Betfair Trading for Beginners: Your Beginners Guide

Betfair Trading for Beginners:

The Perfect Guide

Betfair Trading Guide

Table of Contents

The thought of being a Betfair trader would get the pulse racing of many people, potentially putting them off achieving their full potential.

The truth is; Betfair hold a great part of the market with their betting exchange. They weren’t fully satisfied with this though and also opened up their own Sportsbook, so they can appeal to every type of punter possible.

If you aren’t sure how betting exchanges work, this post will be perfect for you. 

Betfair simply control the markets, with the traders completely controlling the prices. 9 times out of 10, the Betting Exchange will have better prices than the bookmakers. Maybe even more than 9!

This is because traders control the prices, Betfair don’t make or lose any money depending on the outcome. Instead, Betfair charge a commission to traders, which is around 5%.

The way the platform works is based upon supply and demand, which creats opportunities to trade, based upon the odds increasing or decreasing.

The biggest myth is that it’s really difficult to be a Betfair Trader, or impossible to profit. 

We understand, the betting exchange may look difficult on first view, but it’s something you will gradually come to terms with.

You want to become a Betfair Trader, which is why you’ve found this guide. Our beginners guide to Betfair Trading. 

What is Betfair Trading?

The Betting Exchanges haven’t been around forever. It was launched on the turn of the year 2000.

It’s initial aim was to become like the stock market, but providing odds for sale, instead of shares in companies.

This completely shook the market up, as they were selling betting odds, identical to which bookmakers had been, but Betfair were offering these out at record high prices in comparison.

It was unknown at the start, but fast forward 20 years and it’s one of the most successful platforms available.

Betfair allowed the average person to become a punter or a bookmaker, allowing both backing and laying of odds.

Prices that you see on the Betfair Exchange typically reflect the correct value, with bookmakers making money by offering lower odds.

The Professional traders were straight on Betfair, earning their profits.

So how do you trade on Betfair?

You can use Betfair just like you would use a bookmaker, placing bets on events of your choice.

What makes Betfair different, is the fact that you can lay bets. 

To lay a bet means to bet against it happening.

For example, if you’re up the pub and your mate says I bet I can pot the black (playing pool), but you say ‘I bet you can’t’… You’re essentially laying his bet, telling him that you don’t believe he will pot it.

On Betfair, the odds are constantly moving, in relation to the probability of the outcome.

If you place a high odds bet on the underdog to win a football match, you don’t have to wait until the final whistle to make a profit.

Just like with bookmakers where you can cash out, you have the option to Trade Out on Betfair, giving you instant profit.

Betfair Trading Strategies

There’s a plethora of strategies available online, so I am going to focus on the most popular ones today.

Back to Lay Horse Racing 

This is an interesting strategy. Your aim here is to spot a Horse which will get out of the stalls fast, but lay once it’s in a favourable position. This negates any risk from him falling off towards the end of the race, as you’ve traded out at a peak price.

Lay the Draw

This is one of the most popular strategies & is one that most traders take to, when starting out Betfair Trading.

Trading Based upon Team News

This is a good strategy, but pretty saturated. You also need a high knowledge of each teams players. Your aim here is to spot weaker teams being fielded, for example a backup goalkeeper. 

This is where a trader lays the draw, but then backs the draw late in the game, when the price increases so they can lock in profit.

Back at Best Price

Backing at the best price is a strategy that’s highly regarded amongst Value Hunters. This will mean that you’ve earnt the best physical price for that market, which will give you better profits long term.

This is just a selection of some favoured trades, there are many more obscure ones too.

Ultimately, you will need to research and find which strategies suit you best.

What is Scalping?

Scalping is the term used to describe a short term trade, where you aim to back and lay just a few ticks apart. 

This sort of trade would only generate small profits, but the aim is to make lots of these trades every day.

It’s very low risk, but that also comes with the fact there’s a low reward factor. You aren’t going to get rich overnight.

What is Cross Market Trading?

Cross Market Trading is a great strategy, but not something that a beginner should take up immediately.

The aim is to cross-reference markets, so that you can create a position where you will not lose. For example, If you back the Home Team and they go 1-0 up, you could also back over 1.5 goals, which means that one of them have to win.

There’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the basics of how it works. I’d certainly wait until you’re more comfortable with the trading platform before testing this out.

It’s also worth noting that the commission that you’ll pay is always based upon the total profit from that market. 

It may end up costing you more money, as the commission amount doesn’t take into the fact that one of the bets may lose.

Key Betfair Trading Terms

Scalping the Market

“Scalping is a technique that relies on small, short term price changes within any betting exchange market.”

Hedging Your Bets

 “A process of levelling either profit or loss across the entire betting market”

Price Spread

“the difference between both back and lay prices”

Exiting a Trade – Timing is Key

Timing is always going to be key when it comes to profitability, you want to exit any trade at the peak price. 

It’s not always going to happen, you’ll win some and lose some. The key is to win more long term, as that will be key to long term profitability.

There’s no way to master timing a trade, there’s always something which can go against you… such as a penalty, or a shock handball or red card. 

However, this can also swing the other way, giving you opportunities that land in your favour.

Professional Attitude

You need to treat Betfair Trading as a professional side income, it’s not something which you do for fun or to pass time.

Becoming a Professional Betfair Trader isn’t easy, and there will be people who fail to adapt. 

The first step to becoming a professional is to document all trades you make.

This will help you to analyse what worked, what didn’t & what should have.

This will give you the perfect toolkit to work from going forward & it will help you to realise your most profitable strategy.

Likewise, you can find out your least profitable strategy, to enable you to adopt or completely drop it from your arsenal.

Bankroll Management

Your number one aim is to profit long term from Betfair trading.

You must understand that you won’t become a millionaire overnight, but a sensible staking pattern will enable you to consistently grow.

Most punters deposit £20 and spend all of this in a weekend. They might win a 3/1 odds bet once, but they’re going to be losing £20 9 times out of 10.

It’s good when you winning, but you’re bust when you lose. This isn’t the way that you should be trading on Betfair.

Instead, you need to deposit a larger amount, which you are comfortable with and make a staking plan.

My plan is to spend no more than 4% of my bankroll at once, which means what I am always fairly low risk. There are some that go upwards of 7.5%, but this doesn’t really account for losing runs.

If you lose, then at least you have plenty more trades left in the tank. If you win, you’re slowly building your bankroll.

A key thing to notice when trading on Betfair, is that not everbody is a professional. There are lots of people who have less awareness, which means that they are essentially a target. They’ll take worse odds, which leaves a profit margin to be snapped up.

Remember, it’s best to build slow and steady, seeing the end game, instead of a wreckless run where you just attempt to make X amount of money quickly.

Most of the time, aiming for a profit margin by a certain date would end in failure.

Trading Software

As with most things on the Internet, there’s usually a guru that comes about to create software to make things easier. 

Cough Cough, Oddsmonkey!

They were the matched betting pioneers, making the original Oddsmatcher.

In Trading, Geeks Toy have control of the trading market, due to their brilliant software. We aren’t affiliated to them in any way, but you can check them out here


The road to becoming a professional Betfair Trader won’t be easy. You will have losses along the way, but that’s perfectly natural. 

I’d actually be more concerned by a trader which has won 50 bets in a row. This would mean that you’ve ridden a huge wave of luck. Although it’s fantastic, it’s not realistic.

You can take these Betfair Trading tips and continue learning, which will enable you to deploy some useful tactis on your quest to becoming a full time Betfair trader.

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