How to sell bets on Betfair?
At Betfair, it’s not a battle between the punter and the bookmaker. Instead, the bookmaker is simply providing a battlefield for its punters to bet against each other. They sit back and let that happen on their website and make their money by charging commission.
Selling (or "Lay") odds on Betfair is a situation where you become the bookmaker. You choose a match and make a bet and then wait for another customer to come along and buy your bet. This means they will be betting against you and now you must wait for the event in question to take place. If the other customer wins, then you have to pay them their winnings. If they lose, then you will keep the stake that they have placed.
Let’s take a look at an example to show you just how this happens. Say it’s a Champions League match between Real Madrid who are the home side and they are taking on Inter Milan. Real are the 1.55 favourites to win the game but Inter come into the game in top form and your view is that they could avoid defeat from this match.
On other sportsbooks, you could just place a bet on this game to end level or a double chance bet on Inter to win or draw. It’s all a bit different at Betfair though. Your opinion is that Real Madrid are not going to win this match. Therefore, you will be selling (laying) Madrid. You will offer other members of the Betfair Exchange, the opportunity to bet on Madrid winning the match (which you don’t believe will happen), the odds and the maximum stake that you are willing to accept.
Example: Real Madrid – Inter - You sell Real on Betfair
On the left-hand side (blue part corresponding to the "back"), you bet in favour of Real, Inter or a draw. On the right-hand side (purple part corresponding to the "lay"), you bet against Real, Inter or a draw. This is the part that concerns you for lay betting.
On the current market, you can sell (lay) Real Madrid at odds of 1.56. The amount of £1.867 shown under the odds corresponds to the maximum amount that you can sell at these odds and at this moment.
To sell Real Madrid, you must:
1. Click on the odds for Real Madrid on the lay side
2. Enter a stake in the betting window which opens on the right-hand side and then validate.
You place a stake of £10 pounds on the sale. Note, this stake does not represent a risk of £10. Don't forget that you are acting as the bookmaker. The £10 corresponds to the amount that you are prepared to accept from punters in your role as a bookmaker. Never put a stake that is so high you won’t be able to pay it if you lose. It is also the amount that you will earn if Real Madrid does not win. The bookmaker (that’s you in this instance) keeps the losing stakes.
Your risk here is only £5.60, i.e. stake x (odds-1). This is the amount that you will have to pay the punters that have bet on Real (and thus against you) if Real wins.
Your situation after selling the bet on Betfair
After placing your bet, here is your situation:
- If Real wins the match, you must pay the winning punters. This amounts to £5.60 corresponding to a stake of 10 pounds at odds of 1.56
- In all other cases (match drawn or a win for Inter), you keep the losing punters' £10 stakes.
You can sell at lower odds
When you sell odds, you can also try to sell at odds which are lower than the current odds that are available. In this case, you use the bottom arrow to reduce the odds. In this example, you could reduce the odds on Real winning to 1.54.
By doing this, you will be reducing the amount that you will have to pay out if Real Madrid win the game. The problem here is will other punters on the site want to take on the bet at those reduced odds?
The hope is that someone will come forward believing that you are wrong in thinking that Real Madrid aren’t going to beat Inter. They will take the slightly lower odds believing that they are going to be getting a winner when Madrid get the victory.
The bet is matched and now you just have to wait for this Champions League game to take place. If Real don’t win, you will win the stake of the other punter. If Real do surprise you and get the win, you will have to pay the other gambler their winnings but it will be a lesser amount than before due to the lower odds available in this bet.
Wanting to try selling bets on Betfair? Go to our page dedicated to this site and find out more about what is on offer and their excellent welcome offer of up to £100 in free bets.
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