Betfair the betting exchange is now an established way to bet on popular sports.  Initially Betfair turned the betting world upside down.  Traditional bookmakers were up in arms.  Humbled by the technological benefits that Betfair brought to people including better odds and the option to bet that something will not happenBetfair explained. There are many people out there who have enjoyed betting at betting shops. Then the bookmakers went online. Essentially there was no difference between the bookmaker on the high street and using the same bookmaker online. Then Betfair came onto the scene and introduced a completely new concept. It’s not a complicated concept but it’s new. Let’s Compare Bets has polled a few Betfair users to uncover the most common FAQs to help explain Betfair.

Since Betfair was conceived it has been a massive success. The recent stock market flotation of Betfair is testament to this. First let’s see why Betfair has been so popular.

    • Odds on Betfair are more competitive than traditional bookmakers
    • The betting exchange model allows people to bet that events will not happen

Something that originally caused plenty of controversy surrounding horse races that where fixed or more recently, with international cricket.  However, the loudest critics where often traditional bookmakers fearing the competition.

10 Betfair questions that should be asked more frequently.

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  1. What is Betfair in a nut shell? Please write it on the back of a match box. Betfair is a market place for people who want to bet that things will and won’t happen, namely a betting exchange.
  2. Is it possible to just make back bets on Betfair like with a normal online bookmaker?Yes that’s fine, and why not? The odds on Betfair are proven to be up to 20% better on average than traditional bookmakers.
  3. What is the other side to this story?The lay side. What makes Betfair really stand out is that you are able to lay horses, football teams, or whatever to lose. Of just for something not to happen.
  4. What is a matched bet? Each bet requires a backer and a layer. In other words, a Betfair member who thinks an event will happen (a backer) and one who thinks it won’t happen (a layer) , and they are willing to put their money where their mouth is. When a bet has both a backer and a layer at a the same odds the bet is said to be ‘matched’. The clever bit is that Betfair pairs all the individual back and lay bets quickly so that there are few bets left unmatched.  Normally the amount of money on the back and lay side of a bet is never equal, which means some bet are remain unmatched or get partially matched.As a backer or a layer it is possible to bet against just one other member of lots of members, it’s all the same as long as the bet gets matched.
  5. So, what is a lay bet? It’s betting that something won’t happen. Here’s the workings of a lay bet. If the member wants to lay something at odds of 2.2 using a stake of £100 the payout would be £220 (100 x 2.2). That’s the total amount of money involved in the transaction.   In this example if the backer is correct they would win  £120 and get back the stake of £100 . The layer on the other hand has a liability for the backers winnings (like a bookmaker). The liability here is £120 and comes from the layers funds. So, if the event does happen and the backer is correct the layer has to pay the £120 winnings and the backers original stake. If the backer isn’t correct the layer keeps his stake. For a liability of £120 the layer gets the chance to keep £100 of the backer money.At odds more than even (that’s decimal odds of 2) the layer has a liability larger than the backers stake. If the odds are under 2 the layer risks less than the backers stake.
  6. What do all the blue and pink boxes mean? Blue boxes show the odds for backers. The favourite selection is always shown on the top row and selections are shown in ascending order based on the odds. In the picture 44 pence would be paid for each pound bet on Liverpool to win (or currency equivalent). The column of blue boxes closest to the center show the average odds where bets are waiting to be matched. Below the odds is a number that shows the amount of money waiting to get matched. Betfair guide
    The pink boxes show the odds for layers.  The pink column closest to the center are the unmatched lay bets, with the amount of money waiting to be matched directly below.
  7. Can you choose your own odds? Yes. Members of Betfair can ask for the odds they want. If the asking price is too extreme their bets will remain unmatched. To ask for a price of 200 points for Spain to beat the Ivory Coast in a World Cup final is not likely to get matched. This works the same for back and lay bets.If a backer decides they want odds that are not currently on offer from layers the bet remains unmatched until someone else agrees that they will match the bet.  For example, looking at the image above, that would be the case if a backer wanted odds of 1.60 for Liverpool to win.  Until someone on the lay side agrees to lay money at those odds the bet would remain unmatched.
  8. Can you use Betfair like a normal bookmaker? Newbies often want to use Betfair the same as any other online bookmaker to get used to the platform. Or may never want to bother with laying bets. Betfair offers users an express bet view for members who just want to take advantage of the superior odds that Betfair as on offer. The express view shows the selections for the football game, horse race of one of the many sports available with the back odds available in blue boxes. If you want to get started right now use the Betfair free bet.
  9. What’s the next step once you have mastered the Betfair website? Betfair is like a playground for people to experiment on ways to make money. This blog features posts about using football data for making profitable predictions on football games. On the main website the betting exchange guide shows how to profit from trading markets on Betfair.
  10. So far Betfair sounds great, what are you not telling us? Some markets do not attract very much attention from the betting public. At times there isn’t enough money on the back side for lay bets to get matched or on the lay side for back bets to be matched. If this is the case large bets may go partially unmatched. High rollers are better to focus on popular markets, like English horse racing, large football tournaments, and large tennis tournaments.


The answers to these FAQs have hopefully provided some insight into Betfair and how to get up to speed as quickly as possible. To carry on using traditional bookmakers is to lose out. 10 FAQs does not do justice to the capabilities of Betfair. Betfair invite you to find out more by visiting their site, you can start an account with a win or your money back bet.

Note from the editor.  I urge anyone who has opened a Betfair account to check out our review of a very simple system using Betfair to make a good income.  Seriously! See this now (link opens another page on this site).

2 responses to “10 FAQs everyone should know to explain how Betfair works”

  1. just registered to betfair yesterday and i still don’t get the exchange thing. I was going to lay team b would have costed me like $25 to make $8 profit but then i could just bet the $25 on 1x at the regular sportsbook market on team A to make pretty much the exact same $8 in profit

    • If you are looking for good back lay techniques you should check out our free ebook, available for free on our store. The profit accumulator review would also help you

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