The ultimate In-Play glossary
The ultimate goal of trading on Betfair is the exact same as it is on the stock exchange: to make a profit
Don't know your green books from your back-to-lays? Still think dutching is splitting the bill at dinner? Worry not, here are all the terms you need to know to get your head around In-Play betting and its strategies.
Whether you're visiting the In-Play section of betting.betfair right here, reading some threads on the Betfair Forum or hearing experienced punters chatting away, you'll come across some betting terminology that you may not be aware of. So here are a few explanations of what a few of the key words mean.
When you place any sort of bet, whether pre-match or In-Play, you have to decide what your stake is. This is the amount of money you're prepared to wager, effectively the amount of money you're prepared to lose. It's also sometimes known as your liability.
Now that you've decided you want to turn your hand to In-Play betting and know all about staking, you might fancy a spot of trading. If you read about the history of Betfair, the background of its founder or how the idea came about for a betting exchange, you'll hear plenty of references to the stock exchange. So it's no surprise that backing and laying bets In-Play with a view to making a profit is known as trading. Just like the city trader who buys and sells stock at different prices, the In-Play punter trades betting prices. The goal is the same - to make a profit.
By now you'll know the difference between a back and a lay bet but we sometimes talk about back-to-lay bets and lay-to-back bets. The former means that you're deciding to place a back bet but intend to lay it off In-Play at a shorter price. A lay-to-back bet is the exact mirror image of this sort of bet. You've laid something with the intention of backing it later on at a bigger price. If both these scenarios turn out as you predicted, you should be able to secure yourself a green book.
Your book is your position on the market, or in other words how much you win or lose on all the different outcomes. On Betfair the amount of money you stand to win on one or more selections is displayed as a green number. Maybe you've 'dutched' your bets (placed more than one on the same market) and have different amounts of profit on different selections or maybe you've had just the one lay so that you have the same amount of green on all selections, bar the one you've laid. The selection or selections that you lose on have a red number displayed next to them. Just like with your potential profit, your potential loss may vary on the different selection depending on the bets you have. If you manage to successfully trade your initial position (by backing at longer odds than what you originally laid at or laying at shorter odds than what you backed at) then you'll see that the numbers on all outcomes will turn green, which means that you win on all of them or at least don't lose on any of them. Hence your green book.
When you first open an account with Betfair you'll be offered a free bet to get you started but here we're going to discuss a free bet in a trading sense. Let's say you've backed Everton to beat Chelsea at home at odds of [3.5] for £10. That man Tim Cahill scores with a header for the umpteenth time in his career to put the Toffees 1-0 up and at half-time they're trading at [2.0]. You decide that first and foremost you don't want to lose your stake but that you'd rather have whatever green position you have on the market on Everton, rather than Chelsea or the draw. If you lay Everton for £10 at [2.0] you're getting your stake back, don't lose any money on Chelsea or the draw but keep a green position of £15 on Everton. It's effectively, a free bet on them.
Just like in the stock exchange, you sometimes get very volatile match odds markets. That means that the In-Play odds change dramatically throughout the course of the match because the game has a lot of twists and turns. In truth, football markets aren't nearly as volatile as a closely-contested tennis match, a limited-overs cricket game that goes to the wire or even a horse race where at different stages, several of the horses look set to win. But that doesn't mean you don't get them at all. They tend to happen in matches that have a lot of goals. A few weeks ago Blackpool travelled to West Brom and took an early lead and went favourites. West Brom then hit back with two goals of their own and themselves went favourites. Blackpool equalised with just ten minutes on the clock and with time running out, the draw went favourite. In the end West Brom scored a third just before the final whistle and Blackpool couldn't find a reply. It was a good result for West Brom but it was also a great result for In-Play traders. If they had continued to lay whoever went favourite throughout the course of the match or backed the outsider at different stages, their book would have more green on it than a tropical forest.