The BasicsA relative newcomer, Betting Exchanges allow you to take either side of a bet, in effect allowing you to either be the punter or bookmaker. Exchanges match up punters who want to back a selection with those who want to oppose them. Although a long-term profit is difficult in any form of betting, Exchanges gives the best chance due to tighter margins and winning accounts not being restricted.
Betfair's Introduction to Exchange Betting
Exchange betting allows you to either BACK or LAY a selection. This means you can back a player in a similar way to conventional fixed-odds betting or take the liabilities in the same way as a bookmaker - in effect opposing a player. Here's an example of an exchange market on Betfair;
Betfair's winner market for the Shell Houston Open
The blue and pink columns show the best Back and Lay prices (in decimal form) along with the amounts available to bet. Columns to the left and right are prices available if the best odds are taken.
Because exchanges aren't offering prices themselves, there's no betting margin so they finance themselves by charging a commission on winning bets (between 2%-5% depending on how much you bet)
The Outright Winner Market
The Outright Winner market is the main Exchange market for golf. It attracts the most interest and liquidity* and can be approached in a number of different ways;
* liquidity or the amount bet and available in a market is important, especially in trading, as it ensures that bets can be matched.
(i) You can back players in the same way as you would with a fixed-odds bookmaker, simply backing them to win a tournament. It's often the case that outright prices are better with Exchanges than with fixed-odds bookmakers although the market is win-only (each-way bets aren't allowed)
Outsiders (100/1+) are generally better prices on exchanges (even after commission) as fixed-odds prices are a trade-off between the win and place odds*
* this is outside the scope of the guide although you can see the difference in the tournament betting between the place part of an each-way bet and the odds quoted for a top 5.
(ii) The ability to lay prices on exchanges makes it possible to behave like a bookmaker and accumulate a number of players in your "book". Laying a handful of players in golf betting can be unrewarding and risky as prices can be prohibitively big* A far more sensible strategy is to LAY a portion of the field (say 20 or 30 players) giving you a better balance between risk and reward.
* for example laying a few 100/1 shots in a tournament can be like picking up pennies in front of a steamroller - one winner can be a big penalty compared to the reward.
(iii) Trading is a very popular strategy for golf betting on exchanges and is generally the best opportunity to make a long-term profit. Exchange Trading can have a loose definition depending on how you bet but in general terms it means locking in a profit by backing and then laying (or vice-versa), usually over a short period of time.
What makes trading interesting is that you are not trying to predict which player will win a tournament. Trading is about betting on movements in the odds, which can be based on events on the course or how other people are betting on it.
Be aware of TV delays
Betting during tournament play is often the best times to Exchange bet, but you need to be confident about leaderboards and TV coverage before getting heavily involved. Official website leaderboards are generally the most up-to-date and TV picture delays will vary across providers. It's not essential to have the fastest feeds but you need to aware on them to be able to tailor your approach.
Advantages Of Exchange Betting
Margins are tight : Because there's no margin built into exchange prices, odds are generally better than fixed-odds bookmakers (even after commission) This is especially the case in the outright winner market where odds are almost always better for longer prices (100/1+), so it's always worth having an exchange account to get the best price.
No restriction on stakes : Profitable punters are often restricted by fixed-odds bookmakers. With Exchanges you are only limited by what is available to bet on the markets - extra charges apply if you make a long-term profit, but your account won't be restricted or closed.
It's not just about form : Not only can you bet on a tournament based on what's happening on the course but also on the movements of odds. Trading can be based on the form and performance of players but also on how odds move based on factors such as weight of money and sentiment even before a ball has been hit.
Get involved In-play : Although conventional fixed-odds bookmakers offer In-play odds, betting exchanges offer a more effective form of In-play betting which maintains tight margins and allows for trading on short periods of time. Betting exchanges allow for an exciting experience especially during the final day.
Exchange bet with Betfair
Betfair are the world's leading Betting Exchange and offer the best liquidity for golf; Join through the link and receive a £20 Free Bet if your first Exchange bet loses.
Alternatively - you can join through the Betfair Sportsbook, bet £10 on the Sportsbook and get a £30 free bet plus full access to the Exchange.
*18+ T&C's Apply