The Basics of Betfair

Betfair isn’t a bookie. It is a betting exchange with prices decided by normal everyday people (and some people who do make a living off Betfair). You get to decide what price you want for a horse, sporting event or toss of a coin.

How does Betfair make money?
Betfair charges a commission on the net winnings of every bet. The more you bet, the less you have to pay as you will gain Betfair Points which reduce the commission % up to a maximum discount of 60% (good luck reaching this). It is very important when searching around for the best price to remember to account for the commission charge. Even with the charge, Betfair prices are head and shoulders above the rest in most sporting events.

Instead of betting to win like at your TAB or other bookmaker, there are two types of bets in most sports which is a Back and a Lay bet. The Back (is betting for that result to happen) will appear on the left hand side of the market in Blue. The Lay (betting for that result to NOT happen) will always be on the right hand side in Pink.

As you can see below, we have put a red box around the Backing and Laying prices. You will also see in the middle of that is something called Starting Price (SP). This comes up when you click the box at the top left which is also outlined called ‘Betfair Starting Price (SP)’. The SP is the perfect solution for anyone wanting the best price available through Betfair, but who can’t access a computer or phone and wants to put all or some of their bets on earlier in the day. You will get the Starting price as suggested by the name. This is available on a lot of races now and is a new feature.

The basics of Betfair

The two other boxes outlined in the top left are the Going in-play icon which obviously tells you that you can bet during the run of the race and the Tote button tells you that you can click on that button to make a Trifecta/F4 etc bet (it’s not set up very well and the pop-up will take you to a page and you have to select the meeting and then the race number).

Finally, there is also the refresh button at top-right. Click this to update the prices in the market. Another feature I enjoy is the graphs which show you how the money on a certain horse has been going. Click on the graph icon next to the 1,2,3 etc of the horse number.

Backing and Laying
Tom is a keen Carlton supporter and wants to see Hawthorn beat Collingwood in the Round 1 2012 AFL season game. Hawthorn is currently $2.22 on the market and Tom is happy to take as low a price as $2.20. It is important to note that in the Betfair system, backing an AFL team includes the draw, so if you backed either team, you win and the layers lose. As there is 30 minutes before the match he wants to make sure he is matched. Tom navigates to the game page and sees that there is money sitting at $2.18 in the backing column that he could take. Tom decides to click on the price to bring up the backing tool on the far right hand side. Instead of taking the $2.18, he changes the price to $2.20 and enters his stake of $100. Tom confirms the bet and sees his money now sitting at $2.20 in the market and is told that it hasn’t been matched.

At the same time, Jenny is a very one-eyed Pies supporter and instead of backing her team, wants to dominate the Hawks even more by laying them as it’s a better price due to the backers getting the draw. Jenny has set a limit of $120 for her bet today and has calculated that at $2.20 a $100 lay bet will give her a total liability of $120. Jenny opens the market and sees exactly $100 sitting on the market at $2.20 (Tom’s money). Jenny clicks on the price and enters a stake of $100 and then confirms the bet. Betfair confirms that her whole bet was matched. At the same time, Tom can see on the live market that his money is gone and refreshing his page, now see’s that his bet has been matched.

So what is the liability and payout to each member?
$100 on the backing side
$120 on the laying side
Total money back to either winner is $220.
If Hawthorn wins or draws, Tom will get the entire $220 back and Jenny will have to payout $120. If Collingwood win, Tom pays out $100 and Jenny receives back $220.

If you are still confused, watch this video.

Hedging or achieving a Green Book
Hedge trading or achieving a green book on Betfair refers to putting on a bet in a race and then laying out so that no matter what happens, you achieve green on every single result in that market with a profit on any result, before it has finished.

EPL Soccer
Tottenham travelled to Arsenal a few weeks back in one of the most important games of the year. Statistics said that it would be a high scoring game and my personal view was that Tottenham was a better team overall. I expected both teams to come out firing and to not hold anything back. Looking at the Betfair market, instead of taking an ‘Over 4.5 goals’ or similar bet, I felt the correct score market was the place to make some easy money. I ended up backing the 2-3 score (Arsenal 2, Tottenham 3) for $54.17 at $34 odds. Why $54.17 I hear you ask? It was a % of exotic bankroll. The game started and played out perfectly. Tottenham took a very early 2-0 lead and the price shortened into $15. As there was still 20 minutes until half-time I decided to ride it out to half-time. It just so happens that Arsenal went on a rampage and scored two goals back and the price at half-time had shortened to $8. As Australia only allows in-play betting on Horse, Dog, Harness racing, I had to call up to ‘lay off’. Using an online hedge calculator, I entered my matched odds and stake. The calculator told me that I needed to lay $230.22 against the correct score for a guaranteed profit of $176.05 regardless of the result. I called up Betfair and layed at the price and sat back and watched Tottenham get destroyed.

If you have a bet already in the market on a specific bet, you don’t need ANY money in your Betfair account to lay it off as you are using the money already in that market.

Horse Racing
One of our favourite money making strategies is to identify through Speed Maps and barrier positions, horses that jump as favourite that will be going to the back of the field that are not as well known as a horse like Americain. Our strategy is simple. Just before the horse jumps, Lay the horse. For example: We will lay the horse at $2.20 for a liability of $500. We will then leave a backing bet of $190 in-play (have to click a button after you place the bet to do this) at $3.00. The best result for us is for the race caller to announce that the horse has missed the start, even though it was always going to the back. Generally a punter will snap up the $3.00 (for a guaranteed profit of $69) backing bet of ours instantly. If the horse doesn’t miss the start, we will let the bet ride out for 400-500m until the race caller announces the horse is last (or near enough) and you will find people don’t want to get on a $2.20 favourite out the back, they want to lay it. Even if we have to lay off at $2.40, that is a profit of $20 no matter what happens in the race. If you can identify 10 horses that do this in a day, you could be in for a large amount of profit.

It is important to remember that you should only ever bet as much as the market will bare. Start small, test the waters and understand the difference in betting volume between country and metro races.

Are you a Betfair Member?
If you enjoy our tips which will always be free and have not signed up to Betfair, then a way of saying thank you is signing up through our banners on the right hand side. Make sure you click the banner which says $200 first bet refund so that if your first bet loses, you get the money back! The best part is, unlike any other bookmaker where if you sign up through an affiliate, Betfair doesn’t pay the affiliate for LOSES, Betfair pays a small % of the commission, so it is in our best interests to keep giving you winning tips.

And if you need more help, check out the learning section of Betfair.


The Profits

The Profits was first created in 2010 as a hub for owners Drew and Euan to share their knowledge. Since then, our team has expanded over the years, and we now have eight individual writers now employed to share their knowledge on specific sports. “Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”

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