Betting exchanges are a new concept in the sports betting industry. Namely, betting exchanges allow punters to bet against each other instead of betting against the bookmaker. In other words, a betting exchange offers a platform for buying and selling odds, while bettors pay commission to use the platform. Other than that, the betting exchange doesn’t actively take part in the process.
Since betting exchanges often offer better odds, transparency and unique experience, their popularity is constantly on the rise. Therefore, more and more top-class betting sites are including this service in their offers.
Let’s see how a betting exchange works. Namely, a betting exchange features a platform where punters can offer odds for sports events or match other punters’ offers. Therefore, participating in buying and selling odds is often known as sports trading.
Additionally, what makes betting exchanges unique in comparison to sports betting sites is the fact they allow lay betting. In other words, bettors can bet on negative outcomes as well. This means that you can back a selection to win, but also you can back a selection to lose too. This is used for placing opposing bets for the same selection as a strategy to guarantee returns. Doing this is especially useful for locking profit after you place a bet and then witness the odds shortening.
Punters at betting exchanges can place two basic types of bets: backing bets and laying bets. Backing bets or, more precisely, backing a bet is similar to standard sports betting. For instance, you place a simple bet for a football match for the Premier League between Arsenal and Chelsea. You decide to back Arsenal and place a bet that your chosen team will win by 2 goals. However, this bet becomes active only after someone decides to match it i.e. places a lay bet against it.
This is when laying bets i.e. laying a bet comes into the picture. Well, those that place lay bets are punters that take on the role of a bookmaker. They are provided with numerous backing bets and get to choose to bet against them. So, using the previous example, a punter can see your backing bet for Arsenal to win by 2 goals. At that point, if they believe your bet is going to lose, they can place an opposing laying bet. Laying odds are always higher than backing odds to avoid having sure bets.
You should keep in mind that the process works both ways. Therefore, you can place a lay bet first and wait for something to match it with a backing bet.
Any bettor would wonder why to use a betting exchange instead of a standard online bookmaker. Well, let’s take a look at the benefits of going for the first option.
First of all, betting exchanges offer many more options than standard bookies. Namely, when betting you can either accept the odds provided by the bookmaker or go for another event. At betting exchanges, you can place pretty much any bet as long as you can find someone to match it.
Consequently, you get better odds, which is the second benefit of sports trading. All of us have found ourselves in a situation when bookmakers simply won’t offer the real odds on a certain selection. This is done for a simple reason – profit for the bookie. Betting exchanges remove this issue as they simply charge commission and don’t depend on the odds.
Another pro of using a betting exchange is getting fair odds. Namely, the sports trading market is huge with thousands if not millions of sports traders take part in it. Therefore, if they place unrealistic and unfair bets, nobody will match them. Hence, it works for everyone involved in the offer to be real and fair instead. Otherwise, your bets would go unmatched and thus fail.
Finally, betting exchanges offer much more freedom and flexibility. After all, every bet has a value that changes depending on the circumstances. For example, betting on a strong team may be a great idea at one point. However, in the first five minutes, their top player may get injured or even receive a red card. This new situation changes everything. So, being able to place a lay bet enables you to get your stake back and even a small profit.
No concept is perfect. So, you should know better than expecting betting exchanges to have zero cons. Well, the first con is the commission charged on winnings. Namely, the commission is no more than 5% of the winnings, but they do exist anyway.
Another con of betting exchanges is the lack of accumulator bets. Some exchanges may offer multiplies, but this is usually rare and not as good as the options you can find at betting sites. The last issue with betting exchanges we can think of is related to the winning amount. Namely, sports betting on certain leagues can be much more profitable than sports trading. Sports trading, on the other hand, remains less risky and flexible.