Updated: 23 Sep 2020

Betting Exchange Strategy

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A betting exchange offers more betting variety than normal, and it could be argued that this variety gives punters more of a chance of making a profit. Based on the unique exchange betting structure, punters must approach exchange betting sites with a different strategy than other betting sites.

Due to the ability to back-to-lay a bet, betting exchange strategy presents a truly unique gambling experience. Players looking to embrace the trending exchange format be sure to consider the unique strategies that are needed.

Lay Bets

The most notable difference between the exchanges and the standard markets is that you are given the opportunity to ‘lay’ a bet. This is the strategy of backing against a certain outcome, contrary to the usual process of backing for something to happen. As such, the punter is given a greater chance of making a profit: rather than only having one choice, you now have two.

If you do not believe that a team will win a match or a player will beat his opponent, you can lay them. The strategy is to make sure that you know a certain outcome will be realised, and from there to back or lay accordingly.

Matched Bets

On betting exchange websites, you get your bets matched by other members of the public who don’t think your bet will come true: i.e. they are laying the outcome that you think will happen (or vice versa).

Therefore you can state the odds (because there is no middle-man with fixed prices) and this means, if you win your bet and you have managed to find odds greater than the industry price, that you have made a profit – a profit you would not have obtained had you put your bet on with normal bookmakers.

Fluctuating Odds

Odds on Betfair and other exchange markets tend to fluctuate more than those given by other bookmakers and this can also work in the punter’s favour. Because the prices are constantly hardening and lengthening, the odds can often change for your benefit.

For example, a football team at 2.3 can drift to 2.55 and then drift back in again, but if you are alert enough you can take the odds when they are at their longest. So, if you decide you do not want to quote your own fixed odds, there is a chance to pick up some profit on wondering odds if you stay alert and choose your timing carefully.

Bookies' Concerns

Because bookmakers have to defend themselves across a huge number of markets, they are naturally relatively cautious. However, you will find on a betting exchange such as Betfair that there will be opportunities to take advantage of generous odds offered either by a punter with less knowledge of certain markets, or by someone looking to make a serious profit in next to no time.

Bide your time, find a price that appears attractive and make sure you do the research in order to ensure your fellow punter really is offering something above the line given by bookmakers.

Back-to-Lay Betting

Furthermore, if you feel like being cautious and ensuring you don’t lose too much, the betting exchanges allow you to do this. Because Betfair offers both backing and laying markets, it is possible to bet on both outcomes in a said event. If you spread your bets out, then you will never lose that much money and it is much easier to emerge with a profit.

Though Betfair can, at the beginning, be difficult to operate, it is a site that is definitely worth utilising, as are the other exchange markets, simply because it gives you a greater chance of making a profit. If you're looking to get into some exchange betting be sure to check out our guide on how to claim some free bets!


Hi, I'm Dean Ryan

"A passionate sports betting broadcaster and journalist with over 15 years spent in the gambling industry."

  • Sports Betting
  • Odds Compiling
  • Horse Racing

Reviewer since June 2016

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