How does Betfair work?


Betfair works in a different way to most other bookies as you can both back and lay the bets. Here’s my guide to how Betfair works covering the sports side, exchange betting and cashing out bets.

How the Betfair exchange works

When I first looked at the Betfair exchange I, like most, found it very confusing to say the least. It’s worth pointing out that I now love it and use them more than any other betting sites.

how betfair works - back and layOn every market on the exchange you’ll get the option to back and lay the bet. If you back the bet this is the same as a usual bookies – you’re betting on it to win. If you lay the bet you’re acting as the book maker so you’re betting on it not happening. We have a guide to lay betting under the Betfair menu tab.

Cash out on the exchange

This works slightly different to cashing out acca’s (covered below). You’re cash out option is the difference between the back and lay prices. You can use cash out on the exchange to get your stake back and a secured profit regardless of the result.

How Betfair sports works

Betfair sports book was introduced in 2012 and operates as a regular bookie (sort of – read price boost below). They have a separate mobile site and app as well as a separate desktop site. They mainly focus on football betting and accumulators with horse racing and other sports included. They don’t really have the depth of sports, games and markets compared to say bet365 and Paddy Power.

How the Betfair free bet works

Betfair sports offers

So you know now how Betfair works but what I’ve not covered is the fantastic offers they have. To start with you get a £50 risk free bet –

Click here to get £50 risk free with Betfair sports

Once you’re a customer there’s loads of great offers for you with enhanced multiples mainly in football. They also offer “risk free” trebles on the Premier league on selected weekends so keep an eye out for these.

You can also cash out your accumulators on the sports side of the site (and singles too). Use the “cash out” tab on the bottom left corner of the mobile site/app or the tab under “account” on the desktop site. The cash out options are only available if one of the games is in play. The amounts will vary greatly depending on how close you are to getting the results right. If you only have one leg left it’s always a better return to lay the bet off on the exchange side. This can be calculated using a back lay calculator (such as arb cruncher) to work out the best return. In my experience you get a better return this way round 100% of the time rather than hitting the cash out button.