When using the Betfair betting exchange, you’re able to attempt to back a sporting outcome at whichever price you choose. However, you’ll only get that price matched if another user of the site decides to take your wager, so if the odds are unrealistic it is highly unlikely you’ll get matched. You can of course, take the price that is already being offered by a layer on the site, and this can be a good course of action at times, however there’ll be many occasions when you’ll actually be able to get your bet on at a better price.
In this article I look at a number of ways for you to gain that best price. I start with a very straightforward tip for the beginner at Betfair, before moving onto some more complicated scenarios, which include using other markets and making use of lay bets to back a selection.
Backing at a Better Price than is offered
In the pictured market, you might want to back the Hamilton Academicals to gain an away win at Aberdeen. To do so, you can take an immediate price of 4.6, however you don’t have to take the odds of 4.6. You can just as easily try to back them at 4.7 or 4.8 – you’ll still be first in the queue if you try to back them as high as 5.0. This may seem obvious to many, but it is amazing the amount of times that people will just go in and back the price they see.
In this market, I’d be looking for a price of around 4.9 for Hamilton, and here is why. If you look above the back side, you’ll see a percentage figure which is 102.5%, which means that if you were to back all three selections to win an equal amount, you’d make a 2.5% overall loss – meaning the layers will make a profit of 2.5%. This also means that there is room for the prices to grow with the layers still making a profit, and in this market, the odds of Hamilton look the most likely to grow as there is more money trying to lay Hamilton than the other two selections, meaning that this selection is the most likely to make the jump to the next price.
If the overall back percentage was exactly 100% however, there is no room for prices to grow, meaning that taking the 4.6 is an option.
Using another Market to Gain a Better Price
Using the same game again, you might find a situation where you can actually gain a better price on that market by using a separate market. Below I have pictured the half time/full time market in the Aberdeen/Hamilton game. Instead of backing Hamilton to win in the win market, you could also back all three of the selections where Hamilton end up winning in the half time/full time market – it is exactly the same bet.
As you can see from the above picture, you can back Hamilton at odds of 55 to win after being behind at half time, at odds of 10.5 if level at half time and at odds of 8.6 when ahead at half time. However, from what we learnt in the previous section, with the percentage being 108.2%, there is a lot of room for these prices to improve. So here you might want to attempt to back Hamilton at odds of 75, 12 and 9.6 for example in the respective markets.
Now consider your aim to have a return of £500 on the market. You’ll divide your stake by the odds you’re trying to gain. So here are the stakes you should choose here:
Aberdeen/Hamilton You’ll try and back this selection for £6.66 (£500/75)
Draw/Hamilton You’ll try and back this selection for £41.66 (£500/12)
Hamilton/Hamilton You’ll try and back this selection for £52.08 (£500/9.6)
So in total, your stake is £100.40 to win £500.
A simple calculation here (£500/£100.40) tells you that if successful, you’ll have backed Hamilton to win at odds of 4.98. This is obviously markedly better than the 4.6 on offer in the win market.
It’s not just soccer where this kind of bet is possible. Any sports where there is a half time/full time will offer this opportunity – American Football, both forms of Rugby and Ice Hockey being examples. You could also use the same theory for set betting in tennis (for example a player to win either two sets to nil, or two sets to one in a 3 set match)or set betting in a sports like darts.
Gaining a Better Price by Laying
Let’s go back to the original market and let’s presume you still want to back the Hamilton Academicals. As well as betting on them to win, you could also lay Aberdeen and the draw, which basically means that you are betting on Aberdeen and the draw not happening – exactly the same as betting on Hamilton to win!
So here, let’s lay both of these selections - I’m going to attempt to lay Aberdeen at 1.86 and the draw at odds of 3.8. Once again we use a similar calculation to the previous market wanting to gain a return of £500.
So we lay Aberdeen at odds of 1.86 for £268.81 (£500/1.86)
We also lay the draw at odds of 3.8 for £131.57 (£500/3.8)
In total it has cost us £400.37 to lay these two outcomes, meaning that is our profit if Hamilton win. Our loss is £99.63 (£500-£400.37) if Hamilton do not win. This is the same as saying you are gambling £99.63 for a return of £500.
Another quick calculation tells us that in this scenario, we have gained odds of (£500/£99.63) 5.01 about Hamilton winning this game, once again significantly better than the 4.6 offered on the win side of the market.
If you have not yet experienced the edge that Betfair gives to the smart sports bettor - then check them out over at www.betfair.com.
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