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How to place a bet with Betfair

Betfair is an important bookmaker for us, as we can use Betfair to handle the lay bets (when we bet on a team to lose) when we do our matched betting. This article is to help you understand how to place a back bet (betting on a team to win), as well as a lay bet (betting on a team to lose).

New to Betfair?

People new to Betfair can get their hands on a £25 no risk bet. This means that if your first ever bet with Betfair loses, Betfair will credit your account with the amount you bet up to a maximum of £25 within a couple of days.

You can then withdraw this money straight away if you wish. This is a great way to try a bet within Betfair, without risking your own money. All you have to do is sign up using the Refer and Earn Code BET234 and place a bet of up to £25.

Finding an event on Betfair

Betfair open and settle hundreds of markets each day, so we have a menu navigation to allow you to find the one you’re interested in as easily as possible. From the left hand menu, choose the sport you’re interested in, e.g. Football.

Betfair Main Menu

This provides you with a summary of all of the football events that are currently open. The screenshot below is showing the World Cup 2010 for example.

Betfair Football Menu

Now we want to find a specific match by clicking on a few more menu items, as shown below. When we’re doing matched bets, we’re always interested in Match Odds for a Football Match, which means being able to bet on:

  • Team A to win, or Team A to lose
  • Team B to win, or Team B to lose
  • A Draw result, or a Draw result not happening

Betfair - Specific Football Match

Once we’ve found a specific match, we’ll be presented with the current odds and the money in the market. It looks a little like this:

Betfair - Match Odds

The market shows you the prices available to back or lay. The blue box indicates the best price available to back, and the pink box shows the best prices available to lay on each selection, in this example the South Africa is available to back at 2.92, and to lay at 2.94. Betfair automatically shows the best odds, i.e. the odds that are in your favour (namely the odds that give you the best return or the least loss).

The figure under the price shows the amount available, in this example a bet of up to £803 would be matched instantly at 2.92 if you were backing South Africa.

Placing a BACK bet at Betfair

When you back a team, you’re placing a bet on that team to win. If you want to back a team, you click on one of the blue boxes in the middle of the market information. So if we’re going to back South Africa, then we’d click on the blue button that says 2.92.

Betfair - Match Odds - Back Button

We can then specify how much we want to stake. e.g. I’ve put a £25 back bet on South Africa in this example. If South Africa win this match, then I would make £48 profit (minus Betfair‘s commission of 5%). We get this number by taking £25 x 2.92 = £73 (which is our £25 stake being returned, plus our profit of £48).

Betfair - Back Bet

Placing a LAY bet at Betfair

Lay bets are a little more interesting, and this is when you place a bet on a team to lose. For example, if I place a lay bet on South Africa, i.e. I’m placing a bet on them to lose, I can do by clicking on one of the pink boxes in the middle of the market information. So if we’re going to lay South Africa, then we’d click on the pink button that says 2.94.

Betfair - Match Odds - Lay

  • If South Africa lost, then my bet won, so I’d win my stake back (£10 in this example), minus Betfair‘s commission of 5%.
  • If South Africa won, then my bet lost, I’d have to pay the person who backed South Africa at odds of 2.94. In this example, if I had placed a lay bet of £10, then I’d need to pay the person who backed South Africa £19.40. This is also called a liability.

Betfair - Lay Bet

How is the liability £19.40? When you place a back bet, you get your stake back, which accounts for 1.00 of the 2.94 odds; plus your winnings, which would be 2.94 – 1.00 = 1.94. Therefore 1.94 x £10 = £19.40. If you lose your lay bet, you’re only paying the backer’s winnings, as they also get their stake returned to them when they win.

Confused? I certainly was when I first got into this! Just remember that liability is the amount you lose if your lay selection loses (i.e. the team you bet on to lose actually wins). If your lay selection wins (i.e. the team you bet on to lose, actually loses), then you win your stake.

Betfair have more information about lay bets in their help section, called ‘What is Laying?’ if you want to find out a little more.