What types of market are available?

Odds Markets

Odds betting is the most common form of betting and requires you to predict whether an outcome will happen. Odds express the probability of an event occurring. Lower (shorter) odds indicate that a particular outcome is likely to occur. The outcome deemed most likely to occur and therefore quoted at the lowest odds is often known as the favourite. Conversely, higher (longer) odds indicate that the likelihood of an event occurring is low.

Unlike traditional betting markets, in which customers can only take odds offered by bookmakers, a betting exchange gives you the option to both take (back an outcome) and offer (lay an outcome) odds.

When you back a selection, you are betting that a particular outcome will occur. For example, a certain horse to win a race or a football match ending as a draw. You will make a profit if that outcome happens. This is like making a bet with a traditional bookmaker. For example, odds of 3.0 are available for Everton to win and you feel these odds represent good value for that outcome. You therefore back Everton to win. Assuming a stake of £100, your potential profit is £200, less commission, and your potential loss is £100 (your stake).

When you lay a selection, you are betting that an outcome will not occur. For example, you might offer a lay bet because you find it easier to pick a horse that will not win rather than one that will win. Laying a selection allows you to assume the role of bookmaker and offer odds to other punters. Your aim is to win a stake from a backer in return for offering a potential return to that backer. If the outcome you are laying does not happen, you receive the backer’s stake. If the outcome occurs, you pay out to the backer the stake multiplied by the odds. For example, if you were to lay a horse for £10 at odds of 5.0, you would be liable to pay out £40 from your account if that horse won. A betting exchange returns the £10 stake to the backer’s plus the £40 profit. If the horse does not win, you keep the £10 staked by the backer. For example, you are sufficiently confident that Everton will not win to accept the bets of other people who think Everton will win. Assuming you offer to lay Everton at odds of 3.0 for £100, you receive the backers’ stakes if Everton lose or draw and your return is therefore £100. If Everton win, you pay out to the backers a total of £300.

When a back bet and a lay bet are placed on the same market selection at the same, or similar odds, a betting exchange automatically links these two opposing bets, and they become matched. Once bets are matched, the odds cannot be changed. In addition, matched bets cannot be cancelled by either backer or layer.

Odds markets can be win only or place. Win only markets have one winner. Place markets let you back or lay a selection to be placed in a particular event. For example, a horse to finish 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in a horse race with 8 or more runners. Place markets are available for most events with a large number of entrants. The numbers of places available in a market varies, and so it is necessary to check the market rules to see how many places there are.

At a betting exchange, all odds are expressed as decimal odds. Decimal format odds, unlike the fractional format odds traditionally quoted in the UK, include the stake as part of the total return. Decimal odds therefore represent your total payout and not just your profit. Decimal odds are always greater than 1.0 as "1" represents the stake. As an example, decimal format odds of 4.0 are equivalent to fractional format odds of 3/1. In both cases, the total return for a winning £10 bet is £40: 4.0x£10 or 3x£10+£10 (the stake).

Asian Handicap Markets

In Asian Handicap markets, both football teams are given or deducted goals before the match starts. The favourite is given a negative handicap, for example -1, which it has to overcome. The underdog is given a positive handicap, for example +1, giving the team a head start. To determine the outcome of the bet, the final score at full time is used, after taking the handicap into account. There are two types of handicap: half goal (0.5, 1.5 and so on) and whole goal (0, 1 and so on). For whole goal handicaps, if the final score is level after taking the handicap into account, bets are refunded. For half goal handicaps, it is not possible for the final score to be level after applying the handicap. There are two types of handicap bet: single (for example, +1.0) and split (for example, +1.0&+1.5). With split handicaps, the stake is split equally between the two handicaps.

Single handicap bets have three possible outcomes:

  • The bet wins.
  • The bet loses.
  • The bet draws (stake refunded).

Split handicap bets have four possible outcomes:

  • Both bets win.
  • One bet wins and the other bet draws (stake refunded).
  • One bet draws (stake refunded) and the other bet loses.
  • Both bets lose.

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