Trading the new Handicap / Spreads and Totals markets

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Trading the new Handicap / Spreads and Totals markets on Betfair
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Caan Berry talks through the new Handicap, Spreads and Totals markets on the Betfair Exchange and how best to approach them...

"In a way, it’s a little easier to do your research as you don’t have to worry about how many points each individual team will score"

Betfair have recently introduced and updated a few new markets on the Exchange. You may be wondering what they are and how they work, so hopefully this article should help clear a few things up. I'll also cover a few different ways of approaching these markets, should you fancy a new challenge.

Ever Evolving Betting Exchange

When I first started trading on Betfair around 2009, it was a very different place. The website looked very different visually and the markets behaved differently. Perhaps the biggest change over the years has been the use and volume on the Exchange as a whole. This has changed the way markets behave and forced a few people to adopt a different approach to trading.

Alongside the increase in available money, within the markets, there's also been a rise in markets themselves. New leagues and tournaments arise every now and then and even new sports become available to bet on.

Following suggestions from the Betfair community, we now have a few new markets available at our disposal. Asian Total Goals (ATG) can now be found in some football fixtures on the Exchange under the "goal lines" section. As the name suggests, ATG originates in Asia and is one of the most popular betting markets in that part of the world.

Another recent change is an update of the Spreads and Totals markets. They have already been available for some time but they've now been streamlined, perhaps to make things less confusing. Especially for those who bet on mobile.

What Are Spreads and Totals Markets?

Spreads, also know as Exchange Handicap's or Winning Margins are markets where you can bet on how many points a certain team will win by. These are typically found ins ports such as American Football, Basketball and Rugby. For example in American Football, "Ohio 1 - 6pts" means that you are betting on Ohio to win by somewhere in between one or six points.

Total Points is much the same as Over/Under markets in Football. Obviously, the big difference here is that we are counting "points" and not "goals". In this market, you are betting on the total points scored by both teams in any given game.

Trading Spreads On The Exchange

There's a few different approaches you can take to trading spreads on the Exchange. One of the most simple ways you can trade it (if there's enough money available) is to scalp the price. This is purely playing on supply and demand shifting the market by a few ticks at a time.

You'll want to do this in the few hours leading up to the event to ensure there's enough turnover. Be careful of any team news being released that may shift the market suddenly though.

Another approach you can take is value betting. This would mean using recent results and other information to create your own odds for the event. With Spreads, you're essentially betting on how many points each team will score. Therefore, you'll need to figure out the probability of each team scoring a certain amount. If the odds available on the Exchange are better value than your predicted odds, you take the bet. Some people like to let these bets run or trade out at a certain point in-play. That's entirely up to you.

Trading Totals On Betfair Exchange

You can take a similar approach with Totals as you would with Spreads. In a way, it's a little easier to do your research as you don't have to worry about how many points each individual team will score. You only care about the total points scored between the two.

Because they are a little more simple to research and understand, it makes for a better in-play trading market. You can use similar strategies to those used when trading Over/Under 2.5 Goals in Football. As there are generally more points scored in American Football than in "Soccer" Football, the market moves will be more incremental each time a point is scored.

What are Asian Total Goal Markets?

Asian Total Goal markets or ATG for short, are similar to Over/Under markets. The main difference is that ATG markets can have quarter and full goal lines such as Goals Over/Under [1.25] or [1]. This means that you can have half wins, half losses and have bets refunded on full goal lines.

In traditional Over/Under markets, an Over 2.5 goals bet will win if three or more goals are scored. Asian Total Goal markets differ in the following ways:

For Over/Under 2.0 Goals, you're bet is won if there are one or 0 goals by either team. If exactly two goals are scored, then the best is "pushed". This is just another word for being refunded.

Things get a little more interesting for Over/Under 2.25 Goals. For the unders side of this bet, your stake is split in two. Half goes towards Under 2.0 (explained above) and half goes towards under 2.5.

Over/Under 2.75 Goals is a similar story. As an overs bet example, half of your stake will be put towards Over 2.50 and the other half will go towards over 3.0.

How To Trade Asian Total Goal Markets

You might have noticed a running theme here and that is the similarity to Over/Under markets. In essence, they are just an extension of these markets and can be traded in a similar fashion. Whether you end up value betting, scalping pre-match or in-play, the same market forces will always apply. There will always be supply and demand differences that cause markets to behave in predictable ways and allow for traders to find a competitive edge.

Of course, you'll want to fully understand how the market rules work so you're not confused when your bet is pushed (refunded) or ends in a half loss.

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