half
that amount is backing, half is laying) at 1.01 until the Liverpool
comeback started in the 54th minute. Three quick goals levelled the
match at 3-3, eventually sending it to extra time and penalties.
Liverpool fans weren't the only ones who were celebrating wildly into
The biggest Premier League lead ever thrown away was the 4-0 lead Arsenal held over Newcastle on Feb 5, 2011.
The Gunners led 4-0 but had a man sent off. 1.01 had been backed so
heavily that it was only available 'to lay', but then Newcastle stunned
the football world with an amazing second half, equalising at 4-4 in the
final minutes. The draw was matched at 490.
Cricket: The 2011 World Cup delivered the biggest cricketing
upset of all-time when minnows Ireland chased down 327 to defeat England
in the highest-ever successful run chase in the Cricket World Cup.
England traded at 1.01 very early in the match and continued that way
for several hours, with over £2.7m matched at the minimum price. At
111/5 in the run chase, Ireland weren't even guaranteed to get within
200 runs of England's target, but Kevin O'Brien had other ideas. A
flurry of fours and sixes from the Ireland batsman set the record for
the fastest century ever at the World Cup (just 50 balls) and set his
team up for an astonishing victory.
Tote betting on Betfair
The majority of betting on horse racing around the world is conducted
via totalisator (tote) or pool betting. The real strength of tote
betting in comparison to its fixed-odds counterpart lies in exotic
betting - single race options such as quinellas and trifectas, or
multi-race pools such as placepots and the Scoop6. To complete the range
of bet types available to customers, Betfair now link into a range of
totalisator pools around the world.
Tote bets are placed directly into the local pools. To find the tote
markets on Betfair, click on the Tote link above the regular exchange
market for the race, or select the tote option under Horse Racing and
the respective country (eg Horse Racing >> GB).
In Britain, the most popular tote bets are the Placepot and Scoop6 -
multi-race wagers which tie your money up for most of the day. Around
the world, single race bets are more popular, enabling punters to
reinvest throughout the day. One advantage of the Betfair Tote interface
over several UK firms is the ability to place exotic bets with a high
number of combinations. Some firms restrict you to single combinations
at a time which makes landing a bet like a trifecta almost impossible
(or very time-consuming to enter all the individual bets).
Customers do not pay commission on tote bets, but do earn Betfair
Points which count towards your commission rate on each transaction.
Betfair Guide Step 1: Getting started
Betfair Guide Step 2: Placing a Bet
Betfair Guide Step 3: Lay Betting
Betfair Guide Step 4: Making use of the settings
Betfair Guide Step 5: Additional features
Betfair Guide Step 6: Trading, Cold Trading and Trading In-Play
Betfair Guide Step 7: Advantages of Exchanges and Sport Trading
Betfair Guide Step 8: Ten common mistakes made by traders
Betfair Guide Step 9: Trading with discipline