Betting.co.uk Basics is a series covering the basic elements of betting. In today’s piece, we’ll be focusing on a topic that even seasoned bettors can find confusing: betting exchanges.
Upon venturing onto an exchange, you’re immediately presented with a dazzling array of different numbers and colours, and everything seems to change with the blink of an eye. What’s more, if you do decide to stick around, you’ll find yourself immersed in a betting experience that is quite unlike anything else. Curious to pull the curtain back and have all of your exchange-related questions answered once and for all? Then read on…
A betting exchange is a platform that allows bettors to place wagers on various events, ranging from sports betting to politics betting.
There are a few differences to consider, but we’ll focus first on the most significant difference:
So, for example, if you place a bet at 888sport, then there are two parties involved in that bet: you the bettor, and 888sport the operator. However, with an exchange bet, there are three parties: you, the bettor; the exchange; and a third party – another bettor who agrees to take your bet because they believe the opposite outcome to your bet will take place.
At this point, it’s crucial to introduce the concept of backing and laying. We have a whole post about this at Betting.co.uk Basics: Back and Lay Betting which we’d suggest you read if you’re considering using an exchange, but here’s a basic summation:
So when you place a bet on an exchange, there needs to be another bettor who is willing to take the opposite bet. So if you want to back a certain horse in a race, there has to be another bettor who is willing to lay that horse. If there is a bettor willing to take your bet, then your bet will “match”. If there isn’t, then your bet won’t match, and will (in most cases) be cancelled when the event starts. The successful laying of racehorses that are favourites is among the best horse betting strategies available to you, if you know lots about the sport.
Other differences include:
Beneath the odds on an exchange is a figure that indicates liability, which displays in GBP. You will see multiple different odds in a row, all with different liquidity levels. For example, let’s take the red-box row from an example horse race:
The blue and pink numbers indicate the current most popular odds for backing (blue) and laying (pink) a particular horse: 15.5 to back, 17 to lay. Beneath, you can see the liquidity; £22 for backing, and £16 for laying. The liquidity tells you how much is available to be matched at those particular odds. So:
Option one is to wait it out. Just because there wasn’t enough liability at the time of betting (i.e. there wasn’t another bettor willing to match your bet at your chosen odds) doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future; odds fluctuate, so your bet may match later on. Just be cautious to keep checking back if you have an unmatched or partially unmatched bet; if the event begins before a match is found, the bet will be cancelled – though with partially matched bets, the rest of your stake will stand.
Rather than wait, you can choose to cancel the unmatched bet yourself and resubmit at the updated odds.
There are several betting exchanges available to users in the UK, including – but not limited to – the following:
If you wish to place lay bets, bet at accurate odds, or are just looking for a change in your overall betting experience, then exchanges are absolutely worth considering, even for election betting. However, if you’re looking for regular promos, then you might want to consider betting with both a standard bookmaker and an exchange, so you receive the best of both worlds.
There are a number of betting exchanges to choose from in the UK, but which deserves the title of “the best” is subjective. You can learn more about the most common exchanges at Betting.co.uk; start with the Betdaq review for an in-depth insight into how these exchanges function.
As one of the largest betting operators in the world, Betfair is a popular choice for users in the UK. The brand offers a variety of betting options, including exchange bets, to bettors; to find out more about these and how they work, this Betfair review is a great choice.
Smarkets and Betfair are two of the best-known exchanges in the UK, both of which offer a variety of different options to users. To help you decide which is the best for you, Betting.co.uk has put together a full Betfair operator review, as well as details on Betfair bonuses, so you can learn more about the brand and how it compares to its competitors.