Today the online sports betting is most promising. No need to go out to place your wager. You can bet sitting at home, thanks to online exchange services like Betfair. Moreover you can trade, just like on a stoke market. Betfair allows you to make a “Back” bet to win and “Lay” bet to lose. This means that if your selection loses you actually make money. So placing, for example, two opposite bets (Back and Lay) on the same selection, but at different odds you are making guaranteed profit which is as big as the difference in odds between Back and Lay bets. This is very similar to normal stock markets, that’s why many traders in online sports betting are saying “price” instead “odds”. And sports events are usually called “markets”.

If you open Betfair market in your browser, you will see what I mean:

betfair market

If it’s your first time at Betfair, you may need to click “Exchange” link on the top (next to “Live Video”, “Radio” and “Tote”). Also make sure you have ticked “Back & Lay” and “Market Depth” boxes. Without this your market will look like an ordinary race form.

So, on the above image you see three Back and three Lay boxes for each runner with available odds (prices) and amount of money available at this odds. As long as Betfair is betting exchange where people bet one against another, the amount that can be matched at BACK odds is limited by amount that other people are offering to trade at this odds. In our example if you would have placed a BACK bet of $200 at 4.8, $197 would have been matched and $3 have remained unmatched until someone would place a LAY bet at this odds.

From trading point of view you can think about BACK betting as “selling” and LAY as “buying”. So to make profit you should “buy” at low price and sell at high price (the order doesn’t matter really, you can first sell and then buy). Sports betting markets on Betfair are volatile, prices usually change up and down in matters of minutes. When a race goes in-play prices can dramatically change even in fractions of second. In Betfair trading it’s matter of good analysis and timely decision to be successful.

If you have backed $200 at 4.8 and then the price on Betfair went down to 4.0 you can trade out laying at 4.0. You might lay $200 at 4.0, then if the horse loses you will make (less Betfair commission):

$200 * (4.8 – 1) – $200 * (4.0 – 1) = $160

Betfair displays all odds in decimal format.
To calculate profit from a BACK bet the formula is:
profit = stake * (odds – 1)
Loss formula for LAY bet is the same:
loss = stake * (odds – 1)

Well, this is very basic of Betfair trading. Good luck, and happy trading!