Matched betting couldn’t be possible without betting exchanges. Unlike traditional bookmakers, where you place a bet at odds fixed by the bookmakers, betting exchanges allow you to place bets and offer bets with other players like you. In betting exchanges, you set the odds or accept odds set by other players. Don’t worry. You will not have to do any difficult calculations or try to predict the odds of a match. The most interesting features of betting exchanges are lay bets. In this particular kind of bet you bet, on an outcome to NOT happen. It’s perfect for our purposes: in the bookmaker website you place a back bet on an outcome, and then on the betting exchange you bet on the outcome to not happen. In this way, whatever is the outcome we win on the bookmaker or in the exchange. Check the video to see an example of lay bet (you can activate the subtitles by clicking CC on the right-bottom corner):
In order to place lay bets, we have to register on Matchbook. We picked Matchbook because it is one of the biggest betting exchange available and the one with the lowest fees. You are free to use other betting exchanges, but keep in mind that all the guides on this website will use Matchbook as an example.
In a betting exchange as Matchbook, you place back and lay bets against other players. To place a bet in a betting exchange section, there has to be someone willing to accept that bet.
Take a look at Matchbook:
On Matchbook, you can see that the odds are in two different colours: pink and blue. Blue stands for a back bet, pink for a lay bet.
We are using Matchbook only to place lay bets.
Lay bets work differently to back bets. When laying a team, you play the part of the traditional bookmaker. If your bet doesn’t work out as planned, you need to pay out as a traditional bookmaker would. Let’s look at an example.
You place a 10€ lay bet on team A at odds 1.5:
If team A wins you lose the bet: you have to pay 10€ x 1.5 – 10€ = 5€. This is called your liability.
If team A does NOT win (loses or draw): you gain the 10€
By placing a lay bet, you are accepting someone else’s back bet. In our example, you just placed a lay bet on team A, and someone placed a back bet on the same team. With your lay bet, you accepted his back bet. In fact, if team A wins you are paying the other player the win (5€) and if team A does NOT win you gain the 10€ the other player bet.
You can consider a lay bet as the opposite of a normal bet (back bet): the stake of a lay bet is what you could win (not what you could lose as in the back bet), and the liability is what you could lose.
When you place a lay bet, Matchbook will tell you how much you risk (in our example 5€), this amount is called “liability”. You need to have enough funds on Matchbook to cover the liability to place a lay bet.
When you place the lay bet, the stake would be your potential winnings and the liability your losses. You only need to have the liability amount on Matchbook to place the lay bet. In our example: to place a 10€ lay bet on team A at 1.5 odds with 5€ liability you need to have at least 5€ on Matchbook.
Since Matchbook is an exchange, for every lay bet you place there has to be someone willing to accept it. You can see how much money you can place on your lay bet below the odds. This amount is called “Liquidity”. It means there is all that money waiting for someone to place the lay bet. You will have to check if there is enough liquidity before betting. If there is not, we suggest searching for another match with enough liquidity.
Let’s check all these concepts in one example.
For our example, we are going to use a Champions League match: Fenerbahce-Benfica.
We suppose that we have already placed a 10€ back bet on Benfica on a bookmaker’s website and now we want to place a lay bet on the same outcome to win the same money regardless of the result of the match. We can search one of the two teams on the search bar to find the match:
By clicking on the match, you will enter the dedicated page:
What are all those numbers?
In this screenshot, you can see the odds for betting on Fenerbahce, Benfica or the Draw between the two teams.
Let’s look only at the coloured columns for now. You can see the blue column “Back” and the pink one “Lay”.
On the blue column, there are the odds for a back bet (betting for the team). In our example, you can place a bet for Benfica to win at 2.4 odds.
The pink column stands for a lay bet (betting the team will NOT win). In our example, you can place a bet for Benfica to NOT win at 2.54 odds.
The liquidity for every bet is indicated under the odds. For example, there is 73€ liquidity to place a lay bet on Benfica at 2.54 odds. It means that you can place lay bets up to 949€.
To place a lay bet you can click on the pink box, and this screen will appear:
Here you can choose how much to place on your lay bet (in our example 10€). Immediately you will see how much is the liability for this lay bet. You will need to have that amount on Matchbook to be able to bet. On the left, you can see how much you will gain from the bet with all the different outcomes. If Fenerbahce wins or there is a draw we will gain 10€ (the lay bet stake) from our lay bet. If Benfica wins, we will have to pay the liability: 15.4€.
Matchbook gains money from the exchange through a 1.5% commission on all bets. Our calculator takes this commission into account and tells you exactly what you will gain from every bet.
You can see that there are different odds and available bets in the other light blue and light pink columns. Those are bets waiting to be accepted at higher odds (lower for back bets). We will not use them since they are less convenient for us.
There are many additional features on Matchbook. You don’t need to know anything more than what is described in this guide on Matched Betting. If you are interested, we suggest checking the Matchbook guides on its website.
It may seem all confusing at the moment, but bet after bet, you will understand better. In our step-by-step guides, we will tell you exactly what to do. Let’s go to the last guide before start making money with the offers!