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After some experience as a bettor, you can take the first steps as a trader - welcome to the second phase of your journey.

1st phase


2nd phase

Trading Software
Betting Exchange


Bet trading means buying and selling bets, that is, sports betting trading is the "art" of negotiating sports bets.

With trading, we have the possibility to earn money, regardless of the outcome of the game.



Sports betting trading can only be done on betting exchanges, such as Betfair.


The largest betting exchange in the world

Only a betting exchange allows you to bet against a certain event. A "bet against" (LAY) is exactly the inverse of a "bet in favour" (BACK). LAY means to say that an event is not going to happen.

It may seem complicated, but it is not. It closely resembles stock exchanges - making BACK bets is equivalent to selling and making LAY bets is equivalent to buying. You will earn money if you manage to sell it for more than you bought it.


In the text below we explain, in general, how to trade, so you can start betting.

How Betfair works

Betfair may seem complicated, but in reality it is very simple.


First you must understand the meaning of betting on Betfair, since you are not betting against a bookmaker, you are betting against other people like you, that is, you buy and sell bets to other traders.

The world's largest betting exchange

BACK bets that Betfair offers only exist because there are corresponding LAY bets available in the market and vice versa. The trade is generated whenever there is a pair of contrary bets - BACK and LAY.


In very general terms: if, for example, you place a LAY bet, that bet will only be matched, that is, it only "enters" the market, if another person placed a BACK bet at the same odd. Therefore, if you bet £20 at a rate of 1.7 in favour of an event, that bet will only be matched if there are traders interested in betting £20 against that event at the same 1.7 odd.


The following scheme will help you interpret the tables of the Betfair markets. You can see what the available odds are to bet.

Betfair Trading Table
Lay Betting
Only betting exchanges have LAY bets.

LAY bets have a logic similar to that of BACK bets.

Betfair Trading Table

In this example, if you bet £10 LAY on Man City at a 2.06 odd you are saying that Man City is not going to win the game, so if the game ends tied or if Liverpool wins, you will win your bet and you will have a profit of £10.


If Man City wins the game, you lose the bet and lose £10.60.
But if you bet £10, why are you going to lose £10.60?


Because in LAY bets there is something called liability.


In generic terms, liability is the amount of money you risk losing when placing a bet.

In a BACK bet your liability is equal to the value you bet.
In a LAY bet, the liability is not so immediate to perceive, because you have to make a small calculation:

LAY liability = (lay odd - 1) x value bet in LAY


At odds above 2 liability is superior to the value of the bet (stake). Odds lower than 2 have a lower liability than the stake.


But what does this amount (liability) mean?

If you place a LAY bet and lose, the corresponding BACK bet wins. Since in Betfair bets are made between traders, who will pay the winner? Answer - the trader who made a LAY bet at the same odd, that is, you. Therefore, you need to have enough money to pay for an eventual winning BACK bet - your liability.

Matched bets

When you bet on Betfair, you're not betting against the BOOKMAKER, you're betting against other traders. You buy and sell bets to other traders.


Your BACK bet is only immediately matched if someone has already placed a LAY bet at the same rate. Otherwise, your bet will be available in the market, waiting to be matched.

Can I bet at an odd that is not available in the table?

Yes, you can.


In BACK bets, if you bet at an odd higher than the best available odd on the market (the odd of the blue column), it will be waiting to be matched by a bet on the LAY side. If you bet on a lower odd you are in disadvantage, therefore, Betfair helps you out, by automatically changing your odd to the best market odd at that time, the odd of the blue column. Everyone wants to sell for more money!

Betfair Trading Table

In the following example: if you bet £20 LAY on Liverpool at a 2.04 odd, that value would be available on the BACK side (at the same odd and amount) waiting for someone to click on it. If that odd already exists on the BACK side (as is the case), that is, if other traders are already waiting for their bet to be matched at that odd, the value of your bet will added to the money already available in the market. In this case: £57247 + £20 = £57267. When someone place a BACK bet at that odd, your LAY bet will be matched (it "enters"). Obviously, those placed first are the first to be matched.

Betfair Trading Table

It's simple, right?

Let's analise the selected value in the following table. What does it mean?


It means that some people (or just one) placed a BACK bet at an odd of 2.08 and are waiting for someone to LAY at the same odd to get their bet matched.


But then, why didn't they bet BACK at an odd of 2.04? In that case the bet would be immediately be matched...
Answer: Because the trader did not consider it fair to sell at a value lower than 2.08 and therefore decided to wait for his bet to be matched at a higher odd.

Betfair Trading Table
How to do trade

Evaluate with a strategy:
If you think the odd will go down, you must first make a BACK bet and then another LAY bet at a lower fee. Then you wait for your bet to be matched.


If you think the odd will go up, place a LAY bet first and then another BACK bet at a higher odd. Then wait for it to be matched.


Trading is actually safer than simple bets, because you can exit the market at any time.

In the next example, we are going to place bets at the best available odds, but on opposite sides, because we have a better chance of having our bets matched.


First step - place a bet

In this example, you start by placing a BACK bet.
If you place a BACK bet on Valencia, of €100, at an odd of 1.99, you will be left with an eventual profit of €99 and a possible loss of €100. That is to say, you win €99 if Valencia wins, but you lose €100 if Valencia does not win.

Betfair Trading Table  

Second step - place the opposite bet and decide if you want to concentrate your profit (freebet) or distribute it (greening).

The opposite bet to the one you just placed is a LAY bet.



If you want to concentrate your profit on Valencia, you will have to do what is called a Freebet.
In a bet of this type you have to bet the same amount you bet on the first step, in this case, €100
Let's do some math:


profit of the trade = profit of the bet BACK bet - LAY liability


In this example, profit of the trade = €99 - €96 = €3
... if Valencia wins. Otherwise, you have no profit but you don't lose money either. That is, you concentrated your profit on Valência.

Betfair Trading Table


You may prefer to win less but win no matter the final outcome of the game. This is called distributing the profit. To do this you have to calculate the value of your bet:


amount to bet = 1st odd
2nd odd
x stake of the 1st odd


Doing some math - the value of your 2nd bet should be €101.53. This way, regardless of the outcome of the game, your benefit will always be €1.53. Of course you win less, but you win whatever the final outcome of the game is.



Betfair Trading Table Betfair has an emergency market exit button called CASHOUT. This CASHOUT option makes an automatic Greening at the best odd available at the moment. It is different from the greening that we have just explained, in which you are the one who chooses the odd you want to exit the market.



You can use Academy's calculator to make these trade closing calculations or use a trading software that also does it, and many other things, automatically. Try it out.


Ready to do some trading?

Learn + Trading Softwares


Trading software give traders many advantages, so their use is almost indispensable. This type of software is not suitable to make simple bets and it should not be used before you have understood very well how betting exchanges work and what trading is all about.


Additional functions


The main advantage of using a trading software is the speed with which you can make, modify and cancel bets, compared to the time the same actions take when made directly on the site of the betting exchange.

Among other features, essential for certain trading strategies, one of the most indispensable features is the market view in the form of a ladder. In this view it is easier to place bets and expect them to be matched.

Another great feature of this type of software is the graphic clarity in presenting the data that the Betting Exchange offers.

By facilitating the interpretation of the information, it allows the trader to speed up actions and decisions. Register to be able to try out and choose the interface you like the most.
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