Betting Exchanges vs Sportsbooks Guide

This guide is designed to help you choose whether to make your bets with a sportsbook or betting exchange. The main difference between them is that when you join a sports betting site the bookmaker is taking your bets, whereas a betting exchange is more like a facilitator to allow bets to take place between customers. Both options are worth considering, so read on to find out more.

On this page you'll find out:

  • What a betting exchange is
  • The advantages and disadvantages of betting in this way
  • All about matched betting and backing and laying

What's The Difference?

A betting exchange is basically an online market-place where members can make bets between each other and have the option to back and lay the outcome of sporting events.

With a traditional sports betting site the customer will always back the outcome, with the bookmaker laying it. But with a betting exchange, if one person backs the Blue Team to win a game, you can lay that by betting on any other option (loss or tie). You can also trade as the event is going on, and can get out of bets to cut your losses. This feature is not always available at a sportsbooks, and usually limited if it is.

Additionally, the betting exchange makes money by taking a commission from winning bets, whereas the sportsbook makes money from losing bets, and from factoring a commission into the odds offered to bettors.

Advantages of Betting Exchanges

There are a number of reasons why you may prefer to choose a betting exchange over a traditional sportsbook, not least because you can generally find better odds on betting exchanges. This is because exchanges make their money from commission on winning bets rather than factored into the odds, and it's other bettors who are setting the odds.

Also, you may find more betting options on an exchange, including the option to lay bets, plus there's more scope to cash out bets. Finally, big-time players will generally find that there are higher limits and less restrictions than at sports betting sites.

Disadvantages of Betting Exchanges

Betting exchanges are often quite aw stripped back operation, meaning you can't take advantage of the bonuses and loyalty promotions that are offered at normal sportbooks. Additionally, although there may be more betting options, it's not always possible to find the back or lay partner that you need, causing you to spend a lot of time searching.

Not only that, some of the bets that you do find can be pretty silly, which can lead to some reckless betting. Finally, you can't really make accumulator or parlay bets at a betting exchange, something that's very popular on a normal sports betting site.

Matched Betting

Matched betting involves using free bets from online sportsbooks to make bets where you're guaranteed to profit. They work because you're placing one bet on your sportsbook, and then laying that bet with a betting exchange. Because you're using a free bet, you'll always make a profit no matter how the game works out. Sign up with a reputable matched betting site, and they will point you in the direction of the best bets to make.

Backing and Laying

For many sports bettors, the best option will be to have both a regular sports betting account and also membership to a betting exchange. The ability to back and lay outcomes is one that can come in useful, and not just when you're engaged in the practice of matched betting.

One example would be if you had placed a bet on a team to win the Superbowl before the start of the season. As the season progresses and they continue to look good, then you will be able to lay the same bet with a betting exchange. You can also minimise your potential losses by laying against your team if they make a bad start to the season.

Joining both a traditional sportsbook and a betting exchange offers the best of both worlds. You'll be able to take advantage of the bonus offers, free bets and rewards from a traditional online bookmaker, while also having the ability to lay bets with the exchange, either to lock in profits or cut your losses. A combination of both betting options is the best way to give yourself every opportunity to profit from sports betting.