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Whether you’re betting on football, basketball or whatever else, there is a huge market out there, with thousands of companies just waiting to take your money and offer you nothing but hope in return. In this article we’ll take a look at the two most popular ways of betting on sports like this, which are sports books and betting exchanges, discussing the best option and going some way to explaining how they both work.

Sports Books

These are the simplest and most common ways to bet, and they have been for many years now. A sports book operates with an individual offering odds for a particular event, and a gambler taking those odds with a set amount of money. If the sports book has enough customers, then by the law of statistics, even if most of their customers win, then there will be enough losers for them to cover those wins. Due to the fact that people lose more often than they win, the sports book will be in profit most of the time and this is why it is such a lucrative business.

When choosing a sports book it is best to go with one of the big names, someone you can trust and someone who has been in business for decades, if not longer. There are some bookmakers, for instances, that have been in business for over 150 years — you can’t get more trustworthy than that. Finding the best odds are important, but if you choose one of the big names then you will find that they offer competitive odds, always trying to match their rivals and effectively doing the comparison legwork for you.

If you want better odds, ones that the sports books can’t compete with, then you need to venture into the exciting world of betting exchanges.

Betting Exchanges

A betting exchange is the preferred way to gamble for many, us included. This is where you will find full-time gamblers and high rollers, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t also accessible to those small-time gamblers who do it more for enjoyment than profit. A huge benefit to betting exchanges is that you will always find better odds here than you will on sports books, and in the case of outside bets, those odds can be significantly greater. It is not unusual for a 100/1 outside bet on a sports book be given odds of over 500/1 on a betting exchange, and whilst the chances of that bet winning are very very slim, if it does then the differences are huge. The only issue they may face is that the layout of a betting exchange can seem intimidating at first and it’s one that is hard to explain, but we’ll try.

If you take the BetFair exchange for instance, which is by far the largest of all betting exchanges, then you will be faced with two columns for each bet, one in red and one in blue. There are also a lot of numbers which may be confusing for those used to fractional odds, as these are decimal odds. To keep it simple, the trick to understanding decimal odds is to always subtract the first number by one to find the fractional odd. So, 2.00 would become Evens (1/1), 3.00 would become 2/1, 4.00 would become 3/1, and so on. Of course, the second number is often not 00 but this is easy to work out as well. 3.25 for instance is 2 and a quarter to 1, whereas 3.50 is 2 and a half to one (or 6/4). When you go into the numbers below 2.00, then you’re in odds-on territory.

Once you have that figured out then you need to understand the Betting and Laying system. BetFair do not offer bets themselves, but rather their customers do. When a customer opens a market and decides to offer “xx” odds on that market, then he is Laying (which is the red column). He needs to click on the first red box if he wants to be competitive, as that is the best price available and he therefore needs to match it or beat it if he wants gamblers to take his bet.

The blue column, which is the first column, is for those seeking to Bet. The first box displayed will be the best odds available, and the number you see below the odds (a financial value) is how much there is available in this market, or how much the Layer has risked. If this number shows $2,000 for instance, and you want to place $2,000 on an Evens bet, then you will clean it out. If it shoes less than your bet, then you will need to take a different bet (slightly smaller odds) with the remainder of your money.

BetFair has a rather high minimum bet. This differs from country to country but it revolves around the minimum bet in the United Kingdom, which is £2. This means that in Canada it will be around $3. Of course, BetFair isn’t the only betting exchange, but it is the biggest and the one with the most money and most markets. There are people who make a lot of money simply by watching the changes in the market and cashing out when the odds rise, which means they stand to make a lot of money before the game even begins.

It takes time to understand how to do that though and it also takes substantial capital if you are to make a decent return, but in the meantime, using the info provided here, you should be able to make a start and get involved with the exciting world of betting exchanges.

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