How to bet at Betfair
First, this topic is less than useful until you have at least £10 on your balance sheet. I usually bet about £300-500 per race if I’m playing to win, or about £100 at a time if I’m using it as practice to improve my form with certain horses. And if after reading this article you still don’t feel confident enough to try Betfair, find another bookie, because everyone starts somewhere!
How to bet on Betfair
Before you can make money betting on Betfair, you need to understand how the site works and how prices are determined by speculators (people who bet solely for profit) and market makers. The term Betfair is used colloquially to refer to both of these groups, but the real difference is that market makers bet to make a profit on an overround, whereas speculators risk their initial bet in an attempt to win more than their initial bet.
(If this is too confusing, just remember: Market makers = making a profit, and speculators = taking a risk).
The difference between Betfair prices and racetrack prices is due to what we call “the store.” Essentially, the store is the difference between overquoting and 100%. For example, if you take all bets on a particular market on Betfair and add them together and then divide by the total number of bets placed on that market (regardless of which side they are placed on), you get 101%. This means that for every £1 bet on a particular market, the bookmaker will pay out £1.01 – they make a small profit!
To determine what the over-round is for a market, you need to take the total amount of money bet and divide it by your initial bet, and then multiply that number by 100%. In other words, if you bet £80 on races at 5 different bookmakers with SP odds of 1.91, your total bet would be £415 (£80 x 5 = £400 + £415 = £815). Dividing by 5 means that each individual bookmaker’s share will be ~161% (161 is 4/5 of 200). This means that for every £1 bet, the bookie will pay out £1.61 and make a very small profit (this is called an “underdog” or “vigorish” and an “overround” minus 100% = 11%). This only applies to the initial bet, so if you made £20 extra bets on Betfair, your total bets would be £400 + 20 = £420, and dividing by 5 means that each individual bookmaker’s share would be ~84.2%. Now, even without placing any bets, you can see that this new market has completely different prices than the traditional SP – 1.91 – mainly because the store for this market is 84.2%, which makes sense since we are working with five times the amount of our initial bet.
So how is the Betfair overround different from the traditional overround? It’s simple really: if the bookmaker earns £1 on every £8 bet on £8+, it will obviously need more money placed initially to pay out that amount. If you took 100% of all bets placed on the SP market (which is impossible because nobody ever bets anything), then Betfair would just raise its prices to make the same profit. If you want to learn more about this process or how streaming odds work, I recommend checking out my other articles. It’s also worth saying that understanding the relationship between all of these concepts will help you in your