Setting your own odds

The Betfair Exchange isn’t like other bookmakers where you have to take the price given, it’s a live marketplace where prices are constantly being haggled over.

If you don’t like the odds listed for your selection, you can choose the price at which you want to back it, or to lay it. You then wait to see if other Exchange users are willing to take on, or ‘match’, your bet, effectively by betting on the opposite outcome to happen, at the odds you’ve specified.


How to set your own odds

To place any bet, you first need to find the market you want, and then find your selection. If you want to place a back bet – meaning you’ll win money if your selection wins – click the blue box. If you want to place a lay bet – meaning you’ll win money if the selection you make loses – click the pink box. The bet will then appear in your bet slip, on the right-hand side of the screen.

You’ll notice there are already odds listed for your selection, and it might be that you decide to take them as they are. However, if you decide they aren’t long enough – or you’re expecting the odds to drift, and you don’t want to invest too soon – you have two options. 

The first is to take the Betfair SP (or BSP). To do this, simply hit the ‘SP’ option in the BSP column for the outcome you want, enter your stake and place your bet (if you can’t see the BSP column already, hit ‘Settings’ and make sure the option to display BSP is ticked).

The second is to request a better price of your own choosing, that you’re happy accepting. Press the plus and minus buttons next to the price listed, which will move the odds up or down incrementally, until you get to the value you want – or simply type it into the box on your bet slip.

What odds can you set?

The increments by which you can move the odds up or down will be the smallest available, depending on the range of odds you’re dealing with. As well as making the Exchange far easier to use, as it generally ensures money can far more easily be ‘matched’ in one chunk at the same price, this helps keep things competitive, and encourages layers to offer better odds. For example, whilst you can choose to move a price of 1.14 up by 0.01 to 1.15, you couldn’t move a price of 2.5 up 0.01 to 2.51. This is why the lowest price you’ll ever see traded on the Exchange is 1.01, equal to 1/100 in fractional bets. The maximum odds that can be traded on the Betfair Exchange are 1000.0, which is equal to 999/1.

The minimum increments by which you can move the odds are as follows:

• + or - 0.01 on odds between 1.0 and 2.0

• + or - 0.02 on odds between 2.0 and 3.0

• + or - 0.05 on odds between 3.0 and 4.0

• + or - 0.1 on odds between 4.0 and 6.0

• + or - 0.2 on odds between 6.0 and 10.0

• + or - 0.5 on odds between 10.0 and 20.0

• + or - 1 on odds between 20.0 and 30.0

• + or - 2 on odds between 30.0 and 50.0

• + or - 5 on odds between 50.0 and 100.0

• + or – 10 on odds between 100.0 and 1000.0

As long as you insert a value that matches these increments, you can also type the odds you want directly into the box.

Once you’re happy with the odds you’ve entered, press the yellow ‘Place bets’ button. Once you’ve confirmed your bets, you’ll have a choice of what you want the Betfair Exchange to do if your bet remains unmatched. You can select to have your stakes returned, or choose to take the Betfair SP (only available on markets where BSP operates) if the bet remains unmatched at the odds you requested, ensuring that you will definitely have a bet riding on the event if you’re not sure if your odds will be taken or not. 

Now it’s just a case of waiting to see if the bet will be matched – although you can also cancel the bet or edit it for as long as it remains unmatched. 

How does having your bet matched work?

If your bet is matched, it means that someone else using the Exchange has accepted your bet at the odds you’ve requested. All money goes through the Exchange, along with all other money staked on the market and outcome in question. It’s straightforward for the user, and completely anonymous.

Whilst your bet waits to be matched it appears in the Exchange in the form of cash value, or ‘liquidity’, along with all other unmatched money staked on your selection by other bettors. This means that when someone wants to bet on the opposite outcome happening, they’re presented with an option to do that, up to the value that you and those other bettors have already staked – ensuring that the pay-out is already there for both outcomes.