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About Matched, Lay and Back Bets

What’s meant by matched bets?
Let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of betting on betting exchanges! First of all, let’s understand what’s meant by matched bets? A bet is said to be matched when you and some other user agree to the terms of a particular wager, both with respect to the stake amount and the odds. Every bet placed on a betting exchange requires a bet layer and a bet backer. Actually, it’s quite like a bet placed between friends, as they watch their favourite football game. Let’s say you’re of the opinion that the match will have more than 2.5 goals scored in it, but your friend believes that there will be lesser than 2.5 goals scored. You both are confident about your predictions and make a bet, agreeing to these terms.

How it works on a professional betting exchange?
There are various ways in which you can match a bet on a betting exchange. However, first let’s take a look at the typical market interface format that you’ll come across at a betting exchange.

Match Odds     /     Back     /     Lay
Manchester United     /     2.90 (£ 329) 2.92 (£ 91)     /     2.99 (£ 229) 3.02 (£ 628)
West Brom     /     2.56 (£ 401) 2.57 (£ 512)     /     2.66 (£ 186) 2.68 (£ 683)
Draw (Man/Wes)     /     3.44 (£ 2813) 3.46 (£ 5626)     /     3.56 (£ 2008) 3.6 (£ 1004)

Above are the odds for Win – Draw – Win scenarios for an upcoming English Premier League football match between Manchester United and West Brom. So, what exactly do you think are we seeing here?
In the ‘Back’ column, you can see the best odds being offered by various users at a particular betting exchange, for that specific outcome, along with the total bets available (at those odds). As is evident, the best odds being offered for West Brom win are 2.57, with £ 512 in total available to bet.
In the same way, the best odds provided for a Manchester United win are 2.92, with £ 91 available for betting at that price.
On the other hand, the best odds being provided for a draw scenario are 3.46, with £ 5626 available for betting.
In addition, you can also see the next best odds being offered for each of these scenarios, which are 3.44 for a draw, 2.56 for West Brom and 2.90 for Manchester United.
The lay column on the right-hand side shows the odds that other betting exchange users are requesting for these outcomes. For instance, £ 186 worth of bets are presently asking for 2.66 odds on a West Brom win, £ 229 worth of bets are asking for 2.99 odds on a Manchester United win and £ 2008 worth of bets are asking for 3.56 odds on the possibility of a draw.
So, what exactly is a matched bet? It entirely depends on whether you wish to back or lay a bet. Let’s learn more about backing and laying the bets.

What’s meant by backing a bet and how it works?
There are two different ways in which you can back a bet. First of all, you can do it by simply accepting the odds currently being offered at a betting exchange. So, in the above example, if you like the 2.57 odds for a West Brom win, you can back West Brom at that price, for a total figure of £ 512. It’s exactly how it normally works with any regular bookmaker.

Back   /   Decimal Odds   /   Stake (£)   /   Profit (£)
West Brom Match Odds   /   2.57   /   50   /   78.50

So, in this scenario, you’re backing West Brom to win the match at 2.57 odds, and have bet £ 50 on that possibility. As soon as you can confirm your bet, it’ll get matched. Now, if West Brom indeed goes on to win the match, you’d win £ 78.5 from the sports bettor who had bet against you. In the event that West Brom doesn’t win, and loses to Manchester United, or it’s a draw, you’d lose your £ 50 bet, just like a regular pre-match bet placed with a bookmaker.
However, what if you’re keen on backing West Brom, but require higher odds? In that case, you can place a request for the desired odds and hope some bettor/s take you on at those odds. It’s exactly what’s shown in the right ‘Lay’ column above. In the example discussed earlier, there are £ 186 worth of bets which are requesting 2.66 odds on a West Brom win. You’re free to request similar odds, shorter odds or even longer odds.
It entirely depends on how you want to bet and what do you think of West Brom’s chances of winning the match.

Back   /   Decimal Odds   /   Stake (£)   /   Profit (£)
West Brom Match Odds   /   2.66   /   50   /   83

After you have placed your request for £ 50 bet at 2.66 odds on West Brom win, all you’d need to do is wait for some other user at the exchange to lay exactly those odds, in which scenario the opposite bettor would be assuming the role of a bookmaker, and providing you with those odds. As soon as the other user lays those odds, your bet will get matched.
Now, if West Brom goes on to win the match, you’d win your bet and £ 83 as a result (from the opposite bettor). In the event that West Brom doesn’t win, that is if the match is drawn or Manchester United wins, the opposite bettor would take your bet amount, just like when you place a pre-match bet with a regular bookmaker.

What’s meant by laying a bet and how it works?
There are couple of ways in which you can place a lay bet at a betting exchange. First of all, you may simply lay a bet at the odds that have already been requested. In the example discussed above, there are £ 229 worth of bets requesting 2.99 odds on a Manchester United win. If you feel that Manchester United doesn’t have a good chance of winning, you can lay a bet at 2.99 odds. In that case, you’d be acting as a bookmaker for sports bettors wanting those odds. Presuming that you lay £ 50 at 2.99 odds, following is how it may look on the interface:

Lay   /   Decimal Odds   /   Stake (£)   /   Liability (£)
Man U Match Odds   /   2.99   /   50   /   99.50

Above you can see your stake amount (the amount you’re laying) as well as your liability. It implies that if Manchester United goes on to win the match, you’d need to pay £ 99.50 to the bettors on the opposite side. Once you confirm this bet, it will get matched on the exchange. In the event that Manchester United fails to win the match, that is if the match is drawn or West Brom scores a win, you’d be able to claim £ 50 from the opposite bettors, just like you’d do with a conventional bookmaker.
Alternatively, you may also request odds you’re ready to lay. It is represented by the ‘Back’ column in the example discussed earlier. Those are the odds that betting exchange users are ready to lay. It can be seen that there are £ 5626 worth of bets ready to be laid on the possibility of a draw at odds of 3.46. All the punters who’ve laid those bets are waiting for other betting exchange users to back the possibility of a draw at those odds. If you also wish to lay a bet on draw at those specific odds, you can place your order and wait for it to get matched.
You may also place a different order for a lay bet at slightly shorter odds compared to 3.46. As can be seen in the example, there are £ 2813 worth of bets that are laid on the possibility of a draw, at odds of 2.44.

Lay   /   Decimal Odds   /   Stake (£)   /   Liability (£)
Draw (WBROM/MANU) Match Odds   /   3.44   /   50   /   122

Again, it’s up to you to decide the odds you are willing to offer and the respective bet amount you’ll accept at those odds. Once you’ve confirmed such bet, you’d need to wait until the offer gets matched. If it’s matched indeed, and the West Brom – Manchester United match ends up in a draw, you’d pay £ 122 in total to the opposite bettors. But, if either Manchester United or West Brom wins the match, you’d claim £ 50 from the opposing punters, just as you’d do with a regular bookmaker.
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