Betfair Betting Exchange Course Lesson 1: Getting started

  • Written by David Bet
Betfair Betting Exchange Course Lesson 1: Getting started

What is Betfair? Betfair provides a betting exchange, quite different to a traditional bookmaker. A betting exchange is essentially a stock market platform taken across to betting on racing and sport.


Betfair Betting Exchange Course Lesson 1: Getting started   

Customers bet against each other not against Betfair. Think of it as like two mates in a pub with opposing views on a game and having a bet.

Betfair works like an impartial barman in the pub who holds the money until he gives it to the winner.

Betfair give you all the guidance you need, and we encourage winners! We don't ban or cut back as is the case with many bookies who limit stakes or close accounts if anyone "dares" to beat them. It doesn't matter to Betfair, because we take no position in the markets.

Betfair gives better odds, why? 

Betfair gives 20% better odds on average due to competition and lower margins.

Competition in any walk of life leads to a better deal, Betfair is extremely competitive.

At any given moment thousands of people worldwide are competing against each other to offer better odds on their opinion in order to have a bet. This often means the odds are better than those set by a traditional bookie. Advertise a poor price on the site and it is unlikely that your bet will be matched as somebody will see the value in improving the offer.

Another reason for better odds is because the bookmaker is taken out of the equation. You are not subject to their five, 10, 20 or even 50% margins. The value will shine through more on markets with more selections - racing, football premierships, golf tournaments etc, where bookies traditionally make their 'bread and butter'.


Betfair Betting Bonus

What is backing and laying? 

On Betfair you can back and lay. To 'back' a selection means you think it will happen, like you'd do at a traditional bookie. Or you can take the opposing viewpoint and 'lay' if you think your selection will not happen.

Every fixed-odds bet, whether it's with your local High St bookie, a betting exchange or even two mates in a pub, requires a backer and a layer, you've probably just never thought of it that way.

Imagine two guys betting a pint on the Merseyside derby - one cheering Everton, one cheering Liverpool. The Everton supporter is automatically opposing, or laying, Liverpool if he decides to go with his heart. Likewise the Liverpool fan backs his team for a pint, but is laying Everton in the same process.

Lay betting is the other half of the deal from a back bet. Both are bets but opposing views.

Betfair use decimal odds, what are these? 

Decimals are a simpler way of working out the odds and don't give you a headache every time you want to place a bet. Do you know the difference between 8/13 and 4/7? No? Well, not many people do. But with decimals you'd know instantly.

So, how do decimal odds work? Well, if the decimal odds are 2.2 and you place a back bet of £10 and win, your total return is £10 x 2.2 = £22. This is equivalent to a traditional price of 6/5.

Decimal odds make it much easier to figure out which price is best - the bigger the number, the higher the return. Take a look at the table below to see why.

The key part to remember is that decimal odds always include the unit stake - thus every price you see on Betfair will be >1.

Fractional odds represent the profit - 5/1 means you will win five pounds for every one pound staked.

Decimal odds represent the return - 2.2 means you will receive £2.20 for every pound invested, including your stake.

If you're struggling with decimal odds, you can now use our mouse-over odds displays - traditional odds over every price. Every market on Betfair also has an odds-converter table. 

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 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.

The in-Play 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.

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.

Betfair Betting Bonus

Range of markets  

Betfair has a vast array of markets to bet on, these range from horse racing and football to Specials such as Big Brother and the Eurovision Song Contest. 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 special 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 another.


Let your friends know about this article! Share it on your favourite social media!

Follow Us

Any questions?
Please contact us at:
info [@]
Take Time To Thinkbegambleaware aims to promote responsibility in gambling. They provide information to help you make informed decisions about your gambling.

Problem gambling? Call the National Gambling Helpline: freephone 0808 8020 133 8am to midnight, 7 days a week.

We are committed to responsible gambling and have a number of ways to help you stay in control and keep gambling fun.

You must be 18 years old or over to use this site. Please bet responsibly.