A betting exchange is an online platform in which punters who want to back a particular outcome are matched with others who are happy to lay them the bet.

If you want to place “lay bets”, you can’t do this with a traditional bookmaker – you can only lay on a betting exchange which effectively is a free marketplace for trading bets.

What does a betting exchange look like?

The interface of a betting exchange can look fairly daunting and quite different from a bookmaker’s online sportsbook, but have no fear.

Betting exchange explained
In this market, the left-hand columns of numbers under ‘Back all’ are for punters who want to back Man Utd, Leicester and the draw respectively. The right-hand side is for the layers – those who want to be bet against either Man Utd, Leicester or the draw.

The bold numbers in the boxes represent the current odds available. You can only select the biggest odds available as the exchange wants to get you matched at the biggest price.

For a home win for Man Utd, £217 is currently available to match at 1.89, or nearly 10/11 in fractional odds. Once that £217 has been collectively matched by punters, £854 will be available at 1.88.

On the betting exchange, odds are always represented as decimals. In some ways, this format is easier to envisage potential winnings – £10 at 1.89 would derive £8.90 profit (10 x 1.89) in addition to your £10 stake.

How do I lay bets?

To lay on a betting exchange, simply hit the lay button for the selection you want to bet against in your chosen market.

Betting exchange explained
As you can see, if your £10 lay bet Cloak Of Spirits wins this race, your liability £22. You will also lose your £10 lay stake, so the total payout is £32.

Because you’re acting the role of bookmaker, if any of the other runners do the business your winnings will be £10, the equivalent of your original stake. The shorter the odds of the selection you lay, the smaller your liability.

The betting exchange helpfully outlines all the potential results when you’re in the process of placing your bet. You can find these figures underneath each selection in a market, here on the left-hand side of the page.

Betting exchange explained

The difference between betting exchanges and bookmakers

As well as the chance to lay bets, betting exchanges charge commission on winning bets – think of this as their reward for allowing backers and layers to bet against each other. Bookmakers do not charge commission, but theoretically it’s harder for punters to succeed with them over betting exchanges.

Why? Because traditional bookmakers lock in a theoretical profit to each individual market or ‘book’, known as an overround.

The probability of all the odds in a particular market – let’s just say a horse race of eight runners – should total 100%. After all, one of the eight runners will surely be declared the winner. But the total probability of the combined odds offered by a bookmaker would likely amount to 112%, or an overround of 12%.

Why should I bet this way instead of with traditional bookmakers?

Betting exchanges do not have a built-in overround so their ‘books’ – created by the ebb and flow of money between backers and layers – total much closer to 100%.

Theoretically, punters have a better chance and the overall odds are bigger on the betting exchange model, especially among the bigger-priced contenders in a market.

Ultimately, the unique selling point of a betting exchange is being able to lay. This opens up the opportunity for more betting behaviours for potential profit, including arbing, trading and matched betting.

Why is betconnect different from other betting exchanges?

We offer a wide range of different markets across 14 of the world’s best sports and betting mediums, but the difference with betconnect is that our Punters do not have to actively seek out markets.

Instead, we send them Bet Requests via our Pros – our backers looking to get on. Our Punters have a much better idea who they are betting against and are essentially receiving betting intelligence from well-informed betting brains with every Bet Request.

With no need to trawl through an abundance of markets like other betting exchanges and on a clean, easy-to-use and transparent interface, betconnect is the world’s social betting network that charges 0% commission for our Punters. Get involved!